Need a shelter/tent/tipi for cold weather... Suggestions please.

R_burg

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Dec 15, 2016
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AZ
Hey guys, I need some help picking a shelter for cold weather. I have done research and read threads around here and I know tipi's are all the rage. They seem like a great, albeit expensive option. If possible I would to start this thread and 'thinking out loud' as well as get everyone else's opinion to decide what the best option is for my needs.

My current tent is a 3 season REI Quarter Dome 3. I team that with a REI Igneo 19 degree bag (Down 700 fill).

This setup works great for when its above 30 degrees. From 25-30 or so I can get a little cold but its bearable. Below 25 I get cold and dont sleep well. Realistically I will want to use this new shelter below 30-35 degrees.

I am tall and fairly skinny. My feet and hands get cold... but especially my feet. I do all the recommended things (different sleepwear just for sleeping, wrap my Down jacket around my feet, etc) but still get cold.

The last hunt I was on we were car camping but wanted to test out my gear a little more, so used this setup. Each night it was below 20 degrees. The first night I was pretty damn cold and had trouble sleeping. The second and third night we threw a normal Home Depot tarp over my tent to trap in my body heat. It was a WORLD of difference. In fact I was hot and had to strip a layer or two each night.

This convinced me my current 3 season tent vents too damn well to keep me warm, regardless of the elements. I have been in that tent on a night that was mid to high 30's and rainy and decent gusts of wind (40mph or so) with no issues, but it kills me in the cold. So I assume a 4 season tent that traps more hear or a tipi with a stove are my best options. If there are other options please let me know.


So far I always hunt with other people. I could see myself going out alone, but its a not a big priority of mine. I have a good group of guys that enjoy getting out there, even if they arent the most experienced hunters. That being said, right now we all bring our own shelters. There is a possibility we could split size and weight and share the shelter, but I dont want to rely on that. I enjoy backpacking into areas and although I car camp sometimes, I want this shelter to function for hiking back into areas. The size of a tipi + stove concerns me. I also dont think a tiny 1 person 4 season tent is a great option for me. I'd prefer if this could function double duty for when my gf and I camp, and I dont love keeping everything outside my tent, so the extra space is preferable for that reason as well. On that note, a tipi speaks to me because I would LOVE to have something I can sit inside... or stand, but I think thats not likely given I am 6'3 and the shelters I could stand in are probably too large for my needs. Also, floorless in Arizona. Someone has to fill me in. We dont have much grass here and a lot of sharp shit. I am sure others do this and its not a big deal, but I dont have any experience.

As I implied above, I live in Arizona and hunt all 4 seasons here, from the northern to the southern part of the state. I also plan on venturing to other states to hunt, notably WY.



I am sure you can see I am a little all over the place and confused as to what will best fit my needs. I'll be happy to answer any questions and all opinions are helpful. Thanks!
 

mrbillbrown

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Edmond, OK
Can't really help with the shelter situation because I run 3 set ups for different situations. Borah Gear SnowySide Bivy & tarp, Big Agnes Copper Spur 2, or Kifaru Tut with 18" cylinder stove.

But the first thing that popped into my head when reading your post was your sleeping pad. Which one are you currently using? First trip I used a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core (rated for 15* per BA website) and froze my butt off in temps around 30*. Promptly sold it and bought a Thermarest Xtherm (5.7 R value) and have been toasty every trip since. Might look into the pad you're using and swap it for one with the highest R value you can afford. More experienced guys should be chiming in shortly. Good luck with your search.
 
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R_burg

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AZ
Can't really help with the shelter situation because I run 3 set ups for different situations. Borah Gear SnowySide Bivy & tarp, Big Agnes Copper Spur 2, or Kifaru Tut with 18" cylinder stove.

But the first thing that popped into my head when reading your post was your sleeping pad. Which one are you currently using? First trip I used a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core (rated for 15* per BA website) and froze my butt off in temps around 30*. Promptly sold it and bought a Thermarest Xtherm (5.7 R value) and have been toasty every trip since. Might look into the pad you're using and swap it for one with the highest R value you can afford. More experienced guys should be chiming in shortly. Good luck with your search.

Good call, I should have mentioned that. I use a Thermarest NeoAir XLite. It has a R value of 3.2.
 

mrbillbrown

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Keep the Xlite for summer camping but definitely grab an Xtherm. Gonna be night and day difference on your warmth when it's that cold.
 

Davebuech

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Rocky Mountains (SLV) Colorado
^^^ Good advise^^^^
If you are cold it is either your bag or pad...or both. An enclosed 4 season tent will extend your sleep comfort on cold night by maybe 5 or 10 degrees. Plus it blocks wind, which often makes it seem colder than it is.
Sometimes that 5 or 10 degrees is enough to make a difference between a good night and a crappy night sleep but don't figure on a 4 season tent to keep you warm. That is what your bag and pad do.
 
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R_burg

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AZ
^^^ Good advise^^^^
If you are cold it is either your bag or pad...or both. An enclosed 4 season tent will extend your sleep comfort on cold night by maybe 5 or 10 degrees. Plus it blocks wind, which often makes it seem colder than it is.
Sometimes that 5 or 10 degrees is enough to make a difference between a good night and a crappy night sleep but don't figure on a 4 season tent to keep you warm. That is what your bag and pad do.

Ok... Well, I don't get it. Putting that tarp over my tent to trap in my body heat made a night and day difference.

Not trying to be argumentative here at all, but can you explain why that was the case if the bag and pad matter more? I dont understand.
 

paleraider

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You are more likely to lose body heat from the ground sucking it out of you. A better pad with a higher R rating will greatly reduce that heat loss overall increasing your comfort.
 

mauiarcher

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Oct 29, 2015
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Depends on your priorities and personal comfort level. Last year i slept comfortably spiking out under a jimmy tarp tarp granite mtn/bivy with 20* EE quilt 850 fill on an Xtherm large down to 20 *.

Working on my system this year and may go hammock/cuben tarp, same quilt with a woman's xlite (higher R value than reg xlite but not at much as xtherm) as it is lighter and can use in case I have to go to ground (vs. underquilt). I am 6'1" but willing to throw a sit pad or other gear under my feet.

My other thought is run new jimmy tarp tipi and ti stove. I will have to play with it first before making any decision but looks promising. On paper it is very light and nearly half the cost of some comparable products. Just not sure I want to pack a stove (albeit light weight) to be warm twice a day at bedtime and when I wake up. I would rather be hunting and sleeping than collecting firewood or stoking a fire.

Anyway....not making a recommendation as there are a lot of great gear options. For me, mandatory traits include comfort, durability, simplicity, weight, and cost. No particular order as they are all equally important.
-I don't want to hunt all day and have to fiddle with a complicated set up thereafter.
-Nor could I afford to be in backcountry and have a big wind rip my tarp or rain blowing in sideways.
-I am not willing to pack extra or heavy gear. It just has to work as intended, period.
-You have to pay for quality but I wont overpay for it.

Best thing you can do in my opinion is get out there with whatever system you choose and try it for yourself/practice with it. You can buy and sell used so that it won't cost you a fortune to try various gear.

Good luck.
 
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Davebuech

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Not saying that a tarp or enclosed tent will not help. I am saying, don't rely on it to keep you warm. When I use my bivy I can sleep 5 or 10 degrees warmer than when not having it using the same bag and pad.

Don't rely on a Tipi and stove to keep you warm either, unless you want to stay up all night feeding a fire.

The bag and the pad are your two most important items to staying warm. A tent will keep you dry and maybe add a few degrees of comfort (warmth) but it will not keep you warm unless it has a heat source other than your body. That is what the bag and the pad are designed to do.

Having not been there, I am going to guess it was one of those times that the 5 or 10 degree temp difference that you gained by placing the tarp over and trapping in heat, possibly getting rid of drafts, was enough in that circumstance to give you a comfortable night sleep. Maybe it was warmer the second night by a few degrees?? Try it another night at few degrees colder and you might not be so lucky.


Ok... Well, I don't get it. Putting that tarp over my tent to trap in my body heat made a night and day difference.

Not trying to be argumentative here at all, but can you explain why that was the case if the bag and pad matter more? I dont understand.
 

Bubblehide

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May 13, 2015
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I run a few different tent set-ups. But the advice above is excellent advice. The reality of having a stove in the tent is that you will not be running it all night long. If you do, it will be because you woke up from being to cold, and happened to stoke it. So my advice is to not view the stove as/for keeping you warm all night. The stove, allows you to warm up, warm up and dry out your gear, and go to bed, pre-warmed, so to speak. In cold weather, having a stove is a major luxury that makes a tremendous difference in your overall level of comfort during the trip. But in short, I don't try to keep in burning all night long. I simply wouldn't get enough sleep if I did that. So the guys above are 100% correct in my book. Your need gear that will keep you warm in the temps your in.

As for the right tent/tipi, you really need to decide just how much space you want, and the weight your willing to carry, and then start comparing those tents/tipis that fit within your criteria. A few threads here go into detail about the differences in features of tent's and tipis. You may want to go through those and decide on what features are most important to you. For example, Kifaru included tie outs in corners and side walls, making their shelters more stable in high winds, a feature that is important to me. But some manufactures will add them. So in short, you have options, if your willing to check into them.
 

Gunnersdad49

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You lose body heat in 4 ways.

Conduction; your body touching something colder than you and transferring heat, like laying on cold ground
Convection; the warm air around your body moving away and being displaced by cold air
Radiation; the natural tendency of your body to be warmer than its environment and heat escaping
Evaporation; typically from sweat, water vapor leaves your body, taking heat with it

To stay warm, you need to reduce as many of these as possible. The tarp over your 3 season tent most likely limited drafts as previously mentioned, and may have helped to trap an additional layer of heated air around your tent. So this helped with convection and radiation.

Staying dry, including avoiding sweating, should be pretty simple. A shelter with a stove can help to dry you and your bag out if it does get wet.

Conduction can be reduced by the better R value pads mentioned above. Think about it this way, if you go outside, and it is 32 degrees, you say, "hmm, this is cold". That is radiation.

If you go outside in the same temperature after sweating in the gym, you say, "BRRR, This is COLD!" That is evaporation.

If you go outside in the same temperature with 30 mph winds, you say, "Holy Crap, This is COLD!" That is convection.

If you stay inside and your wife puts her 32 degree feet on your back, you sah "WHAT THE F WOMAN?!?!?!?!?!" That is conduction.
 
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R_burg

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Dec 15, 2016
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424
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AZ
You have to pay for quality but I wont overpaying either. Best thing you can do in my opinion is get out there with whatever system you choose and try it for yourself/practice with it. You can buy and sell uses so that it won't cost you a fortune to try diff. Systems.

Yep, I have no issue doing this as well.. but I am trying to narrow down what could be right for me first.

Not saying that a tarp or enclosed tent will not help. I am saying, don't rely on it to keep you warm. When I use my bivy I can sleep 5 or 10 degrees warmer than when not having it using the same bag and pad.

Don't rely on a Tipi and stove to keep you warm either, unless you want to stay up all night feeding a fire.

The bag and the pad are your two most important items to staying warm. A tent will keep you dry and maybe add a few degrees of comfort (warmth) but it will not keep you warm unless it has a heat source other than your body. That is what the bag and the pad are designed to do.

Having not been there, I am going to guess it was one of those times that the 5 or 10 degree temp difference that you gained by placing the tarp over and trapping in heat, possibly getting rid of drafts, was enough in that circumstance to give you a comfortable night sleep. Maybe it was warmer the second night by a few degrees?? Try it another night at few degrees colder and you might not be so lucky.

The second night was actually the coldest. That being said, I see your point: It would seem your opinion is 3 vs 4 season vs tipi wont matter all that much, I should get a warmer bag and sleeping pad.

In general it sounds like a tipi with a stove is not the panacea I thought it was.

As for the right tent/tipi, you really need to decide just how much space you want, and the weight your willing to carry, and then start comparing those tents/tipis that fit within your criteria. A few threads here go into detail about the differences in features of tent's and tipis. You may want to go through those and decide on what features are most important to you. For example, Kifaru included tie outs in corners and side walls, making their shelters more stable in high winds, a feature that is important to me. But some manufactures will add them. So in short, you have options, if your willing to check into them.

This the easy part. I am not to that stage yet. I am still trying to figure out what *type* of enclosure fits the bill before I research what exact product to buy.


You lose body heat in 4 ways.

Conduction; your body touching something colder than you and transferring heat, like laying on cold ground
Convection; the warm air around your body moving away and being displaced by cold air
Radiation; the natural tendency of your body to be warmer than its environment and heat escaping
Evaporation; typically from sweat, water vapor leaves your body, taking heat with it

To stay warm, you need to reduce as many of these as possible. The tarp over your 3 season tent most likely limited drafts as previously mentioned, and may have helped to trap an additional layer of heated air around your tent. So this helped with convection and radiation.

Staying dry, including avoiding sweating, should be pretty simple. A shelter with a stove can help to dry you and your bag out if it does get wet.

Conduction can be reduced by the better R value pads mentioned above. Think about it this way, if you go outside, and it is 32 degrees, you say, "hmm, this is cold". That is radiation.

If you go outside in the same temperature after sweating in the gym, you say, "BRRR, This is COLD!" That is evaporation.

If you go outside in the same temperature with 30 mph winds, you say, "Holy Crap, This is COLD!" That is convection.

If you stay inside and your wife puts her 32 degree feet on your back, you sah "WHAT THE F WOMAN?!?!?!?!?!" That is conduction.


Haha, nice post. If you dont mind me saying, it seems like you are implying that limiting drafts could be a big influence, which was my initial thought and hence why I was looking for a new shelter. Is this true?

Any opinion on tent vs tipi (or tipi-like structure) to solve this?
 

Gunnersdad49

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... implying that limiting drafts could be a big influence, which was my initial thought and hence why I was looking for a new shelter. Is this true?

Any opinion on tent vs tipi (or tipi-like structure) to solve this?

I don't think that limiting drafts is going to make as much of a difference as you are hoping for.

I recently drank the tipi Kool-Aid and am loving life. The older I get, the tougher it seems to get to roll out of a warm sleeping bag and get moving in the mornings. Now, I reach an arm out, light my stove, push my mental "snooze" button, and when I wake up again in 10 minutes, I have a nice toasty place to get dressed, and a hot cup of coffee waiting for me. I went with the Seek Outside 8 man with stove and half liner. I don't do much packing in, so I opted for the extra room. Still, this whole bundle packs up the size of a sleeping bag, and if memory serves, is about 15 lbs with everything.

I grew up in Alaska, and did dumb stuff like the BoyScouts Freezeree camp out in a dome tent. I survived, but wouldn't say I enjoyed it much. One thing you will find in those cold temps is that without good venting, your exhaled breath will condense on everything, and then freeze. Then, when the sun hits the tent, it all melts and gets all over everything.
 

Tsnider

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Sep 8, 2016
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Carbondale, CO
like everyone else is saying. good pad and bag first. stoves burn like 20-40 minutes tops usually and you arent going to be up all night dealing with it. the tipis dont really hold in heat either man. you can have that thing ripping hot with the stove and if the fire goes out it cools down in there pretty fast. they arent flush against the ground so they can get little gusts coming under the edges.

the deal with your tarp holding heat in was probably just fending off the issue with your pad. if you had a good pad and used the tarp you would probably really be roasting.
 

Davebuech

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In general it sounds like a tipi with a stove is not the panacea I thought it was.

Not having a season (or more) under my belt with my new Sawtooth, I can not say with experience. I will say that this style of shelter WILL be/Is a game changer without a doubt. Don't underestimate being able to get yourself warm and dry out wet clothes, even when it's still raining or snowing outside.
In the past, if I have been cold and or wet, the best I could do was to crawl in my bag and eventually get my body warm. Clothes/boots were still wet the next morning, sometimes even frozen. Maybe if I was lucky, I could build an open fire, warm up and dry out some clothes before hitting the sack, but all too often not. Let me tell you how much I am NOT motivated to get up in the am to put on frozen or wet gear!

I have too many tents/shelters to list and more no doubt than I need. Plus a camper. This is not my first floor less, but it is the first floorless that I can stand up in and have a stove. I gotta tell you at any age, but especially at 57, it is nice not having to crawl in and out on my hands and knees. Also not having to to sit in the vestibule with the wind blowing rain or snow inside while I take off my shoes, very nice! Add to that the ability to warm up and dry out in comfort! Priceless.

A Tipi style tent or Tarp can be pitched low to the ground and/or sealed off to avoid most any draft but at the expense of collecting condensation. Depending on climate/conditions, it may be enough to where things get wet. Here is where the stove plays in. Not only for warmth but to help keep condensation at bay or to dry it out inside if you do get a lot. A tipi/tarp and a stove will still weigh less than a 4 season shelter and have more room. Pitch it higher in the warmer climate for air flow and ventilation to stay cooler.

BUT....a floor less shelter is not for everyone or everywhere. That's why many of us have more than one set up. If you use your shelter mostly in a place that is very humid, warm, buggy, snakey (is that a word?), or above tree line, I would not recommend a tipi/stove. Bigger tents also require more real estate.

If you haven't watched it, there is a great episode on the Gritty Bowman where Aron Snyder talks about different shelters, when to use em and pros and cons of each. I highly recommend you listen to the podcast. He is a strait shooter and has more experience than I will ever have.

Yes a good 4 season shelter will eliminate drafts, it will also be warmer. Great for late season/winter camping but not so much fun in the summer. You will get condensation but since they are double walled, you will not get dripage (me and these are not words again)/ wet if you brush up against it. You can also add a liner to many of the Tipi's for this reason.

Pick your poison....there is no one shelter do all, except for maybe a house with a/c and heat. But that is going to be impossible to pack!
 

oldgoat

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If tent is tight enough to trap your body heat, it's going to condensate bad I think. Covering your bag and pad with a quilt even a light weight one can help a lot.
 

mrbillbrown

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Dave made some good points. Crawling into and out of a tarp get old quick. Especially if it's raining or snowing. We used a MegaTarp and stove last year and it was excellent. Heat before bed and upon wakening is a game changer. Sold the MegaTarp and bought a Tut because of the crawling in vs walking in factor. Sucked with snow on the ground while crawling in and out. Even at age 43, Not gonna do it anymore.
 

MAVinWA

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Based in WA, OTC archery public land in AZ, UT, so
a lot of good information above.
I frequent AZ for December, Jan coues OTC. Pack in 3+ miles from vehicle for most hunts, mostly solo.
And man, some of those AZ nights get in the teens! Quite the temp swing when that sun goes down.
The past 2016 holiday season had a lot of rain some days.

Like the Sawtooth but I opted for a TUT & stove, smaller footprint yet at 6-2, I can stand up. Shelter, heat...and last year it was great to dry out clothes at the end of a long hunt day.
but what really seals the deal for me is adding a lightweight, inner fleece liner type sleeping bag, inside my Sea2Summit down bag. And both of those covered with a bivy type sack, I use the military type system bivy overcover and Exped down inflatable mat.
 

Daniel_M

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Wasilla, Alaska
If you are flexible, check out the options from Alaska Tent & Tarp, they have several smaller tents designed specifically for cold weather camping that use a propane NuWay stove. Not exactly a tipi comparison, but what I would do in the 4th season camping.

The Quest is a newer model @ 13.5#.

Products | Arctic Oven Quest | Arctic Oven Tent


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