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Which Winter Tent? MSR vs. Black Diamond vs. Marmot
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Mark Hume
(seattlesetters) - F

Locale: Pugetropolis
Which Winter Tent? MSR vs. Black Diamond vs. Marmot on 10/27/2009 11:14:30 MDT Print View

I'm in the market for a winter camping tent and have narrowed my decision down to three tents. What I need is shelter for camping in the high desert of Central Washington on the east slope of the Cascades.

Where I'll be, there aren't huge snowstorms ... about 12" is the very most that would fall in a day ... but wind and low temperatures are a fact of everyday life. So, this tent needs to first and foremost be stable in high winds.

Weight is not a concern, as the campsites will be served by a vehicle. I'm normally going to be alone with a dog or two, and will occasionally have a buddy along. These trips will usually be one night, but two-night stays will happen every once in awhile.

My criteria, in order of importance, are:

1. Stability in the wind. I'll be camping on exposed ridges adjacent to a wind farm. The wind farm is in the area for a very good reason.

2. Ease of set-up. I will be alone most of the time and want to be able to set this tent up in high winds, by myself, in a short period of time.

3. Space. Although usally just me and a dog or two, a buddy may come along often enough that having room for two plus dogs is a must. My winter bag is a 6'6" Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF...and the tent should contain this long bag without the ends hitting the walls.

4. Weather resistance. Although the area is rather dry, I can expect blowing snow almost every time out. Maybe even some rain in the early season (Oct. and Nov.).

5. Warmth. I can expect for nighttime lows to be in the single digits with winds often approaching 50 mph. I don't even know what the wind chill would be on something like that!

6. Weight. Again, I hesitate to even mention this because this is a lightweight forum and this tent will only be used for car camping. However, if all things were equal, I'd make my final decision on which tent is lightest. If things aren't equal, then it won't matter at all.

I like the Marmot Thor 3P, the MSR Asgard and the Black Diamond Squall. All have pros and cons but I think I could live with any of them. I ask for those with experience or even anecdotal evidence of the performance of these tents to help with my decision. Also, if there's something I'm missing, I'd like to know about other tents that could work. Thanks!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Which Winter Tent? Hilleberg on 10/27/2009 11:26:28 MDT Print View

Check out the Hilleberg Nallo GT 2 or 3. Huge vestibule, large sleep area, proven tent, stake one end out and then stretch and stake out other end, so you can do it by yourself. The Kaitum GT would give you a bit more length, if you wanted it. And Hilleberg in the US is based in Seattle. FWIW.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Which Winter Tent? MSR vs. Black Diamond vs. Marmot on 10/27/2009 12:06:28 MDT Print View

From your comments, I wouldn't recommend any of the tents you mentioned...

Questions 1, 4, & 5 (stability, weather-resistance, warmth) are non-issues in this category.

Ease of set-up: I've owned a Thor, I've set up the Asgard and Squall and crawled around in them... if ease of set up is a priority, none of these qualify, IMHO. The Thor has too many poles to fiddle with (reason I sold it); the Asgard requires some weird bending with the longitudinal poles; the Squall has the strangest pole structure I've ever seen... if you set it up a few times, I'm sure you'd get the hang of it, but again, if "ease" is a priority, this isn't it.

Space: The Thor 3P would be good in space, but as noted, not sure I'd want to fiddle with set up. Maybe it'd be okay. The Asgard is actually smaller than another MSR tent, the Fury... the Fury is a little roomier, easier to set up, and a pound lighter... but still too small for another person and two dogs. The Squall would be fine in space.

Weight: Whatever. You're looking for a bomber base-camp winter tent. Some of us still use those, too...

I own a Fury (switched to that from a Thor) and love it, but it's on the small side. If I use my 25" wide pad, it's distinctly into my tentmate's side of the tent. No way I'd get two dogs in there, too. Honestly, my favorite tent for what you describe is an old Moss Little Dipper. The bad thing is the 13 pound weight; the good is everything else. Well, okay, in fairness I suppose it's not all that easy to set up. I also have a fondness for 'mids for the two people and two dogs setup... great space, great weight, easy to set up. Not so much in the way of pole structure, though.

You might check out the Sierra Designs Stretch Dome, a 3-person expedition tent, or their Alpha 3, a convertible tent; the two range from 8-10 pounds. Just for grins, check out the MSR StormKing... it's disqualified, because it's too heavy and not the simplest tent to set up (not to mention $$$), but it makes me happy to know that "bombproof" tents like that are still around (it's a disease, I know).

I don't have personal experience with them, but when looking for a tent with similar qualifications I came across the Hilleberg Nallo 3 GT as a possibility.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Which Winter Tent? MSR vs. Black Diamond vs. Marmot on 10/27/2009 15:22:24 MDT Print View

> Marmot Thor 3P
Why the 3P and not the 2P? The 3p weighs 4.87 kg! And all those poles... Robust once set up maybe, but with the poles attached to the inner tent you will get it filled with water before you get the fly over it. Pitching such tents in bad weather is a real problem when solo.

> MSR Asgard
Weight 3.68 kg. Heavy. That pole structure is going to be a nightmare to set up in a storm single-handed without something bending and breaking, and again the inner tent will fill with water before you get the fly on.

> BD Squall
Wt: 3.82 kg - heavy. Again, this tent will fill with water before you get the fly over it. The poles are again strange and I wouldn't want to pitch it solo in a storm - something is going to bend and break.

The benchmark for extreme weather tents are tunnels with the poles attached to the fly. They can be set up in a howling storm single-handed.


Cesar Garcia
(crgowo) - F

Locale: Desert SW
Why are there not more winter tents for tall people? on 10/27/2009 15:42:39 MDT Print View

I use a long sleeping bag and on my 87inch long tent the foot of my bag rubs against the mesh and the fly when it rains and starts to sag. I had to sew on a guy out tab in the center of the foot section to lift up the fly to keep from getting my bag wet.
Ive been looking for a winter tent that would be fairly easy to put up myself also but a lot of tunnel tents are only 87inchs long if not less. The MSR dragon tail is 90 with 3 poles but is a single wall. Condensation will be a problem with that tent.


Mark Hume
(seattlesetters) - F

Locale: Pugetropolis
Other alternatives? on 10/27/2009 15:48:09 MDT Print View

Cesar - I'm not into single wall tents, either. I don't need to worry about weight for a basecamp tent served by a vehicle, so no need to put up with the condensation issues.

I also don't want to spend $700 or more on a Hilleberg if I can help it. Perhaps the SD Covertible tent or an REI model might work.

Cesar Garcia
(crgowo) - F

Locale: Desert SW
rei arete on 10/27/2009 16:11:58 MDT Print View

Ive "read" good things about the REI arete which is the same design as the SD Omega but with top vents but a bit smaller. You even have the ability to leave the fly clipped on, half way I think, when you take it down. It has capped pole sleeves in the rear so I'm assuming the fly can stay clipped on in the rear.
That one is also 90" long so Ive considered it as well but don't know how strong it is. Would hate to have the tent fall fall apart on me in bad weather but as mentioned above I have "read" good things about it.

Edited by crgowo on 10/27/2009 16:14:01 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
TarpTent Scarp 2 on 10/27/2009 16:50:24 MDT Print View

I'm waiting until Henry Shires announces the revised (lower fly) version of the Scarp 2 for use as my winter tent. This design is fast to set up and very stable.

I own a TT Moment which has easily withstood high, all-night winds at 11,550 ft. in the Rockies. Henry allows as how the Scarp 2 will be even better in the wind, as well as warmer, what with the ripstop inner and being a double wall tent.

If you need even more room his Hogback is a Scarp 2 on steroids.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/27/2009 16:51:03 MDT.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Stephenson Warmlite. on 10/27/2009 17:16:24 MDT Print View

Since you are tall, check out the Stephenson Warmlite tents--the majority of 4-season tents will have your head and feet touching, but not the Stephenson's.

A previous poster mentioned the Hilleberg Nallo, which I have--it is not long enough for a 6'6" bag. If you are into Hilleberg, then check out the Kaitum as suggested.

Mark Hume
(seattlesetters) - F

Locale: Pugetropolis
Re: Re: Which Winter Tent? Hilleberg on 10/27/2009 18:00:58 MDT Print View

It looks as if the Nallo and Kaitum both offer 87" of interior length.

I was hoping to get at least 90", and up to 93" or more would be better if the tent has steep walls.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Hilleberg Nallo on 10/27/2009 18:13:27 MDT Print View

The Katium would be fine but the Nallo may be too short. The rear wall slopes substantially.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Winter Tent on 10/27/2009 21:44:58 MDT Print View

You said: "Weight is not a concern, as the campsites will be served by a vehicle. My criteria, in order of importance, are: 1. Stability in the wind. I'll be camping on exposed ridges adjacent to a wind farm." I'm no expert, but those who are must include Everest climbers. Check videos of the tents used on the South Col, such as the North Face VE25, and some MH tents, for tents guaranteed to have "stability in the wind."

Mark Hume
(seattlesetters) - F

Locale: Pugetropolis
Re: Winter Tent on 10/28/2009 10:53:01 MDT Print View

The North Face VE25 is looking better and better.

I just have trouble buying TNF gear because all the soccer moms in my neighborhood wear their TNF fleece, Gore-tex and down jackets all the time. ;-)

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Heavy but bomber on 10/28/2009 13:39:28 MDT Print View

I too would heartily recommend a TNF VE25. I owned one for nearly 15 years that was hauled all over the world and never even wimpered. It had the two additional snow tunnel entrances that I believe have been omitted from the current design. I even carried it for hundreds of miles but it is a big heavy bugger that would fill nearly the entire pack of most forum members here, myself included. Prices aren't too bad either, typically in the lower $400 range online. Campmoor has them on sale quite often so you may want to check them out.