The Best Emergency Shelters: Survival Shelter and Tent Reviews of 2016

Top 5 Emergency Shelters and Tents

Shelter is an essential packing item as it affords protection from the elements and in an emergency can reduce your chances of dying from exposure. There have been many instances of even the most experienced outdoorsmen succumbing to the elements because they were underprepared.

In a large majority of these cases, these people did not have adequate survival shelter to protect themselves from the wind, rain, and cold. This was the case with a hiker who was caught off guard in the White Mountains by 100 mile-per-hour winds and negative 77-degree temperatures. For this reason, it is important to have an emergency shelter even if your plans do not include spending the night outdoors.

It is important to consider what type of shelter will suit your needs. There are many different kinds of survival shelters and tents available, ranging from luxurious 8-person tents to 1-person bivouac sacks. The type of shelter you decide on will depend on what type of situation you are planning for. Whether you are packing an emergency bug out bag or perhaps venturing into the backcountry for just a day, you should be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

This article will take a look at five of the best bug out bag survival tents and shelters to put in your own EDC bag. Although some of these tents can stand up to multiple uses, emergency tents are not typically meant for long-term use and will not hold up well in severe storms or protect against extreme cold. They will, however, serve to protect you from wind and rain for a short time while you await rescue.

To compare these tents, we will be looking at four different categories:

  1. Design – Style that is used to construct and set up the tent.
  2. Capacity
  3. Size and Weight
  4. Weatherproofing – Waterproof, water-resistant, or non-waterproof.

 

Here are our Top Picks

Company Texsport Stansport Level One Grizzly Gear
Rating: #1 #2 #3 #4
Design A-frame A-frame Tube Tube
Capacity 1-2 adults 1-2 adults 1 adult 1 adult
Weatherproofing Water-resistant Water-resistant Waterproof Waterproof
Size 54 x 38 x 84 inches 54 x 36 x 78 inches 40 x 36 x 96 inches 40 x 36 x 96 inches
Weight 3.6 pounds 3.8 pounds 6.4 ounces 5.6 ounces
Price See Price on Amazon See Price on Amazon See Price on Amazon See Price on Amazon

 


Texsport Camouflage Trail Tent Review

best survival bug out bag shelterThe Texsport Camouflage Trail Tent is made of durable taffeta nylon material with a water-resistant polyurethane coating that is flame retardant. The material is not lightweight, but it is heavy-duty and rip-stop, which allows this tent to be reusable. The floor space is large enough to accommodate two adults. The design is a traditional A-frame supported on each end by an aluminum pole and staked out in each corner. There is a zippered mesh door to allow airflow and to protect from bugs.

This survival tent is very large and heavy for an emergency tent. The material is naturally water resistant but is non-breathable. The camouflage design helps conceal the tent when set up, which may not be ideal for rescue situations. The tent comes with the necessary tools for set up as well as a carrying case.

  • Design: A-frame
  • Capacity: 1-2 adults
  • Size and Weight: 54 x 38 x 84 inches, 3.6 pounds
  • Weatherproofing: Water-resistant

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Stansport Scout Backpack Tent Review

best survival shelterThe Scout is a traditional A-frame non-freestanding tent similar to the Texsport. It is made for 3-season use and is large enough to accommodate 2 adults. The floor of the tent is durable polyethylene and the upper is a polyurethane-coated nylon material that is flame retardant.

This coating allows the tent to be highly water-resistant but not 100% waterproof. The entrance has a mesh door to protect against bugs and provide airflow as well as nylon doors for privacy. It includes aluminum poles, cordage, stakes, and a carrying case.

The tent is a green color that allows the tent to blend in with its surroundings. The materials are non-breathable and the tent interior will accumulate condensation if there is no airflow. At 3.8 pounds, it is a bit heavier than the Texsport but it is just as durable and reusable.

  • Design: A-frame
  • Capacity: 1-2 adults
  • Size and weight: 54 x 36 x 78 inches, 3.8-pounds
  • Weatherproofing: Water-resistant

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Level One Emergency Tent Review

emergency shelter survivalThis Emergency Tent by Level One is made of a reflective Mylar material that can retain 80% of your body heat. Mylar is a wind and waterproof material that is the same material used to make emergency space blankets. It is only large enough to fit one person. This is a tube design and sets up with a cord that runs through the top of the tent and ties off to a tree or other surface. This bug out bag tent is significantly less expensive than the first two options, but it is not as durable or reusable.

Unlike the first two tents, this is specifically for emergency use. The tube design means that the tent is open on both ends and will not retain much body heat. The Mylar material is very small, but difficult to repack into the same small size. The best use for this tent would be to protect against wind and rain in an emergency and would be best paired with another insulating material such as a blanket to retain heat.

  • Design: Tube
  • Capacity: 1 adult
  • Size and weight: 40 x 36 x 96 inches, 6.4 ounces
  • Weatherproofing: Waterproof

check-the-price

 

 


Grizzly Gear Emergency Survival Mylar Tube Tent Review

bug out bag survival shelterThe Emergency Survival Tent by Grizzly Gear is very similar to the Level One Emergency tent. It is also a made of Mylar and has a tube design. This claims that it retains 90% body heat, but as with the Level One Tent, both ends are open which would not allow for much heat retention. Because it is Mylar, the tent is able to be both waterproof and windproof. Floor space is the smallest of these five tents, at only 3 feet across, and would most likely be used for one adult only.

The benefit to this bug out shelter is that it is the lightest weight on our list. This tent would be best used for emergencies only. As a day-hiker, this would be a small and lightweight addition to your emergency kit.

  • Design: Tube
  • Capacity: 1 adult
  • Size and weight: 40 x 36 x 96 inches, 5.6 ounces
  • Weatherproofing: Waterproof

check-the-price

 

 


SE Outdoor Tube Tent Review

best survival tentThe Outdoor Tube Tent is similar to the Mylar emergency tents with an aluminum-coated interior for insulation. This tent has an additional feature, a non-woven material exterior that is bright orange with a reflective trim. The bright color will allow rescuers to find you with ease in an emergency.

This tent is set up using 23 feet of rope and steel pegs. The nylon exterior makes this more durable than the other Mylar tents and allows it to be reusable. It also has the added benefit of being closed on one end with door closures at the entrance. Because of this, it will do a better job at preserving body heat than the other Mylar tents.

The downside to this is that it’s a non-breathable material. This means that condensation will form on the inside of the tent if there is no ventilation. It is also a bit more expensive than the other Mylar tents. But even at a $35 price point, it is still quite affordable.

  • Design: Tube with sealed doors
  • Capacity: 1 adult
  • Size and weight: 82 x 36 inches, 1 pound 9 ounces
  • Weatherproofing: Water-resistant

check-the-price

 

 


My Vote for Best Bug Out Emergency Tent

Before I go into my personal favorite, let me again lay out what I look for in a camping shelter generally and what you should specifically look for in a shelter for your bug out or everyday carry bag.

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The Texsport Camouflage Tent and the Stansport Scout are winners in durability and design. The A-frame is a tried and true design and the heavy-duty material allows them to both be highly water-resistant and reusable. At 6.4 and 5.6 ounces respectively, the Level One and Grizzly Gear Mylar tents are by far the lightest and most compact, making them the best options for those who are just out for the day.

For my own emergency preparation, however, I would choose the SE Outdoor Tube Tent because it is much lighter than the Texsport and Stansport tents, and more durable than the lightweight Mylar tents. It has more features and is better for search and rescue in emergency situations.