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Ok I realize that there are 4 seasons in a year and all. And however that was something that was taught to me in kindergarden or so I have forgotten when these seasons are? For example if someone says that a particular tent is for season 3 what does that mean exactly?
 

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free man
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Ok I realize that there are 4 seasons in a year and all. And however that was something that was taught to me in kindergarden or so I have forgotten when these seasons are? For example if someone says that a particular tent is for season 3 what does that mean exactly?
3 season tent' means its not for deep winter conditions. Spring, Summer, Fall duty mainly. They WILL work in the cold only(meaning no big 50mph+ wind, snow, etc), but..

..theres going to be some mesh used in the main tent body(under the fly) via panels and windows for ventilation. Tents can get hot fast while out in the sun in mild conditions. Because of this, its usually impossible to stop wind blown spin drift snow from coming in, via being wind sweeped up under the rain fly(be there done that). Nor stop cold air from coming thru otherwise, making your bags job somewhat harder.

..they aren't as strong(less poles, less guyouts, etc) since they aren't designed for big winds, snow, etc. but this also means they weigh measureably less and less bulky to pack.


Std 2-wall 4 season tents have the ability to shut down most, if not all ventilation with solid ripstop(or coated) type fabric zip-in panels(over the otherwise sewn in mesh panels/windows) and windows. =Warmer and no spin drift coming in.

4 season tents usually have more poles, that are also usually attached via velcro loops underneith the fly, to guyouts on outside surfaces(at corners and pole crossings, typically) at key points that are guylined out to stakes in the ground.

4 season tents are typically heavy and bulky, unless you get the very best, like highend singlewall designs(typically are waterproof breathable, but not always). Singlewalls are lighter, go up faster, less bulk. They're usually placed in the next class, called "mountaineering" duty(for summit attemps on stuff like K2, Everest, etc, but 4 season 2-walls do fine at the lower base camps).
 

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Feuer Frei!
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Good explanation Duckman, I would also like to add that you can get a Convertible 4 season tent too. These are basically 4 season tents, that are designed in a way that allows you to erect them as a 3 season tent as well (leaving a few poles etc at home). MSR and Sierra designs make a couple really good convertible tents, along with a few other brands. I personally suggest having both a 3 season and a 4 season tent in your collection if the climate calls for it and you can afford it. Convertible tents are nice, but they are not quite as light as std 3seasons tents by them selves, although convertible tents are practical.
 

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free man
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Nope. 3 season is it, really. But theres some designs with tons of light mesh, 1 or 2 poles only, 2lb 1-man designs, etc. 2-4 pounds is common with these designs.

There IS much lighter and less bulky shelters then any tent, tho. ie=tarp. A good silnylon 8x5' tarp weighs aprox 9oz and wads up in ones hand. In comparison, the old trusty mil spec poncho weighs about 2lbs(32oz).

Theres also floorless 4 season shelters. Ie: Black Diamond Betamid(love this shelter) and Megalight, Golite Hex, etc. Much lighter then any other 4 season design, running around 1.8-3.5lbs. Floorless =more floor space for less bulk/weight.

I almost mentioned convertibles. Figured I'd only confuse the issue maybe. :) Great explanation regarding them.
 
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