4 season tent help

2:12 p.m. on September 27, 2002 (EDT)
Seema

I am looking into buying a 4 season tent and I need advice on what to look for and how much to expect I would spend. Thanks . . .

6:59 p.m. on October 1, 2002 (EDT)
Dave MacLeay @Dave
TRAILSPACE STAFF
346 reviewer rep
1,011 forum posts

A good four-season tent has to to be able to handle winter weather. This means cold temperatures, high winds, and heavy snow loads.

Four-season tents are generally heavier than their three-season siblings. They are more ruggedly designed to be able to take a snow load without collapsing, which usually means more poles and hence more weight.

Several manufacturers make single-wall tents made out of waterproof-breathable fabric. Single-wall designs are generally lighter and easier and quicker to set up than their traditional tent-and-fly counterparts, but also tend to be more expensive.

As backwards as it may sound in the middle of winter, a good 4-season tent needs to provide plenty of ventilation. Condensation can be a big problem with inadequate ventilation, as it will collect and freeze on the walls of the tent. Waking up to a flurry of frost being knocked off the inside of the tent by your partner is never fun.

A good-sized vestibule is a good feature. If you're careful, you can heat up breakfast without ever leaving the warmth your sleeping bag. (But be careful -- tents are very flamible, and cooking inside the tent can put off enough carbon monoxide to kill.)

Also look for stake-out loops that are big enough to accept pickets, skis, ice axes, etc. in place of tent stakes. Standard tent stakes are next to useless in the snow.

I hope this helps. Also check out the tent reviews on this site to get an idea of what features different people value in their tents.

10:06 p.m. on October 1, 2002 (EDT)
Waldo

Seema -

Dave gave you some good general ideas and points. Your best bet will be to go to a reputable mountaineering store. What you intend to use the tent needs to be told. Will you backpack or carry it on a sled? 2 person? 4 person? Expedition trips or weekend jaunts?

Buy quality. I have a 4season NorthFace tent I used in the Boundary Waters last January. I bought it in 1984.

You should be ready to spend $400 on a good 2 person tent.

happy camping

waldo

2:05 a.m. on November 9, 2002 (EST)
paul Gill

Quote:

A good four-season tent has to to be able to handle winter weather. This means cold temperatures, high winds, and heavy snow loads.

Four-season tents are generally heavier than their three-season siblings. They are more ruggedly designed to be able to take a snow load without collapsing, which usually means more poles and hence more weight.

Several manufacturers make single-wall tents made out of waterproof-breathable fabric. Single-wall designs are generally lighter and easier and quicker to set up than their traditional tent-and-fly counterparts, but also tend to be more expensive.

As backwards as it may sound in the middle of winter, a good 4-season tent needs to provide plenty of ventilation. Condensation can be a big problem with inadequate ventilation, as it will collect and freeze on the walls of the tent. Waking up to a flurry of frost being knocked off the inside of the tent by your partner is never fun.

A good-sized vestibule is a good feature. If you're careful, you can heat up breakfast without ever leaving the warmth your sleeping bag. (But be careful -- tents are very flamible, and cooking inside the tent can put off enough carbon monoxide to kill.)

Also look for stake-out loops that are big enough to accept pickets, skis, ice axes, etc. in place of tent stakes. Standard tent stakes are next to useless in the snow.

I hope this helps. Also check out the tent reviews on this site to get an idea of what features different people value in their tents.

From Paul : Mountaineer ; Ausrtalian cureently based in Korea.

Liked Dave's report. A couple of good things to also remember in addition to Dave's comments is that whilst climbs in the Himalayas often involves porters helping to carry your stuff, most times we will be in places like the Cascades where we're hauling our own gear. I look for a tent that can pack small and weighs under 3 kgs. Bibler tents are wonderful inventions but expensive. However they don't come standard with a vestibule and as Dave says, vestibules help with ventilation, claustrophobia on long rainy or snowy days and good for snow where you can dig down in the vestibule area and sit on the edge of the tent with your feet in the hole. I also believe in the " science of twin walls" which gives an air space between tent and fly so the temperature gradiant is not so steep and condensation problems are lessened. The gap also allows air to circulate like a house cavity wall. Beware of tents where the pole sleeves are " solid" material. Mesh material allows the air to move freely. Solid material traps air and whilst it will insulate, once again it may allow more condesation because the trapped air is dead air.
Summing up I look for a dual skin 2 person tent that is light and folds up small whilst at the same time can withstand 4 season abuse and not " Hoover" out your wallet. I think tent manufacturers are also catching on to the fact that poles can be in smaller sections without losing their structural strength. Most "packed sizes" quoted by makers are a function of the pole section length. With a bit more expense poles can be reduced in section length about 350 to 400mm and this significantly hepls with packing.

On a final note, I used to be an obsessive packer, everything into compression sacks etc....
The reality is that the inside of your pack isn't shaped like a dozen stuff sacks. Sure its neat but its also heavier. My climbing buddy puts a big trash bag into his pack as a liner and then leaves all the compression sacks at home. Down sleeping bag, down jacket, tent poles etc you'll be surprised just how much extra will then fit inside your pack instead of hanging stuff on the outside with bungees. use a trash bag over the top of your pack in a rainstorm. If you're really looking to save weight on clothing. take a look at the " Golite " website. If you're interested in how the Koreans build their 4 season tents to pack small, email me on thinair2000@netscape.net and i can send you a photo or two of the " Antarctic tent.....4 season, twin wall, with vestibule all up less than 2.9 kgs.

Paul

May 29, 2020
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