Superlite Cold Camping

Hey all,

Looking for some feedback after a rough weekend of camping. I’ll try and keep it short and sweet and elaborate later if needed. Camped in the Superlite last weekend and it got down into the teens. I was excited to see how well the tent kept in heat. Two humans and two pups in a fully sealed Superlite resulted in waking up panting, delirious, and later to came to the realization we ran out of breathable air. I don’t think we would have suffocated by any means but probably the closest I’ll feel to sleeping at 15,000 feet. Shook off a blistering headache by the time we had to camp overnight at our next spot. Tried that night with the dogs in the 4Runner, small slit at the top, still clearly not enough because I woke up to my wife and I panting for air again. It was fine once I cracked the window more but not ideal when it’s in the teens. We are not running a heater so it’s not due to anything like that. Has anyone else had a similar experience?


Welcome to the forum.
In terms of your weekend, you gotta have some ventilation to exchange the air. I can blast 100% oxygen at you, but if you aren’t actually breathing (ventilating) it doesn’t matter. I’m surprised that you didn’t wake up soaking wet.


I did the same thing sleeping in my Subaru Impreza on the side of the road once… gotta let air in. Tents are not really for keeping heat in but for keeping the weather out. Open the window more and get some warmer gear.

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Hah! This is all too real — my wife and I had two similar experiences.

The first was in Kaibab National Forest outside of the northern rim of the Grand Canyon in July at 8300+feet. As we were winding down for the night, there were some summer storms passing through Utah and Arizona. It started to rain and so we closed up the tent entirely and went to bed. My wife woke up an hour or two later saying she felt like she couldn’t breathe and light-headed — we first thought it might be elevation, but I also felt it was stuffy in the tent. The rain had subsided by then and I suggested she open up the little vent on her flap with the attached mini-pole and I did the same on my side as well as open up a gap at the top (we have the gen 1 back flap, not the new one that goes over the top). That was an immediate relief and we slept fine the rest of the night.

The second was in early October at 11,000+ feet in Colorado where the overnight was low 30s. We started out closed up but with the mini side vents open but we felt warm again, so I opened up another slit at the top of the back flap.

We’ve camped on a few other trips at various cold temps, and we now always sleep with the two mini side vents open and the back flap with a decent sliver and cater depending on air flow and temps. I often couple it in milder temps with the Fred Runner awning poles to open the flap up pretty wide to get good ventilation.

A bonus is that it keeps the condensation down and the exchange of air works well.

For keeping warm, it’s sleeping bags, two synthetic Rumpl blankets and one down, and then we do the hot water in a Kleen Canteen wrapped in a towel stuffed in the feet area in our sleeping bags trick and Colorado was great even with all those vents open.

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We did some camping with it last year but it was warm so we had the flaps open so no issues. I guess I’m used to our last two tents, ARB Simpson III and Roam Vagabond. The headspace is probably tripled with those plus they’re not airtight due to their overall design and they both had vents at the top. It was a bit damp inside but not terrible.

Thanks for sharing and glad I’m not the only one. It was kind of shocking to me that the tent didn’t breathe at all. I do have FredRunner blocks for poles when its nice but lesson learned in this case. We’ve got a nice Kelty doublewide bag that we use along with a down blanket when its cold cold but I was really hoping I’d be able to keep some heat in with this tent but we’ll have to accept that ain’t gonna fly.

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When I had my Superlite I camped down to low 20s. I used a 15 degree bag, expedition weight merino wool base layers, and a basic CVS heating pad plugged into a battery pack. I would lay on the heating pad and run it on the lowest setting while in my bag. I used the little props on the sides to vent the tent open and allow a cross breeze and then cracked a good size corner at the top that wouldn’t let snow in.

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