4 Season Backpacking Tent 

Guide to Finding The Best All Weather Tent

You will need a 4 season backpacking tent if you expect to encounter harsh weather conditions during your camping trip, or want a tent that you can camp with all year round.

It’s really important to opt for the best tent on the market as the kinds of weather you will be facing won’t be forgiving to a tent that’s not up to scratch.

Must Have Features 


  •  Let’s start with the most obvious; a 4 season backpacking tent should be strong, durable – and able to withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Excellent zipper system to ensure that water / snow / sleet cannot get in.
  •  Excellent waterproof properties.
  • Quick and easy to set up – this is especially important in bad weather; you don’t want to be fumbling around struggling to set up your tent in a blizzard!
  • The best four season tent will also be lightweight for an easy load on the trail.
  •  good reputation – whatever tent you decide to go for, make sure that it has received positive feedback from other backpackers. The good news is that as the majority of people are now making purchases online, this leaves the gateway for online feedback very much open –tap into the resources available to you!

Recommendation


There is a huge variety of tents on the market to choose from, and it can be pretty overwhelming knowing which tent will be the right one for you. Here at Backpacking Spirit we have done a lot of research into the best 4 season backpacking tent on the market today, so that you don’t have to.

We have concluded that the best all season tent you can currently get your hands on is the REI Arete ASL 2. Here’s why.... 

4 season backpacking tent - REI Arete ASL 2

Structural Stability & Lightweight Properties…

You’ll find that many 4 season backpacking tents on the market are sturdy and durable, but they are not lightweight. The REI Arete ASL 2, however, has successfully bridged the gap between being lightweight and being robust – this tent boasts a packed weight of only 51lb 14oz.

The REI Arete ASL 2 tent has been fitted with ‘Dual AirLift rainfly vents’ – in lames terms this means that the tent has ceiling vents which work to channel wind and therefore increase the tent's strength. Furthermore, these vents have been constructed to be fully adjustable and they create cross-flow ventilation which works to combat condensation. 

The REI Arete ASL 2 tent uses large, multidiameter DAC feather light poles which maximise stability in harsh weather conditions. The tent has been constructed from lightweight materials and sports a fully sealable and spacious interior which combine to provide a lightweight and weather resistant tent.

Waterproof

The floor of the tent has sealed seams and ‘bathtub curves’ which work to create a waterproof floor.

The vestibule (extension to the tent’s rainfly forming a protected area to shelter entry to the tent) overhangs the tent door to keep rain out.

The tent utilises siliconized 30-denier (an ultra-lightweight material) ripstop nylon fly; this fabric is not only lightweight but is also highly water and tear resistant.

Quick Set Up

The tent uses a colour coding system which assists a quick set up in bad weather.

You have the option of ‘speed-pitching’ – this allows the tent and fly to be semi-permanently erected in order to protect the canopy from rain. 

Innovative Design…

The tent has an asymmetrical shape – this design is with the purpose of maintaining a low weight yet providing maximum interior space. 

Extras

You will benefit from a range of storage pockets; the tent has corner pockets, roof pockets and hang loops.

The tent is inclusive of the following:

  1. Guylines
  2. Tighteners
  3. Stakes
  4. Pole and stake bags
  5. Pole repair tube
  6. Tapered, easy-to-fill compression stuff sack

Specifications


  • Suitable for four seasons
  • Minimum trail weight (tent, rainfly, and poles but not stuff sacks, stakes or footprint) - 5lb 5oz.
  • Packed weight (tent body, rainfly, poles, stuff sacks, stakes and footprint) - 5lb 14oz. 
  • Packed size: 6 x 20 inches
  • Floor dimensions: 88 x 60 inches
  • Floor area: 32.5 square feet 
  • Peak height: 40 inches
  • Suitable for two people

Reviews


The consensus amongst the backpacking community is that the REI Arete ASL 2 is a top performer in all weather conditions. Brain Hartman has written a superb overview of this REI Arete ASL 2 tent on Backpackergeartest.org. Brain summarises the tent as follows:

“The REI Arete ASL 2 is well constructed and quite sturdy with its three pole design. It is a great lightweight alternative to heavier four season tents for moderate winter conditions. It has performed very well during this test period and has earned a top spot among my backpacking equipment.”

I would recommend checking out Brian's full review here.

It has gained itself 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Reviews section of REI.com.

You can also view many helpful reviews of this tent at REI.com where it has obtained 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 35 reviews. One such backpacker made the following comment about the REI Arete ASL 2 tent: 

“I recently tried out this tent on a wet and windy trip to the WA coast's Olympic Peninsula. I used it as a very spacious one person tent, and it performed flawlessly, shrugging off the heavy wind and rain after being properly staked down including all guylines.

It is difficult to find a winter worthy tent that doesn't break the bank and my back to carry for single use, but this tent is it. I felt completely confident in its structure, which enabled me to sleep peacefully. I had minimal condensation issues with things buttoned up tightly, but I did ensure that all guylines (I substituted with reflective ones) were used to ensure airflow between the tent and fly. 

The tent would be extremely cozy with 2 people, and would necessitate storing gear in the vestibule. However, there is adequate length to accommodate a 6 ft sleeping pad with space at the head and foot. Highly, highly recommended!

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.”


In conclusion, the REI Arete ASL 2 tent is a superb 4 season backpacking tent – it is structurally sound and the best part is that it is also constructed to be very lightweight which is an element many competing 4 season tents fail to have. If you’re in the market for a 4 season tent this one is well worth checking out.

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