Best Survival Tent for Prepping & Emergencies

Overall Winner “Best Survival Tent”

Snugpak The Ionosphere

Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent, 94 inches x 35 inches x 28 inches, Waterproof Polyester and Nylon, Olive

In terms of sheer quality and reliability, the competition is not even close as the Snugpak The Ionosphere far outperforms its competitors. For instance, this survival tent is the only model we found that includes its hydrostatic waterproof rating and provides a monster 5000 mm of waterproofing.

On top of that, the Snugpak The Ionosphere is the only option on our list that provides detailed materials and uses 210T polyester for the rainfly. As if that were not enough, this survival tent also employs anodized aluminum for its pole supports, so you do not have to worry about corrosion.

Even better, this survival tent sidesteps the common breathability issue of other high-end waterproof tents with a mesh canopy. To make sure you do not have to worry while out on the trails, the Snugpak The Ionosphere is also the only option on our list that comes with a repair kit.

Bottom Line: So long as you are willing to pay for quality, the Snugpak The Ionosphere provides that in spades from top to bottom with exceptional durability, excellent waterproofing, and fantastic design.

The Best Shelter for any Survival Situation

While general or even ultralight camping can be accomplished in multiple ways, you might need something a bit more specific when the rubber meets the road. There are numerous survival situations where an emergency shelter stashed in your bug out bag, car, or hiking backpack could help save your life.

Choosing which survival shelter you should purchase depends on a lot on the type of survival situation you may expect to be in. It is important to consider whether or not you need your survival tent for hiking emergencies or if you need it to bug-out should the SHTF.

Figuring out which set of specs and features works best for you can be difficult, especially considering the sheer number of tents on the market. That is why we put together a list of the seven best survival shelters, highlighting what each one does best. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can figure out which survival tent will save your bacon the next time you find yourself in a tricky emergency situation.

Looking for a Great Survival Shelter?

You’re in the right place! In this guide we will be covering the following:

  • Examine what features make for the best survival tents
  • Favor protection, weight, and packed size more than other factors
  • Review seven of the top tents on the market
  • Give our unbiased #1 pick for the top survival shelter

Types of Survival Tents & Shelters

Bivy

Bivy sacks are some the most durable and stable of the typical survival tent types, though they too are meant for temporary purposes. That said, there is no denying that a bivy sack’s enclosed space makes it far more comfortable when dealing with insects. On the other hand, bivy sacks are noted for being little more than pods that can fit a single person and are shorter than other survival tent types.

Tarp Shelter

While you technically can just use a rain fly for this purpose, a tarp shelter is a specialized type of tarp that can also double as shelter in an emergency. One of the best things about this type of survival tent is that its dimensions can often be altered, and it is waterproof.

However, few rain fly tents tend to suffer from a lack of durability, particularly cheaper brands which may in fact just be a glorified space blanket with guylines. Secondly, this type of emergency shelter rarely provides total 360o protection from the weather.

Lightweight Tent

Few traditional camping tents can meet the standards of a survival tent if for no other reason than they are too large when packed and heavy. That said, some backpacking tents out there that can meet at least the minimum standards to be included in this group. One of the best qualities of traditional tents for survival purposes is their durability and their stability in inclement weather conditions.

Additional Reading: If you’re planning an extended camping trip, then hygiene is a key concern – check out our guide to the best shower tent in 2020.

What To Look For In A Survival Tent

Intended Use

This factor will likely determine what level of durability you want from your survival shelter with a “true” emergency tent, not needing to hold up as much as a tent for bushcraft. For example, if you are a prepper, then a survival tent that is designed to handle at most a couple of days of use is not going to cut it.

In this instance, you will want to look for a tent that more resembles a traditional tent or at least go with a bivy sack made out of suitable materials. On the other hand, if you just plan to go on an extended hike or want something that can save your life in an emergency, a rain fly tent or other tube tent is likely sufficient.

Protection from the Elements

As noted by the type of tent, protection from the weather is one of the more important factors when choosing a survival tent– though not all environmental factors are treated equally.

A tube tent or tarp tent tends to offer more protection from the rain and sunlight than it does from the wind due to the openings at either end. To help retain warmth, these types of tents tend to use a mylar material or hybrid mylar construction to reflect your body heat back inside the tent.

Traditional tents and bivy sacks on the other hand offer greater protection from the weather as they offer a fully enclosed shelter. Depending on the quality of the tent, this should offer greater protection from wet and cold weather.

Packed Size and Weight

Whether you are a prepper, survivalist, bushcrafter, or just need a survival tent for an emergency, you will want a tent that packs into a compact profile and has a lightweight build. However, exactly how light or compact is where these different people draw the line in which tent best suits them.

Preppers, for example, generally do not need to worry quite as much about weight or packed size since they likely carry plenty of gear and may even use a vehicle as well. On the other hand, hikers or trekkers need to cut as much weight and save as much space as possible.

Capacity

There is no getting around the fact that survival tents generally house one person but can occasionally accommodate multiple people. Keep in mind, the only survival tents that comfortably house more than one person are tube or tarp tents because you can adjust their width and height.

Of course, people who use survival tents generally tend to be prepared for a host of situations and likely expect anyone they travel with to be similarly prepared. One thing to consider is regardless of how many people the tent holds, you may want more headroom for comfort.

Easy to Set Up

If you are in an emergency where inclement weather potentially threatens your life, you do not have the luxury of taking your time to set up a survival tent. As such, you want to make sure that your survival tent pitches quickly and without difficulty.

Thankfully, most survival tents use a design that makes them easy to set up, though few use the pop-up style that larger tents do. One thing to keep in mind is that tube tents are often the easiest to set up, but they also usually require external supports.

Best Survival Tent: The Results

SERGEANT Emergency Survival Tent

Best 2-Person Survival Tent

SERGEANT Emergency Survival Tent, 2 Person, Extra-Thick, Lightweight, Mylar, Military Grade, Tube Tent, Shelter + Paracord. All-Weather Protection, for Hiking, Camping, Outdoor Survival Kits, Go Bags.

Sergeant is a somewhat unknown company with little fanfare, but they pride themselves on providing a substantial value that begins with a 100% lifetime warranty. Sergeant then reinforces that value by offering a less expensive survival tent that still manages to handle most conditions and provides plenty of additional benefits.

A great example of this is how well the Sergeant Emergency survival tent functions for hikers thanks to a lightweight design that only comes in at 8 ⅗ oz. Also, while the packed size is not provided, this survival tent packs down to about the same as most of its competition, which is a little bit larger than a can of soda.

One of the more surprising things about the Sergeant Emergency survival tent is how large it is at 96″ x 60″, which is more than enough room to house two people comfortably. On top of that, this survival tent is not known for leaking like some of the other mylar based tube tents that we came across.

Unfortunately, this is also one of the least durable tents on our list with a purely mylar construction that is only 26 um thick, though this at least traps plenty of body heat. It also does not help that this tube tent seems to be a bit more challenging to set up than some of its competition.

PROS

  • Only weighs 8 ⅗ oz
  • Packs down small
  • Has excellent protection from the elements
  • Is less expensive

CONS

  • Difficult to set up
  • Not that durable

Bottom Line: The Sergeant Emergency survival tent hovers around the top of our list in some of the most important hiking categories like weight and packed size while still providing enough protection from rain and the sun’s UV rays.

Go Time Gear Emergency Survival Shelter

Best Emergency Survival Tent

Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter – 2 Person Emergency Tent – Use As Survival Tent, Emergency Shelter, Tube Tent, Survival Tarp - Includes Survival Whistle & Paracord (Orange)

Go Time Gear may only have been around for about half a decade, but that seems to be more than enough time for the company to understand that you need to signal for help in an emergency. A great example of this concept in action is the included signal whistle that the Go Time Gear Emergency survival tent comes with that produces a 120 dB alarm.

Even better, this shelter comes in neon orange, so you are clearly visible, and can be used as a reflective signaling device for overhead searches. Like many of the other tube tents that we came across, the Go Time Gear Emergency survival tent is also great for hikers thanks to a lightweight 8 ⅔ oz design.

Even better, this survival tent packs down to the second-smallest profile that we encountered at 5 ¼” x 3 ¼” while still providing 96″ x 60″ x 48″ of space. As good as all of these features are, they are only made more enticing by the fact that the Go Time Gear Emergency survival tent is inexpensive too.

On the other hand, like most mylar-based tube tents, this survival tent is not the most durable, though it does weave polyester in with the mylar. However, that carries with it other potential issues as the Go Time Gear Emergency survival tent is far more challenging to repack into its carrying bag than other tube tents we found.

PROS

  • Only weighs 8 ⅔ oz
  • Packs down to 5 ¼” x 3 ¼”
  • Has a safety whistle
  • Is less expensive

CONS

  • Difficult to repack
  • Not that durable

Bottom Line: If you just need a survival tent for those rare instances when a real emergency strikes, the Go Time Gear Emergency survival tent has you covered with a deafening signal whistle and a great sightline.

Don’t Die In The Woods Ultralight Survival Tent

Best Budget Survival Tent

World's Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent • 2 Person Mylar Emergency Shelter Tube Tent + Paracord • Year-Round All Weather Protection For Hiking, First Aid Kits, & Outdoor Survival Gear

Don’t Die In The Woods might be one of the newest companies on our list, but we would not be surprised if the founders were avid backpackers based on its specs. For starters, this survival shelter is the lightest tent that we reviewed on a list coming in at a svelte 8 ½ oz– though some of its competitors are still comparable.

Similarly, the Don’t Die In The Woods Ultralight packs down smaller than any other tent on our list too at only 5″ x 3 ¼”– though this is comparable with other tube tents. Still, when you consider how useful this survival tent is for hikers, its low price is only icing on the cake.

Also, while the smallest packed size might seem to come with space restrictions, the Don’t Die In The Woods Ultralight comfortably sleeps two people at 96″ x 54″ x 33″. The mylar construction also helps keep you warm when it is cold, and the taped seams keep you dry when it rains.

Of course, like other mylar-based tube tents, the Don’t Die In The Woods Ultralight is not the most durable and needs a tarp footprint. You may want to replace the included paracord as it is not the strongest we found, despite the advertised 425 lb weight limit.

PROS

  • Only weighs 8 ½ oz
  • Packs down to 5″ x 3 ¼”
  • Has good protection
  • Is less expensive

CONS

  • Not the strongest paracord
  • Not that durable

Bottom Line: While the Don’t Die In The Woods Ultralight might seem similar to other tube tents, its low price combined with a lightweight design and compact profile makes it ideal for hikers.

River Country Products Trekker Tent 2

Best Trekking Survival Tent

River Country Products Trekker Tent 2, Trekking Pole Tent, Ultralight Backpacking Tent - Green

Though River Country Products may be another new company, they offer a good mix of features for trekking — not the least of which are the included trekking poles with their survival tent. Even better, you do not have to worry about additional gear as the River Country Products Trekker Tent 2 uses those poles to support the tent.

Another significant difference between this option and many other products is its A-frame design, which provides an enclosed space to keep out bugs. It also does not hurt that the River Country Products Trekker Tent 2 is made out of polyester, so you do not have to worry about its durability as much as with most tube tents.

While the added durability is nice, the inclusion of a polyurethane waterproof coating is even better, though you may still want to seal the seams. While it does not pack down as small as tube tents, the River Country Products Trekker Tent 2 still packs down the smallest for traditional tents at 10″ x 6″.

Of course, you have to pay for a better quality of material as well as extra features, and this survival shelter is not inexpensive. While paying for quality is a reasonable expectation, the fact that the River Country Products Trekker Tent 2 is smaller than most at only 84″ x 60″ x 42″ is not.

PROS

  • Is an enclosed two-person tent
  • Comes with trekking poles
  • Is more durable
  • Has good waterproofing

CONS

  • Is more expensive
  • Not the largest

Bottom Line: Trekking is its own beast for ultralight hikers, but the River Country Products Trekker Tent 2 provides trekking poles that double as support poles with a decent weight and size to go along with it.

Winterial Single Person Personal Bivy Tent

Winterial Single Person Personal Bivy Tent, 1 Person Tent Lightweight 2 Pounds 9 Ounces, Green

Winterial continues the trend of survival tents made by new companies, though this shelter tends to sit somewhere in the middle of the pack with few distinguishing characteristics that make it stand out. On the other hand, this can also be seen as a good thing as it does not have terrible flaws.

For starters, the Winterial is a bivy tent, so you can rest comfortably at night without having to worry about getting eaten alive by insects. However, unlike other enclosed tents we saw, the Winterial survival tent is also incredibly breathable thanks to a completely mesh canopy.

To ensure that mesh canopy does not present additional issues, the Winterial comes with an excellent rainfly and seals its seams to keep out water. Finally, this is arguably one of the most stable survival shelters on our list thanks in large part to the use of aluminum poles.

That said, like with other enclosed survival tents, the Winterial is expensive– not to mention it is the second-heaviest, though it only weighs 3 lbs 3 oz. Still, for the price of the Winterial, you would expect a bit more space as it is only 38″ wide and 28″ tall, making it a 1-person tent.

PROS

  • Is an enclosed tent
  • Is a breathable tent
  • Has good waterproofing
  • Is more stable

CONS

  • Is more expensive
  • Is a shorter tent

Bottom Line: If you just need a 1-person survival tent, the Winterial bivy tent is a reliable option, offering both plenty of protection from the elements and bugs while still providing plenty of ventilation and durability.

Snugpak The Ionosphere

Best Survival Tent

Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent, 94 inches x 35 inches x 28 inches, Waterproof Polyester and Nylon, Olive

Snugpak is one of the few companies on our list that has been around for a while, and in that time, they made sure to figure out what it takes to make an excellent survival shelter: durability. While many products may suffice for a single, emergency use, the Snugpak The Ionosphere can last for many seasons thanks to its 210T polyester construction.

To further reinforce that general durability, the Snugpak The Ionosphere uses anodized aluminum for its support poles to reduce the risk of corrosion. As if that were not enough, there is also no other tent on our list that provides nearly the waterproofing as this option, which comes with a 5000 mm hydrostatic rating.

While that kind of waterproofing might be an issue for other tents, the Snugpak The Ionosphere does not suffer breathability issues with a mesh canopy design. Also, as a bivy tent, this shelter does not come with the risk of bugs getting inside the tent and can handle wind and chilly weather better.

That said, you have to pay the piper somewhere, and the Snugpak The Ionosphere is an expensive survival tent — arguably an expensive tent regardless of the niche. Also, while this tent provides a decent length, it can only sleep 1-person and is shorter than most.

PROS

  • Is an enclosed tent
  • Is more durable
  • Has a 5000 mm waterproof rating
  • Is a breathable tent

CONS

  • Is more expensive
  • Is a shorter tent

Bottom Line: When it comes to a survival tent, you do not have to worry about ripping, tearing, or otherwise failing, the Snugpak The Ionosphere is one of the few we encountered that can handle rougher conditions.

Ultimate Survival Technologies Tube Tarp 1.0

Best Tarp Survival Tent

UST Tube Tarp and Camping Shelter with Compact, Multifunctional Use and Reversible and Flame Retardant Construction for Emergency, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking and Outdoor Survival

Our final tent comes from Ultimate Survival Technologies, which is also the most experienced company on our list and likely why they understood to make their tent versatile. Unlike most of the tube tents that we reviewed, the Ultimate Survival Technologies Tube Tarp 1.0 is the only model that can also be used as a rain fly.

This feature allows you to get far more mileage out of this survival tent than other options, but the company avoids many of the same issues other tube tents fall into as well. For example, the Ultimate Survival Technologies Tube Tarp 1.0 is made out of mylar as well as nylon and is one of the few tube tents without durability issues.

Even better, this survival tent still manages to work well for some hikers thanks to its lightweight design of only 1 lb 12 oz — though that is heavy for a tube tent. Of course, the icing on the cake is that the Ultimate Survival Technologies Tube Tarp 1.0 is an expensive model, much like its competition.

On the other hand, this is one of the smaller shelters on our list and is easily the smallest tube tent that we came across. Even worse, as much as the Ultimate Survival Technologies Tube Tarp 1.0 improves on tube tent durability, it fails with waterproofing and leaks worse than any other model we found.

PROS

  • Only weighs 1 lb 12 oz
  • Is a versatile tent
  • Is more durable
  • Is less expensive

CONS

  • Not that waterproof
  • Not the largest

Bottom Line: If you need a tarp that can double as a tent, the Ultimate Survival Technologies Tube Tarp 1.0 is one of the few options that can handle the many hats a tarp wears without wearing itself out.

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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