Camping is great fun, but using the wrong tent in inclement weather can turn a fun trip into a miserable experience. With the best 4 season tent, you will be set to camp everywhere from the Snowy Mountains to the central desert.
4 season tents tend to be built tough, provide ample protection against bad weather - including strong winds, heavy rain, and deep snow - and include ample space to keep your gear inside. In this guide, I'll review the 8 best 4 season tents on the Australian market, including some super versatile models that I'm sure you'll love!
My Review Process
Camping's something I've done since I was a young kid, and I've had the chance to experience both extremes of Australia's weather conditions. I didn't really think too much about my tent when I visited Tasmania for the first time in 2014, and I swear that I almost froze to death numerous times - turns out a budget tent with a single-wall design just doesn't cut it, no matter how many blankets you have
Since then, I've been more careful with my tent choices, and I've had the chance to use a number of different winter tents - both in Australia and New Zealand. I've drawn on this experience to bring you the following list of durable, tough 4 season tents that are perfect for Australian conditions.
This two-person tent by The North Face is a little on the pricey side, yes, but it's an excellent double-wall tent that's rated to -60°C. It's a super lightweight tent that's designed for use at high altitudes and under heavy snow loads, and the nylon bucket floor provides excellent base insulation.
What's more, it comes with cleverly-designed guy lines for extra stability in windy conditions. Its packed weight is just 2.86kg, which is almost as low as you'll find with a tent designed for extreme conditions like the Mountain 25. If you can afford it, I'd highly recommend checking it out.
This 2-person ultralight hiking tent technically isn't rated to four seasons, but it's excellent for virtually all Australian conditions. The only time you might struggle is in heavy snow, but even then, appropriate bedding makes it a usable option.
The thing I really like about the BlackWold Mantis 2 UL is its low weight. At just 2.02kg, it's a perfect option for hiking and backpacking. It has waterproof taped seams on the floor and outer fly, and the external vestibules are excellent for storing your gear.
The Roman Tent Cradle is a relative newcomer to the market, and it looks like it's going to be an immediate hit. It comes in one, two, and three-person models, and it's super lightweight and has a compact footprint. It's designed for four-season use and can be used in everything from inclement weather in winter to moderate conditions in spring.
Another interesting feature is the external tent pole structure, which gives extra structural integrity in bad weather. It's also quite lightweight, and it's super easy to put up with a little practice. Another five-star 4-season shelter!
The Nebula 1550 is one of the most versatile tents on the market, and it's a personal favourite of mine. It's built with heavy-duty canvas that's designed to stand up to everything from harsh alpine conditions to the Aussie outback, and it comes with mesh screens for extra ventilation.
For me, the main downside of this swag-style tent is its weight. At 22kg, it's really only useful if you're travelling in a vehicle. And even so, it does take up quite a lot of space. But if you don't mind the extra weight and want a tough 4-season shelter, I'd highly recommend the Darche Nebula 1550.
This high-end four-person tent stands out because of its ample floor space, single-walled design, and the durable fabric it's built with. It's technically a 3-season tent, but it's tough enough to stand up to all but the harshest conditions. It handles windy conditions with a breeze and offers decent shelter against heavy rain.
And with a minimum weight of just 2.865kg, it's a great option for hiking or backpacking as well. This is a popular tent, and I'd highly recommend considering it if you're looking for a reliable all-around shelter to use in average Australian winter conditions.
The Explore Planet Earth Speedy 4 Black Hole tent is another of my personal favourites and, while it's not technically rated for 4 seasons, it's an excellent choice in my opinion. The pop-up design means that it takes just minutes to put up, giving you extra time to enjoy your trip. It’s not great in severe conditions, but it’s stands up to moderate winds and rain with no issues.
There are loads of mesh screens that you can open or close for ventilation, and the built-in LED light strips provide decent lighting. One thing to note is that there are no vestibules, but there's plenty of floor space to sleep 3-4 people comfortably.
The Oztent RV4 Touring Canvas Tent is a heavy-duty model that's built for Australian conditions. The tough canvas design makes it an excellent four-season option, and the solid aluminium frame structure is super strong.
Another standout feature is the instant-up design, which enables you to set it up within 30 seconds. There's ample floor space for up to 4 people, and the external sheltered area offers excellent long-term livability. There are even accessories that you can purchase to customise your tent!
This four-person, double-wall tent by FE Active is one of the best budget-friendly models I've seen. It's highly waterproof, has a strong aluminium pole structure, and includes mesh screens for ventilation and bug protection.
Its packed weight is just 3.2kg, which is impressive for a four-person shelter, and there are cleverly-positioned tiedown ropes for extra stability in gusty winds. It's still not super cheap, but it's a decent option if you're looking for a true four-season tent.
3 Season Tents Vs 4 Season Tents
Australia's winters aren't that bad, right? Do you really need a 4 season tent?
The answer? It really depends. If you're just planning on weekend camping at your local campground in winter, a normal 3 season tent should be fine. 4 season models are usually only required if you're going to be camping in extreme alpine conditions, under heavy snow loads, or in gusty or heavy winds.
3 Season Tents - Most 3 season tents have a low weight. Many are single-wall tents, and there's often a focus on ventilation and comfort. This is because they are designed for mild conditions, where their primary function is to block the wind, keep the bugs out, and keep you dry.
4 Season Tents - 4 season tents, on the other hand, are usually double-wall tents with a higher weight, a more durable floor, and extra protection against snow and inclement weather. They are usually used in mountains or alpine conditions, and a 4 season tent is a must for extended hiking trips or expeditions in the snow.
How To Choose The Best 4 Season Tent
Selecting the best 4 season use for your next camping trip can be something of a difficult process. Here, I've outlined everything you need to know before you settle on any one model.
Since 4 season shelters vary significantly in price, it's important to factor this into your decision-making. More basic single-wall tents can come in as low as $100, while high-end double-wall tents can cost $1000+.
You also need to keep the weight of your tent in mind. Some have a lower minimum weight than their standard weight if you don't need all of the components.
Some of the lightest tents can weigh under 2kg, while heavier models weigh 20kg plus and can only really be used if you're camping out of a vehicle. Weight savings are important if you're using your tent for hiking or backpacking.
There are also loads of different styles of 4 season tents. In Australia, Canvas swag-style shelters are popular, and smaller mountaineering tents are often used on extended expeditions.
Some models also come with a pop-up design, which makes them super easy to set up and pack down.
It's also important to find the right balance between size and portability. There's no point in buying a 4 person shelter to take on a hiking trip by yourself, but at the same time, having enough space and headroom can make your trip that much more comfortable.
The floor design is an important consideration for 4 season tents. A tent with a substantial bathtub floor will offer more protection against rain and snow than one with a water-resistant nylon floor.
The best cold-weather tents have an insulating floor to help you stay warm in inclement weather.
It's super important to be able to keep your gear safe and dry in bad weather. There's nothing worse than your hiking pack getting wet when you've just started your trip - trust me!
Buying a tent with ample indoor storage space and external vestibules will make your life that much easier.
Last, but not least, it's usually worth buying a four-season tent with decent ventilation. This enables ample airflow during warmer weather. It's also important to make sure there are tough mesh screens over any windows or doors you may want to open, or else the bugs will get in.
The best overall 4 season tent on the Australian market is the The North Face Mountain 25. It's a little expensive, but it's an excellent all-around option. The Darche Nebula Swag Tent is another favourite of mine, and the Oztent RV4 Touring Canvas Tent is an excellent option for long-term travel.
At the end of the day, every model on this list is worth considering, and I'd suggest having a close look at each of them before making your decision.
A 3-season tent is perfectly fine to use in winter in most of Australia. 4-season tents are designed for inclement conditions including snow and strong winds, which you won't experience in most of the country.
This ultimately depends on the size of the tent, how cold it is outside, and whether or not you use a heater of any sort. The best thing about 4-season tents is that they block the wind, removing the wind chill and enabling you to rug up and stay warm.
A good 4-season tent should be sturdy enough to stand up to strong wind, heavy snow loads, and bad weather in general. It should be built with durable materials, have plenty of storage space (for example, extra vestibules), and be able to be completely sealed to keep the cold out.
In general, you can expect to pay anything from $100 to $2000, or even more for a decent 4-season tent. High-end models from brands like The North Face are often priced at $1000+, and there are loads of cheaper options available elsewhere.
To insulate your tent, start by placing a thermal ground mat or blanket on or under your tent's floor. You can also use windbreaks to reduce the wind chill, use a smaller tent that will warm up faster, or cover the outside of your tent with leaves or snow for an extra layer of protection.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.