Whether you are an experienced hiker or newbie to adventurous sports and hiking, when it comes to tents, nothing can serve you better than the four season tents. With high breathability and livability, these tents protect you from some of the harsh and severe weather conditions on the Earth.
Let us understand the critical characteristics of the tents to make a thorough decision while selecting the best options for yourself.
The buying guide allows you to get familiarized with the critical aspects of the product and provides you with in-depth information so that you can easily make an informed decision while selecting a product.
A four-season tent can easily withstand frigid temperatures, powerful winds, and heavy snow. But there is a wide range of variety available in the market for four season tents. Some massive, spacious tents are used for base camping where lightweight, one wall tents are suitable for alpine pushes. Commonly, there are three types of tents.
If you are planning for camping in high alpine areas, you must need a tent with more weight. Mountaineering tents come with an appropriate weight, and they have a single wall variety. These tents can save campers from extreme weather conditions and strong winds. The square footage of these tents is not as much as treeline and base camping tents. Most of the mountaineering tents have a water-resistant feature.
Base camping tents are renowned for ensuring maximum comfort. There is no need to carry this tent as high you go, which means you can avoid more weight while you are going far. Most of the campers spend an extended period in their base camping tents. These tents can be used in different conditions depending on the environment. Base camping tents are designed with a double-wall that provides an excellent ventilation facility but prevents condensation build-up effectively.
Treeline tents are appropriate for camping during winter, but they are not perfect for high mountains where they get heavy exposure. These tents are designed with a spacious bathtub floor and less mesh. The denser canopy, combined with rainfly fabrics, gives it a perfect look. However, treeline tents are not as durable as the other two types of tents. Because of the less toughness, they are used for light adventures. So, when it comes to camping in unpredictable weather, treeline tents can be the best choice.
When you are looking for a new tent, the tent's style is the primary thing you should consider first. Different forms of four season tents are given below—
The A-frame tent is an older model of tents that come up with a rigid frame. The high arch design compatibly works to reduce the impacts of heavy rain. This tent can be set up quickly, but if you are looking for a spacious tent, this tent will be a disappointment for you.
Dome tent requires two poles to set up, so they are very lightweight and easy to maintain. You can get more headroom because of the dome structure. However, the dome tents with a larger size are not stable enough, and when the rainfly is not in use, it may gather snow and rainwater.
A tunnel tent, usually, looks like a dome tent, but unlike dome tents, it has a single entrance. But tunnel tents offer you more headroom, and you can sleep comfortably in the spacious area. But they come a little heavier than the dome tents.
Geodesic tents are more likely the upgraded dome tents that come with some extra poles for better stability. They are also reliable and sturdy, but you need some special skills and spare time to set up the tent correctly. They are also a little expensive.
Cabin tents are perfect for camping with the family. You can have a cabin tent specially designed for either a particular season or four seasons. These spacious tents allow you to store your gears and camping cot as well. Since they have more weight, you can not carry them easily for longer distances.
Pyramid tents are the best available backpacking tents that are very lightweight. You may find it a little challenging to set up a pyramid tent. Pyramid tents follow the basic ideas used by the Native Americans to build up their shelters.
Pop-up tents are used in camping and backpacking as well. Pop-up tents do not have any extra poles, so you do not need to carry more weight. But, you may not get much stability with this tent as some other tents have.
To make the right purchase, you should know the difference between a double wall and single wall tent. Simply, the double-wall tents have two different layers, including the inner canopy and outer rainfly, where the single wall tents are designed with one fabric layer.
Generally, the Single-wall tents are lighter than the double-layered one and come with maximum toughness. But in terms of ventilation, comfort, and weather protection, double-wall models are way better than the single wall tents.
So, if you do not have any issue with weight and packing size, it will be wise to choose a double wall for your camping. Unlike the single-layered tents, double-wall tents have two doors and large vestibules. The two-layered fabric is beneficial to protect you from the outside elements. They are more breathable as the air passes between two layers without any obstructions.
Different types of four season tents have different weights and packaging size. You should select a tent with optimum weight and capacity to carry them comfortably for long distances. You must look for the weight, packing size, and packed volume before buying your tents.
A four-season tent is heavier than the average three season tents because the previous one is designed with more durable poles and long-lasting fabrics. The heavier four-season tent is ideal for extreme weather conditions like low temperatures, substantial snowfall, strong wind, etc. With weight, it becomes tougher that supports better ventilation and weather-resistant facilities. Usually, the weight varies from 3 pounds to 10 pounds.
The weight of a four-season tent also depends on its packed size. Sometimes, the climbing partners may distribute the components of tents among them, making it easier to carry. Since the double-wall tents have two separate parts like canopy and rainfly, you can split up the load with your partners. It is difficult for single-layered tents because it does not have any rainfly.
It is better to select a tent with a compact design instead of a larger size. Though it depends on your trip types, you should consider that a little more weight comes with strength and versatility. Generally, for a 2-5 night trip, the packed volume of the tent weighs heavier. Know that some extra bulk will be useful for strength and comfort as you are camping in a remote area.
The livability of a tent determines how much you can enjoy inside the tent. This feature depends on factors like materials and designs of the tent that ensures the ultimate comfort for the occupants.
Test-pitch tents allow you to hop inside the tent that provides you enough space and helps you ride out the mountain storm for hours.
You can get an overall idea of the floor size by measuring the length and width. You can go for a dimension like 85" x 51"/43" to have a proper rectangular floor. With a tapered floor, you can get enough room for your shoulder and arms. Also, the narrower foot reduces the weight effectively.
You can have the idea of the overall square footage of the floor inside your tent by measuring floor area. Though it will help you compare a tent with others, you will not get enough information about the laid-out space.
It will be very annoying if your head bumps while sitting up inside the tent. Peak height is decided from measuring at a particular spot, but the total headroom may differ. You can assess it from the test-pitch.
The shape of your tent plays a vital role in increasing the livability of the 4-season tent. With more vertical walls, the shelter provides more free space to the occupants inside so that they can get headroom and comfort for arms and shoulders.
The doors of a tent have so many things to do with comfort while staying in a tent. When you have to go outside for any emergency, it will be challenging to crawl that may make you frustrated. Generally, the mountaineering tents have a single door with a view reducing the weight of the tent. But the treeline tents and base camping tents are designed with two doors. It allows the campers to go outside or enter inside according to their need and comfort.
Another important thing that people often miss when choosing a tent is that the second door of a two-door tent may work as an additional vestibule. It will surely increase the storage capacity of the canvas.
Four season tents are designed with less mesh, so they remain warmer all the time. It helps to retain heats and thus saves you from outside elements. Also, it allows regular and proper airflow so that you do not have to sleep wet. It reduces moisture condensation. After a certain point of time, your breath naturally condenses on the tent walls, and therefore it turns into drops of water quickly in a warmer environment. If the weather is cold, it will become frosty, and all the climbing gears can get wet.
A four-season tent ensures better breathability, even in the summer season. Some canvases come up with additional vents that can be zipped out easily. So you can open or close them according to your comfort. As we have already said, two doors of a tent work conveniently to enhance the tent's breathability.
Four season tents are available with more substantial and more durable poles to withstand the intense and powerful winds. In a colder environment, metals become brittle where the fabric shrinks. So it is better to find tent poles with more extended connectors that can provide strength and toughness to the tent.
Tent poles are usually made up of these following materials:
Most of the tent poles are created with Aluminium because it is lightweight and comes within budget. Moreover, it provides enough durability to the tent poles. However, if you can find high-quality aluminum with aircraft-grade, it will make the poles more durable and sturdy.
Fiberglass is used in designing tent poles to increase the flexibility of the poles. So, if your priority is to have flexible poles, you must choose fiberglass material. Though you can replace fiberglass poles easily, they can not handle much stress and get cracked quickly. Therefore, it is suggested not to select these poles for extreme weather conditions.
When you are after the highest durability of your tent poles, you must go for carbon fiber. It is lightweight as well. However, carbon fiber poles are not so pocket-friendly, so many campers avoid this material. Another downside of this material is that it is too tough to get replaced.
The three main things required for tent set up are mentioned below:
Pole clips help you to set up a tent easily and quickly. In the case of double-wall tents, they prevent condensation build-up because it allows more moisture near the tent body. But pole clips are heavier than pole sleeves, and they are not capable of distributing the snow or wind evenly through the pole length.
Pole sleeves are useful to spread weight evenly across the broader area. If you are in a very windy condition, you should be careful to set up a tent using pole sleeves because pole sleeves do not work as fast as pole clips. With pole sleeves, the tent becomes very vulnerable until and unless the tent is erected completely.
Internal poles are used for lightweight tents. You have to set up the poles from inside. No pole clips or sleeves are required for support because the poles get support directly from the tent body. Some tents have features like velcro or twist ties to ensure the poles are at the right place.
All the tents should be weatherproof to make sure they withstand the harshest environment effortlessly. At present, all the top quality tents are designed to be resistant to weather, and therefore standard quality coatings are used. Commonly, Silnylon and Polyurethane are used for coatings. Also, it is better to use the weatherproof coating inside the tent to keep yourself dry.
Silnylon is silicone, which is used to cover both sides of a tent. It is durable enough to handle any extreme weather conditions. The Hilleberg Kerlon 1800 Silnylon is used in most four season tents for its incredible strength.
Polyurethane comes cheaper than Silnylon. Fabric coated Polyurethane is used inside of the tent. It is not as slippery as silicone, so you will not slide from the tent floor easily. Furthermore, it has an abrasion-resistant feature. But it does not last long.
Vestibules are essential for the tents that allow you to store and dry your gear when they are not in use. No matter how many pockets your tent has, they quickly get filled up with gears, electronics, and food. So when you plan for a long trip, a tent with more vestibules is better to keep your gears organized so that you can distinguish them from that of your partner without any hassle. Some shelters have small loops where you can dry the wet gears in lousy weather.
A four-season tent should be durable enough to handle the heavy load of snow as well as the strong gust of winds conveniently. When you camp on the glacier or at higher altitudes, your tent may get affected by UV rays. Only heavy fabric can deal with that intense sunlight. So, you must choose the highest quality materials that make your tent durable and sturdy. It helps the shelter to stand high even with the worst climatic situations.
All four season tents are not equipped with a bug screen. If you are not going for an expedition, you should choose a tent with a bug screen. It means you can keep the door open for better ventilation without worrying about mosquitoes and black flies. Bug screens are essential for the treeline tents to get rid of the bugs effectively.
In extreme winter conditions, moisture from your mouth while exhaling will collect over the tent's roof in the form of the ice. As your body temperature will warm up the interiors of the canvas, that ice will melt and spoil your other gear and equipment. Proper ventilation is vital in the tent as it prevents the formation of frosting in the tent.
While selecting a four-season tent, consider choosing a light color scheme. Light colors lighten the mood when staying too long in remote terrains and allow more light in the tent. White, orange and yellow are excellent choices for four season tents.
If you want a more spacious tent with ultralightweight, then opt for the pyramid style tent. These types of canvas weigh less than a dedicated pole supported tents and provide a lot more space then all the other options.
Adaptability refers to the ability of a tent to be used in different manners. It can be handy in remote areas as a higher adaptability level increases your tent's functionality, which can be life-saving in harsh weather conditions.
There are typically three types of material used in the tents
Love adventurous sports? Then the tents will be the second home where you are going to spend most of your time. Consider all the aspects of the four season tents and evaluate them with your requirements and select the option that best fits your needs. After all, you don't want to spoil your hiking experience with a low standard tent.
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