For most casual campers, the idea of camping in Winter doesn’t sound too appealing, but for some adventurous individuals and hunters, it’s a great time to be appreciating the great outdoors, and maybe even bringing home a trophy and/or some meat.

As with every other time of the year, canvas tents are the way to go, but they certainly have their benefits particular to the Winter season. A quality canvas tent is like a cabin to go, with plenty of room for equipment, and a nice warm wood stove to keep the bitter frost at bay.

However, if you’re going to be canvas tent camping in the Winter snow, there are a few things you should be aware of. 

Canvas Tent Setup in the Snow

Of course, setup in the snow will depend to some extent on how much snow is present. If it’s a light dusting, you can probably set up as usual; If you’re working with several feet, you’ll have your work cut out for you, as you’ll need to clear the area first. Whatever the weather report says, you should probably bring a shovel, just in case. 

Another option is to lay down a tarp where you plan to camp before it snows, so that you can pull it up for easier snow removal later. 

Depending on how cold it is, and how wet the ground was before it froze, it may also be difficult to hammer stakes into the ground. One way to get around this is to wait until after your stove has been running for a while, and stake from the inside, where the ground is thawed. If you’ve got snowbanks around your tent, then not as much staking may be required. 

Finally, while a floor is generally optional, it’s extra nice to have in Winter canvas tent camping. You may even want to consider something with a insulating effect, such as plywood on tarp (to prevent it from getting wet). 

Of course, a lightweight camping stove is practically essential, and you’ll want to take all the standard precautions with that.

Snow Load On Top of a Canvas Tent

The next big thing to consider is what happens after you get your whole Winter canvas tent camping situation set up. Assuming the snow continues, it will start to build up on top of your tent, and you may not always be there to knock it off, especially if you’re out hunting for hours. 

It’s basically impossible to say exactly how much the snow on your tent will weigh, because there are so many different types of snow, with differing weights. In the fluffy powder so common to the Rockies, you may not need to worry as much, but if temperatures climb and it melts and compacts, well then you may run into trouble. 

Depending on the snow, it can add as much as 1,500 lbs of weight on your tent, and many of the lighter tent frames won’t be able to handle that. If your stove is still running, then you may not only damage your frame, but the canvas itself. Yikes!

 Your options for keeping your tent from collapsing are basically to stay close by and continuously knock it off, keep your tent stove burning hot so that the snow melts off, or to use one of our more heavy-duty tent frames that will be able to withstand heavy weight, in case it does occur. Ideally, you’ll combine these methods. However, if you already have a lighter tent frame, then be mindful of the forecast, and take precautions!

Ultimately, every tent has it’s limit, but a tent with thicker poles and sturdier build will hold more, and a hot tent will be able to melt off at least a moderate amount of snowfall. 

However, with proper preparation, equipment, and attention, you can Winter camp in a canvas tent just fine. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and speak with our experts, if you have any questions about which tent would be right for your Winter camping needs.