Short on time? Our pick for the best insulated tent is the Crua Outdoors Tri 3 Person Tent.
If you love winter camping, you’ll need an insulated tent to keep you warm in low temperatures.
Cold weather camping is not for the faint of heart. Outdoor activities typically go hand in hand with summertime, but with the right outdoor gear, camping doesn’t have to just be a warm-weather activity.
If you’re a camping enthusiast, then you probably want to enjoy the great outdoors as much as you possibly can. Summer months are fleeting, so if you like to camp often, winter camping might be for you.
Winter camping trips also offer a lot of rewards. The landscape can be breathtaking with a blanket of snow on it, and there’s no place as peaceful as a quiet and snowy forest or mountainside.
And if you’re a skier or a mountain climber, you probably feel right at home in a snowy landscape.
However, cold temperatures can be dangerous. If you’re sleeping outside during the winter, staying warm is more than just a matter of comfort; it’s a matter of safety.
Luckily, insulated camping tents can help you stay warm and toasty even in extreme weather conditions.
And investing in a tent that’s insulated can keep you at a comfortable temperature year-round, as insulation can keep you cool in the summer as well.
By the end of this article, you’ll have the full rundown of our picks for the best insulated tents, including what to look for and how to choose the best one for your camping needs.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Short on Time? Here’s a Quick Look at Our Recommendations
- Best Family Tent – REI Co-Op Base Camp 4 Tent
- Best Backpacking Tent – ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian
- Best Tent for Extreme Cold Weather – Crua Outdoors Tri 3 Person Premium Quality Insulated Tent
- Best Pop Up Tent – Ayamaya Pop Up Tent with Vestibule
- Best Rooftop Tent – iKamper Skycamp 2.0 Tent
- Best Ice Fishing Tent – Otter Vortex Lodge Hub
- Best Budget Tent – FLYTOP 1-2 Person Camping Tent
#1 REI Co-Op Base Camp 4 Tent
Best Insulated Family Tent
Star rating: 4.4/5
Size: 8.3’ X 7.2’ X 5’
Weight: 16.9 pounds
Waterproof: No, but water repellent
Best For: Families of camping enthusiasts
When warm air meets cold air, condensation forms. As a tent fills with body heat throughout the night, the cold tent fabric begins to bead with moisture. By morning, the whole tent wall is wet and dripping, even if the tent itself isn’t leaking.
Sleepily running your hand across a wet tent wall is a pretty unpleasant experience, and moisture isn’t your friend when you’re trying to stay warm.
And when you have a whole family sharing a tent, the combined body heat can ramp up the condensation that forms.
Luckily, the REI Co-Op Base Camp 4 Tent is a four-person, 4-season insulated tent with a design that controls this condensation issue.
It combines two roof vents and a ground vent to create a “chimney effect,” funneling the warm air out through the top.
This cold weather tent gets insulation from a sturdy, full-coverage rainfly that fits snugly over a polyester inner tent to create a double wall.
This large tent also has two doors, and the rainfly forms a vestibule over each entry.
Lining the walls of the inner sleeping area are mesh pockets, and there are two more lofted pockets on the ceiling of the dome structure.
These storage spaces are very convenient for family camping because they help prevent everyone’s belongings from taking up too much floor space and getting jumbled.
Looking for more tents of this size? Read our guide to the best 4-person tents.
- Full coverage rainfly
- Chimney effect controls condensation
- Two doors with two vestibules
- Lots of storage pockets
- Not fully waterproof
- Not tall enough to stand up
#2 ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian
Best Insulated Backpacking Tent
Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 6.6’ x 7.7’ x 4.5’
Weight: 9.3 pounds
Waterproof: No, but water repellent
Best For: Mountain climbers and winter backpackers
Alps Mountaineering is an excellent brand that makes some of the best tents for cold weather.
And the Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian tent is an insulated 2-person tent that’s suitable for four seasons.
The Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian gets its insulation from a full coverage polyester rainfly that forms a sizable gear-storage vestibule over the front door and a small one over the back door.
The inner tent is breathable polyester with mesh windows and vents at the ceiling to help control condensation.
It also features a free-standing aluminum pole design that’s quick and easy to set up.
So if you’ve been backpacking all day to a remote location, you won’t have to struggle in the cold for a long time before you can lie down and get warm inside this insulated hiking tent.
Floor space in the Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian tent is limited, but mesh storage pockets and a handy gear loft help keep your belongings organized and out of the way.
Guylines and a low profile make this mountaineering tent sturdy in high winds, and the moisture-repelling outer layer stands up well to snow.
- Full coverage rainfly
- Sturdy in wind and snow
- Gear loft
- Small interior
- No snow-skirt
#3 Crua Outdoors Tri 3 Person Premium Quality Insulated Tent
Best Tent for Extreme Cold Weather
Star rating: 4.5/5
Size: 6.5’ x 7.8’ x 5.2’
Weight: 48 pounds
Best For: Adventurous campers facing extreme weather conditions
Crua is an Irish brand that makes many unique tents. In addition to being one of the few manufacturers of inflatable tents that ship to the US, they make some of the best extreme cold weather tents.
And the Outdoors Tri 3-Person Tent is just one of the insulated cold-weather tents available from Crua.
This Crua tent is so much more than a double-walled, four-season tent. Rather than covering a polyester tent with a waterproof rainfly, Crua takes a different approach.
The outer tent is a sturdy structure of laminated poly-cotton with aero-grade aluminum poles.
The inner tent fabric is a thick, quilted poly-cotton. It essentially looks like a sleeping bag that lines the inside of an already thick-walled tent, forming a thermal insulation layer.
Plus, it has a covered, three-foot porch area where you can store gear.
Crua has also field-tested this tent to withstand heavy rain and snow and winds up to 60 mph, making it one of the best all-weather tents available.
You should note that, unsurprisingly, this double insulated tent weighs almost 50 pounds, so it’s not the best choice for backpacking.
Overall, the Crua Tri Tent isn’t cheap, but it uses highly durable materials built to last, and it also comes with a two-year warranty.
- Thermal insulation
- Large covered porch
#4 Ayamaya Pop Up Tent with Vestibule
Best Insulated Pop Up Tent
Star rating: 4.4/5
Size: 12.5’ x 8.5’ x 4.4’
Weight: 10.25 pounds
Best For: Wet, cold-weather camping
If you’re arriving at a campsite in snowy, winter weather, you’re probably going to be in a hurry to pitch your tent and get into your shelter. That’s why an instant tent is a good idea for winter tents.
The Ayamaya Pop-Up Tent is a four-to-six-person instant tent. Although the center height is too short for people to stand and walk, the floor space is generous.
Unlike other double-walled tents that utilize full-coverage rain flys, this one has a unique design with both layers built-in to the tent shell.
The two layers still have a space between them, which helps control the condensation and keep the tent warm.
Another distinctive aspect of this tent’s design is the enclosed front vestibule for storing gear or wet boots.
Most tents use the rain fly to create a front porch, leaving the ground uncovered. This vestibule has a fully-attached oxford fabric floor, providing extra ground insulation.
Additionally, the poles also come pre-attached for a lightning-quick assembly time. And this 4-season tent has two doors, two hooded ground vents, and four windows for ventilation.
- Roomy footprint
- Integrated double layer
- Enclosed vestibule
- Not tall enough to stand in
- Insulation is a little thin
#5 iKamper Skycamp 2.0 Tent
Best Insulated Rooftop Tent
Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 7.2’ x 6.9’ x 3.75’
Weight: 227 pounds
Best For: Intrepid car campers
Rooftop tents are a big departure from conventional tents, and the iKamper Skycamp 2.0 Tent is a shining example of this novel type of camping gear.
The iKamper Skycamp Tent has a hard outer shell that attaches to most cars’ roof racks.
Once you’ve parked at your campsite, the cover opens like a clam and becomes a wedge-shaped shelter.
Not only does the hard shell have a double layer of protective insulation, but the inside of the tent has a cozy quilted lining sheet for added warmth. As a bonus, the quilted layer features an attractive map-of-the-world print.
This tent’s insulation comes from an outer body of polyester and cotton blend canvas combined with a polyurethane-coated polyester rain fly, so you’ll be sure to stay warm and dry in this tent.
There are two side windows with a vinyl layer and a mesh layer. The ceiling has a Skyview window so you can look up at the constellations while you drift off to sleep.
The price tag for this tent may be a little staggering, but keep in mind that it also includes a king-sized memory foam mattress that can fit up to four sleeping bags.
- Includes memory foam mattress
- Excellent weather protection
- Quick set up
- You can’t stand inside of it
#6 Otter Vortex Lodge Hub
Best Insulated Ice Fishing Tent
Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 8’ x 8’ x 6.3’
Weight: 42 pounds
Best For: Staying warm while ice fishing
If you love snowy outdoor activities and winter sports, then you might be a fan of ice fishing.
Ice fishing is when you fish through a hole in a frozen lake. Since you’ll be sitting out there for hours at a time, an insulated hut vastly improves your ice-fishing experience.
An ice-fishing hut doesn’t have a floor since you’ll be plopping it over the top of a hole in the ice. This means you won’t want to use an ice fishing hut as an alternative camping tent.
The Otter Vortex Lodge Hub does an excellent job of keeping you warm when you’re sitting out on a frozen lake.
The shell of this hut has three layers. The outer layer blocks wind and sunlight, and there’s a quilted inner insulation layer for added warmth.
There are also removable windows with insulated covers to let daylight in.
Inside the hut, you’ll find a lofted storage net and some rod holders to help keep all your fishing gear organized.
- Triple layers of insulation
- Storage net
- Windows have insulated covers
- Very specialized use
#7 FLYTOP 1-2 Person Camping Tent
Best Budget Insulated Tent
Star rating: 4.5/5
Size: 6.9’ x 8.75’ x 3.8’
Weight: 5.4 pounds
Best For: Backpackers on a budget
When I was in my early twenties, I went on a three-week backpacking trip through Europe.
I camped in several major European cities and dragged camping gear around on my back. It was early September, and it rained a ton.
It was a fantastic trip, but I also remember that I was never fully dry or warm and that my pack was unimaginably heavy.
I would have benefitted from an insulated backpacking tent like the Flytop 1-2 Person Camping Tent.
Not only would this 4-season insulated tent have fit my minimal budget at the time, but it would have kept me warm and shielded me from the relentless rain.
This freestanding tent gets its insulation from a full-coverage polyurethane-coated polyester rain fly, forming a water-resistant outer layer.
The rain fly even includes a vestibule and a snow skirt, a ruffle around the bottom edge that keeps snowfall away from the inner tent fabric.
In addition to having a high waterproof rating, this four-season tent also includes guylines that make it sturdy enough to withstand windy weather.
And it has robust aluminum poles rather than fiberglass poles, which are not as durable.
Although it isn’t an instant tent, setup is relatively quick. One person should be able to get this tent up and running in five minutes.
This tent also would’ve come in handy on my backpacking trip because it’s very lightweight. At only five and a half pounds, it won’t leave you with sore shoulders.
Overall, it’s one of the best tents for budget-conscious backpackers.
- Has vestibule
- Short center height
- Not a lot of ventilation when the fly is on
Buying Guide: How to Choose an Insulated Tent
There are some things to keep in mind whenever you set out to purchase any tent, but certain concerns are specific to insulated tents.
What to Look for in an Insulated Tent
How is it insulated?
Not all tents for cold weather use the same insulation techniques.
Some tents use a double-layered polyester wall, while others have a heavy-duty quilted layer like the insulated tent Crua makes.
When shopping for new tents, it’s essential to know what level of insulation you’re looking for to find the best tent to suit your needs.
There are many smaller insulated tents available, such as two-person and one-person tents.
This is probably because backpackers and mountain climbers tend to be the most inclined to venture out in the wintertime.
Pay attention to the size of the tent, and know what size group you’ll be shopping for.
Sometimes pictures can be deceiving. The Ayamaya tent, for example, is quite spacious. But its pop-out design and low center height make it appear to be a smaller tent at first glance.
In a small tent, gear storage is essential. When conditions are snowy or rainy, you’ll probably have wet gear that you’ll want to keep in a covered area that’s outside of your warm tent.
A vestibule can also provide another buffer between a cold environment and the well-controlled interior temperature of your tent. Tents that have vestibules have an edge over other tents.
Make sure it’s a four-season tent
The warmest tents are four-season tents.
Three-season tents may have some of the same features as a 4-season tent, such as a full-coverage rain fly or vestibule.
However, unless it’s advertised as suitable for cold weather camping, I wouldn’t trust it to keep me warm in cold temperatures.
Types of Insulated Tents
Double-walled tents usually have a full-coverage rain fly that forms a water-resistant outer layer.
Some, like the Ayamaya, come with both layers already attached. They’re best for backpackers because they usually use lightweight materials such as polyester.
Ice fishing huts
An ice fishing hut is an insulated shelter with a very specific purpose: to keep you from freezing while you’re ice fishing.
Ice fishing huts have superior wall insulation but no floor since they go over a hole in the ice that you’ll be fishing through.
Thermally insulated tents
A thermally insulated tent is the next step up from a double-walled tent.
This variety of tents use heavier-duty materials such as cotton canvas or quilted foam insulation to create a super warm cocoon.
Tents like this are best for venturing into frigid climates, but they’ll also weigh more, so they may not be the best choice for backpackers.
Rooftop tents are pop-out shelters that come in a hard-shelled box attached to a car’s roof rack.
This type of cold-weather tent requires a vehicle, so they’re for car camping rather than backpacking.
Read our full guide to the best camping canopies or shelters.
FAQs About Insulated Camping Tents
What is an insulated tent?
An insulated tent uses multiple layers of material to create a climate-controlled interior.
We’ve focused on cold weather tents in this article, but insulated camping tents can work both ways.
An insulated tent with a tent air conditioner can stay very cool in the summer because the insulation helps keep the cold air in.
Do insulated tents work?
They can definitely work well, but it’s also essential to have the proper gear if you’re camping in subzero temperatures.
You lose a lot of heat through the ground, so a suitable sleeping bag is crucial. You may also want to add an insulating carpet or a tent stove inside your tent to help keep things toasty.
Safety is crucial when the temperature drops below freezing.
How much do insulated tents cost?
Insulated tents don’t have to be a significant investment.
You can get a small, double-layer backpacking tent for less than $100, with the average cost of this type of tent coming in around $150-$200.
Intense thermal tents like the Crua will run you closer to $1000, and an excellent roof-top tent may be several thousand dollars.
Who are insulated tents for?
These types of tents are for adventurous campers, backpackers, and mountaineers.
If you love winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing, and ice fishing, then this type of tent might be perfect for you.
Looking for more types of tents? Don’t miss our guides on the best 6-person tent, 8-person tent, 10-person tent, 12-person tent, 3-room tent, large family camping tent, canvas tent, cabin tent, tent with a stove jack, tunnel tent, and waterproof tent.
Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Insulated Camping Tent
My overall pick for the best insulated camping tent is the Crua Outdoors Tri 3 Person Tent.
Although this tent is a major investment, it’s worth the money when you consider that you can depend on it no matter the weather.
The Crua tent is a thermal insulated tent, so it doesn’t rely on thin polyester. The outside layer is a cotton blend, which means it’s durable and will last you a long time.
And, unlike many of its competitors, this is an insulated tent with a floor that’s double thick.
Another feature that gives this tent an advantage is the covered porch area and extendable awning.
Having a protected place to stash gear is crucial for keeping things warm and dry in the inner sleeping area.
Not only is the Crua Tri 3-person Tent the best insulated winter tent, but it’s also a great tent for summer.
The outer layer is UV-blocking and the quilted insulation helps keep things cool in the summer heat. So, this is a tent that you can use year-round.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.
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