Waterproof: Whether the snow melts or it starts raining, a waterproof tent is necessary for winter camping. Check for solid waterproof seals and a waterproof fabric that extends a few inches up the sides from the bottom of the tent.
Double walls: Double walled tents provide more complete weather protection because the outer wall acts as a rainfly, and extends completely around the tent. However, they can also get hot and limit breathability and ventilation, which is not good, even in the winter. "In dry, cold air, you exhale about a liter of moisture overnight. If trapped inside the tent, that moisture will transform into a shimmering skin of frost covering your walls and ceiling come morning—frost that can 'snow' down on your bag and clothing or melt during the day, rendering your tent wet and heavy," says Lanza.
More: 8 Winter Safety Tips for Heading Outdoors
While you can purchase a four-season tent, it's recommended that you invest in two separate tents—one for the warm camping season and one for the cold one. Why? Winter tents come with a number of features and accessories your four-season tent might not. Look for:
- Snow pegs: These are a little wider than regular stakes and help keep your tent in place when there's a significant amount of snow on the ground. If the snow is really deep, you can also use your trekking poles, which won't get lost beneath the fluffy stuff.
- Two doors: This feature ensures that you can always have an entrance away from the wind, allowing you to get in and out without snow blowing inside.
- Full-covered zipper vents: Vents can be helpful on a winter camping trip, but you shouldn't be required to leave them open. A full-covered zipper vent or mesh window gives you the best of both worlds.
Camping in cold temperatures requires a tent that can stand up to the elements, be light enough to carry on your back, and provide enough space for you to relax, not just sleep. Keep these important features of a winter tent in mind as you look for the perfect cold-weather camp companion.
More: 5 Features Your Winter Hiking Boots Must Have
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