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Printed Jan 12, 2023 3:00 PM

Do you want a 4-season tent for winter tenting? Brief reply: no, it isn’t needed, however it’s good. The truth is, you don’t want a tent in any respect in case you are prepared to construct a snow shelter or one thing comparable. For a lot of newbie winter campers, it’s a massive funding to buy a 4-season tent earlier than understanding if winter tenting is even an exercise they take pleasure in. Our first suggestion is to borrow or hire a 4-season tent so you’ve got ample safety in opposition to the weather and an opportunity to attempt a tent out earlier than shopping for. Some outfitters ultimately promote their used leases, making this an awesome place to check a tent after which doubtlessly purchase a used one. 

In case you don’t have an clothes shop to hire from or a good friend to borrow from, an alternative choice is to winterize a 3-season tent that you simply already personal. When achieved accurately or when the climate isn’t too chilly and moist, tenting in a 3-season tent through the winter is sort of manageable. It does take a bit extra gear and planning, however in case you are winter tenting for the primary time, it’s best to check it in simply accessible areas whereas automotive tenting to be protected. 

The right way to Winterize a 3-Season Tent

Use warning when tenting through the winter season. Winter tenting could be a very particular, rewarding expertise, however it will also be extraordinarily harmful and doubtlessly lethal when the correct precautions should not taken. Study extra about tenting safely within the winter on the Nationwide Park Service web site.

Insulate and Decrease Air flow 

A typical 3-season tent will solely be about 5 levels hotter than the outside temperatures (F). Due to that, some insulating and minimizing of air flow is so as. Most 3-season tents have fairly a little bit of air flow as a result of they’re used through the summer season and shoulder seasons. Whereas all tents want some air flow regardless of the climate, having much less will assist lure extra warmth contained in the tent. 

A tarp or footprint for the bottom is crucial when tenting within the winter, however when you’ve got some further tarps, they might help cowl among the air flow. To do that, you may arrange the tent as common after which use a small tarp to guard the highest earlier than placing on the rain fly. Tarps will also be used to make wind blocks exterior of the tent when needed. 

Most 4 season or expedition tents can have small air flow areas to stop condensation from accumulating within the tent. These are positioned on the highest and backside to encourage airflow by means of the tent. You need to use a tarp for this, as talked about earlier, or an alternative choice is to make use of a thermal blanket. 

We all the time advocate a floor tarp, however within the winter, having extra insulation on the ground is good. Remember the fact that we’re this from the lens of automotive tenting, not backpacking or an expedition, so we count on you could carry a bit extra gear. So, when you’ve packed a couple of tarps, take into account bringing an additional wool blanket giant sufficient to cowl the tent’s flooring and two sleeping pads. One foam pad with an inflatable pad on high works nicely, or you may spend money on a sleeping pad with an R-value excessive sufficient for the temperatures. 

Insulating the partitions is probably not needed for smaller tents, however relying on the climate, including cloth or thermal blankets to the partitions can lure much more warmth inside. Get inventive with it and see what works. Numerous it’ll come down to private preferences and the climate situations as to the right way to finest insulate a 3-season tent for winter tenting. 

Waterproofing and Wind Safety

Past insulating the tent, it helps to guard your self from winter climate and moisture. Relying on the standard of the development and the way previous the tent is, it might have to have a waterproofing resolution utilized to it. Some extra reasonably priced tents additionally will skimp on a couple of issues that assist with waterproofing, like sealing the seams, so double-check the seams earlier than you go. 

Try our different Gear Rx article on the right way to waterproof outside gear to study to use waterproofing options. 

To seal tent seams, use a product like Gear Assist Seam Grip and comply with the instructions. 

When you get to camp, you may make use of some wind safety. If in case you have further tarps, you should use a type of as a windbreak as wanted. Different choices embrace build up snow to behave as a pure break. Camp in areas with pure cowl from bushes, bushes, or rocks. 

Even when you don’t all the time use them, study to make use of your tent’s guylines through the winter. Guylines assist maintain the tent cloth tight, including extra wind resistance to your setup. Plus, if it snows, tight tent cloth makes it simpler for the snow to slip off as an alternative of accumulating on the tent, compromising the material’s waterproofing. 

Relying on the place you might be tenting, you could not have locations to connect guylines or a straightforward approach to make use of the manufacturing facility tent stakes. Spend money on winter-specific tent stakes just like the MSR Blizzards so you may stake out the tent wherever you camp. These stakes solely work in compacted snow, so pack the snow earlier than organising the tent. Burying tent corners or utilizing different objects like rocks and logs may work to tie down guylines. 

Don’t Skimp on the Sleep Setup

The very last thing you need is to be chilly in your sleep. Even with one of the best expedition tent, you have to have acceptable sleeping gear and clothes to remain heat all through the evening. 

Listed here are a couple of methods to remain heat when you sleep whereas winter tenting: 

  • Spend money on, borrow, or hire a sleeping bag that’s appropriate for the temperatures
  • Double up on sleeping pads
  • Use a scorching water bottle whereas sleeping 
  • Pack further base layers and socks to keep away from sleeping in moist clothes 
  • Use a tent-safe house heater for chilly nights and mornings 
  • My private favourite: carry your husky to cuddle you thru the evening 

Bear in mind, to attempt winter tenting for the primary time, you don’t want to purchase every part outright. Look into native applications, purchase used gear, and ask family and friends if they’ve the gear you may borrow. 


Q: Ought to I put a tarp beneath my tent?

Whether or not it’s a tarp or a tent footprint, all the time use floor cowl beneath the tent flooring when winter tenting. Particularly if you have to arrange on the snow, a tarp or footprint prevents moisture from seeping by means of the tent flooring and might help defend the ground from any sharp or abrasive objects on the bottom. 

Q: How do you retain a tent heat beneath 30 levels?

A four-season or winterized three-season tent ought to be nicely insulated and guarded in 30-degree F climate situations. Different issues you are able to do to remain heat whereas winter tenting consists of getting a sleeping pad with a better R-value, utilizing a sleeping bag rated for the temperatures, sleeping with a scorching water bottle or toes heaters, utilizing a tent-safe house heater earlier than mattress and within the morning, and convey loads of layers so you may change out of moist garments earlier than mattress. 

Q: How do you waterproof your tent?

Most tents come already waterproofed, however these waterproof coatings should not all created equal and can put on off with time. You may re-waterproof your tent and seal all seams earlier than winter tenting. Try our different Gear Rx article on the right way to waterproof outside gear to learn the way. 

Q: Is there a protected heater for a tent?

Sure, there are some tent protected heaters. House heaters protected for tents are inclined to have auto shutoffs in the event that they tip over, and doubtlessly the most well-liked model for tenting is the Mr. Heater Large Buddy. 

Q: How a lot hotter is a tent than exterior?

A non-winterized 3-season tent is normally solely about 5 levels F hotter than the outside temperatures. Winterized 3-season and 4-season tents will vary from 10-20 levels hotter, whereas specialty expedition or insulated tents may very well be as much as 25 levels F hotter than exterior temperatures. 

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