Winter camping calls for a shelter that can withstand strong winds, torrential rain and heavy snow. The durable construction of these tents makes them heavier but warmer than three-season tents.
Silicone-coated ripstop nylon fabric keeps rain out and handles strong winds and snow-loading. Steep sides prevent snow from resting on the fabric and collapsing the tent. The fly may extend to the ground to block low down wind. There will be large vestibules for gear.
Multiple guyline attachments provide extra stability – essential for the exposed locations and extreme conditions in which these tents are used.
Weights shown are for the total weight of the tent, which includes poles, pegs, guylines and the various carry bags. The in-use or ‘trail weight’ will be less.
Pockets and suspended gear lockers can help to keep the tent tidy and provide easy access to essential items like headlamps.
The more poles the tent has, the stronger and heavier the shelter. Tunnel tents will have one crossover pole at the centre and usually at least two other poles providing structure. Dome tents offer increased strength against wind and snow loadings.
A heavy-duty floor with a waterhead rating of 10,000-15,000mm will prevent water seeping through. Lighter floors can be paired with a groundsheet to make them less prone to damage or seepage.
Inner and ventilation
The goal is to trap warmth, so there will be minimal mesh on the inner. Airflow will be aided by mesh panels with a separate nylon backing near the ceiling or on the doors. Most vestibule doors can open from the top which is useful if snow has accumulated around the base of the tent.
Choose a tent for the size of your party: four-season tents use robust materials and are heavy, and any unoccupied space still needs to be warmed.
The tent’s floor area and vestibule space indicate how much room there is inside. Clever pole geometry can create vertical walls and more headroom for a more livable interior.
The North Face Assault 2 FutureLight 2 $1900
This single-wall tent is designed to withstand harsh conditions and high altitudes. It uses breathable and waterproof FutureLight 3-layer laminate material and carbon-fibre Easton Syclone poles and internal pole construction to reduce pole-sleeve weight. The front door has a removable vestibule, there’s an ‘escape-hatch’ back door, dual top vents and tabs for hanging gear. Fabric 20D FutureLight 3L nylon, 1500mm Floor 40D nylon ripstop, 3000mm Poles 3 Area 2.49m2 Weight 2705g. www.thenorthface.co.nz
MSR Access 2 $1599
A two-person tent designed for snowy conditions with a support frame of Easton Syclone poles which withstand strong winds, resist snow loading and optimise interior space. There are two doors and vestibules. Fly 20D ripstop nylon, 1200mm Floor 30D ripstop nylon, 3000mm Inner 20D ripstop nylon, 10D micromesh Poles 2, Easton Syclone Ceiling height 107cm Area 2.69m², 1.62m² vestibule Weight 1980g. www.ampro.co.nz
Bach Apteryx 2 $1399.99
A multi-pitch two-person tent that can be pitched fly-first or fly and inner together. There is a large vestibule with a panorama opening and two zippered entrances, two vents, multiple guy points and a seam-taped floor. Fly 30D nylon Floor 40D nylon, 10,000mm Inner 15D air permeable ripstop nylon Poles 3, 7001 aluminium Ceiling height 115cm Area N/A Weight 2400g. www.colorado-traders.co.nz
Marmot Fortress UL 2P $1199
This is a crossover between a 3-season and expedition tent with a vented full-fabric fly and two half-mesh D-shaped doors that trap warmth. Features include pre-bent poles that create vertical walls for extra headroom, colour-coded clips and poles, lampshade pocket, additional guy outs, seam-taped catenary-cut floor, two doors and vestibules. Fly Polyester ripstop, 1200mm Floor Nylon ripstop, 2000mm Inner Nylon ripstop Poles 2, DAC Pressfit Ceiling height 106cm Area 2.8m2, vestibule 1.51m2 Weight 2110g. www.marmotnz.co.nz
Hilleberg Akto 1 $1151
A four season solo tent offering strength and versatility in extreme conditions. It can be pitched inner only or fly and inner simultaneously. Square ends provide extra space for taller users, the fly extends to the ground for maximum coverage. There’s a mesh-backed door, foot end vent, above-door vent and pre-fixed guy lines. Fly Kerlon 1200, 5000mm Floor Nylon, 15,000mm Inner Nylon windstop Poles 1, 9mm Ceiling height 93cm Area 1.7m2 0.8m2 vestibule Weight 1700g. www.motomox.co.nz
Wild Country Blizzard 2 $899
A two-person tunnel tent offering stability and space. It’s fully seam taped and the fly extends to the ground for extra weather protection. Tent and fly pitch simultaneously. There are multiple guy lines, 12 pegs, four storage pockets all in a low-profile aerodynamic shape. Fly 20D nylon ripstop, 4000mm Floor 68D PU, 5000mm Inner 68D polyester ripstop Poles 3 Ceiling height 85cm Area 3.3m2, 1.05m2 vestibule Weight 2350g. www.outdooraction.co.nz
MSR Front Range Tarp $799.99
This floorless tarp will shelter four people. It’s quick to set up using ski or walking poles and is light enough to carry as a solo shelter, dining hall, or emergency shelter. Xtreme Shield waterproof coating provides long-term durability. Optional Bug/Floor inserts available. Fly 20D ripstop nylon, 1200mm Area 7.52m² Weight 910g. www.ampro.co.nz
Sierra Designs Convert 2 $799
A versatile freestanding winter tent with a removable vestibule that can be left at home to save weight. Its mesh door and foot-end mesh window are backed by waterproof nylon. There are multiple guy lines and 15 pegs. Fly 20D nylon ripstop, 1200mm Floor 68D 210T Poly Ripstop DWR, 2000mm Inner 20D Poly Ripstop DWR Poles 3, Yunan UL Ceiling height 109cm Area 2.81m2, 1.52m2 vestibule Weight 2350g. www.furtherfaster.co.nz
Kathmandu Boreas 3 V2 $699.98
This is a three-person, all-season, multi-pitch, tent for use below the bushline. It has a strong geodesic shape, two doors and vestibules, a seam-sealed fly, breathable inner with water-repellent treatment and mesh screens. Fly 50D polyester ripstop, 2000mm Floor 150D polyester, 10,000mm Fly 40D nylon Poles 4 Ceiling height 115cm Area 3.9m2 Weight 3980g. www.kathmandu.co.nz