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I would like to camp for the whole winter but mostly in a wooded area. Is it reasonable to assume that I will not encounter terribly heavy winds? I want to purchase a 1 man tent but can't decide if getting the 4-season extended tent upgrade is worth it. I want something cost effective but able to withstand winter weather minus the intense winds and conditions that an actual mountaineer would face. Could you guys make some suggestions? I'm hoping to not have to go to official mountaineering brands that cost 400+

Would something like the Ozark Trail Tent or the CampingMaxx pull it off?

Or should I start researching 4-season tents to be sure snow doesn't ruin my tent?

  • I would go for a twin sisters or a twin brothers if you really need a lot of space. Or some similar design. You can probably find second-hand ones. I wouldn't bother with tents that have inner tent. I assume the snow will stay most of the winter? – njzk2 Nov 5 '15 at 4:17
  • You will freeze in both of those tents. Both of them are all mesh under the fly, they're designed to help get the heat out, not keep it in. I will say that the prices are a bit unbelievable though... I have socks that cost more than that Ozark trail tent. – ShemSeger Nov 5 '15 at 16:52
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    The Midwest is known for being windy. I lived in Iowa for 8 years. Do not believe for a minutes you won't have wind to contend with. – Escoce Nov 5 '15 at 17:39
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    Some years back when I was hiking in the Pecos wilderness, I came across a hunters' camp which consisted of a large, durable-looking tent with a stove-pipe coming out the top. I'm not a hunter, so I can't tell you what brand it was or where to you would get something like that, but it sure looked like it was made for living in for extended periods in cold conditions, so you might look into it. – Michael Martinez Nov 5 '15 at 17:51
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    I think we need more information. Is this going to be your primary residence for the winter? Do you need to store things/supplies in the tent with you? If so how much? Do you want to cook inside your tent? Are you sleeping alone? Can the tent stay setup for the whole winter in one spot? What is the average weather/snow pack in your area? How important is budget vs. comfort vs. risk of catastrophic failure of the tent? How much of your day are you in the tent? etc. – Erik Nov 5 '15 at 21:31
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If you are going to live in the tent, get a canvas wall tent and a stove. It will be much more livable over the long term even if it costs a bit more up front. I found a lot of information about and pictures of "hot tenting" here. I've always wanted to try it.

If you are going to camp every weekend, get a good 4-season tent like those recommended in other posts. It will make a difference. I use a cheap 4-ish season Columbia tent because I only go winter camping once or twice a year, I've got a –30F sleeping bag, and I know how to sleep warm. But over time, your sleeping bag loses loft due to moisture accumulating inside it. You'd be much better off with a tent you can heat up so your gear can dry out.

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The answers is to simply get a proper 4 season tent designed for camping in the winter. There's a reason why 4 season tents are different than 3 season tents, and that reason is because the weather and temperature of that fourth season (winter) is much harsher than the other three. You are not going to find a 3 season tent that performs as well as a 4 season. 4 seasons have a much more durable fly to protect them from the elements, and are devoid of screen vents which let in drafts and let warm air out. Many are constructed with a double wall to help insulate the tent. In general, 4 season tents are significantly warmer than 3 season tents.

You don't have to break the bank buying a 4 season tent, take the MEC TVG for example, It's a professional quality 2 person mountain expedition tent that goes for $339 Canadian dollars, which comes out to only $257 USD at current market prices.

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You don't want a one person tent for winter camping if you ask me, in fact not many manufacturers even make 1 person 4 season tents. I've gone winter camping in 1 person pup stents in the past, it wasn't fun, now if possible I always make a snow shelter, which are far warmer and offer superior protection from the elements than any tent.

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    True, but remember in the winter you want as small a tent as you can manage. It's principly your body that heats in inside of the tent, and if it's too big it will never get warm. – Escoce Nov 5 '15 at 17:40
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    @Escore I don't know who they use a a measure for how many people can fit in a tent, but in my experience unless you get really snuggly, or sleep right up against the cold tent wall, you can't comfortably fit two people, and there's no room for any of your gear after you get the second person in. One reason I carry a two person tent is so I can bring all my gear inside with me, which is a big luxury when winter camping especially. – ShemSeger Nov 5 '15 at 17:52
  • Completely understood, I am just throwing that caveat in there about temp management vs tent size. You know that bringing your gear in the tent with you also makes it harder to warm up a bit right? The cold gear absorbs your heat. Just sayin. And yes I totally understand what you are saying. Tent choice like just about everything else is a set of compromises. – Escoce Nov 5 '15 at 17:56
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    @Escoce I do understand what you're saying, but I rely more on my sleeping system to keep me warm than I do my tent, I don't get cold at night, so perhaps that's the caveat, if you can't keep warm even with a good sleep system, then maybe you need a smaller tent. – ShemSeger Nov 5 '15 at 18:12
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    I agree with all of your points in regards to winter camping. Depending on the environment the OP is targeting a small properly designed snow cave/shelter would probably be the best bet. – Erik Nov 5 '15 at 21:36
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My tent looks a lot like the design above. My only advice is purchase a 2 person tent v for 1. You'll find you can force fit 2 people but you'll be comfortable by yourself with a little room to spare.

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