Image of the November 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
November 2018 Issue
Home / Articles / Gear Guides

2019’s best four-season tents

Featured tent: MSR Access 2 ($1299). Distributed by
Designed for the cold, four season tents are the choice for above-the-bushline camping at any time of year.

Choose a tent for the size of your party – four season tents are heavy due to the environment in which they are used, but dead space is wasted space.

A tub floor will keep rising water at bay and will have a waterhead rating of up to 10,000mm to prevent any seepage. Lower-rated floors will require a groundsheet.

A heavy ripstop fabric is used to handle strong winds and snow-loading. A silicone coating raises the waterhead rating. The vestibule should be large enough to store all gear away from the elements.

Multiple guyline attachments will be added to provide extra stability – essential for the exposed locations in which these tents are used.

To trap warm air, there will be little in the way of mesh fabric here.

Small windows and vents with Velcro or zip closure will allow condensation-reducing airflow. When possible, a through-breeze can be created by opening the door and windows. Most vestibule doors can open from the top – useful if snow has accumulated around the base of the tent.

Lightweight aluminium poles are the standard. Tunnel tents generally have one crossover near the ceiling, while dome tents with two or three poles offer increased strength against wind and snow loadings.

Pockets and suspended gear lockers provide storage and easy access to essential items like headlamps and snacks.

Tunnel tents have a single door at the front, while domes generally have one on either side.

MSR Remote 3 $1799

MSR Remote 3 $1799, Three person
Central support frame resists wind and snow loading, two doors, hooped vestibule, extra width and length, reinforced guy points, snow flaps seal out spindrift, colour-coded poles. Fly 68D ripstop polyester, 1500mm Inner 40D ripstop nylon, 15D micromesh Floor 40D ripstop nylon, 10,000mm Poles 4, Easton Syclone Ceiling height 112cm Area 4.3m², vestibule 2.04m² Weight 3880g.

Waterhead (hydrostatic pressure) rating
A fabric’s waterhead rating measures its ability to resist water seepage. A column of water is stacked on a fabric with the height of the column measured at the point water begins to leak through. Tent fly fabric is usually measured between 1200mm and 4000mm. Floors are between 2000mm and 10,000mm. Because silicone coatings and the steep angle of the fly ensure water runs off quickly, the stacked measurement is less important here.

MSR Access 2 $1299

MSR Access 2 $1299, Two person
Vertical walls, central support frame resists snow loading, two doors and vestibules. Fly 20D ripstop nylon, 1200mm Inner 20D ripstop nylon, 10D micromesh Floor 430D ripstop nylon, 3000mm Poles 2, Easton Syclone Ceiling height 107cm Area 2.69m², vestibules 1.62m² Weight 1860g.

The North Face Mountain 25 $1100

The North Face Mountain 25 $1100, Two person
Compact high mountain tent with fully taped bucket floor, two doors and vestibules, high-strength reflective guylines with multiple attachment points, polyurethane port window, high-low venting, interior pockets, internal hanger loops, four snow stakes. Fly 40D nylon, 1500mm PU/silicone coating Inner 40 ripstop nylon, 20D nylon mesh Floor 70D nylon, 10,000mm PU coating Poles DAC Ceiling height 104cm Area 3m², vestibules 0.7m², 0.3m² Weight 4520g.

Macpac Olympus $1099.99

Macpac Olympus $1099.99, Two person
Tunnel tent with dual entry, large front vestibule with sheltered entry, storm flaps, multiple guy attachment points, internal double door for insulation and airflow, internal pockets, multi-pitch design, four-vent airflow system, tub floor. Fly 30D nylon ripstop, 3000mm Inner 40D nylon ripstop Floor Torrentwear XP, 10,000mm Poles 3, DAC Featherlite NSL 9.6mm Ceiling height 115cm Area 3m², vestibule 1.5m² Weight 3100g.