Whether you are accessing the winter backcountry on skis, snowshoes or alpine climbing, a proper tent is essential to at least your comfort, and possibly your survival. If you are new to winter camping, there are a few basics to making your choice.
Most users don’t need a big, expedition-style tent. They’re great to set up for staying in one place for several nights, but they take a lot of time to set up, they’re heavy and their size makes them harder to warm up with body heat.
Two-person tents, although they offer less room, are cosier, faster to set up and come in various configurations. The two most popular ones are single-wall, waterproof -breathable models that are the lightest and fastest to set up, and double-wall tents with a fly that are heavier, take longer to set up , but which have the extra layer of dead air between the tent and fly.
One feature to consider in a winter tent is a vestibule. This will give you a place to put on your boots in the morning and to store some of your extra gear and packs and keep them from being hurried by night-time snowfall.
Mountain Hardwear AC2
Materials: Coated nylon
Size: Two person, 25.3 sq ft / 2.4 sq m
Structure: Single Wall
Poles: Two DAC Aluminum
Weight: 3 lb 15.9 oz / 1811 g
Vestibules: Available separately
If you need a quick to set up light, bombproof shelter for alpinism, winter camping or fast and light backpacking, especially in cool weather, the AC2 may be right for you. It’s low on extra features, in order to keep weight down. Hwere it makes up for that is simplicity and bombproofness. The external pole sleeves are made of tough reflective material to help find camp at night. The X-pattern pole setup is as strong as it is simple. Remember to loosen off the front pole grommet tabs before set-up, they can be tightened down afterwards. Two vents offer some ventilation and there is a removeable mesh gear hanging gear bag included. Insect netting makes it versatile enough to be used at lower altitudes. Comes with separate guy-lines and enough v-shaped pegs suitable for firm snow to stake it all down.
The North Face Assault 2 Futurelight
Materials: Nanospun Waterproof breathable laminate body, floor and vestibule, coated nylon
Size: Two person, 27.3 Ft² (2.5 M²)
Structure: Single Wall
Poles: Two aluminum plus vestibule plus one fibreglass for the vestibule
Weight: 4 Lbs 15 Oz
Vestibule: One included
This is a roomier two-person waterproof breathable single wall tent than most. A front door, roof vents and side windows all increase the possibilities for air flow, which can make single wall tents more comfortable. The removeable vestibule is a nice addition for stowing gear and taking off your boots in snowy conditions. This tent is still well-within the fast-and light category in terms of its snugness and weight, especially without the vestibule, but adds a few more features to make it a little more comfortable.
Marmot Thor 2
Materials: Coated polyester fly, nylon inner tent.
Area: 60 x 88 “
Structure: Double Wall
Poles: DAC Aluminum
Weight: 2.24 kg
Features: Two vestibules included
MSRP: $1,200 CAD
The Thor 2 is about as bombproof a winter tent as you will find. Four poles and a fly with snow flaps make it about as wind and snow resistant as tents come. It’s a roomy two-person design, with a separate fly to direct away condensation. Vents on the fly increase ventilation options. Despite its six poles, the set-up is simple, with an obvious combination of hooks and tunnels. Since all of the poles are the same, there’s no need to put one through the pole sleeves only to discover that it does not fit. The two vestibules offer lots of room for stowing gear. A nice feature is the two zippered doors on the front vestibule that make it som much less awkward to get in and out of the tent. A repair kit is included and there are reflective points for night location. A footprint is available. The perfect tent for severe weather, especially winds and heavy snowfall are likely, and there’s a little lee-way when it come sto the weight.