The Best Winter Tents of 2021 - 2022: Cold Weather Camping
From the wintery hills of the Scottish Lowlands to beautiful Cumbrian market towns like Keswick, there are plenty of places to camp year-round. If you are planning to camp in the colder months, finding an excellent four-season tent is essential. Here we’ve rounded up the best winter tents for camping in cold weather.
When looking at winter tents to buy, you’ll need to consider design features and specifications to ensure your chosen model will keep you protected against the elements. Here are some of the top considerations when shopping around for your winter camping tent.
What is a 4-season tent?
You’ll see the term “4-season” on any camping gear built to withstand all elements, including the coldest, most inclement weather you can face while camping. 4-season tents are designed to withstand heavy rain, strong winds and sub-zero temperatures. These aren’t your standard UK camping tent; these are constructed to protect you from the most vicious and inhospitable climates.
Does weight matter?
If you’re travelling to your camping destination by car, chances are weight isn’t going to be a huge consideration. However, if you need to carry your shelter on your back for part or even all of your journey, you’ll want to pay close attention to the pack weight of each model.
4-season tents are built with the strongest poles and toughest fabrics, so they’re going to be heavier than the average camping tent. Along with a heavier packing weight usually comes a larger pack size so pay close attention to both when shopping around.
It may be tempting to try and keep all of the warm air inside the tent but doing so can lead to condensation and damp living conditions. You’ll have seen droplets of condensation forming inside a tent before, and these tend to drip down onto you and your belongings, leading to an uncomfortable night’s sleep. In sub-zero temperatures, condensation turns into ice, dropping down onto you, melting and leading to the same cold and damp conditions.
Doors and vestibules
Also lending a hand on the ventilation front, the number of doors your tent has can be make or break when it comes to your comfort. If you’re camping with others, scrambling over one another to exit can be a pain, especially in the middle of the night. Many tents will come with a door on either end of the tent, sometimes both with a covered vestibule for extra storage. Leaving a door open when you’re awake is a great way to boost ventilation, too, so pay close attention to how many doors the tent has, the types of opening and whether they’re sheltered from the elements when choosing your 4-season tent.
When you're being hammered by hail, blown around by wintery gusts and covered in snow, you want to be confident that your tent is going to keep you safe and dry. 4-season tents are constructed with heavy-duty fabrics with high waterproof ratings. Groundsheets are often fully waterproof, and all seams taped. Some of the toughest 4-season tents are often only built to be water-resistant as the temperatures they’re designed to be used in are unlikely to go above freezing point. In the UK, though, waterproofing is essential. Check the specifications of tents closely to check how well they’ll fair in cold, wet conditions.
4-season tent poles
The poles used with 4-season tents need to be almost bullet-proof to last in freezing conditions. Therefore, the materials used are often heavier than standard camping tent poles. Look at the pole specifications and read reviews to make sure they’ll last, as the structure of your tent is one of the most important factors.
Wire tent pegs come as a standard with most camping tents; however, they tend to bend easily. Most campers in the UK will soon put together their own separate tent peg kit, including rock pegs. V-shaped metal pegs, spiral stakes and even snow specific pegs are options for pegging out your tent in winter conditions in the UK. More extreme conditions will need stronger anchor points.
1. Vango F10 MTN 2
The Vango F10 MTN 2 is one of the best 4-season tents on the UK market. This two-person design has a range of features making it stand up year-round. The single door is covered by a nicely sized vestibule, is double layered and allows you to exit at the top if snow builds up. This door design also allows for extra ventilation alongside the inner tent roof vents.
For durability, the PU backed groundsheet has taped seams and is waterproof up to 6,000mm. For strength to weight ratio, the nylon ripstop fabric is of the flysheet is 30 denier with taped seams. Along with lightweight, Korean made Yunan UL poles, this 4-season tent is ready to face the UK elements.
2. Fjallraven Keb Endurance 2
Waterproof: 3,000mm (flysheet)
The Keb Endurance 2 by Fjallraven performs well in adverse conditions thanks to its expertly designed features. This tent has not one but two entrances, one covered by a spacious vestibule that can be used for storage. This tunnel tent is strong enough to withstand strong winds, but for extra strength, the pole sleeves are large enough to double up on poles (additional purchase). For ventilation, a mixture of both high and low vents should keep moisture to a minimum.
Additional perks to mention are the oversized door zippers which are easy to use when wearing winter gloves, reflective guy ropes and reflective panels on the doors and vents so you can easily spot your tent in the dark. Also worth mentioning is that this 4-season tent comes with extra-long, wide pegs, ideal for snow use.
3. Exped Venus II Extreme
The Exped Venus II Extreme is a 4-season trekking tent, ideal for two people exploring the outdoors in the winter months. This tent is spacious enough for two people to sit upright, and with entrances on both sides, both featuring vestibules, you won’t be on top of each other. The tunnel tent has an entirely seamed tub floor which is raised at both entrances to prevent snow from coming in. The fly is silicone coated, making it both tear and water-resistant, so you’re likely to stay dry throughout your winter travels. The aluminium poles supplied are some of the strongest available, and the tension loops attach directly to these, adding to the overall stability of the tent. Overall, this is a good, lightweight option for any winter camper.
4. MSR Remote 2 Two-Person Mountaineering Tent
Weight: 3.23 kg
Waterproof: 1500mm (rainfly)
MSR has designed this 4-season tent to stand up to the most challenging mountaineering conditions while making it lightweight and versatile enough to be used year-round. This is one of the most talked-about winter tents for a reason, as it really does perform in harsh conditions. The double-walled tent features the almost indestructible Easton® Syclone™ poles, making it a sturdy structure in strong winds. The guy line points are reinforced so you can keep up tension no matter the weather and not worry about tears. The spacious interior and generous vestibule give plenty of room for two, even with heavy winter gear.
5. Terra Nova Quasar 2 Person Tent
Waterproof: Watershed Endurance fabric
Made in the UK, the Terra Nova Quasar is robust enough to keep you safe and dry in our variable winter weather. With a small vestibule and plenty of head height, you’ll have easily of space for two people plus camping gear. Terra Nova’s Reflex poles are sturdy in windy weather, so you can trust your tent to withstand strong winds. The groundsheet is completely waterproof, and the flysheet is made from Watershed Endurance fabric to keep the interior dry. This tent can be pitched without guy lines but also comes with aluminium alloy pegs which are sturdy.
6. Lightwave Sigma S10 Tent
This one-person, ultra-lightweight tent by Sigma is fit for camping all year round in poor weather conditions. This tent offers plenty of space for a comfortable trip away in the colder months for one person with a moderate amount of gear. Sigma tents are praised for their ability to manage condensation in a single-wall design, and this model is no exception. The groundsheet has a bathtub construction for complete protection, and the silicone-coated fabric used on the porch is lightweight without compromising on durability. This tent comes with Sigma’s Lightning and Flash pegs, so you’ll have everything you need to start winter camping as soon as it arrives.
7. Ferrino Svalbard 3
Waterproof: 3000mm (flysheet)
This tent by Ferrino is a three-person, 4-season tent fit for all-year-round adventurers. You'll notice that this tent is on the heavier side, but it is the most affordable winter tent on this list. Great for anyone on a budget or just wanting a tent for all-season camping, the Svalbard 3 is plenty spacious for a family of 3 plus gear. For such an affordable price, it’s great to see both a front and back door with a vestibule for storage. The thermo-insulating flysheet is accompanied by a water-resistant ripstop nylon inner and 4,000mm waterproof polyester floor. With taped seams on the flysheet and floor, as well as duraluminium solid poles with a double-cross structure, this tent should hold up to any weather the UK winter decides to throw your way.
8. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV2 Expedition Tent
Waterproof: 1,200mm (flysheet)
Two doors and two vestibules make this an ideal 4-season tent for a party of two. The Big Agnes Copper Spur tent has been designed for a harsh expedition environment and has plenty of features to support it in rough climates. The fabrics used on this tent are all UV, tear, and humidity resistant. Taped seams, reinforced stake loops, fully closable vents, and a groundsheet waterproof rating of 10,000mm set this tent up to be a high performer in the coldest climates.
Now that you’re picking out your 4-season tent, view our winter campsites, some of the only places you can camp in the UK during the long winter.