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GearSnow Sports
Gear Guy

What tent will withstand extreme winter weather?

Can you suggest a tent that would work in extreme conditions but won't break the bank? I find myself in areas near and above 10,000 feet during the cold months in the Sierras. Snow, rain, wind, and price are definitely a concern. Willi San Diego, California

A: For four-season use, you're looking at upper-end tents. So for obvious reasons—more poles, more materials—prices are higher than the lighter-weight models. But several tents should work well for you. One good choice is REI's Mountain 2 Tent ($249;, an elongated dome-style shelter. Two doors and a big vestibule make it convenient for getting in and out and storing stuff, while REI has borrowed and modified several design features from "big-name" tentmakers to produce a tent that's sturdy yet reasonably light at seven pounds ten ounces.

Mountain 2

Eureka's Alpenlite XT2 is another very solid tent at $300 (, which isn't too steep a price (at some outdoor-gear sites you can find last year's model for $209 or less). It's a true four-season tent, with an extremely rugged A-frame design and an all-around fly that goes right down to the ground. So when buttoned up, it'll shed snow, wind, and rain like a rock. The weight is a restrained seven pounds seven ounces. It's even freestanding, although of course you'll want to stake it out to ensure it doesn't fly to Oz during a stiff winter storm.

From there, prices go up pretty briskly. Kelty's Orb 2 is a tough mountaineering/winter tent that sells for $350 ( In the same price range you'll find Exped's well-made Sirius ($350;, which has a very aerodynamic tunnel design. And there's Sierra Designs' Stretch Dome AST, a classic design in a four-season tent that has a price tag of $470 (

More tents reviewed in Outside's 2004 Buyer's Guide.

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Filed To: Snow Sports
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI