Military Canvas Hot Tent

Discussion in 'Winter Camping' started by DrK, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    I am researching hot tents and am wondering about the military canvas tents vs. commercial models such as ones made by SnowTrecker.

    Thanks,
    Lowell
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  2. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Hi DrK, you've asked a very general question. Please provide more information to get better answers:
    * What weather, temperatures, humidity will you be facing?
    * Are you breaking camping and moving it every day during your trips?
    * What is your mode of transportation? (Backpacking? Pulling a pulk/sled? ATV? Car? Pack animals?)
    * Do you already own a stove that you will need the tent to be compatible with?
    * How many people will be on your trips?
    * How many people will be using the hot tent with you?
    * What is your budget?
  3. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    We will be pulling pulks in Yosemite (Tuolumne Meadows) and I expect the temps to range from zero to freezing. I think we will break camp 1-2x but will base camp for 1-2 days as well, I do not own a stove, there will be 4-6 people all using the hot tent. Budget depends upon keeping this secret from my wife :)
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  4. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

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    The Army has been using those for years, they hold up. They are well made and heavy but will provide years of service if cared for and not abused. Popular models can be found in 5 man arctic as wall as 10 man arctic and pricing can be in the $350 range for the 5 man, used condition. You should make sure it comes with the liner. Here is one on craigslist, search around.post WWII Army tent - 6 person
    Snowtrekkers are great tents, nobody has anything bad to say about them except the price. They will hold their value and selling one used shouldn't be a problem. I know someone who is in the market for a 8x10 now with no luck, they go quick when posted. Good Luck.
    An Error Has Occurred! <<<<<Click on the link anyway.
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  5. theDuck

    theDuck Tracker

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    I have owned and used the 5 man arctic bell tent and own and use a 9.5x11 shortwall Snotrekker tent. The military tent is HEAVY and DARK inside. Heavy like over 50 pounds. The snotrekker is half the weight. Military tents block light so any light used inside can't be seen by the enemy. That also means sunlight does not get into the tent so a light source is needed in daytime. The snotrekker is brighter inside. Even moonlight shows through. Both tents can be put up and down by one person though the military one is a little harder. The same size stove would be needed in either tent.
    4-6 people will be tight in the military tent and too many I'd say in any but the biggest snotrekker sizes. As for cost, the 5 man arctic tents can be had in Canada for up to $500 and I can't see it much different South of the border if you shop around. The snotrekkers, for a big enough one, will run you up 4 times that amount.
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  6. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks. Very helpful. I am seeing them on eBay.
    What are the issues with carbon monoxide when using a wood burning stove in these tents? Are people leaving an opening for oxygen to enter?
  7. theDuck

    theDuck Tracker

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    They are usually drafty enough it is not a issue. Often the stove is allowed to go out overnight as stoking them has to be done every hour or so since they are not that air tight efficient. Leave the bottom of the door unzipped a few inches if you like to make sure of draft.
  8. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks. I am looking into the 10 man arctic tent.
  9. j_d

    j_d Scout

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    Good thread. I look forward to updates and pics.
  10. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    I have a 12x12 Cabela's Alaknak with a light stove (Great Western) That would be about right. It weighs about 70 lbs though.
    Scotts Tent in Colorado.jpg
  11. teb_atoz

    teb_atoz Guide Bushclass I

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    I have a 10x10x10 wedge with a 5' bell. PMed you.
  12. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

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    AA Surplus Sales. Arctic Tent
    Here is a 10 man. They state that they may be available new as well. Read the fine print though, poles and liner aren't included.
  13. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

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    While I have never had a hot tent before, I just ordered one and looking forward to trying it out this winter. My question is sleeping, yes the tent is hot if you keep the fire stoked, but then you want to go to sleep. If somebody doesn't tend the fire all night, the tent will get cold. Even the guy who I am buying the tent from says that you should let the tent cool down then you get into your winter bag and sleep comfortably all night. Light a fire in the morning and get out of your bag and all is good. You don't want to bundle up while the tent is hot, and sweat, nor do you want to have to wake up cold, have to and add layers or zip up the bag. Good advice I believe.
    Has anyone tried a Big Buddy Heater in a tent and what king of success did you have. I would like to try heating the tent with the stove, let it cool a bit before bed and try a big buddy heater to keep the chill off a bit, any input?
    Mr. Heater Big Buddy Indoor/Outdoor Propane Heater — 18,000 BTU, Model# MH18B | Propane Portable Heaters| Northern Tool + Equipment
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  14. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    I am looking at some of the reviews. Do you like it? Any thoughts on how it compares to a canvas tent?
    Thanks!!

    LK
  15. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks! Am I correct in that I would need a bunch of 2x4's?
  16. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    For the size it's going to be a whole lot lighter in weight than a canvas tent. It will also be a lot lighter on the inside since the light will shine through it. I can put it up myself in less than an hour or less than a half hour with some help (not the first time but after doing it a few times).
    It's been through wind, rain snow and sleet with barely a shimmy. With four foot walls and a nine foot peak it's a comfortable, heatable and sturdy tent IF you can get it to your camp site. You can also get an "alcove" that fits on the door that adds a ton of room for gear. The windows eveen have clear "storm windows".
    I guess, in short, I have to say I am very in love with it. I've used it and let my sons use it for five years. No leaks.
  17. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    Not a fan of propane in a tent. Propane produces moisture as a product of unvented combustion. We've tried the big buddy and didn't like it for an inclosed sleeping space below freezing.
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  18. Verkstad

    Verkstad Tracker

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    When we hot tent, I duct combustion air directly to the stove intake.
    It helps reduce drafting air pulled thru canvas gaps what cant be well sealed.
  19. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    That's a very good recommendation! We will be pulling this on pulks and there will be quite a few of us so we can distribute the weight. Dark inside is a complaint I am reading about on the military canvas set ups...that does seem like a big negative. The alcove looks really useful as a place to cook.

    I hope you are ok with a few more questions.

    It looks single-walled. Is it? Tarp overhead?
    Do you have a floor? It looks like it comes with one, but I cannot tell for sure.
    What stove are you using? Does the tent stay hot enough when the stove dies down late at night?

    Thanks,

    Lowell
  20. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    I have a little Great Western stove. It will only burn for about two hours at a time. Our procedure is to load it up. When you feel a little chilly that's the sign that the stove needs stoking. Load it up again. You don't even have to relight it as long as there's still coals in there it'll relight itself. The rule is that if you feel chilly, stoke the fire. Some guys will just get up and do it, some will sleep through it but it only takes a minute and if you're an old guy, gives you a chance to pee. If you decide to go this way pm me and I'll let you in on some pretty simple mods to the stove that make it a lot more efficient.
    There is no liner.
    The floor has a zip out place for the stove.
    I sleep more comfortably in the tent than my own bedroom.
    If you've got enough guys to split the weight of the poles, stakes and tent I couldn't think of a better base camp for up to a half dozen guys.
    Forgot to say: no liner, no need.
    No tent holds heat because there is no insulation.
  21. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Supporter Supporter

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    We have used a Mr. Heater in a 12 man 3 room tent before with great results. It had a detector that should turn the unit off if a build up of carbon monoxide built up but we vented just in case. Slept great down to 18F
  22. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

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    Thanks Joe. Sorry to hijack the thread Dr.K, what tent are you leaning towards? Anybody Hot tenting in the Adirondacks this winter?
  23. teb_atoz

    teb_atoz Guide Bushclass I

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    only three.

    I have seen it done with 5 by a friend but I only used 3. Two uprights and a ridge pole. There is a way to make the ridge pole shorter by doing a marine splce. But Id didn't find it to bad as on solid pole. Just lashed to top of my van.

    cheers
  24. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    No worries :)
    I am leaning towards a military canvas tent. They seem like the best value.
  25. Muskeg_Stomper

    Muskeg_Stomper Tracker

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    Have you considered a lavvu tent? Lighter than the military tents, stand up well to arctic-like conditions, and less expensive than military tents too. They have the added advantage that they can be used with an open fire. Unfortunately, it looks like the take-down aluminum poles are currently unavailable.
    Northern Lavvu: Makers of Sami Tents
    Weights are listed with sizes.
  26. lonelake

    lonelake Scout

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    One downside not previously mentioned, is the color. The dark greens allow very little light, if any, to penetrate the inside of the tent. For me, the light is the most important part of Winter, the sun can warm the inside the tent, if made of a lighter colored material. Also the dark tents tend to wet the snow on a warm sunny day, rather then shed it right away. Certainly for the value the Military tents have their place, but aesthetically, they are tough for a prolonged excursion. Whatever gets you out there is good in my opinion!

    LL
  27. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    I read a lot of reports about the lack of light, that it's like living in a cave. I have found a 5-man arctic military tent for $450 so I think I am going to give that a try. If all goes well, I will sell it and upgrade.
    Thanks!
    Lowell
  28. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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  29. Verkstad

    Verkstad Tracker

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    Fwiw, I think all the "arctic" tents have optional liners. Well worth the extra, & bonus too because the liner is white color.
  30. DKR

    DKR Scout

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    I've spent many a night sleeping in 5 and 10 man Arctic tents in Alaska - @such fun spots like the Mississippi Range at Ft Greeley...

    Inspect the gasket at the tent interface. If cracked, replace it.
    The liner is well worth the weight, any condensation is on the 'outside' canvas, the liner- in my experience, stays dry. Please be careful, I worked as a medic had to treat more than a couple of folks that slept too close to the stove and had their bags burn or had the tent catch fire. The unit we supported always had a 7x24 hour fire watch for that very reason.

    Best of luck on your trip, hope the DW doesn't skin you when she finds out....


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Of course the basic load was a bit different than yours will be....

    [​IMG]
    they are dark inside....
  31. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    Great pics! Especially like the toboggan or pulk shot.

    I am worried about the tent catching fire. The liner hangs a bit low where the chimney is so we will let the fire die out and rely on good sleep systems.
  32. JackintheGreen

    JackintheGreen Tracker

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    DKR, Good to see somebody else who suffered through a few winters in Wainwright! The toboggan looking thing is what the military calls an Akio sled ands its used to move the extremely heavy tent. I've dragged it through some really unforgiving terrain and cannot recommend you try the same. That being said, it is sufficiently warm that you probably even need a fire for the temperatures you're expecting. If you do run a stove, a fire guard is essential as they have an unfortunate tendency (particularly on windy days,) to burst into flame and kill everybody inside in less than a minute. I also recommend that you clear the snow 3' past the sides so if it does ignite you can roll out the sides and live another day. Bottom Line, 5 or 10 man arctic tents are great for really extreme winters but may not be the best choice for an expedition that doesn't expect to be facing -30F weather on the regular.
  33. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    I looked up that sled...weighs 38 pounds!

    Thanks for the 3' clearance advise, I will be following that rule 100%.
  34. Thadf

    Thadf Tracker

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    DKR- back in 95-98 I was flying poor souls like you into that extreme environment. I was a Blackhawk crew chief. Man did I feel sorry for you guys!!

    We had to stay in tents out there too, but I didn't have to ruck it anywhere!

    Very much respect to you guys indeed.

    The 10 man tents were the bomb in my opinion. Very heavy, yes, but I didn't carry them far. We had a diesel fuel (avgas) fueled drip stove to keep us warm all night.

    While stationed at wainwright I was in the field when the temps dropped to 67 slow zero. The aircraft are grounded at anything below -40. We were stuck in the field for 10 days before it came up above 40 below zero. Before too many people get all crazy about that, it was a blast! We didn't have any regular military crap to do. We basically couldn't come out of our tents except to use the bathroom.
    Card games galore. Can anyone say hearts?!!!
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  35. DKR

    DKR Scout

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    Thanks - I'm afraid I pre-date your experience a lot (80-84) and I was with a USAF FAC (TACP) forward air controller group assigned to the Brigade. I still 'got' to go ruck hump with the rest. What great not-fun...

    Love it so much I managed to snag a second tour and retired up here.

    And yes, you can freeze your butt off (or at least get bad frost bite)....still, to stand outside in the dead of moon and watch the Aurora flash across the sky and hear the 'swish, swish' is just unforgettable...
  36. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Tracker

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    I've got the same setup - one heck of a setup - I absolutely love mine, but I am thinking of selling and going to a tentipi? So much lighter.
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  37. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    It is a lot heavier but I have youngin's to help with the set-up...
  38. dmilloutside

    dmilloutside Tinder Gatherer

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    I've had my Alaknak 12x12 for two years now. I use the Kni-co stove and it stays plenty warm.I agree with all the advice Winterhorse offered. No doubt there are lighter options but all the features the Alaknak has, it's the option I went with. Yes, weight is an issue, but much lighter than the military tents my buddies have. Can't really go wrong with either.
  39. CharClothed

    CharClothed Scout

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    You could always fireproof the tent liner near the stove pipe. If I'm being honest I only dream of having the 5 man Arctic Tent like the one showed in the above picture. It's my dream shelter for winter nights. But I honestly don't know how I feel about setting it all up alone, packing it in alone, and just the weight. Would have to be a long trip to be worth it. Still might get one in the future though.
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  40. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Tracker

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    I have an old M1950 (5-man). Been used pretty hard and has been patched together over the years. Moved away from wood heat to save effort and space. Rarely take it off my land, so portability is no longer an issue. Boring, I know, but a nice destination to practice other skills. I use an old kerosene heater now and have had no issues. I have the requisite CO detector, but even on the lowest setting possible (without creating smoke), I have to keep a door flap rolled open until it gets to about -10 F. End up sleeping on top of my bag unless it's really windy and exceedingly cold.
    Winter '16 - 288.JPG Winter '16 - 292.JPG Winter '16 - 098.JPG
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  41. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    IMG_3386.JPG I did a first use of my tent a few days ago in Yosemite. Ran an Alaskan kni-co. Worked great in the snow.
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  42. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    IMG_3377.JPG IMG_3381.JPG IMG_3389.JPG Some more pics.
  43. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Tracker

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    Beautiful setting!

    What height did you go with for your center pole? Contemplated going shorter than the standard 8'6" to possibly spread the tent out a bit, but since I leave mine set up and unattended I opted to keep the steeper pitch. I find wet snow still tends to pool at the base of the slopes and the top of the walls.
  44. DrK

    DrK Supporter Supporter

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    My center pole was fully extended. We had 3 cots inside, a stove and a stack of wood. I could have added another cot easily.
  45. CharClothed

    CharClothed Scout

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    I'm going to need to add this tent to my 5 year plan.

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