Whether you’re doing some casual snow camping with friends or heading into the mountains for a serious ascent, you’ll need a shelter you can trust to protect you in harsh winter conditions. 4-season tents are warm, sturdy, and an essential part of any successful winter adventure.
We put these shelters to the test to bring you this list of the best 4-season tents on the market.
Last updated: September 28, 2023
Check out this quick list of our favorite winter tents, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
- Best 4-season tent overall: NEMO Kunai 2
- Best value 4-season tent: Slingfin CrossBow 2
- Best basecamp tent: Mountain Hardwear Trango 2
- Best ultralight 4-season shelter: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2
- Best budget basecamp tent: The North Face Mountain 25
- Solid 4-season tent with good headroom: Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2
- Good value 4-season tent that’s light enough to be used all year: MSR Access 2
- Minimal 4-season tent for solo mountaineers: Black Diamond Eldorado
What’s Most Important to You in a 4-Season Tent?
PRICE– You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great 4-season tent, but prices here do tend to be on the high end. We often find that spending a little more on a bombproof winter shelter makes snow camping a lot more comfortable, but we recommend options for all price ranges below.
WEIGHT– Heavier basecamping tents offer more protection from the elements, but they can be less comfortable to carry for long hauls. Treeline tents are great for keeping weight low on multi-day treks in mild winter weather, but they won’t hold up as well during big storms in exposed places. Mountaineering tents typically offer a good balance of weight and protection for those wanting to go on multi-day adventures in almost any weather.
INTERIOR SPACE– You may end up spending more time than usual in your 4-season tent if you have to wait out bad weather, so it’s a good idea to pick one that has enough space for you to be comfortable in.
VERSATILITY – If you’re on a tight budget or you don’t foresee yourself owning multiple tents to suit different conditions, it’s a good idea to choose a tent you can use throughout the entire year. The tents below have a good balance of comfort, strength, and low weight.
Best 4-Season Tents of 2023
BEST 4-SEASON TENT OVERALL
WEIGHT: 4 lbs. 5 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 82 x 50 x 44 in.
PROS: Affordable, lightweight, ample headroom, versatile
CONS: Not as much floor space as some, single door
BOTTOM LINE: The NEMO Kunai is a budget-friendly 4-season tent that’s lightweight and offers generous headroom. The body of this double-wall tent is constructed with large mesh panels which provide excellent breathability, condensation control, and make it more practical than some others for year-round use. The Kunai doesn’t have as much floor space as some of the other 4-season tents on our list, but the value for the price is pretty unbeatable. Check out our full review of the Kunai here.
BEST VALUE 4-SEASON TENT
WEIGHT: 5 lbs. 4 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 92 x 50 x 41.5
PROS: Excellent value, spacious, small packed size, light & packable enough to be used all year, easy to set up, good ventilation, 2 doors/vestibules
CONS: We prefer guylines over loops for staking 4-season tents
BOTTOM LINE: The Slingfin CrossBow is one of the most spacious and versatile tents on our list which makes it an excellent value. It uses a unique pole structure that’s very easy to set up, and it can be tensioned from inside the tent if winds start to pick up. The CrossBow design allows you to easily tailor the strength of the structure to the conditions you’re in. Attach your trekking poles to the crossbar to withstand heavier snow and wind, or leave their special pole attachment system behind and use the included clips to save weight on 3-season adventures. Check out our full review of the CrossBow here.
BEST BASECAMP TENT
WEIGHT: 9 lbs. 10.2 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 92 x 64 x 38 in.
PROS: Ample floor space, good ventilation, 2 doors/vestibules, very sturdy design
CONS: Expensive, heavy, low peak height, bulky
BOTTOM LINE: The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 has one of the most spacious floorplans of all the tents on our list, beaten out only by the massive HMG Ultamid 2. While we love that there’s plenty of floor space for two hikers and their gear, we do wish the Trango had a higher peak height. The lower clearance is great for wind resistance, but we like having the option to sit up comfortably to read or play cards while we wait out bad weather. That said, the Trango is easy to set up, well ventilated, and is bombproof when you find yourself in high winds and heavy snow.
BEST ULTRALIGHT 4-SEASON SHELTER
WEIGHT: 1 lb. 2.7 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 107 x 83 x 64 in.
PROS: Ultralight, spacious, versatile, durable, good ventilation, DCF material won’t sag or soak up water when wet, small packed size, very large door
CONS: Expensive (especially if you also get the mesh insert), takes more practice to pitch than some, snow can fall inside when opening the tarp
BOTTOM LINE: The HMG Ultamid 2 is an ultralight 4-season tarp with a generous amount of living space. The pyramid shape of this tent effectively sheds snow and heavy rain, and there are plenty of guyouts on all sides for stability in windy conditions. To make this floorless shelter comfortable for snow camping, you’ll want to purchase the half insert if you’re a solo trekker or the full insert for two people. This added cost makes the Ultamid the most expensive tent on our list. We love the versatility of the Ultamid, as it’s lightweight, strong, and packable enough to be used for backpacking in pretty much any conditions. Check out our full review for more info.
BEST BUDGET BASECAMP TENT
WEIGHT: 9 lbs. 15 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 86x 54 x 41 in.
PROS: Good value, 2 doors/vestibules
BOTTOM LINE: With an MSRP that’s over $100 less than the Trango, the The North Face Mountain 25 is great for winter campers on a budget. This tent has pockets galore and we love that the sheltered vestibule has a window for checking conditions. The design is very similar to the Trango, but it’s slightly heavier and has less floor space. That said, the Mountain 25 does provide more headroom and doesn’t feel as cave-like as the Trango.
SOLID 4-SEASON TENT WITH GOOD HEADROOM
WEIGHT: 5 lbs. 15 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 88 x 50 x 43 in.
PROS: Excellent value, good headroom, 2 doors/vestibules
CONS: Bulky, not as strong as some other mountaineering tents
BOTTOM LINE: The Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 has a great balance of livability and winter protection. It has two doors and two vestibules, and we love that the exterior nylon on the doors can be zipped away to reveal a full mesh door underneath for ventilation and views on clear days. Because there’s a lot of surface area to the sides of this tent, it doesn’t hold up as well as others in really high winds, and it needs to be guyed out fully to withstand heavier snow loading. The Outpost works best for moderate winter conditions and more mild summertime mountaineering expeditions.
GOOD VALUE 4-SEASON TENT THAT’S LIGHT ENOUGH TO BE USED ALL YEAR
WEIGHT: 4 lbs. 1 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 84 x 50 x 42 in.
PROS: Lightweight & packable enough to be used all year, 2 doors/vestibules
CONS: Not as roomy as some, we prefer guylines over loops for staking 4-season tents, ventilation is lacking & condensation can get bad
BOTTOM LINE: The MSR Access 2 is one of the lightest 4-season tents on the market, and it’s more affordable than many of the beefier mountaineering and basecamping tents. The peak height is high enough to sit up right in the middle, but there aren’t any poles pulling out the headroom at the head and feet which makes it feel a bit cramped. On the other hand, the small interior space makes it easier to warm up the inside on really frigid nights. While it’s not the most roomy 4-season tent on our list, the Access is great for those looking for something light, packable, and easy to set up.
MINIMAL 4-SEASON TENT THAT’S GREAT FOR SOLO MOUNTAINEERS
WEIGHT: 5 lbs. 1 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 87 x 51 x 43 in.
PROS: Lightweight & packable enough to be used all year
CONS: Very expensive, vestibule costs extra, single door
BOTTOM LINE: The Black Diamond Eldorado is a minimal mountaineering tent with an internal pole structure. This design takes a little bit of practice to master, but it provides a sturdy base to handle heavy wind and snow loads. At 4 lbs. 8 oz., the Eldorado is one of the lightest tents in our mountaineering category, but it doesn’t come with a vestibule. You can purchase a vestibule separately if you want more space to store gear, but it adds about $200 to the already hefty price tag of this tent
Critical 4-season Tent Considerations
TYPES OF 4-SEASON TENTS – Winter tents are generally organized into a few categories – mountaineering, basecamp, and treeline. Deciding the types of conditions you’ll camp in most often is a good place to start when deciding which type of 4-season tent is best for you.
- Mountaineering – Best for those who want something light enough to pack for a long haul, but burly enough to withstand harsh winds and heavy snow loads. Mountaineering tents typically have a tighter interior than basecamping tents and a more complex pole structure than treeline tents to achieve the best balance of weight and protection.
- Basecamp – Heavier than mountaineering tents, but these are generally the most sturdy shelters. These tents can withstand heavy snowloads and high winds, so they work well for camping in exposed areas with harsh weather. Because of the weight, these tents are best for trips where you won’t be carrying your gear too far.
- Treeline – Treeline tents are meant for more mild weather. These tents are a middle ground between 3-season and more burly 4-season tents, with heavier fabrics than 3-season tents and less protection than mountaineering and basecamping tents. We use treeline tents to keep weight low for winter trips where we don’t expect heavy rain, wind, or snow.
TENT SIZE – When choosing a 4-season tent, you’ll want to make sure there’s ample space for each hiker and their gear since you may end up spending extra time inside to wait out bad weather. Make sure to consider how wide your sleeping pads are to figure out an appropriate tent width, and look for storage features like large vestibules and interior pockets to cut down on the amount of floor space you’ll need for your gear. Check out our Tent Size Guide for more info on finding the right fit for you.
PROTECTION– The type of 4-season tent you should go with depends on theconditions you plan to camp in. If you’re someone who loves heading into the forest after a light snow, go with a treeline tent. If you like to adventure deeper into snowy mountains and camp on more exposed terrain, you’ll probably want a mountaineering tent. If you don’t plan to carry your tent very far, but you’re heading into an area with harsh weather, a basecamping tent will be more comfortable for you.
DESIGN– 4-season tents with a single-wall design (no removable rain fly) are lighter than double-wall tents, but we find the comfort, versatility, and protection offered by double-wall tents more appealing for most of our 4-season trips. Single-wall tents are best suited to hikers who don’t mind trading a little comfort for the ability to go fast and light in the mountains.
SETUP– 4-season tent setup is often a little trickier than that of most 3-season tents and getting the perfect pitch can take a little practice. For a comfortable winter campsite, you’ll want to be more choosy with your tent spot and you’ll need to dig out a space for your tent. Winter camping is more work than summer camping, but the scenery and solitude is worth it. Check out our Winter Camping Tips and Winter Camping Checklist posts for more information on getting the most out of your snowy camping experience.
DOORS & VESTIBULES– If you plan on sleeping two people in your tent, it’s more comfortable to have two doors and vestibules. Having separate entrances will ensure that you’re not climbing over a tentmate and two sets of gear every time you want to get in or out of your tent.
FOOTPRINT – The main benefit of a footprint is adding durability to the floor of your tent. We don’t find them necessary for most 4-season trips since 4-season tents are typically built with thicker materials than 3-season tents, and you’ll likely be camping on soft snow.
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