5 Best Winter Tents of 2022

Last Updated: May 23, 2022
Close-up on intermediate climber tying her shoelace

Winter camping is an incredible way to spend time outside during the colder months of the year. But as alluring as it may be, camping in cold weather requires that you have the right gear on hand for the job.

One of the most critical pieces of winter camping equipment is a good winter tent. However, with so many different models to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.

As an experienced outdoor educator and someone who's spent months of their life sleeping under the stars on frigid winter nights, I know exactly what goes into the best winter camping tent.

Based on my experience in the mountains, the best winter tent for harsh weather is the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2. For backpacking, one of the top tents for winter camping is the MSR Access 2. If you're looking for a 4-season tent for car camping or base camping, something like the Nemo Chogori 2 is also worth checking out.

But if there's one thing I know about winter camping, it's that no one tent will work for every situation. To that end, in this article, I'm going to introduce you to the 5 best winter tents on the market so you can find the perfect shelter for your adventure needs.

The top 5 winter tents we recommend for 2022:

Buying guide: What you should look for when buying a winter tent

The 5 Best Winter Tents for Cold Weather Adventures

There are dozens of tents for camping in winter conditions out there, but not all of them can handle extreme conditions.

Here's our list of the 5 top winter tents to consider for your next cold weather trip into the mountains.

Mountain Hardwear Trango 2

Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 tent on white background
Mountain Hardwear Trango 2
Best Overall
Key Features:
  • Dome-shaped design
  • DAC Featherlite NSL aluminum poles 
  • Mesh canopy with vents 
  • UVX window
Pros
  • One of the most popular winter tents ever created
  • Dome shape design and DAC poles provide protection in extreme winds
  • Very durable fabrics with 10,000 mm waterproofing and full seam taping
  • Huge vestibule area provides ample space for getting dressed in strong winds or storing gear
  • Breathable fabrics and large mesh panels provide air circulation in cold environments
Cons
  • One of the more expensive tents for winter camping
  • Heavy for a 2 person tent

A time-tested four-season tent that's a favorite of winter campers everywhere, the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is the top shelter in our review.

We like the Trango 2 as a cold-weather tent for use in windy conditions and in areas with heavy snow loads because of its dome-shaped design. This shelter has been through many upgrades since it was first released in 1995 and it remains one of the top shelters for extreme weather conditions to this day.

What sets the Trango 2 apart is its burly DAC Featherlite NSL aluminum poles, which are both lightweight and super-durable. It's also very easy to set up due to its color-coded system, which is imperative if you need to pitch your shelter in periods of inclement weather.

The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 tent without a fly on a white background
The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 without rainfly (Source: Mountain Hardwear)

The tent itself is made with a rugged 70D nylon taffeta fabric that's waterproof and rated to 10,000 mm. It features a double-wall design, a bathtub-style floor, and full seam taping to keep you dry in heavy snowfall. At the same time, this cold weather tent has a mesh canopy with vents to allow for air circulation and a UVX window for natural lighting.

Other key benefits of the Trango 2 include its huge front vestibule, which is a must for cold weather camping. This vestibule is perfect for storing your outdoor gear and it gives you plenty of space to get dressed in the morning, even in harsh winds.

There are only a few downsides to the Trango 2, namely its premium price point and its heavyweight for a two-person model. With a weight of 9 lb 10.2 oz, the Trango isn't the lightest tent out there. But if you want something that can withstand extreme winds and harsh conditions, that bit of extra weight just might be worth it.

A product tour of the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2

Technical Specs

Seasons4-season
Sleeping Capacity2-person
Minimum Trail Weight8 lbs. 9.7 oz.
Packaged Weight9 lbs. 10.2 oz.
Packed Size8 x 24 inches
Floor Dimensions92 x 64 inches
Floor Area40 square feet
Vestibule Area12 square feet
Peak Height38 inches
Number of Doors2
Number of Poles5
Pole MaterialDAC Featherlite aluminum
Pole Diameter9 millimeters
Canopy Fabric40-denier ripstop nylon
Floor Fabric70-denier nylon taffeta, rated 10,000mm waterproof
Rainfly Fabric70-denier nylon taffeta, rated 10,000mm waterproof
Footprint IncludedNo
Design TypeFreestanding
Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 tent on white background
Best Overall
Mountain Hardwear Trango 2

REI Arete ASL 2

REI Arete ASL 2 tent on white background
REI Arete ASL 2
Best Budget
Key Features:
  • Waterproof and bluesign approved
  • Large mesh panel on door and ceiling
  • Double walled tent with burly rainfly
  • Zippable panels for ventilation
Pros
  • Lightweight and budget-friendly four-season tent
  • Spacious interior with lots of gear storage pockets
  • Breathable fabrics and mesh panels provide air circulation to prevent condensation
  • Made with bluesign-approved materials that are better for the environment
  • Can also be used for summertime camping in temperate climates
Cons
  • Not designed to withstand heavy winds or deep snowpacks
  • Relatively small vestibule compared to what you can get elsewhere

Finding a quality tent for winter adventuring on a budget isn't easy. With the REI Arete ASL 2, however, you can get a reliable shelter for use in moderate snow and wind conditions without breaking the bank.

The REI Arete ASL 2 is a four-season tent that's just as comfortable for use during the summer as it is in the winter months. It features a dome-style design that provides it with natural resistance to wind, snow, and rain as well as a spacious interior structure so you can stretch out and relax after a day of hiking.

REI built this model out of durable 40D nylon taffeta fabric that's both waterproof and bluesign-approved so it's better for the environment. It also features a large mesh panel on the door and ceiling to provide you with ample air circulation, even in a snowstorm or bad weather.

REI Arete ASL 2 tent with fly on white background
The REI Arete ASL 2 with rainfly (Source: REI)

The other thing that we like about this tent is that it can adapt to a variety of weather conditions. It's a double-walled tent with a burly rainfly, but the tent body has a plethora of zippable panels that you can open or close for ventilation. It also has an abundance of interior pockets for gear storage, which is vital in a two-person tent.

Additionally, the Arete ASL 2 comes with a large front door for easy entry and exit as well as a decently sized vestibule. This vestibule is helpful for stashing your wet gear in areas with deep snow and for putting on your boots in inclement weather.

Of course, the Arete ASL 2 does have some drawbacks, namely that it's not designed for extreme winds. It also only has one door and its vestibule isn't as big as what you'd find elsewhere. But despite these downsides, we think that the REI Arete ASL 2 is a budget-friendly and impressive tent, especially given its lightweight.

Technical Specs

Seasons3- 4-season
Sleeping Capacity2-person
Minimum Trail Weight5 lbs. 10 oz.
Packaged Weight6 lbs. 5 oz.
Packed Size6 x 6 x 20 inches
Floor Dimensions88 x 57/60/44 (L x W head/shoulder/foot) inches
Floor Area32.9 square feet
Vestibule Area8.7 square feet
Peak Height43 inches
Number of Doors1
Number of Poles4
Pole MaterialAluminum
Canopy FabricNylon
Floor FabricNylon taffeta
Rainfly FabricNylon ripstop
Footprint IncludedNo
Design TypeFreestanding
REI Arete ASL 2 tent on white background
Best Budget
REI Arete ASL 2

MSR Access 2

MSR Access 2 tent on white background
MSR Access 2
Best for Backpacking
Key Features:
  • Lightweight
  • Easton Syclone poles
  • 30D ripstop nylon fabric
  • 3,000 mm Xtreme Shield polyurethane and DWR fabric coatings
Pros
  • Spacious interior with a high peak height
  • Ultralight design is ideal for winter backpacking around the treeline
  • Micromesh canopy fabric is very breathable
  • Made with some of the most durable poles on the market
  • Versatile enough for year-round use
Cons
  • Relatively small doors and vestibules
  • Doesn't offer the wind resistance you see with a mountaineering tent

If you're on the lookout for a tent that can hold its own on a wintertime backpacking trip on snowshoes or skis, the MSR Access 2 just might be what you need.

The Access 2 is a lightweight and warm shelter that provides everything you need in the mountains. It has a classic half-dome shape that offers incredible space overhead but that can also withstand wind, rain, snow, and sleet while in the great outdoors.

A key benefit of the Access 2 is its incredible array of fabrics and materials. This tent boasts Easton Syclone poles, which are among the most durable options available for bad weather camping. We also appreciate that these poles have a hub design, so they're very easy to put together—even if you're wearing mittens.

The MSR Access 2 tent without a fly on a white background
The MSR Access 2 without rainfly (Source: MSR)

Better yet, the MSR Access 2 is crafted out of 30D ripstop nylon fabric that boasts 3,000 mm Xtreme Shield polyurethane and DWR fabric coatings. It's also completely seam-taped to keep you dry in harsh weather conditions. This double-walled tent even has a 10D micromesh breathable fabric canopy to ensure that you have a balance of weight savings and ventilation in your shelter.

As far as gear storage does, this lightweight tent has two modestly sized vestibules that offer some storage space. There are also two large internal pockets in this shelter for stashing essentials like your headlamp.

It's worth noting, however, that, while the MSR Access 2 is one of the most versatile tents on the market, it's primarily designed for use below or around treelines. Its structure offers wind resistance but it won't withstand truly extreme conditions. The doors and vestibules on this type of tent are also fairly small. But for wintertime backpacking, it's hard to beat.

A product tour of the MSR Access 2

Technical Specs

Seasons4-season
Sleeping Capacity2-person
Minimum Trail Weight3 lbs. 10 oz.
Packaged Weight4 lbs 1 oz
Packed Size18 x 6 inches
Floor Dimensions84 x 50 inches
Floor Area29 square feet
Vestibule Area17.5 square feet
Peak Height42 inches
Number of Doors1
Number of Poles1
Pole MaterialEaston Syclone
Canopy Fabric20D Ripstop Nylon
Floor Fabric30D Ripstop Nylon
Rainfly Fabric20D Ripstop Nylon
Footprint IncludedNo
Design TypeFreestanding
MSR Access 2 tent on white background
Best for Backpacking
MSR Access 2

Nemo Chogori 2

Nemo Chogori 2 tent on white background
Nemo Chogori 2
Best for Car Camping & Basecamping
Key Features:
  • True 4-season tent
  • Fly and body integrated for quick setup
  • Massive interior with 36.3 square feet of floor area
  • Huge vestibule for gear storage
Pros
  • Super durable dome-shape design is ideal for extreme weather
  • Integrated fly and external pole structure make set up a breeze
  • Large interior space and a huge vestibule for gear storage
  • Made with some of the best fabrics and pole materials available
  • Has a PVC window to let in natural light
Cons
  • Expensive for a 2 person tent
  • Relatively low 3'3" peak height

Basecamping and car camping during the winter months require a tent that's spacious, durable, and functional, even during the coldest nights of the year. That's where the Nemo Chogori 2 really shines.

The Chogori 2 is one of Nemo's most popular winter tents, and for good reason: It features a dome-shaped design that can withstand extreme winds and deep snowpacks. This true 4-season tent also has a unique integrated fly design and an external pole structure that makes setup quick and easy.

This external pole structure and integrated fly design come with another key benefit, namely a lighter weight. By attaching the fly and body of this shelter, Nemo made the Chogori 2 as light and packable as a tent with a single-wall design without compromising breathability or waterproofing.

Top view of the Nemo Chogori 2 on white background
Top view of the Nemo Chogori 2 (Source: NEMO Equipment)

Plus, the Chogori 2 has a massive interior with 36.3 square feet of floor area to provide ample space for you to stretch out at night. It also has a huge vestibule that offers more than enough room for gear storage in harsh conditions but that can also be propped open for added air circulation in mild weather.

The other benefit of the Nemo Chogori 2 is that it's made with rugged materials like Aluminum DAC Featherlite NSL poles and a 70D PeU Nylon fabric that's treated with silicone for waterproofing. It also has solid PVC windows that let in natural light without compromising the tent's weather resistance.

But the Chogori 2 is among the most expensive tents in our review and it has a relatively low peak height of 3'3". For car camping and basecamping in the winter months, though the Nemo Chogori 2 is hard to top.

A product tour of the Nemo Chogori 2

Technical Specs

Seasons4-season
Sleeping Capacity2-person
Minimum Trail Weight6 lbs. 12 oz.
Packaged Weight7 lbs 7 oz
Packed Size8.7 x 18.1 inches
Floor Dimensions89 x 65 inches
Floor Area40.1 square feet
Vestibule Area11.7 square feet + 4.2 square feet
Peak Height39 inches
Number of Doors2
Number of Poles5
Pole MaterialAluminum
Canopy Fabric20D Nylon Ripstop
Floor Fabric70D PeU Nylon
Rainfly Fabric30D Nylon Ripstop
Footprint IncludedNo
Design TypeFreestanding
Nemo Chogori 2 tent on white background
Best for Car Camping & Basecamping
Nemo Chogori 2

Black Diamond Mega Snow 4

Black Diamond Mega Snow 4 tent on white background
Black Diamond Mega Snow 4
Best Lightweight
Key Features:
  • Lightweight
  • Tent stakes and carbon fiber center pole 
  • 30D polyester fabric
  • Vent for air circulation
Pros
  • Very lightweight winter tent for 4 people
  • Comes with ultralight DAC tent stakes and a carbon fiber pole
  • Option to convert your trekking poles into the center pole to cut weight
  • Great airflow and spacious interior
  • Can also be used during the summer months
Cons
  • Doesn't include a tent body (should be pitched directly on the snow)
  • A bit of a learning curve to figure out how to set it up properly

One of the biggest complaints we hear about winter camping tents is that they're heavy and bulky. With the Black Diamond Mega Snow 4, however, a lightweight shelter for backcountry outings in the wintertime can be your reality.

Tipping the scales with a packed weight of just 3 lbs 10 oz, Black Diamond's Mega Snow is one of the lightest 4-person shelters available. It's a single-wall tent that boasts 30D polyester fabric and fully-taped seams to keep you dry in everything from powdery snowstorms to heavy rain.

However, if you're expecting the Mega Snow 4 to be just like every other tent on the market, you'll be a bit disappointed. This ultralight tent doesn't have an internal body as it's designed to be pitched directly onto the snow. As a result, it's best for campers in areas with deep snowpacks where weight savings and breathability are key.

Black Diamond Mega Snow 4 packed on white background
The Black Diamond Mega Snow 4 in its carrying bag (Source: Black Diamond)

While the Mega Snow 4 certainly isn't for everyone, it has a lot to love for the ultralight winter campers among us. It comes with DAC tent stakes and a lightweight carbon fiber center pole for a faster setup in the mountains. Or, you can use the included Pole Link Converter kit with your trekking poles instead of the center pole for even more weight savings.

Additionally, the Mega Snow 4 boasts a snow skirt around its perimeter to prevent powder from drifting into your sleeping area. It also has a vent for air circulation and it's compatible with Black Diamond's Mega Bug mesh shelter for summertime use.

As we've mentioned, the Mega Snow 4 isn't your classic winter camping tent, so it may not work if you're looking for a more standard shelter design. However, if you want a light shelter that's spacious enough for a group of campers, this tent is a solid choice.

Technical Specs

Seasons4-season
Sleeping Capacity4-person
Minimum Trail Weight3 lbs. 1 oz.
Packaged Weight3 lbs 10 oz
Packed Size6 x 15 inches
Floor Dimensions106 x 106 x 106 x 65 inches
Floor Area78 square feet
Number of Doors1
Number of Poles1
Canopy Fabric30-denier ripstop polyester
Footprint IncludedNo
Design TypeNonfreestanding
Black Diamond Mega Snow 4 tent on white background
Best Lightweight
Black Diamond Mega Snow 4

What's The Difference Between a 3-Season and 4-Season Tent?

A green 3-season tent in spring mountains and a 4-season tent on the snow in the winter forest

Before we get into our discussion of what you need to look for as you choose a winter tent, it's important that we first highlight the differences between 3-season and 4-season tents so that you understand the value of a proper winter camping shelter.

There are a few differences between 3-season tents and a true 4-season tent, namely:

  • Shape & Design – One of the key features of a 4-season tent is a shape that can withstand high winds and heavy snowfall. A true 4-season tent often has a dome shape as these designs can withstand very high winds. Some lightweight winter tent models may have pyramid or half dome constructions instead.
  • Durability & Materials – The winter months can bring with them harsh weather, so most 4-season tent models are crafted with durable materials. This means that they're built with a higher fabric thickness than what you see with a 3-season tent. Most 4-season tents also have aluminum tent poles (rather than fiberglass poles) for improved durability.
  • Breathability & Warmth – A winter shelter needs to be able to keep you warm at night while also staying breathable. As a result, many 4-season tent models boast thick fabrics with lots of integrated vents for airflow.

Of course, there are more differences between 3 and 4-season shelters. But, you'll generally find that a 4-season tent can provide more durability, weather protection, and warmth in the long-term than a comparable 3-season model.

How to Choose the Best Tent for Winter Camping

Now that you know why it's important to invest in a 4-season shelter for winter camping, we can discuss some of the key features you need to look for as you shop. So here are some of the most important things to keep in mind while researching your next winter camping shelter.

Single-Wall vs Double-Wall

An orange single-wall tent on a snowy mountain and a green double-wall tent on snow

One of the first things you need to decide on when buying a winter shelter is whether you want a single-wall or double-wall tent.

Double-wall designs are arguably the most common. They feature separate rainflies and bodies, which provides you with more breathability and weatherproofing at the expense of weight savings. Most of the shelters in our review have a double-wall design.

Single-wall tents, on the other hand, have only one layer of fabric between you and the elements. The Nemo Chogori 2 is the closest shelter in our review to a single-wall tent. The benefit of this kind of shelter is that it offers weight savings in the mountains, though that often comes at the expense of weatherproofing and breathability.

Ultimately, there's no right or wrong answer to the single-wall vs double-wall debate. But it's important that you take the time to decide which of these constructions is best for your camping needs.

Tent Design & Materials

An illustration of the two key characteristics of a dome tent
A dome tent is characterized by a rectangular floor and two arched poles at the peak

The vast majority of winter camping tents feature a dome or half-dome design. That's because these constructions provide ample strength in extreme weather conditions.

However, the overall design of a tent is just one part of its durability. The materials that a tent is made from are also critical to the longevity of your shelter in high winds.

Raindrops on tourist tent waterproof fabric

In particular, you'll want to look for tents that are made with thick fabrics (at least 30D for the rainfly and floor, if not thicker) and with rugged aluminum poles. You'll also want to keep your eye out for tents that boast silicone or PU waterproof coatings and fully taped seams as these will help you stay warm and dry in inclement conditions.

Gear Storage Options

Cooking in a tent vestibule on a winter camping trip
Cooking in the vestibule during a winter camping trip

Winter camping is a gear-intensive pursuit, so any tent that you buy needs to have plenty of storage options for your equipment.

The best way to store your wet gear during the winter is in a large tent vestibule. Thankfully, most winter tents come with vestibules, some of which are even big enough to get changed in. These huge vestibules can also greatly increase the interior space of your tent, which can add to your comfort levels in the mountains.

Ease of Set-Up

A camper sets up a green tent putting in a metal frame

A tent's ease of set-up is important to consider, especially in the winter months. That's because pitching a tent in cold, wet conditions can be challenging, so you want a shelter that you can set up as quickly as possible.

To that end, it's worth looking for a tent with hubbed poles or a color-coded system so that you can quickly get your shelter pitched in foul weather. Tents that are easy to set up with thick gloves on are even more valuable when you're in the alpine.

Weight & Packed Size

Mountaineer on snowshoes with a backpack and winter tent

Last but not least, you always need to think about the weight and packed size of your shelter. Most winter camping tents are heavier than their 3-season counterparts due to their burlier materials and large vestibules.

But as a general rule, you want to look for a winter shelter that weighs about 2 to 3 lbs per person (i.e., a 2-person tent would weigh 4 to 6 lbs) for backcountry trips. This weight range is manageable for most campers, so it's a good target to strive for as you shop for a new tent.

The Verdict: What is the Best Winter Tent?

There are so many tents for winter camping on the market today. But which model is best for your needs?

Every winter camper will have slightly different needs and expectations from their cold-weather camping tent. But after reviewing the top tents for extreme weather conditions, here's what we'd recommend:

There you have it, folks, everything you could possibly need to know to shop for your next four-season tent plus expert reviews of the 5 best winter camping shelters on the market today.

We hope that the info we provided here helps you feel more confident as you shop for your next wintertime shelter so that you can get out and adventure with minimal hassle. Happy camping!

Gaby Pilson is a professional outdoor educator and climbing instructor with over ten years of experience delivering outdoor experiences. She holds multiple outdoor safety and education certifications and specializes in guiding expeditions to the polar regions. Gaby also works as a Wilderness Medicine Instructor and Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider.
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