Live comfortably in a tent in winter: myth or reality
As the winter tent is intended for cold weather, it has a number of design features for maintaining heat. Each part of the tent — the shape of the frame, the tent fabric, technical holes — should improve living conditions.
Heating air in field conditions
The winter tent can have heating devices – stoves, fan heaters or just a fire. To install a stove with a chimney vent it is important to have a hole in the tent roof protected by steel sheets. The used fabric should not be flammable and the stove should be at a safe distance from the beds. To evenly heat the tent, you can use a fan heater through a special sleeve in the outer tent. You can light a fire in traditional conicalScandinavian tents. The Tundra and Lavvu range of tents have a hole to maintain the fire and to extract smoke.
Choose a special fabric for winter tents
The main enemies of outdoor winter holidays are low air temperatures and strong winds. Therefore, choose a non-breathable (to stop wind getting in), frost resistant fabric. Thick canvas remains elastic (it won’t crack) at any temperature but may let in draughts because of its natural content. Therefore, when you select canvas, you should also order additional insulation walls (like for the M-10 tents). Double-layer PVC coated fabric protects well from frost and strong winds. Additional frost resistant treatment is required at extremely low temperatures (to -50).
What is an effective tent insulation?
The air gap between the tents is the most effective insulator, therefore the main feature of winter tents is that they are multi-layered. In addition to maintaining the heat regime inside the tent, the inner tent prevents condensation. The best materials to use are ones with a «loose» structure, such as non-woven fabric. For insulation in Arctic regions, a four-layered foil material is used, which reflects the heat inside thetent, creating a «thermos effect».
Protect the tent from snow by strengthening the frame.
As winter tents have to cope with significant snow loads, some parts of the frame can use rectangular section poles instead of rounded elements, like in the М-30 army tents. The reinforcement compensates for the load along the top-down axis. In addition, the winter frame can be additionally strengthened with auxiliary ties (steel cables strung between elements of the structure) and extra end poles. As well as compensating for snow loads, these elements protect the tent from collapsing in strong winds. In regions with heavy snowfall, frameless tents can be used (e.g. UST-56,) or semi-spherical models («Arcticspas»).
Heated floors for winter tents
In winter conditions, the tent floor needs special attention. It should be insulated, which means multi-layered. The upper layer should be a PVC floor. Its edges should be turned upwards (this provides good wind and waterproofing for the tent), and fastened to the outer tent. A layer of plywood should be placed under the upper floor and then polypropylene tiles. A layer of plywood is placed under the insulation. The lowest level is canvas, which prevents the structure from freezing to the ground.
Features of windows in winter
Tent windows can be made from Plexiglass or PVC plastic. Plastic windows are significantly lighter and easier to transport than Plexiglass, but they can bend and crack in the cold. To solve these problems, RPC ORT has developed innovative removable welded plastic windows. Using a high-frequency machine, a cruciform PVC insert is welded into the transparent plastic. This is designed to remove the strain when the plastic bends. In addition, the plastic sheet is placed in the same way in a PVC frame, which has a hole for fixing the window to the window frame. The window not only withstands bending and lower temperatures better, but it is also easily removable for storage or replacement (most tents that are currently produced have windows that are tightly soldered to the inner tent, which prevents airing through the windows, makes it difficult to store them carefully and makes replacing them very time-consuming). You can buy the winter tents from the manufacturer – RPC ORT in Saint Petersburg; tents are delivered throughout Russia and the CIS.