So what you are saying is that an A-framed tarp in these conditions might be a little too little. Should I add a bivy? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Yes. And some prayer beads.
Tom - the worst conditions I've been in were with the Tempest, and with a Big Sky 2P tent. The latter let in lots of snow as spindrift and was ultimately flattened by over 18" of snow and winds we later heard were reported to be as high as 100mph on ridgetops. I lived to tell the tale, but that tent's not going out on any winter trips with the remotest chance of a storm ever again :-) (For the record, the forecast that weekend was for an inch or two of snow and mild, sunny weather.)
I've been in gale-force winds with the Hillebergs and they've been great - haven't been dumped on with more than half a foot of snow so far in them, though - but they should handle it well given their dome structure and multiple crossing points on the poles.
You might also add a snow stake to tie your sleeping bag to. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> I've been in an exposed spot with 50 knot winds and it got under the tent and rolled me around in my sleeping bag! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
The problem is that if the plastic "flaps" it will rip and a flat piece of plastic is gonna flap in a strong wind. Having your tent disintegrate around you is a bad thing. I know a guy who camped in maybe 150 mph winds in Iceland. He staked the tent down but could only crawl into it without poles. He had his radio next to his body in case his sleeping bag was ripped away. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
So it all depends on the wind. One thing I like about my Bibler is that I can get in and out of it in a windy snow storm and keep it dry inside, as long as the vestibule is attached. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" /> oh and it is often tied out to buried branches stomped into the snow. Or nailed down with skis.
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Steve, was that the storm you had the pictures of a while back? I think you were up in the Sierra somewhere north of Yosemite if I remember the trip report right.
I think the worst weather I have been in camping was just some heavy rain in New Zealand. One time the camp manager took pity on me and my girlfriend and let us use one of the little cabins he had. My old Flashlight (new at the time) held up remarkably well another time. Some of the other campers weren't quite so lucky. It definitely pays to have a good tent in bad weather.
Down in NZ, most of the popular tracks have huts on them about a day apart just for that reason. There are mountain huts scattered around as well, some a bit fancier than others, but in a bad storm, nothing like a big wooden box between you and the outside world.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
Loc: jersey city NJ
It's safe to say that NO tent will withstand a 100 mph wind, let alone 150. Consider that most mobile homes are completely destroyed (not just overturned) by a 130 mph wind.
The odd thing about wind, totally mysterious to me, is that its force increases at a much faster rate than its speed.
Maybe somebody can help me out with specifics, but a 100 mph wind, say, is many times (eight times?) more forceful (and potentially destructive) than a 50 mph wind.
I've seen a few reports that tent X wasn't destroyed when exposed to 100mph in a wind tunnel, but that's not the same thing as providing shelter.
Now turning to tent suggestions, Mountain Hardwear, no slouch for sturdy tents, recently brought back "snow flaps" with its "Kiva" model, but I'm confused whether current version has them
Here is MH's description:
"It weighs 3 pounds and is 66.4 square feet.Kiva is an extremely simple, four-person winter mountaineering shelter supported by a single Easton 7075 T9 center pole. Using webbing and an adjustable center pole, Kiva’s five sided canopy is simple to pitch and provides excellent wind shedding. Floorless design allows for digging out in winter."
Essentially, it's a slightly larger version of a GoLite SL 3 tarp tent.
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
I'll go ahead and plug the Hillebergs too. I have an Akto, and have had it out in some SE wintry conditions. I'm not trying to plug the Akto per se, but rather to just agree with some of the general comments that bmisf made about the Hillebergs.
In my experience they can take a pretty good pounding. I spent one night out in some real blustery conditions. It started off as heavy rain, and turned to snow during the night. Setting up was really nice cause as bmsif said the inner and outer portions of the tent are connected so they all go up in one piece. My buddy struggled with a Hubba Hubba, and I had to help him drain out a small pool of water once he finally got the rain fly on. At any rate, it got pretty windy that night (40+ mph gusts I think) and we were in an exposed area on a bald. I didn't even have all my guy lines staked out (the two side ones weren't staked), and the tent barely flapped in the gusts.
I have been out a handful of other times in snow, and it has been a good winter tent for me. Like I said, I am plugging the Hillebergs in general as the Akto wouldn't be the best choice for the conditions in bmsif's pictures. In heavy wet snow it tends to sag unless the snow is removed as it only has one pole which creates some flat spots on either end of the tent.
Any tent without a chimney is only good for one season. When it rains or snows in the summer time no tent is any good without a chimney. A little 16 ounce device makes backcountry travel so much better. With a coffee can woodstove and chimney all you need is a tarp for shade in summer or nailed down tight in the cold wind.
I admit that a chimney is heresy for the conventional backpacker but civilized people all over the world use them. Most people do not like to breathe the products of combustion or freeze while they cook. Cooking in a tent with a gas stove is dangerous and cooking out side in the wind with your mitts on is not to bright in my humble opinion.
Since this post was made before I knew of the TarpTent Scarpa series I thank all for contributing answers to my question.
But now, having seen the Scarpa series, I think a Scarpa2 (2-person) tent is the best answer for all around winter camping. I need a 2-person tent because I usually don't camp in winter without another person, for safety reasons.
What really convinced me was, 1st, Franco's clever adaptation of putting the crossing poles INSIDE the fly for more wind/snow load support and stability. Franco's experimentation and collaboration with Henry Shires made this possible.
2nd is the optional mesh inner tent for summer use. With this option I have a very stable, light and versatile tent for a true 4 seasons setup.
If this tent is as good for its purpose as my Contrail I know I'll be a "Happy Camper".
Edited by 300winmag (04/17/0902:41 PM)
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."
I have the MSR Hubba Hubba, however with a little different fly set-up that it came with. I bought a huge piece of silnylon and my wife (the darling that she is) fabricated me a full coverage fly that covers all the way down to the tent pegs(to the ground), so in effect is a two walled tent. It is a little heavier than the Hubba Hubba comes but as light as the thing is, a little more weight shouldn't hurt much and believe me after put together it's a brick in the wall.It leaves a little space between the actual tent and the fly and I think that in really cold temps it does keep a little warmer that regular.. We hike in some pretty cold weather and my wife always likes to experience her handy work too. I am sure that there are winds that could up-root it but so far , it has worked like a charm....sabre11004
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!