4 Season tents

Posted by: mtbdemon

4 Season tents - 12/21/16 10:58 AM

Hello all,
I'm very interested in doing some snow camping and I'm having a heck of a time picking a tent that has the vestibule space I need (Read as big as possible) without needing to take out a 2nd mortgage on my home.
I'm in love with the Hillebergs, but I just cant afford one right now and curious if anyone has some suggestions. I have found a decent looking Hillman tent on Amazon, but really cant find any good information about them.
I live in the Pacific NW so solid 4 season tent seems to be a must. Any suggestions? Thanks!

P.S I'm sure it shows, but I am a newbie to winter camping in a tent, but not to camping in general. COst is a concern, but I would rather get the right tent first rather then buying multiple tents
I'm also and adventure motorcyclist so I can also use the tent for that.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/21/16 06:35 PM

I'm not sure whether you're looking to buy your first winter tent, replacing your winter tent, or have a three season tent that might do for winter camping except that you need more vestibule space. I'm also not sure where you're going to be doing your winter camping - in Ohio, where I hike, a three-season tent works very well in most winter conditions; however, we don't get two-foot snowfalls where snow loads are a big deal.

However, what I've seen others do if the tent they have works, but they need storage space, is to carry along a small tarp, which the rig as a lean-to or A-frame, then have the tent door open into the tarp. (This works even better with a two-door tent - one door, with its small vestibule, is used for uncluttered entry and exit, and the second door opens into the storage area.

If this won't work in your situation, then I apologize; I really don't have any experience or insight into full-on winter tents.
Posted by: BZH

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/21/16 07:01 PM

Not all 4 seasons are the same. In my experience you really only need a 4-season tent where there is high wind. When I was a kid, I winter camped in northern Michigan with my father. We always just brought a tarp. There were no bugs... no need for netting. We were in the woods, so we didn't need shelter from the wind. The other thing you might want is the ability to handle snow loading.... which a tarp can handle. Also, because it is open, we would set up a campfire at the mouth to help stay warm.... a baker's tent would work even better for that situation.

So... what conditions do you want to handle with your 4-season tent?

p.s. Personally, I would rather have a name brand 3-season tent with me than a cheap no-name 4-season tent (Hillman)
Posted by: mtbdemon

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/22/16 10:10 AM

Thank you to both of you...
I thought the Hillman was probably a cheap knockoff, but wasn't sure....
Camping in the Cascades mostly in the Mt Hood wilderness area where temps can and will get close to zero. Depending on where I go, high winds could be a factor. From my understanding my 3 season tent wont work because of blowing snow getting through the netting from snow going under the fly and there inability to take much snow load as I could be exposed depending on where I camp on the mountain.

There are some great looking tents out there but the cost is higher then I expected. However, I do understand how burly these tents need to be so I can understand some of the higher manufacturing costs. Thanks again for you responses....
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/22/16 10:14 AM

I don't camp in winter any more (the thought of spending 14 hours of darkness cooped up in a tent is enough to turn me off), but I have done so in the past. While I also live in the Mt. Hood area, I haven't tried to camp up there in winte. My experience was in the central Washington Cascades, generally in the White Pass (US 12) area. I have, however, been caught in early fall (and even summer) snowstorms in the high Rockies that would dump up to a foot.

Obviously, in the Pacific NW mountains, you need a tent that will hold up under heavy snows. (You will still have to knock snow off the tent a time or two during the night.) It would be helpful to note whether you'll also be near or above timberline where high winds are also a factor.

I suggest you look at the offerings at tarptent.com. They make high quality tents, and several of their offerings are 4-season, particularly the Scarp.

Andrew Skurka hiked through the Yukon and Alaska in winter using a pyramid-shaped single wall tent (their Duomid) from Mountain Laurel Designs, another quality firm you may want to check out.

Either of these options will cost less than a 4-season Hilleberg. However, if you're going to be exposed to both high winds and heavy snow, I'd postpone camping in those conditions for a few years more and save up for the Hilleberg.

Please don't get a cheap tent; the one you found on amazon sounds suspiciously like a cheap knockoff. (The name's being so close to Hilleberg is, IMHO, a pretty sure clue.) It will undoubtedly fail you when you need it the most!

Since you are a newbie to winter camping, I'd like to caution you to learn everything you possibly can about avalanches before you go (take a class if you can; check with the Mazamas). Even in areas with no avalanche danger, there is the problem of heavy snow accumulations suddenly dropping off trees. No tent will hold up to those!
Posted by: mtbdemon

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/22/16 10:41 AM

Far out OregonMouse!!!

Thank you as I will take a look at the tents you suggested. As far as your concerns about Avalanches, I hear you. I have some experience with that with my alpine skiing, but I have just recently joined Mazamas and plan to further educate myself.
Thank you for the advice!!
Posted by: hikerduane

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/26/16 12:19 PM

I have more issues with wind than snow. Usually I only get a little snow if out when chance of snow is less, but still there. I've used a Sierra Designs 3 season tent in my worst encounter, moderate wind with two feet of snow o/n. Only bent my poles some, which I have corrected. A good 4 season shelter is gonna cost. I'm looking for another 4 season tent now, plan on getting another dog this Spring, my BD Hilite will be too small unless I get a tiny mutt.
Posted by: toddfw2003

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/27/16 11:05 PM

Rab Latok Summit. about 3.5 lbs 1 person 4 seson tent.
Posted by: mtbdemon

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/28/16 12:48 PM

One thing is for sure, 4 season tents are not cheap!!!
Posted by: toddfw2003

Re: 4 Season tents - 12/28/16 11:43 PM

no kidding. I could see only using one at Everest base camp. too heavy too
Posted by: waddo

Re: 4 Season tents - 01/22/17 06:38 AM

Had a Hilleberg. Managed to get a full refund after one year of leaky camping. Check the internet and you will see many problems with the seams NOT being sealed etc etc.

Now using Exped Venus 2. It was half the price of the Hilleberg and is twice as good. It's heavier, but reliable in all weather.

Remember, a 4 season tent will give you at least 5 a degrees centigrade warmer interior than 3 season.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: 4 Season tents - 01/22/17 08:31 AM

I see that MSR just came out with a new 4-season tent, the Access. Beyond that, I know nothing about it; you can find it on their website.