Best Survival Tent For Prepping & Emergencies

Editors Choice

Snugpak The Ionosphere

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

In terms of quality and reliability alone, the competition does not come close to the Snugpak The Ionosphere allowing it to top our list as best survival tent. Furthermore, this is the only model we reviewed that includes its hydrostatic waterproof rating which comes in at a monster 5000 mm.

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

Even better, this model sidesteps the common breathability issue that other high-end waterproof tents often have by providing a mesh canopy. Furthermore, to make sure you have a worry-free trip whilst 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

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
    • Why you should 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 tent

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

How to choose the best survival shelter for your needs depends a lot on the type of situation you may expect to find yourself in. It is important to consider whether or not you need your 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 have 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 any tricky emergency situations.

Types Of Survival Shelters & Tents

Bivy

Bivy sacks are some of the most durable and stable emergency shelters around, though they are only meant for temporary use. 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 types of survival tents.

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 survival situations. One of the best things about a tarp shelter is that its dimensions can often be altered, and it is also waterproof.

However, 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

A traditional camping tent generally won’t meet the standards of a survival tent, in most part due to being too heavy and too large when packed. That said, some backpacking tents out there 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 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 2021.

What To Look For In A Survival Shelter

Intended Use 

This factor will likely determine what level of durability you want; a structure for a “true” survival situation will not need to be as durable as a tent used for bushcraft. For example, if you are a prepper, then a survival tent that’s designed to handle at most a couple of days’ use is not going to cut it.

In this instance, you’ll want to look for a more 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 emergency situations, a rain fly or other tube tent is likely sufficient.

Protection from the Elements

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 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 afford greater protection from the weather as they offer a fully enclosed shelter. Depending on the quality you’ll also have greater protection from wet and cold weather.

Packed Size and Weight

Whether you are a prepper, survivalist, bushcrafter, or just need a shelter in an emergency, you’ll want a shelter that packs into a compact profile and has a lightweight build. However, exactly how light or compact will depend on the individual needs.

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 out 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 occasionally do 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, someone who uses a survival tent will 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 your shelter. As such, you want to make sure that your shelter pitches quickly and without difficulty.

Thankfully, most survival tents are designed for easy setup, 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 Emergency Survival Shelter: The Results

SERGEANT Emergency 2 Person Tent

Best 2 Person Emergency Shelter

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 substantial value that begins with a 100% lifetime warranty. Sergeant reinforces that value by offering a less expensive bug out shelter that still manages to handle most conditions and also provides plenty of additional benefits.

On that list of benefits is the lightweight design with a weight that comes in at 8 ⅗ oz, ideal for hikers. Also, while the packed size is not provided, this model packs down to a little larger than a can of soda, about the same as most of its competition.

One of the more surprising things about the Sergeant model is how large it is at 96″ x 60″, big enough to fit two people comfortably. On top of that, this tent is not known for leaking like some of the other mylar based tube tents that we have come across.

Unfortunately, this is also one of the least durable options 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 model seems to lack the ease of setup that some of its competition has.

  • 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 two person tent hovers around the top of our list in some of the most important hiking categories such as weight and packed size, while still providing enough protection from rain and the sun’s UV rays.

Go Time Gear Emergency Shelter

Best Emergency 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 a crisis. A great example of this concept in action is the included signal whistle that the Go Time Gear Emergency 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, this option is also great for hikers thanks to its lightweight 8 ⅔ oz design.

Even better, this tent will pack 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 model is inexpensive too.

On the other hand, like most mylar-based tube tents, this option 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 is far more challenging to repack into its carrying bag than other products on the market.

  • 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 tent for those rare instances when a real emergency strikes, the Go Time Gear Emergency has you covered with a deafening signal whistle and a great sightline.

Don’t Die In The Woods Ultralight

Best Budget Survival Shelter

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 based on its specs we would not be surprised if the founders were avid backpackers. For starters, this is the lightest model that we reviewed on our list coming in at a svelte 8 ½ oz– though some of its competitors are still comparable.

Similarly, this tent also packs down smaller than any other option on our list at only 5″ x 3 ¼”– though this is still similar to other models on the market. Nonetheless, when you consider how useful this portable survival shelter is for hikers, its low price is only the icing on the cake.

Also, while the smallest packed size might seem to come with space restrictions, at 96″ x 54″ x 33″ this will comfortably sleep two people. The mylar construction also helps keep you warm when it’s 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 this 2 person tent might seem similar to other tube tents, its low price combined with a lightweight design and compact profile makes it ideal for hikers. However if you’re looking for long term use this may not be the choice for you.

River Country Products Trekker Tent 2

Best Trekking Emergency Shelter 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 least of which are the included trekking poles with their Trekker 2. Even better, this cuts down on additional gear to carry as this model uses those poles to support the tent as well.

Another significant difference between this model and many others is its A-frame design, which provides an enclosed space to keep out bugs. It also helps that this option 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 get what you pay for and the increased quality of the materials used, as well as the extra features, mean this is not an inexpensive option. While paying for quality is a reasonable expectation, the fact that this product 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

Best One Person Emergency Bivy Tent

Winterial Single Person Personal Bivy Tent - Lightweight One Person Tent with Rainfly, 2lbs 9oz, Stakes, Poles and Guylines Included, Backpacking and Hiking Bivy Tent (Olive Green & Orange)

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. On the other hand, this can also be seen as a good thing as it does not have many flaws.

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

To ensure that mesh canopy does not present additional issues, the Winterial does come with a rain fly of excellent quality and has sealed seams to keep out water. Finally, this is arguably one of the most stable structures on our list thanks in large part to the use of aluminum poles.

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

PROS

  • PROs

    • Is enclosed 
    • Has good breathability
    • Has good waterproofing
    • Is more stable
  • CONs

    • Is more expensive
    • Is shorter 

Bottom-Line: If you just need a one person shelter, the Winterial bivy 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 Overall 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 have made sure to figure out what it takes to make an excellent survival tent: namely 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.

Further reinforcing durability, the Snugpak The Ionosphere uses anodized aluminum for its support pole design to reduce the risk of corrosion. As if that were not enough, there is also no other product on our list that provides anywhere near as good waterproofing 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 as it comes with a mesh canopy design. Also, as a bivy tent, there is little risk of bugs getting inside whilst wind and chilly weather is better kept at bay.

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

PROS

  • PROs

    • Is enclosed 
    • Is more durable
    • Has a 5000 mm waterproof rating
    • Has good breathability
  • CONs

    • Is more expensive
    • Is shorter 

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 Survival Tarp

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, the most experienced company on our list and have therefore understood the importance of versatility. Unlike most of the tube tents that we reviewed, this is the only model that can also be used as a rain fly.

This feature allows you to get far more mileage than other options, and 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 tube tarp works well for hiking thanks to its lightweight design of only 1 lb 12 oz — though that being said this is still heavy for a tube tent. This is one of the smaller shelters on our list and is easily the smallest tube tent that we came across. 

As much as this model improves on durability, it fails with waterproofing and leaks worse than any other product we reviewed. That being said, the Ultimate Survival Technologies Tube Tarp 1.0 is an inexpensive option, much like its competition.

  • 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 tents we reviewed that offers this versatility.

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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