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Four The Best 4 Season Tents Buying Advice

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A 4 season tent can be used for everything from backcountry skiing to mountaineering in the harshest weather conditions on Earth. These tents are stronger than their 3-season counterparts, with more mesh, heavier canopies and rain flies, and tougher pole structures. They also have a host of winter-specific features, such as fewer mesh and stronger pole structures. Here are our top picks for 4 season tents. We’ve divided the models into three categories to reflect the variety of uses. You can find more information and advice about buying the 4 season tents below.

Best 4 Season Tent For Buy

Here are some best 4 season tents.

Best 4 Season Tent Overall

1. Mountain Hardwear Trango 2

Mountain Hardwear’s Trango 2 is a great choice for our favorite 4 season tent. The tent is tough enough to withstand bad weather. It has a double-walled design with a fly that connects to both the tent’s body and the poles for extra security in high winds. You get great livability with two doors and two vestibules. The 40-square foot footprint is much larger than any other 2-person model. Mountain Hardwear has updated its model with D-shaped doors that allow for easier entry and a larger bathtub floor to provide better protection against the elements.

The final decision between the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 or a single-wall tent such as the Black Diamond Eldorado is down to your winter camping style. Some people feel the extra weight is worth it, while others prefer to carry as little as possible. The Trango 2’s advantage is that you can easily split the weight with your climbing partner (unlike single-wall tents). The Trango 2 comes in three- and four-person models, which is a good option if weight is not an issue.

Best Single-Wall Mountaineering Tent

2. Black Diamond Eldorado

The Black Diamond Eldorado tent is a timeless classic. This single-wall, the two-pole tent has stood up to many summit pushes and blustery winter nights, despite numerous updates. Its durability and build quality are outstanding. This tent has been tested over many decades of alpine use and has been used on Everest expeditions. The tent is extremely tough, but it weighs only 5 pounds 1 ounce. This is about the lowest you can find for serious mountaineering tents.

The Eldorado can be used comfortably for one person with their gear but is not suitable for two. The lack of a vestibule limits your storage options. Black Diamond used to sell an Eldorado-specific vestibule at an additional cost, but it is no longer available. Many consider internal tent poles a hassle. They can be hard to set up and poke holes into the corners of your tent if not careful. A single-wall tent doesn’t breathe as well as a double-wall design. The weight savings are worth the sacrifices made by many alpinists to make the Eldorado their top 4 season minimalist tent. Black Diamond tents are not in stock at the moment due to supply chain issues. However, we anticipate that this will change soon.

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Treeline Adventures: Best All-Season Tent

3. MSR Access 2 

For mild winter conditions, many 4 season tents can be too big. It is worth looking at lighter, more breathable options. Our top pick MSR Access 2 is the treeline category. Double-wall Access crosses the line between 3- and 4 seasons, offering more bombproof protection than standard backpacking tents in a compact and portable 4-pound-1-ounce package. You still have two doors, two vestibules, and 29 square feet of floor space. Our testers went up to the three-person version to get more room for their dogs. The Access tent is great for backcountry skiing trips and spring mountaineering, especially when you aren’t fully exposed.

It is not easy to determine the MSR Access “treeline” designation. It’s not something you want to do in a snowstorm. The tent weighs in at 4 pounds. You should also keep in mind that the fly does not fully extend to the ground. If you expect drafts or drifts, you will need to make a snow wall. It’s perfect for shoulder-season conditions, as we have taken the Access to the B.C. It can be used in the backcountry, as well as in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru. The Kunai by Nemo is a similar design, but it costs $100 less. It also has solid walls that zip open to reveal mesh panels which allow for more airflow in milder conditions. We are unable to publish the Access or Kunai at this time, but we expect better inventory in spring 2022.

Ultralight Shelter for 4 Season

4. Black Diamond Mega Snow

The Black Diamond Mega Snow is an excellent choice for those who want to sleep in the snow. However, it can also be used as a shelter, a place to store gear, or just as a luxury base camp. We don’t use the term “luxury” lightly. It has a single-wall construction with no floor and is far from the most durable tent. The shelter’s true value is revealed when you camp on snow. The center pole serves as a table and the edges can be dredged out to make seating for 6 people. Mega Snow attaches vents to the shelter. This shelter is one we recommend you use for cooking! A nifty valence that wraps around the perimeter increases interior space and protects you from the elements. It can also double as a lightweight shelter for a short time. We’ve been able to fit 4 people in Black Diamond’s Mega Light. The Mega Snow, at 78 square feet, is much larger. If you are thinking to get away from Black Diamond products, you can look to opt for the Kelty Bestie Blanket set that will surely not disappoint you with its excellent products.

A Note on 4 Season Shelters

The majority of tents featured above have a pole-supported design, which provides 360-degree protection from rain, snow, and insects. A 4 season shelter is a great option for those who are concerned about weight savings. It offers weather protection that is almost as good as a treeline model but at half the weight. Popular shelters such as the Black Diamond Mega Snow above or Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2, are non-freestanding and floorless. They use a center pole (often two attached trekking sticks or ski poles) in order to form a pyramid-shaped structure. These tents are strong enough to withstand moderate wind, snowfall, and driving rain when properly set up.

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