The 9 Best Four Season Tents
9. High Peak South
- taller interior than most options
- large enough for a queen mattress
- very heavy at almost 10 lbs
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian
- long-lasting stitching and seams
- perfect for extreme conditions
- poor venting results in condensation
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
7. Moko Waterproof
- excellent at keeping rain out
- 9 foot by 7 foot floor
- can get hot in the summer
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
6. MSR Access 2
- effectively holds in body heat
- central peak prevents snow buildup
- quality brand but a very high price
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. Geertop Alpine
- totally freestanding outer fly
- suspension-style inner tent
- not the most long-lasting selection
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
4. Geertop Waterproof
- high-visibility colors
- two doors and gear storage areas
- snow skirt adds winter protection
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
3. Alps Mountaineering Morada
- pitches fixed or freestanding
- factory urethane waterproofing
- windows made of no-see-um mesh
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Cloud Peak Ultralight
- great for shade in warm weather
- taped and sealed seams
- excellent ventilation prevents frost
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. The Cave
- aircraft-grade aluminum poles
- sleeps 2 to 4 people
- a whopping 23 stake points
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Why You Should Go Camping
Ahh, the great outdoors, where nature paints a breathtaking picture around the world. There is no feeling on Earth like the biting wind whipping across your face as you trek onward, with long miles, sunny days, and starlit nights separating you from the nearest sliver of civilization. Self-reliance is at its finest when your home is on your back and you settle down underneath a rocky outcropping for a good night's sleep. After all, you've earned it by trudging 20 entire miles today with a 3,000-foot elevation gain. Or maybe you're setting up camp in a grassy field, ready to rest your bones after a long day of dancing at the festival.
And why not go camping? Research shows that spending a few nights in the woods can combat depression as well as reset the circadian rhythm, helping to repair sleep cycles. Plus, it's hard to argue with the feelings of awe inspired by the expansive vistas of pristine wilderness. Seeing mountains rise above the horizon in great and inspiring arches and crags certainly offers a profound perspective on our place in this universe.
Of course, there are reasons why we don't all live in the beautiful solitude of nature already. Technology's awfully convenient; things like buildings; vehicles; and big, fluffy jackets protect us from the elements whether we're slumbering at night or walking down the street during the day. Naturally, the most beautiful and untouched wilderness destinations will be decidedly lacking in lodges and warm bedding. And the entire point of a festival is to form an impromptu community with the several thousand other people camped right next to you.
You wouldn't pull your trailer along the Pacific Crest Trail or stay in a hotel during the full moon gathering. And shelter is among the most important considerations when trekking through the outdoors. To that end, there's plenty of modern technology that enables us to spend time enjoying the woods and plains. A tent is one of the first things you'll need when planning an excursion.
Not All Gear Is Created Equal
The Boy Scouts of America have a motto: be prepared. It's a great one to live by, especially when adventuring outdoors. Before you hit the trail, it is imperative to fully research your destination and plan your itinerary carefully. A map and compass are absolute necessities in many cases, as are food, water, and first aid supplies. The weather is one of the most important things for which to plan. The precipitation, temperature, sunset time, and humidity can all make a big impact on your trip. If you haven't planned properly, some weather occurrences could turn dangerous or even tragic. As such, you'll need to prepare yourself with the gear you need to keep warm. Everyone knows it gets chilly after dark in most regions. In drier areas, where a lack of vegetation can cause huge fluctuations in temperature from day to night, the cold can be especially worrisome after the sun goes down.
If you've spent enough time to really get to know a few pieces of camping equipment, one thing you'll find is that you often get what you pay for. If you stock up for the backcountry at your neighborhood big box store, you might save a few dollars. However, your backpack will end up unnecessarily heavy, and some of your gear may not even last through your first few days on the trail. For that reason, you'll want to weigh just how much of an investment you want to make in keeping you and your hiking buddy dry and warm at night.
If you compare different camping items on the market, you'll notice right away the varying quality and purpose of the items. There's an impressive range of specialized tents available. When considering four-season tents, there are a number of factors that can make or (sometimes literally) break a structure.
A Four-Season Hotel In The Woods
What, exactly, makes a tent worthy of year-round use? One of the main features of a four-season tent is structural strength. The ravages of winter include more than just freezing wind that can bend weaker tents in half. It's a truly terrifying experience to wake up before dawn with a snow-covered tent literally collapsing on you, eating you alive. The thicker support poles and walls, as well as the aerodynamic construction that cold-weather tents employ, combine to withstand far more punishment than the average two-person dome tent.
High-quality tents will also feature a double-wall setup. This means that the main body of the tent and the unit's fly are separate pieces. This ensures that a tent gives full, 360-degree protection from the elements while also allowing moisture to escape. After all, condensation and frost on the inside of a tent can really dampen the spirits — and the sleeping bag. Speaking of water, a reliable tent will have a seamless bathtub floor extending a few inches above the ground to keep water out of your dwelling. Finally, to hold up against the strongest of winds and flash floods, a good all-weather tent will have ample anchor points with which to stake down both the tent and its rain fly.
Over the last couple decades, there's been a renaissance in high-tech, low-impact camping gear. A lot of companies are developing intricate, ultralight products with scant features and small footprints. While such lightweight options often lack in warmth and durability, the technology used to create them has spilled over into all-season styles, making all equipment more portable and effective.
That's great because you'll be spending time not just sleeping in your new four-season tent, but also carrying it. So make sure to strike a balance between warm and efficient when making your choice. Or, if it's a two-person model, you could just make your hiking partner carry it.