Forums The Gear Room Winter Basecamp Tent…
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    1490 Posts

    OK, so I am experienced with tent camping in snow and cold (Alaskan Expedition). But I have not shopped tents for awhile. I am not looking for superlight, cramped, alpine climbing tents-I am looking for a reasonable weight, strong and roomy, tent for winter basecamp use.
    Typical use would be, skin in 4-5 hours, set up camp, stay for two-three nights in same spot while climbing and riding all objectives in the area-break camp and skin out.
    My partners and I are all (mostly) 6′ and up, so no little alpine tents need apply-additionally this is for winter use, when the days are short, and the nights are long and cold. This means lots of time in the tents, cooking/sleeping/hanging.
    I am thinking TNF Mountain 35, and/or Mountain Hardware Trango 3.1, either of these seem big enough for two, or three folks.
    Any other possibilities I should check out (Hilleberg, yes, but too much $). And no single walls.

    203 Posts

    Its BIG its Burley….

    Its the Stormking

    1490 Posts


    Thanks for that. The Stormking is a little too big for my needs, and the Asgaard a little too small. Too bad MSR does not have a model between these two…

    203 Posts

    I hear, ya…

    The Stormking is best if you have a sled at our disposal…

    1490 Posts

    Zones are wilderness areas… ’nuff said.

    1114 Posts

    Barrows, I have the Trango 3 man, let me know if you have any specific questions. Its pretty bomber and has held up on many a wind and hail storm. Not super roomy for 3 but gets the job done. Perfect for 2 plus all the gear inside. Nice vesty as well.

    1490 Posts

    HFT, thanks. It looks like a close call between the Mountain 35 and Trango 3. I will look at all the details, and ask you if I have any specific questions.

    1490 Posts

    So far, my research is leaning me back towards the TNF Mountain 35.

    Pros: Polyester fly, does not stretch as much as nylon, so the fly stays tighter, and more UV resistant than nylon. Footprint is a perfect rectangle=lots of usable room for sleeping.
    The right size: roomy for two big guys, workable for three. Long at 96″, great for me and my tall partners.
    A little lighter (if one believes specs) than Trango 3.1
    TNF warranty: I have had friends send back 15 year old VE-25s and received brand new ones, no charge!

    Black Diamond has some interesting new double wall designs, (lighter), but they are untested, and I own lighter tents from them which have had durability issues.

    Any other input?

    498 Posts

    Warning Slight Thread Jack:

    I was going to set a extened base camp (especially if I was returning to the same base several times in the winter), I would build a Grand Shelter ICEBOX Igloo- see

    Note I would practice building the Igloo before with my team:

    Or set up a Kifaru Tipi with portable wood stove. See

    Personally, I like the GoLite Shangri-La tents for winter camping see

    Although these are not a double walled tents. but the above options do allow you to cook inside if you like to, with proper ventilation.

    1490 Posts

    No doubt an igloo, or well built snowcave in the right spot, can be the ultimate. But the amount of effort to do so is a bit of a problem for two to three nights. It is a bit of a trade off.
    I have a Mountain Hardware Kiva, and with a lot of digging and sculpting it can work well too, but again, it is a lot of work compared to preparing a platform and erecting a tent. Plus, double walled tents are warmer than any single wall structure. Of course, snow caves and igloos are kings for warmth when built correctly.
    I have no problem cooking inside a normal tent, plenty of experience doing that!
    Where I go, the wind is well known to be hellatious, so a full on expedition worthy shelter is required.

    There is no perfect solution. One idea I have is building a semi permanent snow hotel, and returning to it over the course of the winter. But realistically, I am not sure if I would return to it enough to make the effort worth it.

    758 Posts

    I got the Trango 3.1, and I think you could even fit 4 in it. Both those tents seem pretty heavy to me, but you can split up the load with your partners. I think the Hilleberg tents must be ideal for weight, but they are more cash than I had to spend.

    127 Posts

    I have a NF VE-25 and that thing is amazing! If you can deal with the weight to get it where you need to go you’ll sleep right through nuking winds since it’s so bomber. But boy those stout tents sure are heavy. To be honest I haven’t used it in years and have thought about selling it, but have kept it for that mythical Alaskan expedition. For winter base camp use it would be amazing, but if I were you I’d try to figure out actual weights of the tents your looking at before buying. My VE 25 has really impressed me, but it’s hard for me to motivate to use it if I actually have to carry it far! That being said, I’ve had it out when other less worthy tents have been flattened with broken poles, etc and it barely swayed, so it’s definitely expedition ready…

    1490 Posts

    Thanks. I have spent quite a few nights in the VE-25. The Mountain 35 is a little better layout for 3 tall folks.
    I am well aware of the weights. These are not lightweight alpine climbing tents, but there are no lightweight options that offer the necessary space and strength in full winter conditions. I have a super light single wall two man tent which is great for spring, but for winter around here, one needs a tent capable of withstanding big winds and snow loads-basically the same type of tent one requires for AK, conditions are pretty similar. Winter camping means a lot of hours in the tent, and you need enough room to hang out comfortably. Just an extra 1.5 lbs per person on the basecamp approach gets one a nice, comfortable shelter.
    I used to own a Mountain 25, which did go with me to AK, but it was stolen from my garage 🙁

    875 Posts

    Not sure if its still in production, but the NF Himalayan 35 may be a better option than the mountain 35. Rangers (3) were using one @ 17 camp on Denali a few years back, and had very good things to say about it. Haven’t looked into the weight differences tho…

    165 Venture Divide/Spark Frankenburners/La Sportiva Spantiks
    163W Jones Solution/Phantom Alphas/Dynafit TLT5s
    162 Furberg


    264 Posts

    Have you checked out Nemo?

    I prefer a teepee-type tent for winter base camp use. I’m using Nemo’s Pentalite 4P. Coming in at only 4#4oz (w/ pole) it sleeps 3 people very comfortably with tons of room to spare and even has enough space to store gear out of the way and to safely cook in inclement weather. It also packs down the smallest.

    264 Posts


    1490 Posts

    Thanks for the opinions. I looked at the Alti, but there are few things that I do not like:
    the additional weight: when already pushing the limits of reasonable weight, every additional ounce beyond the minimum counts.
    The doors are on the sides: My experience has proven to me that I want to be able to start a stove in the morning, while still prone in the satchel-this may not seem like a big deal-but in reality, it really is. (my lightweight single wall has long side doors). Additionally, long side doors means only the person next to the door can start the stove, without everyone having to move around…
    Nylon fly vs. Polyester: TNF uses polyester, a nice plus for both longevity, and for the pitch staying tight.

    That said, I do really like the Nemo’s and I was hoping that they would have a great option. As mentioned, no single walls, for warmth, superior breathability, and easier packability (splitting up the load).
    Has anyone had experience with Nemo’s long term durability, and warranty?

    264 Posts


    1490 Posts

    Thanks for your thoughts. I have used, and many of my partners have used, single wall tents. They do not breath in cold conditions because WPB fabrics require a pressure differential, and a warm inner wall to breath. Moist air from exhalations hit the (invariably) cold inside of the tent canopy, and then condense and freeze there, you wake up to an ice palace where every movement sends ice crystals falling all over you. Honestly, in cold conditions, this can happen to double wall tents (and did to us in AK at -15, to -20 F temps) but is less likely because of the added insulation of the double wall.
    As far as packing goes, a single wall, 3P tent body is a bulky thing, whereas a double wall can be split up into smaller packages-fly for one person, tent body for another, for easy packing.

    As mentioned, I like the Nemo tents. And would love to see them make their single wall design (with short wall doors and vestibule) in a nice double wall, and for them to swtich to using a polyester fly. All told so far, I keep coming back to the Mountain 35 as having the best combinations of features, weight, and space for my preferences and needs.

    264 Posts


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