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Author Topic: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping  (Read 1180 times)

Offline landrand

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Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« on: March 11, 2017, 12:13:04 PM »
I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (UP) where we usually get plenty of snow and cold in the winter.  Although I'm an avid 3 season outdoorsman, I have never spent any time winter camping in a tent.  As I get older I am intrigued with the idea of spending time in the winter woods in a tent; preferably a hot tent.  In any case, I have a couple of questions for the experts regarding winter tenting using a 3 season canvas/poly blend tent I recently purchased. 

Last summer I bought a new Kelty Frontier 6 person single wall canvas/poly blend 3 season tent for $300.  The reason for this post is to determine whether or not this tent would work for winter camping in Northern Michigan. Although it's marketed as a 3 season tent, I'm looking into the options of using this tent with recommended modifications to support a small woodstove for hot tent winter and/or late fall/early spring camping.  Please note that I have not yet purchased a wood stove and I have never hot tented before, so I'm looking for your expertise to steer me in the right direction.

The tent is a single-wall poly/cotton blend canvas free standing tent with the specs illustrated below.  I'll also include a link which shows pics of the tent so you can get an idea of what it looks like and specific features.   

Kelty Frontier 6
- Weight: 40.31 lbs/18.28 kg
- Living Area with Floor: 10'x10' (100 Sq. Ft.)
- Vestibule Area without Floor: 78.5 Sq. Ft. 
- Total Area: 178.5 Sq. Ft.
- Peak Height: 7 Ft
- Construction: Single-wall Poly/Cotton Canvas
- Floor Fabric: 210D Polyester, 3000 mm
- Poles: 6 DAC Aluminum
- Packed Dimensions: 14" dia x 28" L
- Free standing design
- Continuous pole-sleeve construction
- Clip and pole sleeve construction

https://www.amazon.com/Kelty-Frontier-10x10-Foot-Canvas-6-Person/dp/B009R9H8AK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489252124&sr=8-1&keywords=kelty+frontier+6

The tent is composed of two areas; a 10'x10' living/sleeping area that has a 210D polyester (3000mm) thick floor and a floor-less 78.5 sq. ft. vestibule area.  The vestibule area has two side doors and an oversized frot door for access.  My initial thoughts are to utilize the floor-less vestibule area for the wood stove placement and piping the stove pipe out the side of the tent via some sort of modification to ensure fire safety.

My questions are as follows:

How practical would it be to use this tent, with any proposed modifications, for hot winter camping?

Although it's marketed as a 3 season tent, any recommendations for adding supports or perhaps a "snow tarp" to ensure it would support additional snow load.

The 10'x10' living area does have a 210D Polyester 3000mm thick floor.  Is there any major issues in having a floor in a winter tent in the living area?  Please note that the wood stove would be placed in the floor-less vestibule area.

The tent weighs approximately 40lbs and I would be using a toboggan to haul in the tent and any supplies.

Should I consider using this tent with modifications for hot tenting, or am I completely wasting my time even considering it. 

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing your recommendations.

Online Moondog55

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2017, 04:47:48 PM »
See my own questions on similar ideas
First and major question Are the wands alloy? If they are then I'd say there were.
Second question is how much you are prepared to spend/ I am on a very limited budget so I never get my modification done well and my S/H tents usually only last a season.
in my opinion it is only worthwhile doing as a double skin tent so YES you need a proper fly
The wand holding up the entry area is a weak point so I know from experience that will need at least one more wand oriented vertically
Hubbed joiners are very strong but perhaps the centre wand on the main tent body needs to come all the way down to the ground so any snow load on the roof is directed to where it can e resisted without placing stress on the tent body.
The fly I would sew up from HD silpoly of 70d or more but my alternative this season is a waterproof polyester shade sail made in China and purchased thru eBay and with extra tie-down points sewn on by myself [ 210d fabric at 160GSM] but I had no trouble sewing it on my domestic machine

Offline troutfisher!

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 05:54:10 PM »
My suggestion is to dive in and make it happen this month.  You still have plenty of snow and cold.  Give your equipment a test run in your backyard a couple times so that you can see how things work and what needs improvement.  Don't wait for next season.

You don't have a stove, but you will want your sleep system to work overnight in an unheated tent anyway.  The tent is only one component of your winter camping gear.

What are your camping goals?  Snowshoeing, ice fishing, relaxing?
How old are you?
Where in the UP are you located?

Online Moondog55

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2017, 06:24:33 PM »
My suggestion is to dive in and make it happen this month.  You still have plenty of snow and cold.  Give your equipment a test run in your backyard a couple times so that you can see how things work and what needs improvement.  Don't wait for next season.

You don't have a stove, but you will want your sleep system to work overnight in an unheated tent anyway.  The tent is only one component of your winter camping gear.


I agree with this
I would how-ever get a fly for it first, a cheap poly fly for testing in the back yard, just to see for yourself the big difference the fly will make.
If you don't have that winter rated mattress and sleeping bag combo you can work with extra stuff from the house because it is so close

Offline southcove

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2017, 08:10:00 PM »
I'll be the wet blanket on this idea, though that is surely a nice tent and new for $300.  Wahoo, great buy!

My chief objection is the overall weight (and somewhat the bulk) of this tent. * If you were moving your kit with an iron dog, then okay, just a few pounds the motor will not really notice.  But if you are hauling this tent and related gear in to your chosen site(s) more than a couple hundred yards from your car or truck, by your own power: it's a poor choice (in my opinion only)

If you were, for instance sharing this tent w 1-3 other fellow campers, not so bad an idea, since all the related gear could be spread around with more sleds and able bodies to haul it.

If you picked a camping area where you could easily dump your gear right out the back of your vehicle or just very nearby, then sure, give it a whirl, it could really be a good choice to get you started on a new set of adventures. 

More frame reinforcement and a poly type fly would certainly give you more piece of mind (and warmth) in snowy and windy conditions.

My first choice would be a second hand canvas tent or a conversion of a decent smaller, lighter nylon family or backpacking style 4-6 man tent or so with a smoke hole, etc to make it more suitable for winter conditions.   That first time you light off that stove in cold conditions and feel the wonderful warmth inside...yes!  (of course you should be taking some trial runs in the backyard or nearby where you can bail or add extra gear if needed for comfort and safety.

Lots of ways you can get into hot tenting for a few seasons without making a big investment in a high end tent.   

* you would be taking up way too much space/overall weight on a typical sled, toboggan or pulk to be able to haul your other gear and necessaries.

Online Moondog55

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2017, 08:43:15 PM »
40 lbs is not unreasonable tho; even adding another 10 pounds for a strong fly but I agree it is really pushing the limits for solo use. But if you only have to haul if over flat country for a mile or so then it should be fine.
As Southcove says; divide that weight between 2 people and doable but marginal for long hauls, 3/4 people I would say very doable
I would be putting the stove in the floor-less section of the tent going straight up thru the roof and protecting the roof from sparks etc with a secondary layer of siliconised fibreglass

Offline rbinhood

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 11:54:55 PM »
I have a nice Knico stove I can sell you. I'm just over the border in Eagle River Wisconsin.

Online Moondog55

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 07:37:28 PM »
Still waiting for the OP to jump back in.
I hope this was a serious question as I like to learn new ways of doing stuff and it broadens my knowledge so I can make lots of new mistakes and share so other folk don't repeat them

Offline Kevin

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2017, 06:12:17 PM »
I remember several years ago a member on the myccr forum made their hot tent similar to that out of an old Eureka BonEcho. They replaced half of the front vestibule wall (where the stove was) with some sort of cotton sheet or painters cloth which also didn't have a floor and then slept in the actual rear tent.  I tried to find the link unsuccessfully.

Offline landrand

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 11:18:26 AM »
To answer a couple of questions posted by others.  I'm 52 years old and live in a small rural area called Michigamme; about a 45 minute drive west of Marquette, MI.  I currently live in a cottage on a lake in the middle of nowhere. I initially bought the tent for primarily summer use, but after thinking about it, I thought the tent would work well with a woodstove during the colder seasons such as spring/fall.  If I'm going to modify the tent to support a woodstove, I thought perhaps I may be able to modify it further to support winter camping too.

My winter camping goals are:  ice fishing, snowshoeing, rabbit/coyote/deer hunting, or just roughing it in a tent for a few nights with my two dogs while practicing winter survival skills. I don't have a snowmobile, but haven't ruled that out in the future.  In the meantime, my winter camping will either be road camping with a Jeep or when the snow gets too deep, using some kind of sled to haul my gear and supplies.  I don't envision hauling the sled more than a mile at first, but that could change as I get more experienced. Since I already live in the "sticks", it doesn't take me very long to get off the beaten path.

Although I have most of the necessary small winter camping gear/stuff, I'm now working at getting the larger items such as a winter tent, tent stove, and sled/toboggan. I have a very nice Marmot Helium down sleeping bag but it's only rated to 15 degrees. Until I get more experienced in winter camping, I was just going to use the Marmot bag coupled with a big fluffy down queen size comforter for camping in sub-zero weather. I can't imagine having any difficulty withstanding extreme cold weather with this arrangement.  The only issue is the size and weight of the down comforter.

As for the Kelty tent in question, here's what I do know.  The main reason I bought the tent is I thought it was a good deal for a Poly/Cotton canvas tent and primarily thought I'd use it spring/summer/fall. I have not yet set the tent up, so I only know specifics by reading about it on-line. I do have a couple "drinkin" buddies that will occasional "jeep" camp with me, but for the most part, the tent will be occupied by just me and two large dogs. The tent is surely overkill for just the dogs and I, but several years from now I hope to retire and spend my time exploring and travelling the Northwoods.  I'm an avid fly fisherman so having a larger 3 season tent does offer several advantages for longer term camping. If it's possible and realistic to convert this tent for use year round, the better off I'll be financially. Besides, by trade I'm an engineer so it's it's kind of fun to learn how to make or modify something rather than going out and buying a new expensive winter tent. Last year I also picked up a couple of used commercial sewing machines (to include a chainstich machine) so someday I wouldn't mind making my own canvas winter tent.  Unfortunately, I'm new to sewing  so I first have a bit of learning to do on smaller projects before embarking on the larger more complex endeavor such as a tent.   

The specs of the tent poles indicate they are DAC Aluminium produced by a Korean company.  I initially wasn't sure
what DAC stood for, but after googling it, now I know.  I initially thought the advantages of a single wall canvas tent was perfect for
winter, but research and posts to this thread indicate that having an additional fly would be best. I'm enthusiastic to learn how to build a fly for this tent, but I might need some guidance on what design the fly would be. Moondog has provided recommendation for fly material, but I might need a bit more info. Would I have to cut the poly fly material into sections and sew them into something that resembles the original shape of the tent or would I just take a rectangular poly sheet and just draping it over the dome shape tent. It would seem having an outer fly cover that is not very tight would allow any snow/water to collect between supports.

As for frame re-inforcements...I understand I'd need additional support poles to help distribute any possible snow load to the ground.  Does that mean I'd have to poke a couple of holes for the vertical poles to connect with the existing external pole structure or is there a better way to re-inforce the external structure without going through the roof.  I realized I need to get much more versed in winter tents and modifications before implementing anything so I look forward to your expertise and comments.

Online Moondog55

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 05:13:19 PM »
DAC are the new standard in excellence and I would choose them over Easton these days.
I use PVC plumbing "Ts" to join in the vertical poles I add on the side of the big tent I am working on, they work reasonably well
For your initial trials even PVC conduit will work to let you know where extra wands need to be put.
I got some help from an engineer member of a local forum and basically in this sort of tent the ideal is to get the unsupported area to 900mm or less, in my own 10*10 I have added extra roof wands and side poles but mine has a different pole structure
Personally I would experiment first with a cheap polytarp or poly/cotton bed sheets to see if a standard flat tarp will work, I think that would given the overall shape of the tent
The ideal fly fabric is the lightest that will do the job but the higher the thread count and the greater the denier of the individual fibres the better.
A down comforter over a down bag would work but read all the threads on mattress systems in conjunction but a good cot with under base insulation also works well and gives space to store stuff too

You can tie the fly down tight to the actual tent or to trees/stakes/pegs but yes it needs to be taut to shed the snow and not flap in the wind and the reinforcements at the tie down points need to be well sewn and very strong, sail making tutorials are good for learning how to do that

Given the money you saved on buying the tent I would suggest getting the total carried weight down by getting a Titanium stove
2 Paris expedition sleds in tandem can carry a lot of gear and do not cost much Read "The Pulk Book"

Offline rbinhood

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Re: Kelty Frontier 6 Tent Conversion for Winter Camping
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 06:25:03 PM »
Just saw your message. Sent you a reply.