How to Create The Perfect Camping Kitchen

camping kitchen

When you think of camping and cooking, you may picture yourself crouched uncomfortably on the floor huddled over a gas stove or trying to scrub dried porridge of the bottom of your pot.

And, I have to admit, I’ve been there…

But if you’re car camping, you don’t have to worry so much about space and weight, which means you can create a camping kitchen which works for you and doesn’t leave you clutching your aching back every night.

Read moreHow to Create The Perfect Camping Kitchen

Tent Review: Kelty Grand Mesa 4

Kelty Grand Mesa 4 review

What’s the definition of a four-person tent?

The left-brained people among you may believe that it’s a tent designed for four people to sleep in. If that’s the case, you obviously don’t work for a tent manufacturer, many of whom assume (erroneously) that they’re designing tents for slim, five-foot-five campers who are happy to bunk in head to toe and aren’t fussed about personal space.

To complicate things further, one manufacturer’s three-person tent may be smaller than another manufacturer’s two-person tent. And don’t get me started on one-and-a-half person tents. Just which half of the second person are you supposed to chop off?

Read moreTent Review: Kelty Grand Mesa 4

Tent Review: REI Co-op Kingdom 6

REI Kingdom 6 featured

Recently, I was talking to a buddy of mine about ICOC’s broad range of camping reviews, and about some of the awesome tents that we've been talking about.

He chimed in quickly, saying “We own an REI Kingdom 6. The wife and the kids love it!” He ranted and raved about how much he and his two boys (3-years-old and 1-year-old) had a blast in there. 

Heck, they even had room for the dogs!

His love for this tent made me look deeper and deeper into all of the features it has to offer, and I figured you all may want to know a little bit about what I learned. Therefore, let’s journey through the outdoor kingdom with the REI Co-op Kingdom 6.

Tent Buying Considerations: The “Six S” Method

five s method choosing a tent

Before diving into the tent, let's look at a few buying considerations. Consider the “Six S” features of 6P tents to ensure that you choose the outdoor oasis that’s best for you, your family, and all your camping pals.

Size

When it comes to six-person tents, you'll want as much space as possible. Considering an average amount of sleeping space is about 6ft x 2.5ft, this gives us about 15 sqft needed per camper (obviously this changes person to person). Add to that the amount of room each person needs to store their stuff.

One aspect of tent size that goes overlooked with these larger shelters is the maximum ceiling height. Unlike their smaller and shorter 2-person equivalents, you should be able to stand up (and stretch) in a 6-person tent. That way, you’ll be able to step over your tent mates with ease.

Season

Typically, you aren’t going to journey into the depths of the tundra or trek into a monsoon with a 6-person tent, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore each shelters seasonal rating. Whether it be 3-season or 4-season, you’ll want to make sure that your final tent decision protects against water from entering the tent from the outside...

But also from the inside!

That’s why proper ventilation is key. The light breeze flowing through the mesh and vents in the tent helps to eliminate condensation from forming on the underside of the rain fly, which in turn helps to regulate overall warmth. A tent’s ability to control moisture is essential for a positive camping experience.

Setup

With smaller tents, you tend to see either an X-, or Y-shaped pole structure since only a few supports are needed to hold up the tent canopy. But with larger 6-person shelters, you may see some more complicated designs, like hoops, cross bars, reinforcements, and even pop-ups. All of these architectures affect setup difficulty.

Don't be deterred by the way a tent is pitched though. You should always (and I mean always) practice setting up your tent before you head to the campsite. Don't get caught fiddling around trying to pitch your tent when daylight begins to fade. It's a nasty feeling. Do it over and over again in the backyard until you no longer have to think about it.

Security

Security means something different to every camper. For one, it may mean protection against the elements. For another, it just may be the feeling of being safe in the outdoors.

Personally, I feel security comes down to the feeling of knowing that your tent will hold up until morning. This comes down to durability.

You’ll want to look into features like the composition of the fabric and the poles, as well as all of the hardware that’s associated with the tent (guy lines, stakes, clips, etc.). If one of these items is faulty, it can turn a good sleep into a night of agony.

Storage

When you have half-a-dozen people’s clothes and personal items spread across the tent floor, available storage space becomes hugely important. Make sure that your desired shelter has enough interior storage pockets and nooks to cover the needs of your entire party, or you'll be left with a giant mess.

On top of that, if you are heading out into the backcountry, you’ll want a decently sized vestibule to store all of your wet, muddy gear. That way, you’ll have more livable room within the tent while still keeping your gear dry underneath the awning-like vestibule outside.

$$

We always say that money isn't everything when it comes to tents. But if you long for a specific tent and just can't cut it financially, check out Craigslist or ebay. For bigger tents, try asking your local outdoor store for renting possibilities.

Or if you plan on camping with a few buddies, have them shell out a few bucks to split the cost.

REI Co-op Kingdom 6

rei kingdom6

Oh the REI Co-op Kingdom 6. Quality time away with the whole family.

The large, rectangular floor plan and 75” max center height will make you feel like you're living in one of those tiny houses, not a tent. Plus, there is even a room divider, giving you and your partner a little privacy while the kids take the other half.

Don’t forget about the factory-sealed waterproof rainfly, bug nets, stargazing abilities, and all-around livability!

Some features of the Kingdom 6 still fall short of its competitors. The overall setup can be challenging at first, but should a ten-minute job once you get used to it. The front vestibule is a little small, which is why REI sells a a “garage” separately. The extra awning gives you plenty of space to store your gear, cook in the rain, or simply relax in the open air.

It’s a little on the pricier side, but if you want to keep you and your family safe in the brutal outdoors, you can turn your tent into a castle with the Kingdom 6.

PROS

  • check
    Spacious interior
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    High quality materials
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    Excellent weather protection

CONS

  • Challenging setup at first
  • Expensive
  • Small vestibule

Size: Ample Living Space

Enough room for the whole family (and more), one of the top features of the REI Co-op Kingdom 6 is the spacious interior.

While the floor area itself is nothing too impressive (83.3 sqft is small compared to many tents on the market), the three-hoop design with center support allows for an incredible amount of usable volume. You can even stand up and walk around in this behemoth of a shelter without scraping your head on the fabric.

Season: Excellent 3-Season Protection

The Kingdom 6 is classified as a 3-season tent, and it lives up to that rating and more. The center divider (which is rip-proof) provides two separate rooms that offer different features.

The sleeping area is built mostly of thick, 75-denier nylon for warmth and privacy, while the other area is made completely of 45-denier nylon mesh for excellent ventilation. So you can either nestle into the bedroom to hideaway from those brisk summer nights, or lay back to stargaze in a bug-free breezeway.

Either way, you’ll have ultimate protection from nature’s everchanging elements.

Setup: Challenging At First But Difficulty Wanes Over Time

Unlike a simple X-shape tent, the REI Kingdom 6 utilizes a three-pole, hoop architecture with an extra support that runs vertical along the roof. If you are not used to pitching a tent, the inaugural setup will definitely be difficult.

Also, if you manage do get the initial canopy setup, you’ll still have to contend with an awkward rainfly. Overall, you’ll probably need two people to pitch the Kingdom 6, but over time, you may be able to set it up solo while the rest of the family preps for dinner.

Security: High-Quality Materials And Durable REI Craftsmanship

As with all REI products, the Kingdom 6 is constructed of quality materials to keep the whole gang safe at the campsite.

The 14.5 mm poles are constructed of durable, lightweight aluminum so you shouldn’t have to worry about them bending or snapping when you are struggling through the setup process. Also, the bathtub floor is constructed of a dense, 150-denier polyester Oxford fabric, which can even withstand the most rambunctious of kids.

In combination with the 75-denier waterproof polyester rainfly and quality tent hardware, the REI Co-op Kingdom 6 is like a campsite fortress, both inside and out.   

Storage: Interior Pockets And Vestibule (With Optional Garage)

With the whole family at the campsite, it’s imperative that you remain organized, and the REI Co-Op Kingdom 6 provides you with plenty of storage options.

There are several mesh pockets scattered throughout the tent and a “Door Stuff Pocket” so that you can grab-and-go when leaving the tent. Although, one storage aspect that I would like to see improved in the next generation of Kingdom tents is the size of the vestibule.

I mean, 29 sqft is definitely not enough space for six people. Of course, you can by the “garage” separately, but that can be a drain on the bank account.

$$: Pricey

The REI Co-op Kingdom 6 comes in at a whopping $439. Yes, that may seem expensive, but think about all the great times you’ll have with your friends and the family as you all explore the outdoors, then retire to your campsite castle to relax and reminisce.

Camper Testimonials

Since I like to be a good host to all you astute campers, I’m not going to leave you hanging with only my opinion of the REI Co-op Kingdom Co-op 6. Here's what other campers are saying about it.

Love it! I'm a single mother with a 13yr old boy. This tent was a breeze to set up and break down. My lil' guy and I were able to do it in 10 minutes. The first test was a trip upstate to NY where we encountered some intense rain & wind. We woke up dry and the Kingdom was just as solid as when we set it up!
Love the tent, it feels roomy. There are side pockets all around the tent which is very convenient. Minus points for the setup instructions! It's difficult to figure out how to set up the tent based on a few words on the tent bag. But once you figure it out, it's pretty simple.
We upgraded to this tent from a Marmot Limestone due to an upgraded family size. It has exceeded all expectations! We easily fit a family of 5 (one in a travel crib). Highly recommend the garage attachment, it's a game changer in bad weather. The tent withstood a sudden and serious storm even after we evacuated and thought it would be lost. Well done, REI.

Alternative Products to Consider

north face wawona 6
rei kingdom6

Size

86 sqft with 80” ceiling

92 sqft with 67” ceiling

100 sqft with 72” ceiling

83 sqft with 75" ceiling

Season

3-season

3-season

3-season

3-season

Setup

Easy once you get used to it

Difficult due to design

Easy 10 min pitch

Easy with practice

Security

Single-wall design fully waterproof

Durable polyester construction

Thin polyester construction

Aluminum poles, durable polyester materials

Storage

2 large vestibules

Dual vestibules

Interior pockets, no vestibule

Interior vestibule + optional garage

$$ Price

$400

$700

$90

$440

Again, this is about your camping experience, not mine, so perhaps there is a feature or two that you may not like about the REI Co-op Kingdom 6. In that case, check out these alternatives.

The North Face Wawona 6

north face wawona 6

Coming in slightly cheaper than the REI Co-op Kingdom 6, but with many of the same top-of-the-line features, is The North Face Wawona 6. This ultra spacious, ultra durable shelter will provide your family with ample protection from the elements.

Unlike its competitors, the North Face Wawona 6 is a single-walled 6-person tent as opposed to the more usual double-walled type. The single wall construction makes for stronger weather protection and easier setup (once you get the hang of it). 

You would think that the heavy polyester walls would trap in moisture and make the tent impossible to live in, but no. This tent has been expertly designed to prevent condensation with several large vents. Unfortunately this design makes stargazing impossible.

Still, if you truly want to keep your family, and your gear, safe in the outdoors, all at a reasonable price, than you may want to consider looking into The North Face Wawona 6.

PROS

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    Great vestibule
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    Ample interior space
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    Enhanced ventilation

CONS

  • Difficult setup (at first)
  • Poor storage bag
  • Not for stargazing

Big Agnes is a pioneer in the camping industry, and their Flying Diamond 6 is leading the charge in 6-person tents. The heavy polyester material and DAC Featherlite (but still oak strong) materials will provide your entire party with years and years of outdoor fun.

Marketed as a 3+ season tent, the Flying Diamond 6 can hold up to the harshest of weather conditions. With it’s bomber design, it can even withstand a snowy winter.

The reinforced tent architecture can cause some difficulties when you are trying to pitch it at the campsite, so make sure to practice.

The Flying Diamond 6 provides plenty of space to sleep with about 92 sq. ft. of floor area (about 10 sq. ft. more than the REI Co-op Kingdom 6) and is separated into two rooms, but it’s not the best “hang out” tent. The low-hanging ceilings and oddly tapered design limit the overall usable - and movable - interior space.

At nearly $700, the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6 is one of the most expensive 6P tents on the market. A high price, but it comes with durable materials and ultimate protection from the elements. You shouldn’t have to worry about purchasing another family-style anytime soon. Check out this tent, and more of Big Agnes’ quality outdoor products here.

PROS

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    Great weather protection
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    Durable materials
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    2 rooms + 2 vestibules

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Difficult setup
  • Limited liveable space

If you want to take the family to the campsite, but don’t know if it’s going to be a long-lasting tradition, then the Coleman Sundome 6 is your tent. This affordable shelter offers an ample amount of living space and simple X-shaped setup.

At under $100, it’s one of the most affordable tents on the market. Unfortunately, the low price point comes a reduction in overall quality.

The Sundome’s thin polyester materials are not up to snuff with the other tents on the market. The support poles are made from fiberglass and they are prone to breaking. So - not the best tent against harsh weather conditions.

Despite the negative aspects of the Coleman Sundome 6, it is still one of the most popular products on the market. Not least because the Coleman brand is generally a trusted quality brand.

If you simply want a weekend getaway - and aren’t expecting super harsh conditions - then the Sundome 6 may be your best tent option.

PROS

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    Affordable
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    Easy setup
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    Large interior

CONS

  • Limited weather protection
  • Not very durable
  • Poles may break

Final Thoughts

All in all, the Kingdom 6 is an excellent shelter to house the entire family, or close group of friends: it has a spacious interior, great protection from the elements, and REI’s high-quality materials. While it may take a toll on your bank account, you’ll be able to create priceless memories in the outdoors. You’ll definitely feel like royalty as you rule nature’s kingdom (or just the local campgrounds) in the REI Co-op Kingdom 6. Camp on!

Jay toes the line between hiking enthusiast and vagabond as he treks across the world, soaking in it’s natural wonders. When he’s not exploring the trail, he writes articles to help guide others through their outdoor conquests.

Best Camping Chairs of 2019

camping chairs

After a long day in the wilderness, I like to sit back and relax next to the warmth of the campfire.

But, since I tend to pack light, I’m stuck seated on an uncomfortable log that’s probably infested with creepy critters. And, if I lay down in my tent, I’ll just fall asleep before the sun sets.

My best option to chill by the glowing fire? A camping chair!

Read moreBest Camping Chairs of 2019

Best 4-Season Tents of 2018

If you’re anything like me, you best enjoy the cold season from behind a glass, holding a cup of hot chocolate with the heat turned up to eleven.

But be honest...

There's something unique about the winter atmosphere. That tranquility and serenity of the untouched snow-covered landscapes. Early nights and freezing early mornings. Escaping the harsh cold, huddled around a warm fire with your friends.

The thought to experience it firsthand is enticing, but only if you have the proper gear! Winter pants, weatherproof coat and a cold-proof tent.

Let me show you some of the best 4-season tents around, just in case you decide to release your inner winter warrior.

How To Buy a 4-Season Tent: The ‘Six S’ Method

winter landscape 2

Here at In Case of Camping, we like to hammer home the ‘Six S’ method of tent buying, because it's so damn effective. For 4-season tents though, each category is slightly different as opposed to the corresponding 3-season one.

Size

While most three season tents come with ample living space, you’ll rarely see a spacious 4-season tent.

These shelters are meant to withstand a large amount of snow (in case of blizzard or small avalanche), so they are built compact and sturdy. Less interior space means the tent will stay warmer, as it will trap in your body heat more efficiently. Furthermore, a smaller footprint also helps when pitching on the sides of mountains.

As per weight, it comes as no shock that 4-season shelters tend to be made up of heavy materials, which can put a strain on your body as you carry them to the campsite, or even across the alpine ridge. Although, with camping technology constantly improving, some products are able to cut down on the overall weight while still maintaining their strength and stability.

Season

Although 3-season tents are aptly-named, as they perform well in the spring-summer-fall temperate climates, calling a tent 4-season can be misleading since they are typically only used in the one coldest season: winter.

These tents act more like huts in frigid conditions. The thick-walled fabric and sturdy pole structure work to protect against the elements while trapping in the camper's body heat.

The one big difference between 3- and 4-season tents when it comes to protection from the elements is ventilation. While 3-season shelters are sometimes constructed of almost 80% mesh, their cold weather counterparts contain little to no mesh. Instead, they have small vents to regulate air flow so that condensation doesn’t build up (and freeze) on the underside of the fly. 

The 4-season pole structure is usually made from aluminum, so that they can withstand blistering winds and heavy snowfall and hold up their thick fabrics.

Setup

If you thought that pitching a dome tent in the comfort of a warm, dry campsite was difficult, wait until you have to pitch a heavy tent in freezing temperatures, snow flurries, and double-digit wind gusts! 

While hopefully you never have to deal with that icy hell, you should still look into ease of setup as one of your buying consideration.

Compared to the 1 or 2 pole support system of 3-season tents, 4-season tents can have anywhere from 1 to 12 poles to ensure the stability of the structure.

Also, instead of normal plastic clips that attach the support system to the canopy, they tend to use sewn-in fabric sleeves which provide more durability. So if you want to become an expert pitcher, you’ll have to practice, practice, practice.

Security

Perhaps the most important category when considering purchasing a 4-season tent is security. And by security, we mean questions like: Do you feel safe in your tent? Are you prepared for inclement weather? Will your shelter last through the night? 

As for the longevity of a 4-season shelter, it can be hard to predict its lifespan. Most support poles are made from strong structural aluminum and the fabrics have a higher denier count (indicative of the density or thickness of each product). Your mileage for tent lifespan may vary, if you tend to camp in extreme conditions.

Storage

Interior storage (corner pockets, light pockets, loops, etc.) doesn’t change much between 3- and 4-season shelters as each one has its own unique features.

Although, one storage design aspect that differs greatly is the vestibule.

Most of the time, 3 season shelters have 1 or 2 vestibules to store your gear so that you have more space to spread out in your tent, but this long flap doesn’t extend all the way to the ground since air is meant to flow through it.

With 4-season shelters, the vestibules tend to extend all the way down to the ground (and sometimes with an inward-facing flap) to prevent snow drift getting inside.

$$

Due to the more expensive and expansive materials, you probably will have to shell out more than a few hundred dollars to purchase a 4-season tent. But, there are still plenty of affordable 3-season tents that will prevent you and your bank account from freezing.

Since camping in the winter can be deadly, always be cognizant of the fact that you shouldn’t skimp out on a higher-end shelter, as it could cost you your life.

Case Study: 3-Season vs. 4-Season Tents

Let’s take a look at two tents from a world-renowned tent company, MSR, to highlight some of the differences between a 3-season and 4-season shelter.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX (3-season)

MSR Access 2 (4-season)

Size

29 sq. ft., 3 lbs. 13 oz.

29 sq. ft., 4 lbs. 1 oz.

Season

3-season and great ventilation

4-season, and warm (limited mesh)

Setup

Simple Pitch

Simple Pitch

Security

Featherlite NFL poles

Easton poles and nylon

Storage

Large vestibule and interior pockets

Vestibule with interior pockets

Price

$300

$600

Pros

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    Great ventilation
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    Lightweight
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    Easy setup
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    Lightweight, 4-season
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    Strong support structure
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    Easy setup

Cons

  • Doesn't withstand harsh conditions
  • Questionable durability
  • Tight interior
  • Expensive
  • Prone to condensation
  • Tight interior

As you can see, some of the main differences between the two tents include the stability, ventilation capabilities, and overall price.

The Access 2's stable structure is formed by heavy duty Easton poles to ensure that snow and strong winds don't collapse the shelter. This is in stark contrast to the lightweight poles of the Hubba Hubba NX. 

The fabric is heavier in the Access 2 and is comprised of significantly less mesh than its 3-season counterpart. This results in less ventilation, but much better heat insulation. 

As for overall price, you'll be paying top dollar for the additional weather protection benefits of a 4-season tent.

Best 4-Season Tents

Now that we’ve covered some of the major differences between the 3- and 4-season shelters, let’s look at some popular tents to fulfill all of your winter camping needs.

marmot thor 2p

Size

36 sqft, 7 lbs 1 oz

32.5 sqft, 8 lbs 8 oz

40 sqft, 9 lbs 13 oz

34.5 sqft, 7 lbs 15 oz 

38 sqft, 10 lbs

34.4 sqft, 7 lbs 1 oz

Season

4-season

4-season

4-season

4-season

4-season

4-season

Setup

Easy Single-Wall Pitch

Time consuming

Simple

Quick (Tear-Down Difficult)

Simple, quick

Simple, quick

Security

Durable ToddTex Fabric

Nylon and Polyester Construction

Heavy nylon, Featherlite poles

Polyester Materials

Nylon and DAC NSL Poles

Durable Kerlon Fabric

Storage

Pockets, No Vestibule

Vestibule and Interior Pockets

Ample space

Vestibule and Gear Loft

Dual Vestibules

Large Vestibule

Price $$

$$$$

$$$

$$$

$

$$$

$$$$


PROS

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    Ultimate weather protection
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    Enhanced ventilation
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    Simple pitch

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Little head room
  • May feel cramped

Named after a treacherous peak in Himalayas (and 32nd tallest mountain in the world) the Jannu is the ultimate 4-season shelter.

It offers more-than-sufficient protection against the harshest of wintery conditions with strong 9mm poles and a weather-resistant Kerlon fabric exterior. Needless to say, you won’t have to worry about this shelter collapsing during a heavy snowfall.

So, with all of this strength, you may expect the Hillberg Jannu to break your back as you lug it up the alpine trails. But that’s not the case. Weighing only seven pounds, the Jannu 2 is unbelievably lightweight compared to many of its competitors.

Although, as with every product, there are a few downsides to consider.

First off, the Jannu will cost you a pretty penny, but what else would you expect from a tent that can withstand blizzard-like conditions?

jannu_2_interior

There's not much head room and it may feel a little tight for two people, but there's a reason for that (other than cuddling up to your camping buddy in the blistering cold).

See, this tent was designed to summit mountains. There isn’t always a lot of room to pitch on the high hilltop, so they keep the footprint small to nestle into the flat alpine ridges.

Speaking of the pitch, it's ridiculously simple for a tent this sturdy and capable. See the video below.

You're probably thinking one of two things by now: “This tent is awesome, but I’m no mountaineer,” or “Where do I buy tickets to start climbing Mount Everest?” 

Here's the rub: ​​​​You don’t have to be an expert mountain climber to enjoy the amazing features of the Hillberg Jannu 2. 

Any tenderfoot trekkers will love it’s doomsday-esque storm protection while sure-footed sherpas are sure to enjoy the fast, simple setup.  

I think it goes without saying (but I will say it anyways), the Hillberg Jannu is definitely one of the top-tier 4-season tents on the market. Head over to Hillberg’s website for more detailed information about this award-winning shelter.


marmot thor 2p

PROS

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    Spacious interior
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    Easy setup
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    Ample storage

CONS

  • Heavier than competitors
  • Condensation issues
  • Known manufacturer defects

For the adventurer (or the Avenger), the Marmot Thor 2P is a great 4-season, double-wall tent that will provide you with all the weather protection you need in the high altitude of the mountains.

From windstorms to rainstorms to snowstorms to the “God of Thunderstorms,” the Thor utilizes a unique six-pole design (composed of DAC Featherlite NSL) to remain upright and sturdy in the harshest of conditions. That way, nearly every “weak point” is supported to take on any impending blizzard.

Aside from the aluminum frame, the rest of the tent is composed of different densities of ripstop nylon. Both the canopy and the rain fly are composed of 40-Denier nylon (with a thick waterproof coating on the latter), while the bathtub floor comes in at a thicker 70-Denier, which makes in more durable against the sharp rocks in the mountains. Although, the thicker material can lead to poor ventilation and internal condensation, which could be an issue if you neglect to open the vents in exchange for warmth.

Unlike other four-season tents, Marmot has engineered the Thor so that you and your winter camping buddy have plenty of headroom (44” ceiling height), just in case you get trapped in some heavy powder.

Then when you’re ready to leave and move on to the next location, you’ll have no problem moving, as the pitch/breakdown is simple and quick. A 7 lbs 10 oz carryweight means you can easily carry it to your next stop.

Anyways, the Marmot Thor 2P isn’t just for intense thrill seekers. If you are planning to camp at a higher elevation, you should probably be packing a long a 4-season tent due to the ever-changing conditions.

Whether you’re simply enjoying the view or trying to climb to the top of the earth, the Marmot Thor 2P will keep you safe and secure - no matter how miserable the weather.


PROS

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    Affordable
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    Easy pitch
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    Ample storage

CONS

  • Poor ventilation
  • Not great in high winds
  • Difficult teardown

You don’t have to bring in the big bucks to enjoy the outdoors in the depths of winter.

The Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 provides an affordable solution to all your 4-season camping needs.

Some of the more noteworthy features of the Tasmanian 2 are the ample amount of storage in the hoop-shaped vestibules, mesh interior pockets, and an overhead gear loft.

tasmanian 2 gear loft

You'll quickly be able to pitch this tent, thanks to the support poles being tethered together by a weatherproof shockcord. A godsend when you want to jump into your sleeping bag after a long day outing in the freezing cold.

While it does have ceiling vents to create airflow, you may want to crack open the vestibule during warmer conditions as airflow and condensation can be a problem.

Overall, the quality of this tent is not the best on the market, but it will serve its purpose of protecting you from the elements. The heavier polyester fabric may hold a few inches of snow, but the aluminum poles don't hold up very well to mountain peak gusts. So stay below the tree line in the Tasmanian 2.

Still, if you simply want to venture into the woods in freezing temperatures on a budget, then Alps Mountaineering has created the perfect product for you.


PROS

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    Easy pitch
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    Spacious interior
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    Adequate protection

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Poor ventilation

It takes two to Trango in the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2.

*crickets*

Seriously, it really does take two people to carry around this nearly-10 lb. shelter, but it’s definitely worth its weight.

mountain trango 2 canopy

The Trango 2 has been trusted by mountaineers, climbers, and winter warriors for years. Basically, it’s a standard X-shaped design, with two extra pole featherlite aluminum supports and heavy nylon fabric which means you can take on the frosty fury of the ever-changing alpine conditions.

One important feature that Mountain Hardwear has incorporated into the Trango 2: space. The 40 sq. ft. of interior space will give you and your camping buddy plenty of room to hang out.

The setup is quick with “Direct Connection” secure points between the tent canopy, pole supports, and rain fly. You won't have to wait long to retire from the cold.

mountain trango 2 interior

As a slight negative, the Trango 2 doesn’t have the best ventilation which may lead to unwanted condensation. One thing is for sure though: this tent it will keep you safe any season.


northface mountain25

PROS

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    Great stability
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    Ample space
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    Great ventilation

CONS

  • Difficult setup
  • Heavier than competitors
  • Questionable durability

The North Face is an industry leader in quality winter gear, and their Mountain 25 4-season shelter is no different.

If you are embarking on a expedition into the mountains or simply desire to experience the fresh winter air, then this tent may be right for you.

Other than the brand name itself, the best feature about the Mountain 25 is its protection against harsh wintery conditions. Similar to the Trango 2, it uses a reinforced X-shaped structure with 2 cross supports (or as The North refers to it: “bomber squared”). In combination with the heavy nylon and polyester fabrics, this tent will remain rigid when the weather is frigid.

northface mountain25 exterior

One feature that separated the Mountain 25 from the rest of the available 4-season shelters is moisture control.

The “bucket” floor is coated with an unprecedented 10000 mm polyurethane coating which offers great protection against water from entering from underneath. (Most tents offer around 2000 mm.) The North Face has engineered this tent to incorporate a High-low venting system, which breezes past its competitors and provides campers to use it as a shelter all-year round, not just in the bowels of winter.

Of course there are a few downsides to The North Face 25 as well. The setup is arduous and difficult, since the pole sleeves can turn the tent into a giant kite if not properly staked down. The materials are great against weather, but they do seem a little thin, which leads me to believe that long term durability may be an issue.

northface mountain25 interior

Still, with more features like No-stretch Kevlar guylines for a taut pitch, dual doors, two vestibules (8 sq. ft. and 3 sq. ft), and tested down to -60°F you’ll be stay warm in any storm.

Climb to new heights, join the ranks of the cragsmen (and cragswomen), and conquer every side of the mountain with The North Face Mountain 25.


PROS

  • check
    Strong and stable
  • check
    Single-wall structure
  • check
    Great weather protection

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Interior setup
  • No vestibule

Aptly named after the awe-inspiring, yet terrifying Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, the Black Diamond Fitzroy is a great option for any mountaineer, guru or greenhorn

The unique single-wall structure and bomber design provide plenty of stability and protection from high-altitude conditions.

What sets the Fitzroy apart from the rest of its 4-season competitors is the attention to detail. The unique ToddTex fabric offers long-lasting durability with three separate layers, which promote warmth, dryness, and security. The double-mesh provide another layer of protection against potential bugs and help with the ventilation as well.

Unfortunately, Black Diamond has made their top-of-the-line tent a little difficult to pitch. Unlike most shelters, the tent poles are located on the inside, rather than the outside, of the fabric. While this ultimately benefits when it comes to overall security, it can be extremely difficult to pitch.

Also, with no vestibule, it may be difficult to keep your gear out of the elements (even though there is plenty of interior space).

All in all, the Black Diamond Fitzroy is an expensive, secure option for any winter warrior and may be the toughest of the tough when it comes single-walled 4-season tents.

Your Turn - Enter The Winter Wonderland

4-season shelters are much different than their 3-season counterparts. Their main purpose is to keep you safe and protect you from the most disastrous of weather conditions.

If you’re thinking about hiking high above the tree line in the mountains, or want just want to breathe in the crisp December air, you now know where to look to find the best 4-season shelters of 2018. Camp on!

Jay toes the line between hiking enthusiast and vagabond as he treks across the world, soaking in it’s natural wonders. When he’s not exploring the trail, he writes articles to help guide others through their outdoor conquests.

Best Air Mattress For Camping in 2018

pump air mattress

Laying down to sleep after a long day in the outdoors is one of the most blissful feelings.

Nestled cozy into your sleeping bag, the scurrying of nocturnal critters and rustling of the evening breeze lull you to sleep - YAWN - I’m feeling drowsy just thinking about it!

But after a few minutes lying there, you become restless. Flipping onto your side doesn’t help. Adjusting your pillow doesn’t help. Even counting sheep doesn’t help. Something just isn’t right… and it’s probably your air mattress.

Read moreBest Air Mattress For Camping in 2018