What Tents To Use For Mountains?

Rilor Staff
Update: July 17, 2021
Table of Contents

What tents to use for mountains?

Once in a while, you'll realize that "normal" backpacking and camping don't quench your thirst for adventure. At this point, you can always turn on the mountains. Mountain hikes are always fun. Depending on the terrain you are heading to, it can get thrilling, too. 

But keep in mind that mountaineering, in general, requires sufficient preparation. You have to ensure that you have trained your body and mind before the trip. At the same time, you should be equipped with the appropriate gear. It's better that you over-prepare than being too overconfident. 

Your tent, for instance, can serve as the line between safety and danger in the mountains. It serves as your shelter. It is one way of saying that you need the tent to be fully equipped with the essential features that can keep you warm and protected. 

Here are some of the guidelines for choosing a mountaineering tent. 

What Tents To Use For Mountains

If you are planning to climb a mountain or camp in the winter, you must consider buying a good mountaineering tent. The primary benefit of purchasing a mountaineering tent is comfort. The tents are designed to keep the weather conditions under control. They are also portable and easy to set up. With this, you can stay comfortable in any situation. The quality of the tents is also essential.


One of the crucial aspects when it comes to choosing a tent for mountains and mountaineering purposes is seasonality. Specifically, you need to ask yourself when you intend to ascend a mountain? Is it in winter or summer? You should also assess the natural conditions of the mountain. Some summits are frigid and filled with snow all year long. 

3-Season Tents

If you are planning your trip during summer, spring, and fall (with minimal to zero chances of snow falling through), the best choice is a 3-season tent. Three-season tents provide decent water resistance or waterproofing. They typically feature mesh panels on their walls, doors, and windows to optimize air circulation and ventilation. Keep in mind that these 3-season tents can handle light rain and snow. However, you can't really say that they can handle strong winds and severe storms. 

Examples of high-quality 3-season tents:

4-Season Tents

If you intend to head during winter on terrains riddled with glaciers, complicated ranges, and elevated ascents, then you need a 4-season tent. In fact, only 4-season tents can serve as your shelter on the applications stated above. Most of these tents have durable and rugged construction. Their poles and fabrics are tougher than their 3-season counterparts. You'll find minimal ventilation on these tents for the sake of fortifying their infrastructure. Their rainfly typically extend to the ground for foolproof protection. Of course, these 4-season tents aren't that suitable for hiking in warm weather. It can get hot and damp inside them!

Examples of high-quality 4-season tents:

Double And Single-Wall Tents

Again, choosing between a single- or double-wall tent matters depending on the mountain or environment that you want to thread. 

Single-Wall Tents

A single-wall tent got its name from the way it is constructed. Basically, this tent features one wall that is both durable and waterproof or water-resistant. Such a design might not be ideal for some people. But for some backpackers and mountaineers, these single-wall tents are the best choice. After all, single-wall tents are lighter than double-wall tents. They are easy to pitch, too, which might be useful during emergencies or difficult situations. But at the same time, these single-wall tents have poor ventilation, which makes them susceptible to internal condensation. In short, these single-wall tents on mountains are typically dry and cold. 

Double-Wall Tents

Meanwhile, double-wall tents feature a single-wall tent that has a separate rainfly. The rainfly is the one that shields the tent and its users from the external elements. With the presence of rainfly, you can freely open your doors and windows even if it is raining or snowing outside. Needless to say, the drawback of these double-wall tents primarily lies in their weight. Specifically, they are heavy. Furthermore, you need to stake them on the ground tightly so that the rainfly can withstand the snow and wind. 

With a double-wall tent, the storage increases, too. After all, a full-coverage tent creates a natural vestibule where you can store your equipment and camping amenities.

Tent Shape

There are numerous tent shapes today. But not all of them are suitable for mountaineering purposes.

Since mountains require you to ascend on high elevations, those tall cabins and ridge tents will be rendered useless. Of course, your favorite glamping tents might not work well on any mountaineering applications. 

The correct shape for mountaineering tents should be an arch, tunnel, or dome. Notably, these tents have restricted usable internal space. This means that their interior is quite cramped. Most of them are designed for 1-person to 4-person use only. But because of their streamlined construction, they can easily weather off strong winds. They can shed off snow, too, as they don't have a flat roof where water and ice can accumulate. 

Special Considerations

If you want your tent to last longer in service, then it is essential that you buy a separate footprint for it. Most of the time, these footprints aren't included in a tent's package, but they are indeed valuable for preserving the structural integrity of the tent. A footprint is a type of sturdy fabric that is placed on the ground to protect the tent from abrasion. Furthermore, it also serves as a wall to shield the tent from water and moisture. 

When buying a footprint, make sure that its size matches the floor size of your tent. Otherwise, it would cause water to run inside your tent. 

Moreover, it is also essential that you understand the features that a tent possesses. For example, you might want the tent to include mesh pockets where you can store your vital accessories, such as a gear loft. Do you want a tent to possess multiple doors or a single door is enough for you? 

How About Mt. Everest?

The concept of a tent is simple: it's a waterproof shelter that keeps you dry and safe in bad weather. But the idea of a tent is much more than that. Tents are almost as iconic as the mountains themselves, and the best tents are famous for being light, strong, and comfortable. That's why people go to great lengths to pick their tents—we're talking Everest-level tents here. But how do you choose one?

Well, the thing is, you need multiple tents if you are planning to climb Mt. Everest. A large, entry-level tent is ideal for the BC (base camp) because it gives you sufficient privacy and space, especially if you are in a large expedition team. 

Separate tents are required at C1 (Camp 1), C2 (Camp 2), C3 (Camp 3), and C4 (Camp 4). The ideal tent for C1 can also work as your tent for C3 or C4. The reason for this is because you can traverse BC to C2 in a single sweep, especially once you have acclimatized. 

High-quality tents are essential for Mt. Everest. Don't ever climb the summit if you only brought a shabby shelter. Your best options here are 4-season tents from brands like Mountain Hardware, Marmot, and North Face. REI and MSR can be suitable tent brands, too. 

In Summary

The tents that you should use in the mountains actually depend on the latter's environment and weather. There are specific tent requirements for each of these applications, so you need to assess your destination first before deciding the kind of tent that you should buy. 

That's it for now. If you have other related inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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