According to tourists-skiers, a winter tent must meet certain requirements. The first of them is a large capacity, the ability to place a group of 8-10 people for sleeping. The second requirement - versatility, i.e. suitability for hiking in the taiga, tundra, middle mountains - follows from the fact that, traveling in general in the taiga region, the group may be forced to organize a bivouac on a plateau or on a pass, and even in conditions of strong wind and even a blizzard.
Wind resistance and strength are indispensable requirements for a tent. They are provided with a choice of shapes close to a hemisphere or a cone, versatility and frame, the use of synthetic materials and additionally sewn-on reinforcement strips in combination with a windproof snow wall.
The minimum weight is achieved by using durable, but lightweight materials that absorb little moisture, as well as a rational design.
Comfort depends, first of all, on the structure of the tent: its height, usable area, the steepness of the side edges. It should create the convenience of placing the entire group together, performing the necessary work, changing clothes, preparing and eating, which is of particular importance during long travels in tundra and ice regions. The presence of the bottom and the color of the tent are also associated with the concept of comfort.
There are two opinions about the bottom in winter tents. Some people think that the bottom gets wet, icy and makes the tent heavier, that in a tent without a bottom, snow absorbs moisture and gets rid of sleeping bags and other things, that a tent without a bottom is quick and easy to assemble. This opinion seems to us untenable. First of all, now the bottom can be made of nylon, which weighs little and almost does not freeze. In addition, a tent without a bottom must be covered with polyethylene or spruce branches, which makes the argument about the absorption of moisture from the tent frivolous by snow, while the cutting of spruce branches should be strongly condemned from the point of view of environmental protection requirements. In a multi-faceted tent, the bottom forms a perimeter. In windy conditions, it makes it easier to install and creates some coziness. It is advisable to make a cutout just before entering, through which you can shake out the snow, frost and debris.
Most often, tents are painted red or orange, which provides enough light inside, even in gloomy weather, in gentle, invigorating tones. When traveling in tundra and ice areas, the bright colors of the tents allow you to quickly find the group if necessary.
Windproofness and heat retention depend mainly on the quality of the tent material and construction.
A decrease in blow-through can be achieved by using calendered nylon for the side walls or impregnating nylon with a special compound that increases water-repellent and wind-insulating properties. In tourist practice, sometimes the walls of the tent are sewn from Bologna. We have practical reasons to question this idea: Bologna is too unreliable a material, and in strong winds such a tent can turn into rags.
Several years ago, they tried to achieve heat preservation through the use of dense fabrics and two-layer tents. However, this did not give any tangible benefit, but at the same time led to an exorbitant increase in weight, especially during the hike, and made it difficult to pack the tent in a backpack. As for the organization of sleep in a warm place, it can be achieved by insulating group sleeping bags (which is more advantageous in terms of weight indicators) and the use of stoves. The second layer of the lightest nylon in some home-made tents is designed, first of all, to reduce or completely eliminate frost from the inner walls on sleeping bags, from which they become damp, heavy, and lose their thermal insulation properties.
Fast and reliable installation, especially in strong winds, are the most important requirements for a tent. The quickness of installation is achieved, in addition to special training, by a smaller number and simplicity of various operations. From this point of view, a four-sided tent is more convenient than an eight-sided tent. But the latter, having more guys and edges, as well as their low windage, ensures the reliability of the installation; such tents are preferred over other designs.