Your super-lightweight summer tent won’t help you survive in extreme cold weather (so, don’t even think about it). Investing in a high-quality cold weather tent actually makes a lot of sense, especially if you don’t want to end up frostbitten or with potential hypothermia. You only need to spend one night in a wet, cold tent, to realize the value that an extreme cold-weather tent adds to your overall comfort.
Extreme cold weather tents come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and budgets. The best cold weather tent is not necessarily the most expensive or the most lightweight. The best cold weather tent is one that keeps you warm and dry, away from all the elements.
We've included a buyers guide at the bottom. Now, let's get to our extreme cold weather tent recommendations.
These tents will help you keep you warm, dry and cozy in the coldest of temperatures.
This 3-person, 4 season tent is made for comfortable year-round backpacking adventures.
There’s a lot to like about this tent, including the high quality materials, easy access vents and large storage vestibules to ensure you aren’t cramped.
This 4 season model is free standing so you can easily pitch it wherever you want with the help of a few tie out lines. A great feature, that is also surprisingly rare, is the ability to open the doors without the rain getting in. This allows for better air circulation and access whilst helping fight against any condensation forming inside the tent.
The vents can also be accessed and closed from the inside. Nice
The design of the Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian keeps the wind out by using free-standing, multi-hub 7000 series aluminum poles with weatherproof shock cord. Assembly is made with snap-over pole clips.
Rain and snow are kept out by the weather protection system that includes factory sealed seams, 75D 185T polyester fly with 1500mm coating. The floor features 5000m coating. The fly buckles are also weatherproof.
Now, it would have been great if they included a floor saver, but you need to buy this separately. Or, just buy some 6mm tarp to use a ground cover.
The biggest potential drawback is the thick material that helps keep wind, rain and snow out is also heavy. The tent weighs 9lbs, which can be challenging if you’re mainly using the tent for hiking trips.
We recommend the ‘Tasmanian’ over the ‘Extreme’ model because the Tasmanian is a 4 season tent, whilst the Extreme is 3. This means the Tasmanian holds up better under wind and snow loads, making it, in our opinion, the better extreme cold weather tent.
This is our pick for the best budget extreme cold weather tent. This 2 person tent holds up very well against some much more expensive 4 season tents. So, if budget is a primary concern this tent is worth a close inspection.
This tent does a great job of being both lightweight and capable of withstanding winter conditions. A difficult combination to nail. Especially given the affordability.
We like the inclusion of snow flaps that help to keep snow from building up and ultimately allows more heat to be retained inside the tent. We are also impressed with the quality of the lightweight stakes and tent poles, which help ensure that there is no capitulation under snow or wind loads.
Dry nights are possible thanks to the 210T anti-tear polyester coated with PU 3000mm water-resistance (the floor is PU 5000mm). Similar water resistance is found in much more expensive tents, so for the price, this level of water resistance is fantastic.
Setup and takedown can be done in minutes and the instructions are permanently sewn into the compression bag so you can’t lose them which is super handy.
One notable improvement would be to allow access to the air vents from inside the tent. If you need to close them, then you’ll need to exit the tent and close from the outside.
It would also be nice if more than 2 tie-downs were included. You may need to purchase some additional to properly secure against the wind.
This is our pick for a 1 person, low profile, 4 season tent. The Ionosphere from Snugpak is super lightweight at 2.64 pounds, making it perfect for long hikes or chucking on the bike.
Note the stealth, low profile design. This, along with the olive green or coyote tan color, makes it ideal for any hunting type applications
You’ll stay dry in the Ionosphere thanks to the 210t polyester RipStop flysheet with 5000mm coating. The waterproof bathtub-style groundsheet prevents water coming from underneath, but we’d still recommend a tarp or similar just in case.
The inner layer is made from 190t nylon with No-See-Um mesh to keep the insects out. The 1” gap between the inner tent and the rainfly helps airflow and prevents condensation issues from ruining your sleep.
We are very impressed at how lightweight this tent is. At 2.64 pounds (trail) and 3.4 pounds (pack) this tent can easily be packed into most bags. Now, it isn’t as lightweight as some other 1 person tents (such as the Stratosphere), but you’re getting a slightly bigger tent that doesn’t feel claustrophobic.
We also like it comes with a basic repair kit for any patching up en-route.
This is still very much a one person tent. You’d want to be well acquainted with anyone you’re sharing it with… But in an emergency, you could fit another person in. There isn’t a lot of storage space available, so you may struggle to fit a large rucksack inside.
The low-profile design is not for everyone. The maximum height is 28”, making it difficult to do anything other than lay down and sleep. This may not seem like such a big deal, but if you’re using it for an extended trip then you may find it limiting. It can be particularly boring if you’re just laying there waiting for the storm to pass - but you’ll be dry and warm!
The low-profile design also means you’ll need to use some anchor points as it is not freestanding.
The Hillman two person high altitude tent is ultralight with great waterproof credentials.
The outer layer is made from 20D 360T nylon grid cloth with a waterproof coat to PU 10000MM. That is a whopping 10m of rain that would need to fall until there is a risk of water coming through the top layer.
The skirting at the bottom of the tent is a great addition for a 4 season tent as it helps prevent snow and water buildup, allowing for better overall insulation and warmth inside. You’ll definitely still want to have a good ground insulation setup, but the skirting does help.
This is an entry-level 4 season tent. So, it’s super affordable, but the cheap price means you’ll need to make several concessions compared to some of the other tents in this list.
We think the ventilation of the inner layer can be improved. The ventilation from the outer layer is good, but this doesn’t count for much if airflow can’t reach you in the inner layer. This lack of ventilation can lead to excessive condensation issues inside the inner layer where you’re sleeping.
The setup and take-down is not the most user-friendly. And the instructions are not super helpful. So, you may find yourself Youtubing how to setup. Not a big issue once you’ve successfully setup the tent a few times, but it can be frustrating at the start.
Do you crave an extra layer of insulation inside your tent to keep you toasty? Great, the Crua Cocoon could be the tent of your dreams.
Think of the inner cocoon layer as a sleeping bag for your tent. You blow it up and it acts as an insulating layer and the main supports. It’s a complete layer, including the floor, so you may be able to get away with less additional ground insulation. But, we’d still recommend erring on the side of being too warm, rather than too cold.
On top of trapping heat inside the tent, we also like that the cocoon’s breathable polyester with 450g/m2 insulation prevents sunlight and reduces noise. This gives you the option of waking up whenever you want, not just when the sun’s rays and heat force you to get up.
Given you no longer need to contend with the sun or the birds waking you up, your main risk is oversleeping!
With such lavish insulation, ventilation becomes critical. The Crua Duo allows for ventilation through windows at the rear, top and via the double-zippered entrance.
You do need to buy the Crua Cocoon insulation and the accompanying Crua tent. This means it ends up being one of the more expensive tent setups to make our list of best cold weather tents.
Annoyingly, even though you need to pump up the inner insulation, they don’t provide one for you. You’ll need to purchase separately.
The other potential detraction is the weight. The cocoon alone weighs 15 lbs and the duo tent weighs 5 lbs. So, that’s 20 lbs you’ll need to be carrying with you which may be a bit of a burden if you’re hiking.
Okay, I’m going to put it out there. I love this tent. This is the type of tent I wish I had during those cold winters hunting in the woods. I think of this tent as more of a base-station than something you’re going to take on a trail.
This Russian Bear 4 season tent comes with a stove, chimney, and a 3 layer heat-insulated floor. Wow. Are we camping or glamping?
The double-layered design and ventilation windows promote good airflow and prevent condensation build-up.
You can even place the tent over your favorite ice fishing pond, attach it to the ice with a hook and enjoy ice fishing in the warmth, complete with the sounds of a crackling fire. This sounds almost romantic enough that my girlfriend will want to join my next ice fishing adventure…
This comfort doesn’t come cheap and this is our most expensive tent in the list. Comfort also doesn’t come light, with this tent weighing 55 lbs and the “Caminus M" stove weighing another 30 lbs.
So, you’re looking at an 85 lbs setup. So, with this much weight, you’re really going to need some help carrying it.
But, that can’t take away from the fact that this tent is a hunter’s dream. You can change the setup to accommodate 2-5 people. But, with the addition of more people, you’ll need to remove the stove. So think carefully whether you want to sacrifice the stove for more people.
We’ve included the best 4 season tents that occupy that sweet spot between value and functionality.
For the budget-conscious, we recommend the GeerTop 2 Person Tent because it’s very affordable whilst still providing great waterproofing and ventilation features. It’s also very easy to setup.
But, if you can extend your budget a little bit more, the Alps Mountaineering 3 Person Tasmanian Tent is our preferred choice. We’re impressed with the construction and durability of this tent and appreciate the 2 good sized storage areas.
Need a little more comfort? The superb insulation layer offered by the Crua Cocoon makes it worthy of consideration. If you want to turn your winter warmth to maximum, then the Russian Bear tent with stove is a toasty delight.
When selecting the best extreme weather tent for you, we recommend paying attention to the following:
The most important feature you need to consider when getting a winter tent is the material it’s made from. The material needs to be thick and be able to provide appropriate insulation.
The material must be able to resist snowfall, rain or heavy wind. It is ideal that the tent comes in double layers. This adds an extra layer of insulation.
All 4 season tents should include some form of water-resistance coating to allow the rain and snow to disperse quickly and not find it’s way inside. The water resistance is normally provided by manufacturers as a rating (from 1,000 to 10,000) in terms of mm of pressure the material can withstand.
For example, a tent with a 5,000mm rating will be able to withstand a 5m column of water hitting it without it leaking.
Some tents provide different ratings for the flysheet and the floor material, with the floor material generally rated to withstand more moisture than the flysheet.
Winter tents need to robust so that snow, wind and rain do not cause havoc to your night’s sleep. They are usually A-shaped or dome shaped as these features enable them to remain firmly on the ground and allow any snow or rain to slip off. Tents also need to have appropriate ventilation. The internal space of the tent is another factor to consider.
Are you carrying this tent or are there any other special weight considerations? Maybe you’re ok with a heavier and more insulated tent because you mainly camp with family and use a car to get to the camping ground.
Or perhaps you’re after a compact tent that you can strap to your motorbike.
Regardless of your intended use, it’s important to be realistic. There’s no point buying a great quality four season tent for those Colorado hiking adventures if it never gets used…
What is a 3 season tent & how is it different than a 4 season tent? Good question. A 3 season tent is rated for use during Summer, Fall and Spring. So, they are not purposefully designed to withstand the harsher Winter conditions.
A 4 season tent should do a better job of keeping the wind, rain and snow from entering the tent in cold weather conditions.
This does not mean that a 4 season tent is by itself going to be warmer. You will still need a quality sleeping bag, proper ground insulation and potentially even a heat source if you want to remain warm during winter conditions.
The additional weather-proofing of a 4 season tent comes generally requires heavier and more expensive materials. So, it’s really worth asking yourself how much you need to protect yourself from heavy wind, rain and snow as you’ll be paying more for a tent that is more difficult to transport.
A 3 season tent is going to be more economical and lightweight. So, if summer hiking trips are really what you’ll be using it for, then a 4 season tent might be unnecessarily burdensome.
Yes, all tents we’ve recommended come with some form of water resistance. But, that doesn’t mean you can just wipe your hands of any water-proofing duties.
Grab yourself a can or two of water-proofer to run around anywhere water is most likely to creep its way in. The seams, in particular, need to be water-proofed because of all the tiny hones creating by the sewing machine.
We recommend Scotchgard heavy duty water repellent. Just make sure to allow yourself enough time for the repellent to dry before you pack your tent away. A few hours normally suffices.
Packing a portable camping stove brings so much enjoyment to extreme cold camping trips. The warmth of the simplest foods like soup or pasta on really cold nights is such a treat. We’ve included our favorite camping stoves here.
The best, most expensive 4 season tent is just a piece of plastic if you haven’t brought along a sufficiently rated sleeping bag. The sleeping bag and your body heat provide warmth - with the tent just keeping it in (and elements out).
Something that many beginner campers overlook is the need for proper ground insulation. A core component of this is some sort of ground cover. This adds another layer between yourself and the cold ground.
Some cold weather tents come with a ground cover, others provide the option as an accessory to be purchased separately.
An easy, cost-effective option is to buy 6mm tarp and cut it to the size you need. Something like this waterproof Grizzly tarp will work nicely.
Being prepared for the worst is essential when camping in unforgiving winter environments. One item we always recommend bringing just in case is an emergency reflective cold weather shelter like this one from Go Time Gear.
This 2-person tube tent is constructed from extra-thick tear & puncture resistant polyethylene material that stops rain, wind, and snow. The interior reflects up to 90% of body heat.
It is lightweight, easy to carry, and cheap. It only weighs 8.7 ounces and folds up into a discreet bag. It’s so small and light that you probably won’t even notice it. But, you’ll be sure glad you have it in an emergency situation where keeping warm is critical.