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Tent for High Winds

Howdy everyone. I am going to Iceland in April and upon checking I've noticed that the winds can get up to around 40 mph. I am currently using an REI Passage 2 tent and am not sure it is up to the task of that much wind.

Can I get some recommendations for a solid 2 person tent that can handle those wind speeds? I am looking at the REI Half Dome 2 plus but am not sold on it. I'd like to stay under $400 if possible.


Sierra Designs have done some interesting things with their shelters as of late.  Something comparable to the size and freestanding like the REI you mention would be the Flash 2.  Here is a video:

Mike The half dome 2plus can handle it, I have one also and have been in those type winds regularly with mine Around Black Balsom Knob provided you stake and guy it out good. However if your going to be in those conditions continueously with snow and ice to boot I'd see what out northern brothers and sisters say about it. I'm real proud of mine and how it's handled in the wind and driving rain but have never used it in those. It will be a little harder to set up than say a tube or tunnel type but if you careful to stake it out first, it won't sail away on you. Good luck.

I would definitely listen to then before you made a purchase they will probably point you to some that are lighter but it is a rock star of a tent under normal conditions and a tight budget.

Although I havent been there I imagine Iceland would be in the same category as my homeland of Scotland. Weather there in the wide open highlands can include days of rain and sustained winds as well as sleet and snow into the warmer months.

I have been doing a lot of research on the best shelter for that kind of environment in preparation for a two week trip across the country. Unfortunately I haven't made my final choice (I am not going until at least next year), but here are the frontrunners based on infomal feedback from folks who stay out in sustained high winds and rain for days on end over there:

  • Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD) Trailstar. By far the roomiest shelter on the list. Would need to add an optional inner. 
  • MLD Duomid. Bombproof is the term you hear a lot about this one. Similar to Trailstar but easier to get in and out of...seems to be gradually replacing Trailstar as the most popular pyramid style.
  • Tarptent Scarp. Another one seen in a lot of photos of Scottish hiking. Seems to have replaced Hilleberg as the go to wind protection option without needing trekking pole support.

First two both need trekking poles. The key factors I was looking for are wind protection and room to dry out and cook out of the rain. The three suggestions above are untested by me, but are by far the most common shelters I have seen after many hours of research, and oddly enough are all made here in the US.

I haven't looked into it, but the new Sierra Designs High Route is supposed to be in a similar category to handle tough weather. Then there is the ever present Hillebergs, but see the comment above on the Tarptents, which are a lot cheaper.

Hope this helps. I'll be watching this thread to see if some new options appear for my search as well.

Oh, and welcome to Trailspace Mike!

This thread has a lot of great article within it. 40 mph shouldnt be too much for most dome, tunnel or pyramid type tents. 

If I were you I'd be looking at one of Hillebergs tunnel tents but that would almost double your budget. 

In Nevada 40 mph winds are pretty common. I have an old Sierra Designs dome tent called a something Light that has been great in the wind.  The dome tents in general with three or more poles are much better than the old A frame tents. For a lot of wind you need to go to heavier poles than the little thin aluminum ones. 

I was camped near the Colorado River one February and the wind was fierce. It was a steady 40 or so, with gusts to 60-70. My tent began to deform and it felt like my dog and I were going for a ride. After awhile, I just took the poles out of the tent and slept fine in there with the wind and sand going over the flattened tent.

In heavy snow that would not work. But otherwise it is no big deal.  For winds above 50 or so, the heavier old style tents like TNF V-25 are just the ticket. They were designed for high wind loads. Use what the mountaineers use.

Most any tent can handle fairly strong winds---I've seen Patman get thru tremendous blows in either his Bearpaw tarp or his Big Agnes Fly Creek while I was nearby in my Hilleberg. 

The advantage of a good 4 season tent is its ability to handle high winds AND blowing snow AND severe cold AND horizontal banshee rainstorms.  And of course longevity of the product must be considered---Beefy floors, strong fly, good zippers, bombproof guylines and guy tabs.

Thanks for the great info everyone!

I am adding the Stratospire to my list...good balance of storm proof and size...good luck.

IMO the pyramid tarps are the best LW wind and snow shelter.  Their geometry makes them especially suited for wind applications. And as long as you don't end up camped in standing water they are good enough in the rain.

I like the tents others have mentioned, and believe all these shelters will shed the elements when properly pitched.  The thing that sets pyramids apart is they have considerably more head room.  I learned to love that, having spent too many days in tents that preclude sitting upright.  Furthermore you can dig a pit under the tarp, providing standing room.  A great basecamp set-up.


I am enjoying my search and it includes pyramids for just those reasons Ed. The Trailstar initially looked good to me but the head room in most of the tent and the low entrance clearance dropped it a couple of ranks. Pyramid style and the Stratospire...which is a cousin of that in my opinion...are leading the race right now but I am in no rush to finalize. The only criteria for me over head room and weight for two weeks in scotland is enough vestibule area to dump the wet stuff and cook etc in days of rain.

Most season tents will handle the wind well. if you are going to be in the mountains it can get a lot windier than 40 mph heads up. 

Also learn how to properly use guy lines on a tent. 


Do you know high-windproof tents that are ultralights as well, under 2 lbs?


I have a Tarptent Scarp 2 BUT I've "winterized" it and it has withstood 45 mph. gusts with no problems. It was well guyed out with 2 main pole guys and 2 end guys and 10 stakes.

Plus I ran the optional crossing poles under the fly by shortening them and putting the ends in the original grommeted webbing that I removed from the corner stake-out cords and sewed to the inside of the fly above the inverted ^ shaped carbon fiber "Pitch-Loc corner triangles for very high pole-end anchor strength, higher and more stable than the original exterior design.

Also I captured these X-ing poles by sewing shortened, double-sided Velcro cable wraps inside the fly at the former exterior X-ing pole attachments. This works very well in high winds, keeping the X-ing poles stable.

Finally I bought a heavier (bigger diameter and thicker tube wall) main pole from Tentpole Technology. ($45.) 

So you may not want to go to the trouble I have but now my Scarp 2 is VERY stable in high winds and heavy snow loads. 

Eric B.

I've also winterized my Tarptent Moment DW in the same way, with the single X-ing pole shortened 5" and running under the fly, but back to its original factory pole-end pockets.

The Moment DW's designer Henry Shires says the tent's design is not as strong against high side winds as some of his other designs in terms of the main hoop pole.So as a result of his comment I'm getting a heavier main pole for winter for the Moment DW.


The German magazine "Outdoor Magazin" includes the "crash test by wind" into their usual tent testing program (but not for all tents, sadly). While they don't post the full articles on website, for each tent there is a page with video and brief test results (e.g. at which wind speed the tent breaks). They've been making such tests for years, and they've broken dozens of tents this way. :) I hope, this may help in choosing.

For example, here is the test page for Hilleberg Nallo 3, which broke at over 120 km/h (75 mph):

Also you may start from direct link to "crash test" video: Click the "i" button to browse for "suggested" videos with more crash tests. 

I've traveled in Iceland by bike three times (about 40-45 nights in total), and there were only two nights with real risk of tent breakage. But it was all in summer period, most favorable for travelling there. Outside 2-3 summer months the weather is much more violent.

I've been pleased with the sturdy-ness of my scarp 2. Fully staked out with the additional 2 cross poles it's brushed off close to a foot of snow and withheld against some stiff winds. Not sure of exact mph, but over 20mph for sure. 

The tent weighs in at about 3.5# with the extra poles and stuff sack. 


Wind test of SD Convert 2, failure at ca. 58 mph.

My MH Direkt 2 is 2# 10oz, pretty teensey and holds up to winds very well.  You'll be packing burly tent stakes for high winds or burrying rocks as tie-downs so you'll be carrying more than the 2# 10oz of the tent. 

Its a single wall alpinist shelter and has very few amenities but I like it. 

IMG_0041.jpgThe tent is on the right

After looking at the wind machine videos and the list of tents shown with the videos, I would not take any of the tents shown, except for the Hilleberg. I have spent a fair amount of time in real situations where I measured the windspeed  up to 50-70 knots. The location is Antarctica, not far below Vinson (which is behind our backs in this view
DSC_0094.jpgThis photo is was taken with the measured windspeed ranging from 40 to 58 knots (74 to 107 kph). The tent I was using is a Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 (below, 3-person tent, though we were using it as 2-person + gear - lots of down parkas and pants, and layers of longjohns). We spent 6 days, living in the tent most of the time (except when getting our meals in the pyramid tent, behind which is the wind wall built to shield the heaviest winds). Vinson is to the right, out of the picture.

In the videos, linked in Vlad's post, the tents collapsed, NOT broken. If you want some modicum of comfort, you need the full pole support that the Trango (or similar tents) has. I have a Hilleberg Suolo (1-person) which works well in these situations. Proper guying, as Ed mentioned, is important, as alignment to the prevailing winds. I also have a Bibler Eldorado (sold by Black Diamond, under the BD name these days - similar to the Mountain Hardwear shown in Jeff's post above). This is similar to one of the tents shown with the wind machine. I have also used the Eldorado in high wind conditions. It does give way under winds in the 50-90 knot range, but again, is designed to give way, allowing the high wind speeds to flow over the tent without breakage or permanent bending of the poles. If I am expecting winds in the 50+knot range, for any significant duration, and know I will not have sheltering terrain, I take the Trango, despite the extra weight (which isn't too bad when sharing the loads among 3 people per tent - weight is 9 pounds, so 3 pounds per person).

Sol, I have been to Iceland 4 times, though only as a very short stay to change planes. I plan to someday spend a full month there. Then again, Svalbard is also on my list, though my Trango is not Polar Bear-proof.

Bill S said:

In the videos, linked in Vlad's post, the tents collapsed, NOT broken. 

It looks more like a permanent damage to the tent structure. While you'll be able to finish your trip successfully, the poles will be bent, I'm afraid. I'd consider their replacement after that.

i agree with a few things already said:

-the best defense for strong winds and snow is a good four-season tent.  Hilleberg, Mountain Hardwear, Black Diamond, and The North Face all make good options.  Few in your price range, but if you look for sales, you should be able to find some decent discounts.  Examples:

+Mountain Hardwear Tangent 2 on with a 20% discount if you haven't used that site before.  a $500 tent at 20% off gets you to your budget. 

+Black Diamond Eldorado, discounted 25%:

-if the primary concern is moderate wind but not snow, you can get away with something short of a true winter tent.  trouble is, you might not figure out your tent isn't up to the task until it gets shredded.  talk about learning the hard way.  

-where and how you pitch a tent is very important.  using guy lines to properly anchor a tent and finding some way to use snow, rock, or something else as a windbreak can make a big difference.  

I would also consider Fjallraven as an alternative to Hilleberg. I own the tents from both brands - they have equally strong design and mostly similar features.

This is a repeat from one of my earlier posts:

About 20 years ago I did a six month winter trip along the west coast of Hudson Bay, from Churchill Manitoba to Igloolik, in what is now Nunavut.

The first couple of weeks in, I was camped in a small grove of trees at the mouth of the North Knife River just north of Button Bay and almost directly at the tree line. After setting up camp I decided to go for a walk with only my camera. A wind picked up strong and fast from the north and suddenly I was in a total whiteout. It was very difficult to stand up let alone walk and I fell down several times due to the wind. I spent several hours trying to locate my camp before finally looking for shelter along an ice ridge. I spent a most uncomfortable time waiting out the storm. After a couple of days of sitting in what amounted to a hole in the snow, the winds were calm and I found my camp almost completely buried in a snow drift.

My tent was a North Face VE24 with the original snow tunnel/windows. After digging out I was relieved to find the tent none the worse for wear.

I think most tents can survive harsh winds for a short while providing they are guyed out properly with adequate windbreaks built around them.

Supposedly tunnel tents ae better for high winds than dome tents. Hilleberg seems to make "hybrid" tunnel/domes for many of their tents.

Eric B.

January 26, 2021
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