Some avid campers like to spend every spare minute camping in the great outdoors. Many campers prefer to camp in the summer and pack away their camping gear for the winter to avoid the snow, but the most dedicated campers will hit the road and traverse the trails in any season! For these campers, a four-season tent is essential. The best four-season tent provides protection all-year-round, no matter the weather.
Whether you are a dedicated camper or are looking to expand your experiences past summer into spring, fall, or winter, a four-season tent is an essential investment for you. Every camper needs a great tent! This list of the 10 Best Four-Season Tents in 2021 will guide you down the right path to finding the best tent that you can enjoy all year round.
- 4-Season tents have 2 key features; Fly sheets which reach the ground ensure snow doesn’t blow into the inside of the tent, and ventilation panels high up on the tent body mean that sided up snow can’t block ventilation and air can still circulate around the interior of the tent.
- While 4-season tents are, usually, supremely strong against the elements, they are also heavier than similar sized 2/3-season models. It is important to bear this in mind when choosing a camping area, especially if you are going to have to carry all of your gear in on foot.
- Cold weather can reduce your ability to carry out intricate tasks if your hands get cold. A tent with an easy and fast setup will reduce your time exposed to cold weather and allow you to get indoors after a tough day of walking in the mountains.
How to Choose a 4 Season Tent – Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing which tent is best for you, it is important to consider a few key features of a tent’s design. There are many different tent designs that you can choose from and some may better suit your needs than others. There are elements to each design that can enhance your experience and trip to the great outdoors. From the warmth to the ventilation, these elements of a 4-season tent can help you decide what you need for your camping adventure. Down to the specific details, here is our guide to help you choose which 4-season tent is best for you and your camping needs.
The interesting thing about warmth with any tent, four-season or regular, is that it isn’t the object that keeps you warm. Instead, other camping gear, like your sleeping bag and using a sleeping pad versus an air mattress, are usually what determines how warm a camper stays during their trip. A good sleeping bag may be sufficient to keep you alive, but if you want to be comfortably warm, you may need to sleep on a sleeping pad or air mattress. The air mattress will keep you further off the ground, but cold air from the ground can travel through it easier. But, even with the best sleeping bag and a sleeping mat of your choice, you still need shelter.
While a tent isn’t the specific item that keeps you warm, it can certainly help you stay warmer on your trip to the outdoors. A 4-season tent is going to hold in more heat, as well as protect you from the elements. Wind and rain can easily make any camper cold and being wet and then feeling a breeze will have you shivering in your boots. A tent provides a safe place that blocks you from the wind and keeps you dry. The important part is that you keep the tent ventilated during all the seasons.
While this may seem counterintuitive to using a tent in winter, allowing the cold air in actually helps keep the heat regulated inside so that your tent doesn’t build up condensation. Condensation inside can make the tent and you wet, which makes your body colder. With air vents that allow some airflow, your tent can happily balance the heat of the campers inside and the cold of the outside, without building up a condensation that can rain down through your mesh walls.
The reason for a four-season tent is usually because they are made of a double-layer design. While the inside of the tent will not be much warmer than the air outside, a double-layer design ensures that you are still in a ventilated space while getting protection from the elements. The mesh of the first layer gives the airflow, and the waterproof fly gives the protection.
While we can’t say your tent will be warm like the inside of a house, it will help protect you. The best you can do when choosing a tent is to look at how well it will withstand the elements and look at how thick the tent material is. A great four-season tent can withstand all the elements, which will keep you warm and dry. That is, after all, its duty and it is designed with the goal of protection in mind.
Wind resistance is an element that can dictate how warm you stay during your trip and if you can even sleep in your tent at all. Four-season tents are built to be strong, but strong wind can still send your tent tumbling around. When you pick a campsite, try to find areas that have a natural barrier against the wind. There may be a line of trees that can help block the wind but look out for potentially dangerous trees when pitching in the wind.
If there isn’t a natural barrier, try to pitch the tent so the door is opposite the wind. You want the wing to hit you from the rear, so it flows over the tight tent body rather than against the loose entry. If your tent has two doors it is best to choose the main door and ensure that all zippers are properly closed and if flaps are available, covered. If your tent comes with door covers, you can use those to protect yourself and your gear from the wind. They will help ensure your tent is more wind-resistant.
No camper likes the experience of being wet. Wet conditions usually mean that you will get cold, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid by using a tent. The best overall 4-season tent design will be waterproof all around. From the ground up to the top and at all the seams and zippers, you want to ensure water will not breach the inside of your tent.
Many tents come with a rainfly, which is the outer layer that ensures the rain stays out and you stay dry. The best design is a double layer. The inside layer is meshed but the outer layer is a waterproof rainfly. This ensures that condensation will not build up and have it raining inside your tent. The double-layer also ensures that you can use this tent in more weather conditions, as when it’s clear and dry, you may choose to remove the rainfly and sleep under the mesh.
It is also best for you to have a bathtub groundsheet stitched into the tent. This layer of protection will keep the inside of your tent from becoming a pond. A good groundsheet will ensure that your tent is longer-lasting and will be with you throughout the years.
Related Review: Waterproof Tent
The best 4-season tents will be designed with ventilation in mind. As mentioned previously in our list, condensation is an enemy. Ventilation is what keeps the heat from the building to the point of making condensation on the inside of your tent. This can happen with a single-layer tent or double-layer tent.
It is important to beat condensation because there is no other layer of protection for you. Condensation can build on the inside of your tent to the point that it drips down on you and your gear. By allowing air to flow through, you are ensuring your tent can easily balance both the heat of the occupants and the cold air outside.
Condensation and ventilation work much like when a car fogs up in cold weather — cracking a window makes all the windows clear again. It is the same for a tent. If heat builds too much the moisture in the air will turn to water, which makes you wet. So, remember to ventilate, even in the colder conditions to stay warm and dry on your trip.
The walls of a four-season tent may be made from a thicker material than a regular tent. This ensures that a four-season tent can retain more heat. As well, there may be two layers to the wall. Most four-season tents have two layers. One layer is made of mesh to allow for ventilation and the other is a solid rainfly. The walls of a tent are what keep you dry and protected from the wind, but a four-season tent will also have ventilation areas in the walls to keep condensation from the building.
You should look at the material of your tent. This will tell you how thick a tent’s walls are or how thin they are. If you feel safer with a slightly thicker wall, then choose a tent that caters to your preference. Four-season tents are made from many different materials and you will have a range of options to choose from. However, keep in mind that heavier walls mean more weight. If you are trying to stay lightweight it is best to choose a material that is light but durable. However, all four-season tents should do their job and the difference in millimeters of a tent wall won’t be the thing that keeps you warm at night. Instead, look to the wind and water resistance of a tent to determine if it will suit your needs.
Q: What is the difference between a 4-season tent and a regular tent?
A four-season tent is designed to do exactly as its title suggests, withstand the four seasons. A regular tent can usually withstand two or three seasons but may not be equipped to handle snow. A 4-season tent is usually made of heavier material to ensure it retains the heat and keeps out the wind. Most 4 season tents also have a double-layer design, which helps retain the heat while still providing ventilation. A regular tent is usually concerned with keeping the wind and rain out but may not provide as many options for ventilation. This means that condensation can build up easier inside the tent. Condensation will make things wet and cold, which is exactly what most campers are trying to avoid.
If you aren’t planning on winter camping, you will easily find a tent that can withstand two or three seasons and keep you happy on your adventure. If you are thinking about adventuring in the snow, it is better to have one of the best all-season tents. If you are facing heavy rain, you may want a 4-season tent regardless of the season you will be camping in.
Nowadays, you can find lightweight 4-season tents that ensure they can be easily carried in your backpack. Some designs will be just as comfortable in summer as they will be in winter. It’s up to you to decide if you need that extra protection for the fourth season.
Q: Will a four-season tent be too warm in the summer?
Four-season tents are normally designed with ventilation in mind. Ventilation in both summer and winter keeps your sleeping conditions ideal. The ventilation of a four-season tent can allow for air to flow through in the summer. Even with the rainfly, you will have great ventilation and an added layer of protection against the sun.
As well, some four-season tents will have the option for you to not pitch the rainfly. If you are sure there will be clear and dry conditions and it is warm enough, you may be able to use a four-season tent as a single-layer tent by removing the rainfly. This will give you an open tent that may be what you need for a good night’s sleep during a hot summer night.
Related Review: Summer Tent
Remember that four-season tents are called four-season because they are designed for all types of weather. Hot weather and sunshine are no problems for a well-designed tent and you should be able to open a few windows or flaps to catch a breeze that keeps you cool.
Globo Surf Overview
No matter which four-season tent design you choose, finding one of the best 4-season tents is important. A tent should be designed to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable when using it on your camping trips. With many different designs and sizes available, you will have a wide variety of tents to choose from. The best 4-season tents will withstand all the elements and ensure that both you, members of your group, and your gear stay dry and protected throughout your trip. If you know exactly what you need, you can save time and money by investing in a top-rated all-weather tent for camping. Before you know it, you’ll be off having a grand adventure in the great outdoors!
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Do you own one of the canvas tents that made it onto our list? Let us know how it has worked for you in the comments section below.