Question: I'm thinking of getting a tent suitable for use in snow as I want to do some winter trekking (Cairngorms, Lochaber areas) - obviously weight is an issue and a two-man job would be the right size. What would you recomend? Is there anything in the low/mid/high price ranges or is everything for serious winter use expensive?
Answer: Hi there,
Gear here, Richard 'Tentage' Gear. First, to put thing in perspective,
even the strongest mountaineering tents can be taken out by really
serious winter storms and equally, on a calm winter night, relatively
lightweight tents will be fine.
The problem is, if you're camping out in Scottish winter conditions,
you don't want to have the slightest doubt that your tent is up to the
job and that means decent spec materials and construction.
The problem you have is that anything that's both strong and light will
also tend to be expensive. If you are on a relatively limited budget,
have a look at something like the Vango
Hurricane 200, a tough but slightly weighty
geodesic tent that should cost you something around £220 if
you shop around.
The downside is the weight which is around 4.20 kilos for a two-person
To put that in perspective, a Force
Ten Baltoro 200 from the same stable weighs
around 800g less, should be tougher thanks to better spec materials but
will set you back £300 - that said I've seen them online for
around half that price. Still heavy though.
People do tend to think of geodesics for winter camping, but actually
high spec tunnels work very well when properly pitched and can absorb
winds that break rigid geodesics, by deforming. They also tend to be
One option I'd look at is Macpac's classic Minaret
which is a classic, tough little mountain tunnel with a weight of 2.4kg
and a price tag of around £290. The other is the Hilleberg Nallo 2,
which is even lighter at 2.1kg and boasts pheonomenal build quality.
That's reflected in the price of around £400.
Going the geodesic route, the classic British mountain tent is the Terra
Nova Quasar, a tough geodesic dome that's been
proven in all conditions over the years and retails for £450.
Weight is around 4.3 kilos.
Finally, if you want geodesic and light, take a look at the X2
Storm from Crux, which at 2.95 kilos is about as
light as you're going to get in that configuration. The tough but light
fabrics cost though, so you're looking at £460 as a price tag.
Those aren't the only options out there, but they should all do the job
if properly pitched in the right orientation. I'm a big fan of
all-in-one tunnels because they provide a great balance between weight
and strength but also pitch really quickly and personally that's what
I'd choose, but I do realise that some people feel happier with an
apparently stronger geodesic.