Introducing Access™ Winter Backcountry Tents

Shelters that offer winter protection and warmth but won’t weigh you down

When it comes to winter backcountry camping, MSR’s new Access Tents are carving fresh tracks. Lighter than a classic mountaineering tent, but warmer than backpacking tents, they’re the first tents to strike a balance between high-quality winter protection and true lightweight performance in livable designs. 

For backcountry skiers, splitboarders and snowshoers looking to spend comfortable nights in the winter mountains, Access Tents are the golden ticket.

Recognizing a unique need

“Not everyone who camps in the winter backcountry is a mountaineer,” says Terry Breaux, MSR tent designer. But until now, four-season tent options have been limited to heavy expedition-grade mountaineering tents or cramped bivy-style alpinist designs. This has left winter recreationalists, such as skiers, splitboarders and snowshoers, forced to compromise in their shelter selection.

“We were seeing skiers using classic mountaineering tents, which are way too heavy and unnecessary. And we saw snowshoers trying to use their three-season backpacking tents to camp in stormy winter conditions,” Terry says. “We realized there was a tent missing from the market.”

Built for backcountry touring

To meet the needs of winter touring adventurers, like backcountry skiers, Access Tents balance three important design priorities: They’re lightweight. They’re warm enough for frigid winter nights. And they’re strong enough to withstand the types of winter conditions typically found in the sheltered environments around tree-line.

Light

Unlike mountaineers who camp in harsh alpine settings, exposed to strong winds and heavy snow, backcountry skiers often camp in more sheltered zones. This allows them to access the ridges, bowls and powder fields nearby and return to a protected place for the night. Because of this, a heavy mountaineering tent can be overkill and a pain to lug around.

To stay light, Access tents utilize durable, yet lighter-weight 20D/30D ripstop nylon fabrics. In addition, their sizes and shapes are more similar to MSR’s Hubba Hubba backpacking tents, rather than an over-sized mountaineering tent, which might be lived in for weeks on end.

This lightweight construction is critical for reducing weight in a skier’s pack. Less weight on the back means skiers can stay safely agile as they navigate technical terrain, like treed slopes or narrow ridgelines, and carve thrilling turns down. A lighter pack also saves precious energy while they move up and down through the mountains.

Warm

As four-season tents, Access tents offer greater warmth than a backpacking tent to combat cold winter nights. They feature limited mesh on the tent body to keep in the hard-earned heat that backcountry travelers can generate. Building a snow wall around the tent will help further trap this warmth and stave off the chill of wind drafts and spindrift.

Two small mesh panels on Access tents’ doors allow for important cross ventilation to help reduce internal condensation, which can later freeze.

Strong

In the winter mountains, one has to be prepared for overnight storms—regardless of the forecast. That’s why strength is key in Access tents. They feature a unique center cross pole that extends down to the ground on both sides of tent, creating two additional pillars of support. This not only optimizes interior space and adds stability, but it allows Access tents to withstand four times the amount of snow loading of a typical three-season backpacking tent.

Durable Easton® Syclone™ Poles

Bolstering their durability, Access Tents are among the industry’s first to feature cutting-edge Easton Syclone Poles—the most resilient tent poles ever made. Formed from aerospace-grade composite materials, Syclone poles flex, rather than break, under the abuse of brutal mountain winds. In conditions that would cause aluminum or carbon poles to bend or snap, Syclone poles can take a beating and return to their shape. Their superior flexibility ensures your shelter will reliably make it through till morning—and throughout your trip.

Livable Features

With quick and easy setup, a spacious interior for delayering, generous vestibules and convenient internal features for gear management, Access Tents are the most livable lightweight winter tents on the market. They maintain the meticulous attention to detail and precision engineering that have defined MSR’s family of tents.

The Freedom to Access Winter

Whether your party is base camping in the Canadian wilderness to ski powder lines or completing a multiday traverse across the frozen expanses of Yellowstone basin, Access tents will change how you plan for—and experience—trips into the winter backcountry.

Now, winter’s adventurers can go farther, explore more and make winter their ultimate realm.

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