The Best Winter & Mountaineering Tents

Winter and mountaineering tents are for camping in snow, on glaciers and during expeditions. Unlike 3-season backpacking tents, these shelters are built to endure heavy winds, cold temperatures and substantial precipitation. In order to withstand gale force winds, mountaineering tents are usually long and low to the ground and feature sturdier poles. Snow and freezing temperatures cause less mesh to be used on the walls, waterproof fabric and seams, and a fly that reaches all the way to the ground so wind and snow can’t creep in. Some even include snow flaps to help hold the tent and fly in place. All of these features add weight, which is why a mountaineering tent would be rather hefty and overkill as a summer backpacking tent.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Fjallraven Akka Endurance 2
90
Best in Class
2017
Ease Of Set-Up 7
Weatherproofing & Ve... 9
Living Space & Vesti... 9
Weight To Space And ... 8
Durability 8
Value 9

Amazing vestibule

Good ventilation

Handles bad weather well

Hoop style can be harder to get set up

Living space is just adequate, but not over sized

MSRP
$700.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Mountain Hardwear Trango 3
88
Ease Of Set-Up 8
Weatherproofing & Ve... 7
Living Space & Vesti... 8
Weight To Space And ... 8
Durability 9
Value 8

Price

Great storage options

Easy to set up

Additional vents would help ventilation

Rear vestibule is a bit small

MSRP
$700.00
BEST DEAL
$717.89
Big Agnes Royal Flush
86
Ease Of Set-Up 9
Weatherproofing & Ve... 8
Living Space & Vesti... 7
Weight To Space And ... 8
Durability 6
Value 8

Easy to set up

Good storage

Good ventilation

Weight

Zipper on the front door broke during testing

Rear vestibule is a bit small

Price

MSRP
$850.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Fjallraven Akka Endurance 2

The Fjallraven Akka Endurance 2 tent proved highly durable during testing and it offers one of the best vestibules on the market. The tunnel design with side door entry into the vestibule created outstanding weather protection in this tough tent. 

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Mountain Hardwear Trango 3

The Trango 3 provides great storage, is easy to set up and has plenty of room for up to three people comfortably. Although quite heavy and not as well vented as other tents in the test, the Trango 3 proved durable and spacious for occupants and their gear.

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Big Agnes Royal Flush

The Big Agnes Royal Flush tent proved stable, secure and easy to set up. Within a few days on the mountain, a couple of Royal Flush’s zippers became difficult to use but otherwise it performed admirably. The Royal Flush provides good storage, good ventilation and plenty of room for up to 3 persons. 

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What is a Winter & Mountaineering Tent?

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Mountaineering tents tend to be more spacious than lightweight backpacking tents. Camping on the Kahiltna glacier requires a lot of gear, and a winter tent typically has the room to store it. Rather than force two smelly people to sleep elbow-to-elbow for weeks, a roomier design allows expedition partners some personal space, plus room for duffels full of warm layers. This is where tents labeled with a three-person capacity is a little tricky: it means that it can fit two people and a lot of stuff comfortably, but three people in a pinch and all the stuff elsewhere.

As part of the additional space, tents for winter camping usually come with flys that extend out to create one or more vestibules. This is key, because a vestibule serves as a protected space to sit and remove your boots before crawling into the warmer and dry interior. If a storm is raging, it can be a relief to zip the vestibule closed while taking care of this chore. The vestibule also makes a great little room for storing extra items not needed in the tent overnight.