Modern 3 season tents in winter

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums General Forums Winter Hiking Modern 3 season tents in winter

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #3746993
    David G
    BPL Member


    I did some backpacking including short mid-winter hikes about 20  years ago.  Then I got rid of everything, but in the last year I reacquired a full set of backpacking gear.

    While I’m not equipped to modern ultralight standards, my new tents are much, much lighter than my tents back then.  Today I have a Marmot Tungsten Ultralite 3 and Nemo Dragonfly 2 for backpacking, bought for 3-season use here in Pennsylvania.   They are definitely not as strong as my old 7lb Timberline or 9 lb Mountain Hardware Skyview 3 tent were.

    But the quiet of winter beckons, and I’m thinking of getting out again this coming winter.  Assuming I utilize the guy points, how suitable might those 3 season tents be?  I will not be at high altitude, exposed locations, very high winds (>50mph), nor very heavy snow (>12″).  I won’t go out when a blizzard is expected.  But chilly temps (0°F), snow, and gusty wind happen regardless of the forecast.

    Thoughts on this?  Looking around, there aren’t many options between the very light 3 season tents (3-6lb) and heavy duty 4 season (8-10lb) designs.  Maybe a Sea to Summit Telos TR3 Plus.

    BPL Member


    In PA, I think you could get away with it.. Baring any storms or heavy snow/winds. Select the right location and have at it!!  There are a few nice 4 seasons tents you could look at that are fairly light and would provide you with all the protection you would need.. Anywhere in PA.. So you wouldn’t have to worry about being exposed and you could get out in some harsh storms! ( Right up my alley) . But in all reality Your 3 season tents would work fine if you are smart about it.

    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Did you see the series Ryan Jordan posted last winter where he was winter camping under a tarp.

    As long as you are camping below tree line and you have a full coverage rain fly, IMO your current tents will work fine for short trips when there is no snow storm in the forecast.  Spend your $ on a winter sleeping system.  Some folks even sleep in hammocks in the winter.

    If you are finding 8 lb plus tents, you are looking a Mountaineering tents designed for heavy snow loading and high winds.

    I usually sleep in my MLD DuoMid in winter.  If I expect some snow and wind,  I take my recently acquired SlingFin CrossBow or my Hilleberg Akto.

    Other options are the sub 5 lb if not 4 lb four season tents from Black Diamond, TarpTent, Big Sky, Mountain Hardware, Big Agnes, etc..

    See this list from SectionHiker

    Stephen T


    I would go for it. Instead of spending money on a heavy Fourseason tent, I would spend my money on a second down backpacking quilt, and double up with what you currently use.

    Mike B
    BPL Member


    Locale: Colorado

    Given the conditions you describe your 3 season tents will be fine. Rain flys as low as you can get them when the snow is lightly blowing or build a snow wall to stop the spin drift from getting in. Try it a couple times and if you want more winter adventure get a better tent for more and varying conditions. I have camped in a msr carbon reflex in the winter and have been fine. Well except for that one time the wind came up and I woke to the tent beating me. Lol. Live and learn. After that I moved to a used duomid and used it for quite a while.

    Chris K
    BPL Member


    Echoing the above and Mike B …

    In January I took an REI 3-season tent out in the Rockies with a calm, favorable forecast and low around 10F. Of course, then I got blasted with big winds all night, filling my tent with inches of spindrift. But I had an extra quilt on top, which bore the brunt of the moisture. I also had a huge parka that I didn’t wear to sleep in a waterproof stuff sack just in case.

    Anyway, point is, I learned I should have built better snow walls around the tent. Even so I was prepared to avoid anything dangerous, despite the inadequate shelter and experience.

    BPL Member


    Fyi.. If you are interested in a lightweight 4 season tent, I listed my MSR Access 1P tent on gear swap a few weeks back..  its double wall and very lightweight.. and selling for a great price..

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Most newer Tarptent 3 season tents have longer flys and in my experience most are good for winter camping – with mods.

    TT Moment DW, “solid” interior W/ shortened Crossing Pole running under the fly for snow load. I’ve sewn double-sided VELCRO computer cable straps (shortened) inside my fly where the OEM exterior X-ing pole straps were sewn. Then I seam sealed my stitching.  These cable straps wrap around the X-ing pole and keep it in place in high winds and under snow loads.

    My Tarptent SCARP 2 is excellent for 2 for winter with lots of space. Here too I ran the two shortened X-ing poles under the fly. This is a more involved process than the Moment DW interior X-ing pole mod so contact me if interested. My setup makes this nice tent hellaciously strong against high winds.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!