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Henry Liu
(henryliu) - F
difference between 3 season and 4 season tents? on 05/22/2007 14:01:56 MDT Print View

What's exactly is the difference between 3 season and 4 season tents?

Why can't my 3 season tent be used for winter camping? Does the cold break the poles or something? Thanks.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: difference between 3 season and 4 season tents? on 05/22/2007 14:43:20 MDT Print View

Two main differences:

1. Four season (i.e. winter) tents are stronger in both structural design and materials used. 3-season tents can withstand some winds and snowloads too, of course, but the emphasis is more on maintaining lighter tent weight.

2. Four season tents have closeable windows/vents for users to "tune" between venting and draft. 3-season tents often have mesh or part-mesh inner tents for maximum ventilation.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: difference between 3 season and 4 season tents? on 05/22/2007 14:53:52 MDT Print View

As a note to what Ben wrote, most 4 season dome-style tents have at least one additional pole to hold up better under snow loading and offer more wind stability. Of course, this makes them inheirantly heavier.

If your not expecting lots of snowfall most 3 season tents will work for winter usage. I've used my REI Quarter Dome in the snow and it performed quite well. Any more than 4-5 inches of snowfall usually necessitates some maintenence (banging the inner tent walls or fly to slough snow off) to prevent the tent fly from sagging under the weight.

Edited by rswanson on 05/22/2007 14:57:31 MDT.

Kirt Runolfson
(kirt) - MLife

Locale: Inland Northwest
3 season tent for cascades on 05/22/2007 18:13:06 MDT Print View

So what about using a 3 season tent as a two season mountaineering tent? I have Mt Adams, Mt Hood and Mt Rainier on the schedule. I have been eying the Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo and am wondering if there is too much mesh and how well something like this would deal with the 60-70 mile an hour winds that I have seen on those peaks. My North Face Mountain tent weighs in at 4.6 lbs per person!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: 3 season tent for cascades on 05/22/2007 18:33:45 MDT Print View

Hi Kurt,
If you want a tent for all seasons, you might want to take a look at the Integral Designs MK1 or the equivalent Bibler model. I used a ID MK1 for many years , and it is bomber at ~4#. Only drawbacks are: 1) lack of an integrated vestibule and resulting moisture getting into tent when exiting/entering during a storm; 2) the tent is a tight fit for folks ~6 feet and over; 3) pricey. Drawbacks aside, a lot of mountaineers swear by both brands.

Kirt Runolfson
(kirt) - MLife

Locale: Inland Northwest
Re: 3 season tent for cascades on 05/23/2007 00:14:26 MDT Print View

Thanks for the ideas Tom. I definitely like what I saw, but wow are those pricey. I will have to wait until more of my conversion to lightweight is complete before "upgrading" my TNF Mountain.