Gear Guy

What tent should I buy for winter travel in North America?

I'm an Australian looking to travel in North America from December to February. Can you recommend a good trekking tent for the season that will house two to three people and their gear? I would like to use the tent year-round and for it to be fairly roomy. Rod Sydney, Australia

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You plan to trek in the United States and Canada during December, January, and February? What, are you freaking nuts?? A reminder: That may be summer in the Southern Hemisphere, but it’s decidedly winter in the northern one. You can expect the following: sub-freezing temperatures, occasional blizzards, torrential rains, cats and dogs, hailstones the size of bowling balls, horizontally blown snow, solar storms, and the odd avalanche.

So, here’s what I’d do. First, fire your travel agent. Second, limit your stay to Cabo San Lucas and environs. Third, if option two is not possible, buy a really good, heavy-duty tent. Tents available in the U.S. that I’d recommend include the Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 Arch ($625), Sierra Designs’ Stretch Dome AST ($525), and the REI Geo Mountain 3 ($289). All are roomy, tough tents that can withstand wind- and snow-loading, and that don’t have a ton of ventilation (forget the “year-round” bit—nothing like that exists that can also take January in Canada). A good European-made tent available here is the Hilleberg Nallo 3 ($495), which is also substantially lighter than the three mentioned above.

Among tents available closer to you, MacPac’s Hemisphere might be a good choice, although perhaps a tad small. It’s about $1,000 in Aussie dollars, or about $550 American.

Have funBI guess!

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