When picking a tent for a camping trip, there are many factors to take into account — such as how many people it needs to fit, what mechanism is used to set it up, or what material it needs to be made out of. Over the years, tent makers have had to come up with new ideas and technology to accommodate campers from all over the world. One example is the invention of four-season tents. A tent is considered four-season if it can withstand harsh weather conditions such as ice, snow, hail, and strong winds. Read on to find out more about these tough tents!
What is a four-season tent?
Despite its name, a four-season tent is not really meant for four seasons as it is only used in the winter. It is ideal for places with extreme weather conditions or high elevations where there is heavy snowfall or strong winds.
Four-season tents have walls that are made from polyesters of nylon for maximum insulation and to block out strong gusts of wind, as well as frame designs consisting of aluminium poles that are solid and tough. They also feature full fabric sleeves making them resilient and robust, but this makes them more difficult to erect. They also have vents and vestibules that open up to prevent condensation. The average four-season tent can weigh anywhere from eight to 16 pounds. However, newer tents can weigh as little as five pounds, and even have more pole sections with improved framing for increased stability and protection.
How are they different from three-season tents?
Three-season tents are made to be used in the spring, summer, or fall seasons. Hence, it would be more appropriate to call use a three-season tent for backpacking trips and utilise a four-season tent for expeditions in extreme weather conditions.
Three-season tents are designed to deal with the common weather problems you will find while camping, such as rain, wind, hail and even some exceptionally hot or cold weather. Four-season tents are made for more intense conditions, such as heavy snow, strong winds, winter climates, and even gusts of sand.
Unlike four-season tents, three-season tents have walls made of mesh to filter out harsh winds while allowing some air inside for ventilation while you sleep. Typically weighing anywhere from three to six pounds, three-season tents feature extremely lightweight and thin components and innovative technology to ensure minimal bulk and weight.
Which type of tent should I get?
Like most things, it all depends on what you plan to do with it. For most campers, a three-season tent would be more pragmatic simply because it is the more inexpensive, lightweight, and user-friendly option. It has more than enough to keep you warm and safe on the average camping trip, not to mention a large variety to choose from when it comes to brands and models. However, for campers who are up for a challenge and want to try camping in more arduous conditions, the four-season tent is for you. Its toughness will definitely help you get through some challenging conditions in the wild. With that being said, we think that it might be more practical to purchase a four-season tent simply because you can use it for virtually any camping trip.
Many seem to forget that a four-season tent can do everything a three-season tent can, but a three-season tent will get destroyed if it was put in the conditions meant for a four-season tent. Sure, it is heavier and more expensive than its three-season counterpart, but once you are able to get past that, it is definitely worth it when you think of the amount of extra protection and money you save in the long run. The bottom line is that with a four-season tent, you will only ever need to purchase one tent for a very long time.
Some good four-season tents
After some thorough research, we have compiled three outstanding four-season tents for those looking to purchase one. You will find that these tents are exceptionally engineered and have amazing features such as mitt-friendly contact points and oversized clips and loops for easier accessibility.
MSR Access 2
This tent was the winner of the Outside Gear of the Year award in 2017. It was the first tent to ever utilise Easton’s Syclone poles, which are made from a combination of carbon and ballistic fibres. Originally designed for military use, not only are these poles 13 per cent tougher and 250 times more flexible than carbon, but they are also 50 per cent lighter than aluminium. Weighing a little over four pounds, the MSR Access 2 strikes the perfect balance between being tough and lightweight. It also has 29 square feet of space inside and features two central poles that cross over each other. Although it provides lots of headroom, the interior is quite small and is just enough to house 2 adults and their camping gear.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV2 Expedition
Inspired by the award-winning Copper Spur Three-season Tents, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV2 Expedition has it all! Fabric walls, thick aluminium poles, interior guylines, big zippers, you name it. It also features an ultra-lightweight and high-volume design that is pleasing to the eyes. This tent weighs about five pounds and has a spacious 29 square feet of space on the inside. However, it is not very good with snow or strong winds, which is why we recommend it for cold campsites where there is no snow.
Sierra Designs Convert 2
Weighing about five and a half pounds, the Convert 2 is not the lightest of tents. It features robust poly fabric walls to endure intense winter conditions and its 30-square-foot floor area and 43-inch height means there is more than enough room for your bulky camping gear. However, the Convert 2 uses a semi-freestanding system with three hoops and a ridgepole, meaning it is not the most sturdy when facing thick snow or stronger winds.
We hope this article taught you a thing or two about four-season tents. With more and more campers starting to venture out into rougher terrains, we truly believe that the demand for four-season tents will see a boom in the next few years. Happy camping!