Winter is definitely coming. Check your calendars for Dec. 21, which is the official first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
Since about 90 percent of the Earth’s total human population lives up north, let’s talk. (Oh, we’re sending plenty of love to those “northerners” in the tropical regions. Surf’s up.)
For the rest of us, things are going to get chilly for the next couple of months. For the hardiest of us, exploration is a year-round gig. For the outdoorsiest of us, don’t let the season throw off your camping game.
Continue to hit the trails and plot your excursions. Just keep warm when it comes to sleeping under snowy skies.
We’ve got your gold, silver and bronze medals for extreme cold weather tents to pack along.
A couple notes first: keep away from “all-weather tents.” Don’t bother with those if your destination promises some serious Celsius. Consider material first; material that’s thick and able to provide appropriate insulation, as well as able to resist snowfall, rain or heavy wind. A-shaped or dome-shaped are the ways to go to allow snow and rain to slip off easily.
Secondly, consider adding a tent heater to your outdoor indoors. No matter how insulated (even double layers), tents will still feel cold at night during winter.
If the ECWT (Extreme Cold Weather Tent) is good enough for the U.S. military, who are we to argue?
Eureka!, the ECWT manufacturer, for more than 120 years has been developing shelters that have become standards in all military branches in all environments around the world. (Eureka! has provided supplies in every major conflict since World War I.)
This tent has specs to be operable in climates as low as minus-25 degrees Fahrenheit and can withstand 50 mph winds and repel wind-driven rain at two inches per hour. With 24 12-inch stakes and 64 square feet of floor space, it’s also sturdy.
It gets our bronze only for its inability to house a stove inside, which makes it hard to cook and keep as warm as possible in extreme conditions.
Price-wise, a used ECWT was recently going for $1,250 on eBay.
The North Face VE 25 tent is flat-out synonymous with serious expeditions to the world’s highest peaks. You’ve seen it in pictures of high camps on the highest mountains even if you didn’t realize it.
The three-person yurt can withstand even the likes of Mountain Everest-punishing minus-60 degrees Fahrenheit kinds of conditions.
It’s roomy and well-designed. The vestibule allows for quick ventilation for indoor cooking, which can otherwise be dangerous in enclosed spaces like tents. Simply, the VE 25 has, according to one online reviewer, the “ability to withstand anything Colorado can throw at it. There was an evening with 40 mph winds. Everyone was chasing their gear but us.”
There are reports of condensation gathering inside the VE 25 but, admittedly, we’re nitpicking here.
Look to spend around $650 or so for this classic.
We present the Arctic Oven 10 Extreme.
It’s just 42 pounds yet allows 90 square feet. There’s even room to stand up straight and move around. Easy to set up, and, yes, luxurious.
Let’s get technical: the Arctic Oven 10 Extreme is equipped with a four-inch round silicone fabric stove jack with cover flaps so a stove can be used inside. The full-coverage tent fly is made out of 200-denier heavy-duty four-ounce urethane coated oxford nylon. Also, a water repellent material called Vapex.
What do those specs mean exactly?
It means that you could be stuck out on the tundra for days or have the outside of your tent completely flooded by a river, but everything inside will stay warm and dry.
Go ahead and pamper yourself.
NEXT: Need somewhere to use your fancy new winter tent? Québec City, Canada might be the last place you’d think to look to get away from it all, but the wilderness around the city provides endless opportunities for adventure.