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Can I use a 3 season tent in winter?

Can you use a three season tent for winter camping?

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A 3 season tent can be used for winter camping, but it's certainly not ideal. However, some 3 season tents are better than others.

  • Steep walled tent
  • Better if its a Freestanding tent
  • The tent should be an A-Frame style tent, so it can withstand snow load. You want the snow to roll off the top of the tent. A dome shaped tent is more susceptible for snow to collect on the top and collapse the tent.
  • The tent poles should be sturdy.
  • Better to have less screen in the ceiling of the tent because screening will let in spindrift during snowstorms and allow frost on the fly to fall into the tent.
  • The 3 season tent should have good ventilation, so that the moisture coming out of your body doesn't collect inside the tent and then rain back down on you later on, which will make you clammy and cold.
  • The 3 season tent should have a fly tarp that extends, as close to the ground as possible so snow isn't able to blow into the tent.
  • You would also want a 3 season tent to have higher side walls, so snow isn't able to blow easily under the tarp and get inside the tent through the screening. (any screening should be higher off the ground, at least a foot).
  • Should have a Vestibule, in order to keep as much snow (Moisture) out of your tent, and condensing on the walls.

The one advantage of a 3 season tent over a 4-season winter tent, is that the 3 season tent will be lighter to carry.  But because a 3 season tent is not double walled, and isn't as rugged as a 4 season tent, it is not optimal to use for winter camping.  So if you use a 3 season tent, make sure you stay below treeline and camp in a protected area from strong winds.

Here are a few three season tents that would be adequete for winter camping:

On the hand, if you want to upgrade to some of the best double walled 4 season tents out there, be sure to check out Hillebeg Tents.

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