I really like to go snowshoeing during the winter. I'm going up to 3500 meters and when I'm doing long tours I would really enjoy to try out winter camping in very remote areas. Is it a good idea to buy/rent a special tent for that purpose? Or can I just use my current tent? What features should I look for if I choose a tent for winter camping?

  • What's your current tent? This may help if we're deciding if it's sensible to get a new one!
    – berry120
    Jan 24, 2012 at 23:31

2 Answers 2


The primary difference is good winter camping tents are designed to stand up to and / or mitigate snow building up on top of them. Ventilation is also very important as you don't want moisture from your breathing to build up in the tent as you could wake up with your clothes wet.

Winter tents will often have larger vestibules, as you will typically have more gear for winter camping than three season camping and you don't want all your gear covered with snow.

A lot of winter tents will also be shorter than their three season counterparts. This is due to a lot of winter camping being done on mountains with higher winds which a lower profile helps to mitigate.

  • 1
    Winter tents often have a snow valance sewn to the fly sheet, this can be buried in the snow, and provides two benefits, 1. stops the wind getting in the tent, handy if you're trying to cook in the porch, 2 prevents snow being blown between the inner tent and your fly sheet. Jan 29, 2012 at 15:58
  • Didn't want to create a separate thread for this, but I'm looking at buying a tent for summer camping. I'm an avid skier so I'm wondering if there are tents that will fit for both seasons, possibly allowing me to camp in the snow during winter? And more specifically: anything like that stand out on this site? tentcenter.be - I have no idea what to look for and don't recognize the brands Sep 3, 2013 at 11:37
  • @HannesFostie: I guess it had better be a separate question. But in general, to stand snow the winter tents are of the triangular shape. However, I've used my 3-season tent also for winter camping by just putting a tarp at a rather sharp angle over the tent, so the snow would slide off the tarp instead of piling up on the tent. (My winter camping so far took place in forests). Particularly in winter, I like to keep the tent as open as possible to have the moisture leaving the tent. If I'm afraid it could be cold, I rather bring a 2nd sleeping bag/quilt (or a friend). Sep 29, 2013 at 14:54

If you use your current tent, you should make sure the rain fly (outer layer) covers the entire tent. Otherwise you will have a healthy layer of frost on the inside of the tent (in the uncovered area) every morning.

Four season tents usually have more poles and are sturdier than three season tents, for wind and snow protection. They may also have the option of closing off the ventilation for warmth.

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