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In this post, our mission is to help you find the best mountaineering tents of 2018. Mountaineering tents (sometimes called 4 season tents) are not the type of tents you lend to friends to go to a music festival. They are designed for exploring the great outdoors. Not camping in a muddy field with drunken people falling into them late at night.
Tents designed for mountaineering are made with the best materials and manufactured to high standards to keep you safe and warm in the wild 12 months out of the year. That includes winter conditions at high altitudes.
After water, shelter is most important when it comes to surviving in extreme environments. With today’s tents you will not just survive the wilderness, but be able to explore it with the reassurance that your home is packed up on your back and can be erected in a matter of minutes.
In fact, anyone planning on mountaineering should practice putting up a tent in the dark several times before venturing into the mountains. That applies to experienced campers as well. Preparation is key for enjoying the wilderness and smart campers are always prepared.
There are many different styles of mountaineering tents. The best options depend on what type of camping you will be doing and where you will be doing it. A base camp mountaineering tent is different than an alpine climbing tent, but they both need to be able to withstand anything that mother nature dishes out, including cold weather. As a general rule, a four-season tent designed to stay at base camp will be larger and sturdier than an alpine climbing tent. Whereas an alpine climbing tent will be more compact and much lighter.
Here are the general items we look for in a mountaineering tent:
- Size – The tent needs to be big enough to fit a person and all winter camping gear.
- Weight – There is no point in having a bullet-proof tent if it is too heavy to carry.
- Strength – A mountaineering tent needs to be sturdy enough to withstand strong winds and cold temperatures
So let’s look at a few of the best four-season tents in production to give you an idea of what is on the market today and what may work for your needs.
4-Season Mountaineering Tent Reviews
Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2
If you are the type of person whose idea of a change of clothes is a spare pair of wool socks, and you cut your toothbrush in half to reduce weight in your pack, then this mountaineering tent is for you. The Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2 person backpacking tent is as strong as it is light and compact. At 2 lb. 13 oz. and a regular packed weight of just over 3 pounds, this is about as close as you can get to “ultralight” for a mountaineering tent. It keeps all wind out and is made of 100% waterproof material. It also has excellent guyline points to withstand high winds (as long as you use them correctly).
The only drawback is there isn’t enough room to swing a cat when you have all your gear inside, but it means you can plant it almost anywhere due to its small size. So if you plan on sharing this tent with one other person, I hope you are ready to get comfortable and use your bags as pillows.
When it comes to ultralight mountain mountaineering tents, this is hands down one of the best.
The North Face Mountain 25
If you’re looking for a little bit more space in your mountain tent, check out the North Face Mountain 25. Most two-person tents can hardly fit a single person, but this tent can comfortably fit two sleeping bags, sleeping pads and a full loadout of gear. The inside floor is 32.3 square feet and the vestibule adds about another 8 square feet for gear storage.
The Mountain 25 tent is light enough to be used for a winter hiking trip in your local mountains (no matter where you live). It is also as strong as an ox and has a very spacious, livable design. For people that like to mix camping and climbing, this mountaineering tent is perfect for a weekend away. It has great pockets, ventilation, and Kevlar guylines, which are reflective and come with camming adjusters.
We also like that is has a spacious vestibule so you can leave your dirty climbing gear on the outside of the tent while you sleep. The vestibule also has a small window, which can come in handy when you are hunkered down waiting for a storm to pass.
The dome pole design is well known for its strength and easy setup, but it also helps provide ample headroom, which can be essential when you are spending long periods of time sitting in your tent.
There is a reason why The North Face is so famous around the world today. They know what they’re doing when it comes to outdoor gear. This mountaineering tent weighs 8.8 lb, which is definitely on the heavy side. But considering the amount of room that is provided, it isn’t much when you split it with a buddy. It also has a stylish black and yellow design.
For a lighter North Face alternative, we suggest The North Face Summit Series Assault 2 Tent Summit.
If you have the budget, the Hilleberg Jannu 2 person tent can do just about anything you could ask from a four-season mountain tent. It’s super strong, versatile, durable, weighs just 7.1 lbs. and is easy to assemble. The tent fabric is an extremely durable and weather resistant Kerlon 1200.
While this may not do any one thing better than the other specialist mountain tents out there, it does everything exceptionally well. It is not super cheap but quality comes at a price, and this tent is worth the investment.
It has enough floor space to fit you and a partner, which is great because who likes climbing alone? Like the previously mentioned North Face option, the Jannu also features a large vestibule.
Tent weight and comfort are important factors to consider when backcountry touring. And the Hilleberg ticks all the boxes for getting lost in the woods or tackling big mountains in Alaska. We are confident this tent would stay strong in all sorts of bad weather conditions.
Overall this is one of the best winter tents on the market.
These are all great mountaineering tents but it really depends on what you need. All of these tents will provide weather protection for high-altitude mountaineering, but all of them excel in different areas.
The Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2 is our choice if you are a solo ultralight hiker that is willing to sacrifice space in favor of weight. The North Face Mountain 25 is a great compromise between price, weight, and strength. This is our entry level choice if you just getting into winter camping. If you want it all and are willing to pay for it, spring for the Hilleberg Jannu.
You can be sure the next time you get stuck in a storm they won’t let you down.