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Best lightweight winter tent?
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Bruce .
(3pinner) - F
Best lightweight winter tent? on 12/17/2006 19:00:45 MST Print View

I'm in the market for a single or double wall winter shelter for one or two. Looking at the Hillenberg Atko, or Big Sky tents.
I hike east coast lowlands, would expect light to moderate snow loads. (no more than a foot or so. I tend to pick the most sheltered spots anyway.

Any suggestions?
What do you use?

John McLuckie

Locale: SE Atlantic Coast
Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 12/29/2006 17:50:37 MST Print View

I've had a Stephenson's Warmlite 2R tent for years. Not freestanding, but total weight counting poles and stakes is 2.5 lbs. It's rated as a 4 season, 2 person tent and has silvered reflector material on the inside. It's been great for me. I blew out a zipper once in 10 years ( my fault entirely) and they repaired it at no cost.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Best Lightweight Winter Tent on 12/29/2006 18:32:58 MST Print View

I've used the Akto for many years in the Scottish Highlands, which are wet and windy and have long hours of darkness in winter. It has stood up to strong winds and snowfall of a foot or so. Because it has a single hoop the ends can be buried by drifting snow so I wouldn't recommend it for areas where several feet of snow might fall. A point I like is that I can pitch in a few minutes even when wearing mitts. It also has a large vestibule for cooking and gear storage. Headroom is fine for me at 5'8" but not so good for a six footer.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: Best Lightweight Winter Tent on 12/29/2006 18:47:30 MST Print View

Chris given the conditions you describe, how would you compare the Mountain Equipment AR Ultralite II over the Atko?

I use trekking poles so the advantage of the AR Ultralite II is I can use poles. BTW i am a long time user of the Macpac Microlight so am not adverse to single hoop double skin tents.


Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Best Lightweight Winter Tent on 12/29/2006 19:06:20 MST Print View

Roger, I've used the AR Ultralite in winter too and it isn't as stable as the Akto and the vestibules aren't as big. The long side deforms in strong winds. It's a good tent but I prefer the Akto for winter.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Best Lightweight Winter Tent on 12/29/2006 20:17:21 MST Print View

I've used the Big Sky Evolution 2P several times in winter and found it fine for moderate conditions, not good in strong winds and heavy snow loading (the open mesh lets in lots of spindrift; the poles can slip and collapse under snow loads). The single-wall model might be a better bet. In non-stormy conditions, though, it's a worthy and roomy winter shelter.

I understand that the Akto is not great with snow loading - a foot of snow might collapse it. I have a larger Hilleberg dome tent and am really happy with it...but it's way out of the range of consideration for this site and your usage.

The Black Diamond Firstlight is worth a look - quite light, breathable, can handle a decent bit of snow loading and stronger winds than I'd have guessed (on the same trip that flattened my Evolution 2P, the Firstlight did great).

I also snow camp with a number of people that are pleased with the GoLite Hex and other pyramid or teepe style shelters (spindrift can be an issue with those, too, depending on how you set them up).

Bibler and Integral Designs of course have tents that are a good match with more severe conditions if you don't mind a bit of extra weight. Probably overkill for where you'll be camping.

Edited by slnsf on 01/03/2009 18:55:25 MST.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 12/30/2006 00:08:14 MST Print View

For one person shelter in spots where trees are available, I'm happy in a hammock. Easy setup (no snow platform packing), no problem with snow loading on the angled and suspended tarp, and my Hennessy Hammock can be collapsed into a sling chair while cooking and organizing. Just food for thought.

Edited by Otter on 12/30/2006 00:09:08 MST.

Bruce .
(3pinner) - F
reply on 01/01/2007 20:03:42 MST Print View

Thanks for the suggestions, didnt think I was going to get any, but I will look at all of those.
Almost nabbed an Atko on EBAy, but was a day too late!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: reply on 01/01/2007 20:54:06 MST Print View

Did you consider pyramid or similar shapes like the golite hex, oware pyramd, MSR twin peaks?

eric blumensaadt
Hilleberg AKTO tent on 01/08/2007 01:27:10 MST Print View

The Hilleberg AKTO double wall tent is THE pinnacle of solo winter tents. I like their Jannu dome for 2-person tents.
But...these tents, being the best and being made in Europe, are pricey.

Edited by 300winmag on 01/08/2007 01:27:52 MST.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Hilleberg AKTO tent on 01/08/2007 07:15:41 MST Print View

I'll second the vote for the Akto. An outstanding design.

Edited by jjpitts on 01/08/2007 11:33:40 MST.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 01/08/2007 09:52:47 MST Print View

I like my Hilleberg Unna for winter camping. It weighs a bit more than the Atko but has much more room inside. Hilleberg traded a vestibule for inside space. I'm 6'4" and can sit up easily inside. Outstanding workmanship and durability, as in all Hillebergs.

Timothy Davis
(Davis2001r6) - F

Locale: Sunny!
Re: Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 01/09/2007 14:48:19 MST Print View

I go with a Black Diamond over any Big Sky tent, assuming you can even get one with the year plus waiting list with them.

I love my lighthouse tent, I haven't had any weather that it couldn't handle when some other tents had poles snap or were flattened and had to hold them up.

Scott Toraason
Re: Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 01/10/2007 12:33:57 MST Print View

Nice to hear about the Unna, I just ordered one for the same reason. I discovered that 27 square feet is perfect for myself and all my gear to be stored inside plus I like the extra room to sit up.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 01/10/2007 14:02:50 MST Print View

I hoping that it will be the Bibler Tripod Bivy if light snow loading is expected (i don't yet own this bivy, so any comments for the cognescenti would be apperciated).

When little or no snow is expected, i prefer the ID eVENT Unishelter. At 31oz it's pretty light. It's small footprint and height allows it to pitched on small patches of bare ground. No need to plant a whole bunch of snow anchors (just one can do the trick). Melting snow if the weather is horrible is a problem though. The lack of a footend hoop means that any snow can start to compress loft of the sleeping bag.

Ok. It's a bivy and not a tent, so maybe it doesn't count.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hilleberg Jannu (for 2) on 01/11/2007 00:59:25 MST Print View

The Hilleberg Jannu gets my vote for a 2 man tent due to its light weight, rigid aerodynamic shape, good ventilation, EASE OF SETUP, nice vestibule and highest quality I've ever seen in a tent.

UPDATE: Now I'm waiting for TarpTent's new Scarp 2 (Mark II, W/the longer fly). Henry Shires sez it's as wind-worthy as my Moment, which easily withstood a full of night high winds a few weeks ago at 11,550 ft. in the Rockies.

With the Scarp 2's dual vestibules it makes for more outside storage space (packs & overboots) and leaves space for cooking in foul weather. And the roof and bottom ventilation looks good too.


Edited by Danepacker on 10/28/2009 18:53:19 MDT.

eric levine
(ericl) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 01/25/2007 19:50:14 MST Print View

I've had good luck with my BD (nextec)firstlight tent. Strickly 1-person in winter though.

When cooking inside and at other times, I've had condensation on a wall, but never on the entire tent yet, which is good.

I've discovered that condensation on a single-wall breathable tent sets up somewhat of a bad cycle, whereby the wetted area stops transmitting vapor, which in turn causes more condensation.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
FirstLight re:Best lightweight winter tent? on 01/25/2007 20:41:35 MST Print View

Bruce, like you, I was also researching this four season tent purchase. After hours of reading and bouncing tent poles in showrooms I decided on the BD FirstLight. It is NOT the lightest, strongest, largest, cheapest, most water resistant, etc.. BUT, it does well in ALL those categories, and sheds snow well, so it had the highest "overall score" in my subjective and objective analysis.
Mine cost $230 and weighs only 1200grams. If I get the $130 carbon poles it would weigh about 1kg.

Hopefully this tent will replace three items on my shelf; a bivy, a zelt(emergency tent), and my dedicated footprint/fly tent. Ill report back.
BD FirstLight in Epic

Edited by Brett1234 on 01/25/2007 20:42:23 MST.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Best lightweight winter tent? on 01/25/2007 20:46:58 MST Print View

Check out the Golite Hex. I have used it as my primary shelter in the snow, and it is great in the winter. Plenty of room for one or two and is a very strong shelter. They have some positive reviews on this website about it. It is floorless which allows you to dig into the snow to create even more room for yourself. I have been very pleased with it, and the weight is great compared to most other winter options.

Stephenson tents are also very time-tested tunnel tents and many people praise them heavily. However I have not used them.

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Bibler Tripod in the Winter on 01/26/2007 12:09:18 MST Print View

>I hoping that it will be the Bibler Tripod Bivy if light snow loading is expected (i don't yet own this bivy, so any comments for the cognescenti would be apperciated).

I'm an owner of the Bibler Tripod, and it really is a bomber bivy. Once you seal up the seams, I'm pretty sure you could ride out a hurricane in that thing and still be warm and dry. I got mine NIB from a friend for $50, and have been quite happy with it, minus the 2+ pounds weight. However, I'm not sure that I'd spend $300 on one.

Anyways, to answer your question, I haven't yet used my Tripod in the snow, but the three pole design should shed snowloading pretty well. Plus, you can always "flap" the bivy a little from inside to knock snow off the top if it's really coming down. I'll be using it tomorrow night for a 10,000ft bivouac in about 4 feet of snow sans tarp or other cover, but there isn't any snowfall in the forecast, so I'm not sure I'll have a better answer about snowloading for you after, but I'll report back and tell you how it does otherwise.

Edited by james481 on 01/26/2007 12:12:12 MST.