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4-Season Tents Bivy sacks Minimalist 4-Season tent Samaya Radical 1 tent Solo tents Tents Ultra-light Dyneema tents

The Samaya Radical1: First Impressions

The French outdoor gear company Samaya sent me one of their groundbreaking ultra-light Radical 1 tents to try out. This is a minimalist 4-season solo tent.

I don’t review gear that I wouldn’t myself use, and there are not many tents I would even consider, but this one meets many important criteria, so I agreed. I took it out to the Mount Baker area, which gets an annual average of around 16 meters of snow. This was a short trip in deep snow conditions and almost constant snowfall. The persistent snowfall wasn’t our expectation. We assumed the clouds and snowfall would clear in the morning as forecast but that never happened. It was an enjoyable trip anyway.

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4-Season Tents Backpacking Tents Big Sky Chinook 1 Leipen Air Raiz 1 MSR Advance Pro 2 Snow Peak Lago 1 X-frame tent design

Four-Season Tents 2023 Update

If you have been looking around for a four-season tent, you have probably already discovered that lightweight versions, such as the MSR Advance Pro 2 costs around $800, and the Big Sky Chinook 1 cost around $600. The Chinook 1 is really the only light solo 4-season tent available on the US market that has a double-wall construction to mitigate condensation, but it has been out of stock since the pandemic.

The Leipen Air Raiz 1

I have long maintained that the 4-season tent most ideally suited for backpacking in PNW winter conditions is the Snow Peak Lago 1, once made by Snow Peak and originally designed for mountain climbers. The good news is that there are other companies in Japan making a similar tent, one of which, the Leipen Air Raiz 1, that can be shipped to the USA.

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3-Season Tents 4-Season Tents Backpacking Backpacking Tents Expedition Tents Hammocks Tent Stakes Tents Ultra-Light Tents Wind Protection Gear Winter Backpacking Gear Winter camping Winter Tents X-frame design

3-Season vs. 4-Season Tents

Will a 3-season Tent Work in Pacific Northwest Winters?

The short answer is yes. I’m not going to do a detailed review of particular tents, but I want to mention a few models that I see often on our trips. I’ll also discuss a few pros and cons of using 3-season tents in the Pacific Northwest winter conditions and some of the best 4-season options available. In context, I’ll be referring to small and light tents for backpacking rather than tents that are used for basecamps and long stays in one location.

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Snow stake cords Tent setup Tent Stakes

How to Stake a Tent in the Snow Without Tying Knots

This is just a quick tip to help you stake out your tent on snow. You may already be familiar with snow stakes or pegs and the deadman strategy for securing the pegs in deep soft snow. What I want to explain here is a method of setting up your guy lines so that you don’t have to tie any knots when you set up your tent. That is, the only tieing involved is done at home before you head out to the wilderness. Technically, you do need to tie one knot, a girth hitch to attach the cord to the stake, but this isn’t the kind of knot that requires much finger dexterity or time in cold conditions.