How warm is floorless vs 4 season tent

CORam

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2018
Messages
24
Location
A great place
I have been scouring Rokslide for quite a while now to help me determine what tent to buy for backpack hunting in 15-30 deg F temperatures. I have found great information, but one question still seems to keep surfacing for me and I haven't quite found the answer. I am curious from those of you who have experience with both, how you feel the insulating aspect of these two tent styles compare. A floorless shelter (ie. SO Cimarron) with a stove has many benefits as I've learned, but it is a single wall shelter (and the nests don't appear to look very "insulating" to me), and from reading and talking to people the stove is really only a means to warm up in the evening and/or morning and to dry out clothing, not for keeping warm during the night. A 3-4 season tent (ie. Hilleberg Nallo 2 or 3 or Anjan 2 or 3, or possibly even Nemo Tracker, SG Skyscraper) is double walled, some with snowskirts to keep wind and air movement to a minimum. Plus if I got a floored tent it would probably be smaller than the floorless shelter that I would get, so this would reduce the amount of volume required to heat up.

So my question is, does anyone have a good comparison of the two different types of shelters in similar conditions (temp, wind, etc.) that can tell me how warm or cold they seem to be in both types? Will I stay quite a bit warmer while sleeping in a 4 season double walled tent than I would in a floorless wood stove shelter? Or will it be similar temperatures in each type anyway? And I'm specifically talking about while sleeping, so with no stove, I'd like to leave the stove variable out of the equation, at least for this evaluation.

Thank you.
 
Last edited:

*zap*

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
4,920
Location
N/E Kansas
you can get it warm with a stove. In very cold you can get a smaller tent warmer with body heat, candle, etc....

a lot also depends on size of the tent/shelter.
 

Freeride

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2022
Messages
51
As stated the shape has a lot to do with how warm it will be. My floorless shelter is a tipi style, so if the stove is not going the hot air will rise a lot.

A shorter compact shelter would hold a bit more heat longer.

I know you said no stove, but if you get a titanium stove is fairly light and can be left packed up unless a cold system is moving in. It's a bit of reassurance. I spent a night in the backyard last winter at -40F in a 0F bag. I would wake up when the stove would get low and just toss a bit more wood in it. Figured it was the best way to test it for me as I could just go into the house if I got too cold.
 
OP
C

CORam

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2018
Messages
24
Location
A great place
As stated the shape has a lot to do with how warm it will be. My floorless shelter is a tipi style, so if the stove is not going the hot air will rise a lot.

A shorter compact shelter would hold a bit more heat longer.

I know you said no stove, but if you get a titanium stove is fairly light and can be left packed up unless a cold system is moving in. It's a bit of reassurance. I spent a night in the backyard last winter at -40F in a 0F bag. I would wake up when the stove would get low and just toss a bit more wood in it. Figured it was the best way to test it for me as I could just go into the house if I got too cold.
Interesting test you performed there...even though you were in your backyard, that is brave in -40F! So do you feel that the stove can be used to heat the tent all night long? I seem to have gotten the sense that most people don't look at it that way, that the stove is too much work to use it all night. But that would be encouraging if it was doable.

I understand that given certain ambient conditions, a smaller tent with double walls will insulate better and your body heat will ultimately keep the space warmer. What I'm looking for is what this equates to in reality. I'm hoping that someone has used both shelters in similar conditions and has gained a feel for temperatures inside each. For example, "it seems to be 5-10 deg F wamer inside my 4-season double wall tent than it is inside my single wall floorless shelter." I know this is difficult to quantify because conditions are never the same from one scenario to the next, but given enough nights in each tent I would think someone would have a good "feel" for how much warmer or cooler it is inside each tent style.
 

Michael Rankin

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
284
You need your sleep system(pad and sleeping bag) to be set up for the temps you will be in. Sounds like a good zero degree bag is what you would be needing to stay comfortable down to 15 degrees. The nest for a floorless isn’t designed to insulate you from cold temps at all, it’s to keep bugs or critters out.

I have a Cimarron tent and a 3 season backpacking tent. Out of those two tents the Cimarron stays warmer inside. It has to be pitched tight to the ground so no air is getting in around the bottom to be the warmer tent. The less air flow, the warmer the inside of the tent will be compared to outside. If you think you can get the 4 season tent sealed up as much as a Cimarron to restrict air flow it’s probably a toss up.

If you’ll be solo the 4 season tent may be better just due to less weight. If your with a buddy and you can split the Cimmaron and the stove between the two of you it’s the easy winner in the temps your describing, especially if you’ll be out in the snow/rain during the day.
 

Clovis

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
126
I have never tried to quantify it, but has spent a fair amount of time in both and in my experience, a true 4 season double-wall tent will provide more insulation than a floorless single-wall shelter. Not the only factor important to me, but don't see how in a fair comparison it could be any other way.
 

ehayes

Junior Member
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
15
I have been going back and forth between these two types of tents myself. My research found that, combined with the right bag and pad, I'll be warm enough in either as I found people making great arguments for both types of shelters. For me, other questions were more important to answer.
What is your hunting style? Set up camp for 5 days without moving or move camp everyday? Do you hunt solo or with a partner? Do you want to sleep in your own shelters or share a shelter? Do you stay up at night doing stuff or go right to sleep? I'm sure there are lots of other good questions to help decide.
For my solo trips I have a small, solo, 1 lb 3+ season shelter because I plan on wanting to sleep wherever I end up and hunt with camp on my back. For this I need a small footprint. At night, with no one to talk to, I just close my eyes and sleep. So I don't need space to hang out.
For trips with my partner, we split the cost of a cimarron with stove. But with a partner its nice to have the space of the tipi with a fire to stoke while we are talking. This does require longer setup time and a larger footprint and less ability to move camp which could limit how far from camp I am willing to go. I may still bring my solo for spinout nights on certain trips.
Hope that is helpful.
 
OP
C

CORam

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2018
Messages
24
Location
A great place
I have been going back and forth between these two types of tents myself. My research found that, combined with the right bag and pad, I'll be warm enough in either as I found people making great arguments for both types of shelters. For me, other questions were more important to answer.
What is your hunting style? Set up camp for 5 days without moving or move camp everyday? Do you hunt solo or with a partner? Do you want to sleep in your own shelters or share a shelter? Do you stay up at night doing stuff or go right to sleep? I'm sure there are lots of other good questions to help decide.
For my solo trips I have a small, solo, 1 lb 3+ season shelter because I plan on wanting to sleep wherever I end up and hunt with camp on my back. For this I need a small footprint. At night, with no one to talk to, I just close my eyes and sleep. So I don't need space to hang out.
For trips with my partner, we split the cost of a cimarron with stove. But with a partner its nice to have the space of the tipi with a fire to stoke while we are talking. This does require longer setup time and a larger footprint and less ability to move camp which could limit how far from camp I am willing to go. I may still bring my solo for spinout nights on certain trips.
Hope that is helpful.
That is helpful, and some good questions to consider. Some of the same things I have been considering as well. Right now I am leaning toward a ~2 person double wall shelter for just myself, as I do like to sleep in my own space. I do like to have space to hang out and talk, but if I'm backpacking, it might be something that I have to give up for comfort, space, and warmth. What 1 lbs tent do you use?
 

ehayes

Junior Member
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
15
gossamer gear the one and tarp tent Aeon Li are both about one pound. I went with the Aeon li. They both require trekking poles.
 

Swampcruiser

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
253
Location
Michigan
Love my Cimarron and stove. Make sure you get at least a large if you do as it will hold more wood for longer burn times. There is nothing like having a tent to dry out and warm up in. I’d buy a liner and pitch a little closer to the ground for winter…liner is a must. If you might be skiddish about floorless or have a significant other who is the nest is perfect. Being able to sit up and almost stand is another bonus. Been there on the ultra light two man zpack and much prefer flourless hot tent option.
 
Last edited:

Freeride

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2022
Messages
51
Interesting test you performed there...even though you were in your backyard, that is brave in -40F! So do you feel that the stove can be used to heat the tent all night long? I seem to have gotten the sense that most people don't look at it that way, that the stove is too much work to use it all night. But that would be encouraging if it was doable.

I understand that given certain ambient conditions, a smaller tent with double walls will insulate better and your body heat will ultimately keep the space warmer. What I'm looking for is what this equates to in reality. I'm hoping that someone has used both shelters in similar conditions and has gained a feel for temperatures inside each. For example, "it seems to be 5-10 deg F wamer inside my 4-season double wall tent than it is inside my single wall floorless shelter." I know this is difficult to quantify because conditions are never the same from one scenario to the next, but given enough nights in each tent I would think someone would have a good "feel" for how much warmer or cooler it is inside each tent style.

I simply did it because the door to a warm shower was 20 feet away at the time, and I wanted the peace of mind for when I am out in the back country if something blows in.

As for running the stove all night it was doable, but not ideal. It would die out on me and the cold would wake me up. It wasnt fun by anymeans. But I did survive, and I can have peace of mind knowing that if I get enough wood I will survive.
 

Moserkr

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 26, 2020
Messages
997
Location
Mountains of CA
A double wall tent is about as cold as a single wall. Think about how thin that material is, does it really offer any insulating value? Not really. Keeping drafts out of any shelter will make it feel slightly warmer, but its still really cold. Now, add a stove and thats a whole new ball game. Its hard to keep it going all night unless you wake up every 2 hours to stoke it, which I have done many times. But if I drift into a deep sleep and miss that 2 hour mark, I have to restart the fire completely. I usually try to get it hot before bed, and start it again when I wake back up.

Also from a survival standpoint, your sleep system needs to function well and assume it does not include the stove. Stove is a bonus item really that just makes time in the field extremely enjoyable. Ive pushed the limits of a stove and my sleep system in storms, but dont recommend it. I know its wrong for me to do, and if my stove/shelter failed, I would be in a situation of get out quick or freeze. Not a good way to go. The inreach would just show em where to pick up my body. Luckily when Ive tested those limits, its within 5 miles of the truck in areas I know very well, with gear on me that would allow a good chance of surviving the haul ass trek out. But white out, 0* blizzards are no joke. Just take my opinion for what its worth. I do love having a floorless shelter with a stove, and will never go back.
 

Buckshot51

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
35
Interesting test you performed there...even though you were in your backyard, that is brave in -40F! So do you feel that the stove can be used to heat the tent all night long? I seem to have gotten the sense that most people don't look at it that way, that the stove is too much work to use it all night. But that would be encouraging if it was doable.

I understand that given certain ambient conditions, a smaller tent with double walls will insulate better and your body heat will ultimately keep the space warmer. What I'm looking for is what this equates to in reality. I'm hoping that someone has used both shelters in similar conditions and has gained a feel for temperatures inside each. For example, "it seems to be 5-10 deg F wamer inside my 4-season double wall tent than it is inside my single wall floorless shelter." I know this is difficult to quantify because conditions are never the same from one scenario to the next, but given enough nights in each tent I would think someone would have a good "feel" for how much warmer or cooler it is inside each tent style.

IMO floorless shelter hot tents are all hype . From my experience it was miserable. It was my first and last time with this type of shelter setup . I was elk hunting in Utah last November and the nights were brutal In my not-so- hot tent . It only stays warm in there for about an hour two at the most after you fall asleep . Especially if it’s super windy. Then I’d wake up absolutely freezing with the everything frozen . Who wants to wake up and restart a fire every hour in the middle of the night after hunting hard all day ?Not me . I’ll be trying a 4-season tent this year for any late season hunts …


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Kevin Dill

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
3,047
A tent of any normal type offers almost no true insulation. The fabric is a barrier to air movement, but it does nothing to stop heat radiating. In fact, moisture accumulation (think dew and condensation) actually helps 'steal' any radiant heat.

Whether a stove is part of the shelter or not, any wise person should have a bag, pad and gear (for sleeping) more than warm enough for the coldest night they may experience. Personally, I've never understood the practice of trying to manage an all-night burn in an ultralight stove. I have a LOT of years using floorless shelters (Kifaru 8-man, Sawtooth, SO 8-man and Redcliff in Alaska....all of them equipped with a stove. I have never once tried to or needed to burn the stove at night. Some of those nights have been damn cold, but I didn't get cold or wake up uncomfortable. I typically burn the stove while eating dinner, and until turn-in time. I often load it with good wood and damp down the fire to burn an extra hour or so. By then I'm long gone to sleep and have no need for fire.

The manufacturers can call it what they want, but I think 'Hot Tent' allows some guys to think they'll be toasty warm in there all night long. Maybe that can happen, but you'll spend a disproportionate share of your should-be-asleep time poking and stoking your stove.

I've owned all kinds of tents and shelters in my life. To each his own of course. I have never owned and used a more versatile and pleasant base camp rig than a floorless shelter and stove.
 

iseebucks

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 25, 2016
Messages
140
Location
CA
IMO floorless shelter hot tents are all hype . From my experience it was miserable. It was my first and last time with this type of shelter setup . I was elk hunting in Utah last November and the nights were brutal In my not-so- hot tent . It only stays warm in there for about an hour two at the most after you fall asleep . Especially if it’s super windy. Then I’d wake up absolutely freezing with the everything frozen . Who wants to wake up and restart a fire every hour in the middle of the night after hunting hard all day ?Not me . I’ll be trying a 4-season tent this year for any late season hunts …


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I too am a floorless shelter contrarian. The other thing I dislike is that those stoves can leak a lot of smoke which can burn your eyes and quickly force you out of the tent. It is also a challenge to keep everything clean since there isn't protection from the ground other than any tyvek ground sheets you bring.
 

sneaky

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
9,057
Location
ID
IMO floorless shelter hot tents are all hype . From my experience it was miserable. It was my first and last time with this type of shelter setup . I was elk hunting in Utah last November and the nights were brutal In my not-so- hot tent . It only stays warm in there for about an hour two at the most after you fall asleep . Especially if it’s super windy. Then I’d wake up absolutely freezing with the everything frozen . Who wants to wake up and restart a fire every hour in the middle of the night after hunting hard all day ?Not me . I’ll be trying a 4-season tent this year for any late season hunts …


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Any shelter is only as good as your sleeping bag is for warmth. There's a lot of detail missing from your example. What bag did you have? How cold did it get at night? Taking an improperly rated bag and pad and thinking the stove will make up for it is a recipe for long miserable nights.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

Buckshot51

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
35
Any shelter is only as good as your sleeping bag is for warmth. There's a lot of detail missing from your example. What bag did you have? How cold did it get at night? Taking an improperly rated bag and pad and thinking the stove will make up for it is a recipe for long miserable nights.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

Good point. Sorry about that .

I was using a 0 degree North Face Bag with a Klymit pad and the temps were down to single digits at night .


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Top