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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in Colorado, and plan on hiking/camping Any time of the year next year with friends or alone. It can get, on occasion (2 or 3 times a year), down to -15, even colder up in the mountains/foothills. However, it usually only dips to 10 or 13, whatever. The 3 season 2-person tent I'm looking at weighs only 5 lbs. whereas the 4 season of the same brand weighs 8. I would really like to get away with 5 if at all possible.

Is a 4 season tent REALLY gonna make all that much difference in the cold?
 

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Last of the First Line
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Is a 4 season tent REALLY gonna make all that much difference in the cold?
I've looked into this a bit, while doing research for my own tent purchase, and it all boils down to one thing...

3 season tents have mesh panels, usually in the "roof" area - of various sizes depending on the tent - with no zip-up panel to cover them. That's where you get your weight savings.

4 season tents will have the extra panels, so you can cover the mesh panels and keep the warm air in/cold air out.

Sure, it's a pain in the ass to haul that extra weight - but if you want to keep the wind out you should probably get the 4 season.
 

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Wide awake
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First of all, I'm not a tent expert. However, I'm ridiculous about a good sleep system (sleeping bag). I think that you could get away with a 3-season tent easily as long as your sleep system is rated to your area's worst case scenario. Mountain Hardware makes several good mummy bags that are rated at -15 and below. In the end, I guess it depends on what you're looking to do; survive -15 or be comfortable.
 

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Got any beer money?
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First of all, I'm not a tent expert. However, I'm ridiculous about a good sleep system (sleeping bag). I think that you could get away with a 3-season tent easily as long as your sleep system is rated to your area's worst case scenario. Mountain Hardware makes several good mummy bags that are rated at -15 and below. In the end, I guess it depends on what you're looking to do; survive -15 or be comfortable.
I with you, here. I consider my tent as something to keep the elements off me (rain, wind, snow, etc.), while my sleeping bag provides the warmth and comfort. A good fly over a 3-season tent (they all come with them) will keep all the elements out, including wind.
 

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Regarding the 4th seasons tent, I'd say it make a real difference if you are in big snow condition and were there is strong winds. If it's the case well, yes, you might need a 4th season tent.

Now, many (not all) 3 seasons tents are also built with the same quality material, aluminum pole and fabric material. The polyester is sometime the same (mm) and will evacuate the humidity as fast as the 4th season.

4th seasons usually have more space for attachments against winds and can stand more snow (read pressure on material). So sewing is also another factor here...

Sleeping bags like mentioned above is another factor to consider. It is important as your tent and setup.
Don't forget: The basic insulation system rest on various quality layers!
 

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When I lived in Alaska I purchased a 4 season tent and I am glad that I did. I found the tent was yes more weight but during high winds, freezing rain and of course snow I stayed dry and warm. That tent has been with me for 18 years and gets used for about 8 times a year. Best money ever spent.
 

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Adaptable.
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Get a covertable tent. I use a sierra designs Omega. Round about November, I start carrying the rainfly, I believe it is 4.5 lbs for three season, 7.2 for 4. You can also go with just the fly, ground sheet and poles for 3lbs, but I'd rather just take a tarp for that kind of weather.
 

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I feel good.... . . .
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I live in Colorado, and plan on hiking/camping Any time of the year next year with friends or alone. It can get, on occasion (2 or 3 times a year), down to -15, even colder up in the mountains/foothills. However, it usually only dips to 10 or 13, whatever. The 3 season 2-person tent I'm looking at weighs only 5 lbs. whereas the 4 season of the same brand weighs 8. I would really like to get away with 5 if at all possible.

Is a 4 season tent REALLY gonna make all that much difference in the cold?
Hell yes it will. I have done plenty of winter camping in Colorado. You need a good 4 season that has good ventilation. Ventilation is the key with this type of camping! Too much condensation and moisture is a bad thing at 3 in the morning and all you want is to be warm and sleep. My personal favorite is MSR but make sure, what ever you get, you get a nice footprint for it.



 

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Prophet
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very nice tent.

when i ice fish, i choose to use a thermarest pad on top of a tarp layin on the ground.
on top of this, i use the canadian armed forces 3 part sleeping system. i think they're rated to -40 C. hell, the system was designed for arctic sleeping... :eek: ive used mine down to around -20 C.
then i use a tarp between two trees to keep the snow off.
the down filled bags work well, as long as you keep them dry.
my friends scoff at my 12 lb sleeping 'army joe' system, but i have the last laugh when they complain all night about how cold they were in their 'trendy' M#R, No#@hface, or other store bought sleeping bags.
 

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I've stayed out in 9-degree temps in a Coleman Peak 1 Aries (right around 5lbs.) and it was fine ~ just gotta have the right sleeping bag...

That tent's discontinued, but Coleman made another one that's very similar in design. Eureka and Sierra Designs have some nice ones, too.
 

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Last of the First Line
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on top of this, i use the canadian armed forces 3 part sleeping system. i think they're rated to -40 C. hell, the system was designed for arctic sleeping... :eek: ive used mine down to around -20 C.
I love those sleeping bags... Inner, outer, liner. Add on a bivy bag and you're gold.

I was skeptical about them before I used one, but it was amazing. Well, it wasn't the first night, when I got in fully clothed. Couldn't get warm at all. Next day one of the other guys gave me a tip - strip right down to your gitch. No other clothes at all, not even socks. I was skeptical, again - but it worked. I was toasty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Price is my problem in going up to a 4. I'm looking at the Marmot line. 2 years ago, I paid a pretty penny for a Marmot coat, and it's the warmest mother I've ever worn. Wind doesn't phase me in it.
 

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What is the best 4 season 2 person tent these days?
What kind of shape is best in stormy weather? Iglo, tipi...?
Have anyone tested Nemo Tenshi?
 

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free man
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What is the best 4 season 2 person tent these days?
What kind of shape is best in stormy weather? Iglo, tipi...?
Have anyone tested Nemo Tenshi?
Lower profile. More poles. More guyouts, etc..all add to a given tents strength. Problem is, most of that also adds bulk and weight. Most would say a 4 pole designe with a poled vestibule is solid and livable when your under seige for days or longer. But, they run in the 8-10lb range. Thats heeeeeavy.

Because of this, most would say a 2 pole wedge singlewall WPB(waterproof breathable) 'mtneering' tents like an Intergal Designs MK1XL, Bibler I-Tent, Eldorado, Awanhee, etc is the way to go. They all weigh around 4-5lbs. Billed as strong enough for "any weather in the world" by Intergal Designs(altho I'd argue that point). Also once called 'bivy tents' since they were first brought about to replace 2 bivys that 2 climbers would otherwise carry for a summit attempt on K2, Everest, etc. Same weight(4.5lbs=what 2 bivys would weigh otherwise). But, with the advantage of being about to cook, change, etc w 2 inside one larger WPB structure.

Singlewall=Less bulk. Less weight. Goes up from the inside to a large degree. Less stakes. Expensive.

Also, a floorless 4 season like say a Black Diamond Betamid make for lots of floorspace(45', vs 28' for my ID MK1XK singlewall tent). Great for dogs, cooking, wet shells, etc. Floorless teepees=the most room for the bulk/weight while still having 4 season performance. About 2.4lbs.
 

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free man
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My MK1XL in the rockies. Out for 6 days. Bibler Eldorado next to it. Altho billed as such, both are tight for 2 people tho. Make better one person shelters. But, add the zipoff vestibule, and you've got more room. Larger tents all other things being equal, don't do as well in the wind(besides also being bulkier/heavier).

Or locally here in NC. It was about 4* in this pic. Winds were gusting to 50mph=cold :).

Betamid floorless. Uses your trekking poles. Or can be tied off from above. Much better with the doggie. Mine.


A buds during the Rockies trip. Snow duty after yet another dump.



Tepees do great. This one including the pole is around 3.5lbs. Same Rockies trip.
 

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Gettings.
This year we took my 6 man 3 season tent up for the 2nd hunting season up by Poncho Springs. The tent worked OK, but it was rather warm. The lantern kept the center warm enough to take your gloves off at night but near the edges you could feel the cold seaping in. The heat also disapeared really fast. I also noticed that the winds darn near folded the tent flat due to the carbon poles. It actually shattereed the globe of my lantern.
For A big family sized tent we always take a GP Small artic up for hunting. When the stove is going, you can go down to your skivies and still be sweating. :) Thats why we call it the kilm. I am also looking for a small one for the backpack. I am thinking of this one... http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=98477
from Harbor Freight. Cost is $17.57. It is pretty cheap and has a fly that covers the entire tent. It looks like it might work. I think that I will have to carry an extra tarp to make a vestabule thou.
I have a hunting season in December so I may try it then, if I get it...
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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As some of the prior posters mentioned, the big differences between 3 and 4 seasons is strength. The 4 season tent should be designed to support a significant snow load and all should be designed to handle a lot of wind.

My 3 season timberlite clips to the support poles and it is easy to put up and has a rain fly that covers well. Even though it will support some snow since the poles form several connected triangles, it is not really designed for snow.

A real 4 season dome tent will typically have the tent poles sliding through fabric sleeves and these poles will form a self supporting structure. Pain to set up, but very strong.

My four season tent is a Cabela's big horn and is designed to be packed in. It is 12 ft by 14 ft and uses three metal poles and I use a woodstove to heat it. It has withstood 3 ft of snow at times and winds of 40-50 mph. Just a typical summer day in the mountains.
 

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I've looked into this a bit, while doing research for my own tent purchase, and it all boils down to one thing...

3 season tents have mesh panels, usually in the "roof" area - of various sizes depending on the tent - with no zip-up panel to cover them. That's where you get your weight savings.

4 season tents will have the extra panels, so you can cover the mesh panels and keep the warm air in/cold air out.

Sure, it's a pain in the ass to haul that extra weight - but if you want to keep the wind out you should probably get the 4 season.
I don't think this is correct. There are four season tents with TONS of mesh without any panels other than the tarp that goes over the top. There are three season tents with the panels you speak of.

The difference is whether it's designed to handle snow loads. Snow is very heavy. If you have a three season tent then camp in a snowstorm, it could collapse. That's why they weigh more, it's quite a bit stronger.
 

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Preparing since 1972
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I live in Colorado, and plan on hiking/camping Any time of the year next year with friends or alone. It can get, on occasion (2 or 3 times a year), down to -15, even colder up in the mountains/foothills. However, it usually only dips to 10 or 13, whatever. The 3 season 2-person tent I'm looking at weighs only 5 lbs. whereas the 4 season of the same brand weighs 8. I would really like to get away with 5 if at all possible.

Is a 4 season tent REALLY gonna make all that much difference in the cold?
If your going to be a serious camper get serious equiptment..Also get clothing ect that are waterproof not just water repellant....Good equiptment will last a long long time..:)
 
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