Winter Tent Question....

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Winter Tent Question....

by winmag4582001 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:14 pm

Want to get a tent for light winter camping here in Colorado. I'm not going to camp on the side of a 14er so I feel no need to go with a 4 Season tent.
I'm looking at the North Face Pheonix 2. It's single wall and free standing and light. Anyone use this tent in the snow?

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by spiritualspatula » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:59 am

Some things to think about-
It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it doesn't seem to have a bathtub floor, which is not something I'd want for any winter tent (and really any tent I get period).
The sides are also entirely mesh. If you get much of any wind, you'll have spindrift fly under the vestibule and fill your tent which will drive you bonkers and get you wet.

I have the older version of the BD hilight, which at the time was rated as a 3 season tent, as was the firstlight initially. They are now listed as 4 season, and come made with nano-shield instead, but the design appears to be nearly the same. My hilight is longer and wider than my itent (also older), but the current specs list the hilight as being wider on one end and shorter on the other than the firstlight.
I push my hilight into the winter for some stuff and it's happy enough, but it doesn't suffer from the issues I noted. If you want a lightweight single wall tent consider the hilight or firstlight. Firstlight is smaller and sturdier and sheds snow better, but my hilight has been decent at shedding snow when I've taken it out. The hilight is also worse in wind due to its profile, but I've had mine in sustained 40mph gusting to 55 in Moab. Guyed out it was alright, but not the quietest thing around, either. Setup is extremely easy and can be done from inside the tent. Condensation control has been excellent for me here in CO/WYO/UT, but haven't taken mine to super wet climates other than a single night in NZ, so you might have some condensation in more humid climates.

If you get one of these, be aware that they will not come seam taped or sealed. YOU MUST DO THIS before use. They come with Silnet to do so.

While these are listed as 4 season tents, in most ways they seem and feel more like a 3 season. Like all UL stuff, they're a bit fragile. The nice thing about them is that they're up to handling winter, but also won't punish you for weight during the summer, so you can use them year round.

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Brian C

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by Brian C » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:28 pm

I have an MSR Dragon tail. It has a mesh front door but so far that has not been problematic. It's light and bomber.Here is a good review of the tent... ... ntail.html

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by benjamingorelick » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:43 pm

I (and the company I work for) have used Hilleberg tents for years. They're super strong, very light, easy to pitch, and, overall, have been very reliable for us. For your purposes, you might look at either the Jannu or the Allak, as it sounds like a freestanding tent might be more your style. If not, I have used the Nammatj 2GT in Patagonia and Alaska, in huge winds and deep snows, and they've always done me proud. And it's lighter still...


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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by jibmaster » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:52 pm

I love my Soulo. Lightweight and bomber.
I've used single wall tents for long time. Too much condensation.
This tent pitches easily within minutes. The integrated vestibule is really nice. And the inner tent can be taken down from the inside if you want to just use the outer 'tarp' by itself.

Some pics of the tent from this past week

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by bzbrian » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:24 am

+1 on Hilleberg

I love my Jannu! It pitches out super quick and feels like base camping anywhere you go, but it's still pretty light (~6 lbs). If you need to, you can squeeze a third person inside provided your bags stay in the vestibule. For two, it's really comfortable.

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by radson » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:21 pm

+1 Another Hilleberg fan boy here

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Rick Huff

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by Rick Huff » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:44 pm

Can't go wrong with the Hilleberg. I've got the tent I've ever had! Only drawback is the price.

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by Grampahawk » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:59 pm

I've used my MSR Hubba on many glaciers. It has mesh sides but I usually dig the tent into a bunker so I have not had trouble with spindrif. It breathes so well there's no condenation either. It will get pretty cold but that's what the sleeping bag is for.

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by Cloud Ocean » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:29 am

Another positive Hilleberg recommendation from me. I use a Nallo 2 and couldn't be happier. For a tunnel tent it is exceptionally tough once guyed out, and incredibly lightweight. The beauty of Hilleberg tents is not just the build quality, weight and strength, but the ease of pitching them; feels really fast for a double walled tent with a groundsheet.

Based on my experience, I feel the Nallo 2 is strong enough to live up to Hilleberg's 4-season label, but might sag a bit under really heavy snowfall. I've used it in winter, but haven't had a big dump hit it yet. If I were to buy a second tent today, I'd get a freestanding Jannu or Suolo.

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by DudeThatMustHurt » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:33 pm

Brian C wrote:I have an MSR Dragon tail. It has a mesh front door but so far that has not been problematic. It's light and bomber.Here is a good review of the tent... ... ntail.html

I had the dragon tail, after a few trips the material stretched ( and no i did not pitch it over taut ) but the it just sagged in the middle and dripped condensation on our heads.. Promptly returned it and bought a big agnes. I use a bibler bivy for all of my winter ascents for now but will soon be picking up a Hilleberg Nallo 3 (weight from the 2 to the 3 is minuscule)

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Re: Winter Tent Question....

by peninsula » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:37 pm

I've found in heavier snow conditions the MSR Hubba is not a good design. The snow accumulated on the "roof" where it would sag until I awoke to find my sleeping space had nearly collapsed. I needed a steeper roof and now have one of these: ... 000001_-1_

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