Camping in winter can be a serious undertaking. To ensure warmth and protection, a dedicated alpine tent is essential.
Silicone-coated ripstop nylon fabric keeps rain out and handles strong winds and snow-loading. Steep sides shed snow. There are large vestibules for gear.
Multiple guyline attachments provide extra stability and strength – essential for the exposed locations in which these tents are used.
A heavy-duty floor with a waterhead rating of up to 15,000mm will prevent water from melting snow seeping through. Lighter floors can be paired with a groundsheet to make them less prone to damage.
Alpine tents are designed to trap warmth so the inner is made from a ripstop nylon. Some tents will improve airflow by adding micromesh panels near the ceiling or on the doors.
Snow-proof vents with Velcro or zip closure will allow condensation-reducing airflow. A through-breeze can be created by opening the door(s) and windows. Most vestibule doors can open from the top – useful if snow has accumulated around the base of the tent.
The tent’s floor area and vestibule space indicate how much room there is inside, but just as important is the ceiling height. Clever pole geometry can create vertical walls and more headroom for a more livable interior.
More poles create a stronger structure. Tunnel tents will have one crossover pole near the ceiling, while dome tents with up to five 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.
Choose a tent for the size of your party: four-season tents are heavy due to their more robust fabrics and any unoccupied space still needs to be warmed.
The weights shown here are for the total weight of the tent, which includes pegs, guylines and the various carry bags. Many manufacturers also state the tent’s trail weight, which refers to the bare essentials required to use the tent: the tent body, the fly and the poles.
Tents are often referred to as multi-pitch and freestanding. Freestanding means the tent supports itself once the poles are inserted (it still needs to be pegged out). Multi-pitch refers to the ways the tent can be used: with or without the fly, or fly only.
MSR Remote 3 $1799
Three-person expedition tent with central support frame to resist wind and snow loading, two doors, hooped vestibule, extra width and length, reinforced guy points, snow flaps seal out spindrift, colour-coded Easton Syclone poles. Fly 68D ripstop polyester, 1500mm Inner 40D ripstop nylon, 15D micromesh Floor 40D ripstop nylon, 10,000mm Poles 4 Ceiling height 112cm Area 4.3m², vestibule 2.04m² Weight 3880g. www.ampro.co.nz
Hilleberg Soulo $1421
One person multi-pitch tent with multiple pole crossing points, fly extends to the ground, mesh areas backed with fabric panels, adjustable snow-proof roof vent, fly and inner pitch together, sleeve and clip pole system, single entrance and vestibule. Fly 30D high tenacity ripstop nylon, 5000mm Inner 30D ripstop nylon Floor 70D nylon, 15,000mm Poles 4 Ceiling height 95cm Area 2m², vestibule 0.6m² Weight 2400g. www.motomox.co.nz
Macpac Aspiring $1449.99
Three-person alpine tent, five-pole Swift-Pitch geodesic design, dual entry and vestibules, storm/snow flaps, internal mesh and double-door system for airflow, air vent system for airflow, tub floor. Fly 30D nylon ripstop, 3500mm Inner 40D nylon ripstop Floor Torrentwear XP, 10,000mm Poles 5 Ceiling height 110cm Area 3.85m², vestibule 1.5m² Weight 4700g. www.macpac.co.nz
MSR Access 2 $1299
Two-person tent with vertical walls, central support frame resists snow loading, two doors and vestibules, colour-coded Easton Syclone poles. Fly 20D ripstop nylon, 1200mm Inner 20D ripstop nylon, 10D micromesh Floor 430D ripstop nylon, 3000mm Poles 2 Ceiling height 107cm Area 2.69m², vestibules 1.62m² Weight 1980g. www.ampro.co.nz
Macpac Olympus $1099.99
Two-person alpine 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 Ceiling height 115cm Area 2.97m², vestibule 1.5m² Weight 3100g. www.macpac.co.nz