When camping in the wilderness, shelter, and safety are among the most basic needs that must be met in order to ensure survival. A tent is of the utmost importance. Your tent is your first line of defense. It protects you from the elements, predators, and other dangers.
Hypothermia is one of the most dangerous threats that campers face. Emergency tents are powerful tools to have if something goes wrong. They can save your life if you find yourself in a perilous situation.
A “survival tent” can also refer to an emergency tent. They can help you survive if you find yourself in an emergency and need temporary shelter. Most are designed for one-time use only.
In this buying guide, 10 of the best survival tents on the market are reviewed. The major pros and cons of each tent are outlined, along with a statement of overall value.
In a Rush? The Winner after 19 hours of testing is:
- Don't Die In The Woods World's Toughest Ultralight Survival Tents
- Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent
- Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter
- Back 40 Outfitters Emergency Tent
- SharpSurvival Emergency Survival Tents
- Swiss Safe Emergency Survival Tents
- Mezonn Emergency Sleeping Bag Survival Bivy Sack
- Bearhard Emergency Sleeping Bag Emergency Bivy Sack
- Winterial Single Person Tent
- SE Emergency Outdoor Tube Tent
1 Don't Die In The Woods World's Toughest Ultralight Survival Tents
The cleverly named “Don’t Die in the Woods” tent can help you to do exactly that: survive. Branded as one of the toughest emergency tents on the market, it is designed to withstand serious abuse. The tent can withstand pouring rain, whipping winds, heavy snow and ice, and the blistering summer heat. Suitable for two people, it’s an ingenious tent that every survivalist and backpacker should check out.
The “snap setup” is simple, easy and quick. The cord is simply run through the length of the tent and then tied. Stones, blocks, or heavy logs can be used to anchor the corners. The tent is tube-shaped and easy to put together, even for inexperienced backpackers.
The tent is made of incredibly strong mylar material, designed by NASA’s engineers. The mylar conserves 90% of body heat, protecting you from hypothermia in the coldest of temperatures. The mylar is also waterproof, completely sealing you off from the elements. The mylar material is surprisingly versatile. Mylar can keep you comfortable in both hot and cold temperatures.
Cost and Value
The Don’t Die in the Woods Tent is sold for an extremely low price. It’s a very good value, and for a small sum, you get a fantastic emergency tent. This is one of the many reasons why this earned the top spot in this best survival tent review.
2 Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent
The Ionosphere offers excellent quality overall and versatility. Windproof, waterproof and mosquito-proof, it’s the perfect one for a variety of climates and terrains. No matter what time of year it is and where you happen to be, Snugpak provides comfortable, safe shelter from the elements.
The tent weighs in at an incredibly light 3.5 pounds. It is compact, portable, and easy to transport. It will take up very little room in your bag while you’re on the go. It also is comfortable to carry, putting very little stress and strain on your back and shoulders.
Waterproof & Windproof
The Ionosphere offers total protection from the elements. It is waterproof and windproof. The tent is able to withstand even the most extreme weather conditions. It has been field-tested by experts with excellent results.
Cost and Value
The Ionosphere is comparatively expensive. Given the tent’s versatility, overall quality, advanced features, compact design, and superior comfort, the extra cost is justified. It’s a fantastic tent and a sound investment.
3 Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter
The GTG Life Tent is another tent that is intended for emergencies. It can be set up rapidly thanks to its simple tube design. If you should become stranded in the woods, separated from your party, or your safety and well-being are otherwise compromised, the GTG is a literal lifesaver.
When rolled up and placed in its carrying case, the GTG takes up just a few cubic inches of space in your backpack and weighs under nine ounces. Every backpacker should carry an emergency tent such as the GTG. It’s small, lightweight, powerful and effective – there’s no reason not to carry one as part of your emergency survival kit.
The interior contains a layer of reflective material designed to retain up to 90% of your body heat. This is crucial in cold temperatures. In warm temperatures, if the interior of the tent should become too hot, it can be turned inside out and it will cool off quickly, keeping you comfortable.
Cost and Value
The GTG is very inexpensive. It is perfect for any emergency kit or bug out bag. For a nominal amount of money, you are given a powerful tool that protects you from the dangers of the outdoors. It’s an excellent value.
4 Back 40 Outfitters Emergency Tent
The Back 40 Outfitters Emergency Tent serves a dual purpose. It is a kit including an emergency tent and an emergency sleeping bag. The tent can be assembled quickly and easily, even under the most stressful of circumstances.
Included with the kit is a powerful, 120-decibel emergency whistle. This allows you to signal for help if you become separated from your party, or if you are trying to reach emergency responders. If you have no cell phone service, no two-way radio and no other way to communicate with people, an emergency whistle can mean the difference between being lost in the woods and being safely rescued.
Both the tent and sleeping bag are made of thermal, mylar material. The mylar is durable enough for multiple uses. This sets the Back 40 apart from other emergency tents, which are truly designed for single-use only.
Cost and Value
The Back 40 is similarly priced to the other emergency tents on this list. Considering all that is included with the kit, and the overall quality of the tent and sleeping bag, it’s an excellent value and very budget-friendly.
5 SharpSurvival Emergency Survival Tents
The SharpSurvival is the least expensive emergency tent reviewed here. At such a bargain-basement price, this emergency tent is perfect to give as a gift to virtually anyone, and it’s also something that’s useful to stock up on for yourself. Keep one in your home, one in your car, and take one with you whenever you go backpacking, hiking and so on.
8’ X 5’
When assembled, the tent measures 8’ X 5’. For an emergency tent, that’s huge. The tent offers sufficient room for two adults, as well as a large portion of your gear. The tent is a breeze to set up and fully closes on both sides, unlike other emergency tube tents. This allows the tent to properly seal, keeping the cold, wind, and rain out.
90% of Body Heat Retained
SharpSurvival’s tent is also made of NASA-engineered mylar material. As previously mentioned, mylar is thermal and reflective. Up to 90% of body heat is retained, helping you to stay warm, dry, and comfortable.
Cost and Value
The SharpSurvival is the least expensive and most affordable emergency tent reviewed here. Considering its spacious interior, durable mylar material, and the fact that it’s strong enough to withstand multiple uses, it’s a great value, and a must-have for any prepper, survivalist, or backpacker.
6 Swiss Safe Emergency Survival Tents
The Swiss Safe is a multi-use emergency kit. The tent is reversible and two-sided, allowing it to be used in a variety of climates and temperatures. The kit includes everything you need for quick setup and fast and easy assembly.
The tent is reversible. One side is bright orange, allowing you to be spotted easily, even at a distance. The other side is hunter green. Similar to camouflage, this allows you to blend in with your surroundings.
Extra Thick Lining
The tent’s lining is extra thick. This offers powerful insulation, keeping your body heat inside the tent. Like mylar, the material is reflective and thermal. Precious body heat is maintained, keeping your internal temperature from dropping in cold weather.
Cost and Value
The Swiss Safe is similarly priced to the other emergency survival tents reviewed here. It is therefore affordable; a well-made tent that will not hurt your wallet. It’s very good value.
7 Mezonn Emergency Sleeping Bag Survival Bivy Sack
The Mezonn is one of the most affordable emergency tents reviewed here. It is versatile and serves multiple purposes. It can be used as an emergency bivy tent, heat blanket, sleeping bag, or pup tent. If used as a tube tent, two adults can safely fit inside.
95% of Body Heat Retained
The Mezonn appears to retain body heat more effectively than the other emergency tents reviewed here. According to the manufacturer, an amazing 95% of body heat is maintained. This is due to the strong, durable material used to construct the tent along with the reinforced seams, which are completely sealed.
The Mezonn has been field-tested at sub-zero temperatures. Incredibly, it stands up to even the most extreme, freezing conditions. Similar to the other emergency tube tents reviewed here, it’s made of durable mylar. Your body heat is kept inside the tent, while the wind, water, and cold temperatures are kept out.
Cost and Value
The Mezonn is a very good value. It is extremely versatile and serves a variety of purposes. It’s a strong and effective emergency tent, even in harsh conditions. The tent is sold at an extremely reasonable price, making it a smart purchase.
8 Bearhard Emergency Sleeping Bag Emergency Bivy Sack
The Bearhard is another emergency sleeping bag/tent kit. However, what sets it apart from the others is that it’s a bit more sturdy. The materials are more durable, and the kit, while still qualifying as lightweight and compact, has more mass to it.
The tent is made from polyester, unlike the other emergency tents on this list. The polyester material is more durable than mylar, offering even better tear-resistance and overall strength. Like mylar, the material retains up to 90% of body heat, keeping you safe from hypothermia in an emergency situation.
Bronze or Camo
The tent is available in bronze or camouflage. The eye-catching bronze option makes it easier for rescuers to spot you. The camouflage allows you to safely blend in with your surroundings. However, both options have silver, light-reflective interiors. This means that no matter which color you choose, you can use the silver side to signal for help.
Cost and Value
The Bearhard is quite affordable, priced competitively with the other emergency tents on this list. It’s comparatively strong and durable and includes extra features such as an emergency whistle and carabiner clips. Considering all that the tent has to offer, it’s another low cost, high-value item.
9 Winterial Single Person Tent
The Winterial is a three-person survival tent, similar in overall design and use to Snugpak’s Ionosphere. Unlike the emergency tents reviewed on this list, the Winterial is suitable for long-term use. As such, it’s heavier, takes more time to assemble, and is better at providing overall shelter than an emergency tent.
The tent offers ventilation and breathability. This is a huge plus if the tent is used in warmer temperatures when the interior of a tent can become stifling. The mesh material that covers the roof allows you to have adequate air circulation without letting in any bugs or mosquitoes.
The rainfly is strong and effective. It’s easy to attach and is removable, for added convenience. The rainfly does a great job of keeping you dry, even if you’re caught in a sudden downpour.
Cost and Value
The Winterial is considerably more expensive than what you’d spend on an emergency tent, but it’s less expensive than the Ionosphere. Compared to standard camping tents, it’s quite inexpensive. That being said, it’s an entirely different product. The Winterial is a three-season, long-term use tent that can be used as a steady source of shelter. It’s an impressive value and a good find.
10 SE Emergency Outdoor Tube Tent
The SE Emergency Tube Tent is another great tool to have if you find yourself in a perilous situation while outdoors. Offering quick, easy assembly, powerful heat retention and a good degree of comfort in an emergency, the SE tube tent is a very good option to consider.
The tent is bright orange. This allows you to be easily spotted, even from long distances. If you are separated from your group or need to be rescued, your tent acts as a beacon, alerting others to your presence.
The tent’s interior is coated with aluminum insulation. This allows for powerful heat retention. Your body heat will not escape from the tent, keeping you warm and comfortable. You will be protected from hypothermia even if you are caught in freezing, dangerous temperatures. This can mean the difference between life and death.
Cost and Value
SE’s emergency tent is comparably priced with the other emergency tents on this list. It’s affordable and practical, and presents an overall good value.
A survival tent must be rugged. As with any tent, a survival tent is designed to protect you from harsh weather conditions. To be able to withstand whipping winds, pouring rain, and heavy snow, a tent must be built to last. Since survival is at stake, a well-made tent is of the utmost importance. Flimsy materials, poor insulation, and cheap construction can all result in an overall lack of durability.
A survival tent becomes your home away from home when you are camping for an extended period or embarking on an adventure in the great outdoors. While survivalism is about independence, getting back to basics and self-reliance, that does not mean it has to be uncomfortable. A survival tent can be comfortable without being “luxurious” or counterintuitive to survivalism. Your tent should, in fact, provide you with warmth, comfort, and shelter.
A survival tent’s effectiveness is largely determined by how well it protects you.
Important questions include:
- Are you sheltered from freezing temperatures?
- Are you protected from the wind?
- Are you able to stay warm?
- Does the tent keep you (and your gear) dry?
- Is the tent stable?
- Is there adequate room?
- Is the tent well-sealed?
It is advantageous for a survival tent to be lightweight and compact. This saves space and allows for greater portability. When traveling long distances, every single ounce counts. Your back and shoulders will become quickly strained if you are carrying too heavy a load. This can slow you down and even injure you over time. Every square inch of space in your bag also becomes important; you have to pack and plan carefully.
While a lightweight survival tent is great for portability and ease of transport, it cannot be lightweight to the point of flimsiness. Tissue-thin materials are not sturdy or well-insulated enough. The ideal tent is portable and light enough to be carried comfortably, while still providing adequate strength and protection.
Some tents really stand out because of their advanced features.
- Rain flies
- Solar power
- Hanging pods
- Built-in hammocks
- Reflective fabric
- Inflatable frame
- Sewn-in pockets
- Mesh lining
- Foam mattresses/pads
- USB ports for charging
- Zippers to attach multiple tents together
- Built-in LED cabin lights
- Interior fans
- Instant setup design (assembly accomplished in under two minutes)
- Wi-Fi console
- Underfloor heating
- Privacy walls
Consider these questions.
The ideal survival tent for you depends on a variety of factors.
Consider the following:
- In what sort of conditions will I be setting up my tent? Will I be in a snowy or icy area?
- How many people does my tent need to accommodate? Is there adequate sleeping room?
- What terrain will I be camping in? What is the climate like?
- Will I be in hot/cold conditions?
- Will I be in ice/snow?
- Will I need protection from mosquitoes and other insects?
Based on your answers to the above-listed questions, you should be able to narrow down your search and identify the perfect survival tent for you.
Your emergency tent does not replace your long-term tent.
The terms “survival tent,” “tactical tent” and “emergency tent” are often used interchangeably, which can cause confusion. As explained earlier, most emergency tents are intended for one to two uses, in emergency situations only. They can protect you from hypothermia if you are stranded alone in the woods. However, they do not provide the safety and comfort of a standard, pole-supported, utilitarian tent. Emergency tents are essentially mylar space blankets that can be suspended between two trees to create a makeshift shelter. The sides are always open, and you are not completely protected from the elements. To reiterate, do not plan on going camping and just taking an emergency tent with you; bring an emergency tent in your bag along with a traditional tent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the difference between an emergency tent and a regular tent?
A: Most emergency tents are only suitable for use in unplanned, dangerous, unexpected situations. As the term suggests, they’re intended for emergencies. They are not as sturdy as regular tents and are not intended for long-term use. Most emergency tents are tube-designed and do not utilize poles for support. An emergency tent is useful in a disaster preparedness kit or in addition to a regular tent, but not in place of one.
Q: What exactly is a survival tent?
A: Survival tents, as the name suggests, are designed to provide shelter and protection from the elements and other perils like hypothermia, frostbite, insects, predatory animals, and so forth. A true survival tent is rugged and durable and built to last. Survival tents are meant to provide true shelter for prolonged periods of time and to withstand extreme conditions. The term “survival tent” can mean different things. In some cases, a survival tent is meant to provide long-term shelter. These are larger, sturdier, and heavier tents with advanced features. They are suitable for long treks into the woods, hiking, camping, and general wilderness survival. They provide warmth, shelter, comfort, and safety.
Q: Why would I need both a tent and an emergency tent?
A: Emergency tents are much more portable and compact than standard, full-sized survival tents. You could be on a camping expedition with multiple other people and accidentally become separated from the group. You may be sharing a multi-person tent, and you may not be the one carrying it. In this situation, not only would you be alone, but you’d also be completely without shelter. However, if you have an emergency tent in your bag, you can get through a night or two alone in the woods and you’ll have the ability to signal to the other members of your party. You would also be able to use the emergency tent as a heat blanket or temporary sleeping bag. They are so compact, lightweight, and affordable that you could easily fit two or three of them in your bag. That way, you would always have access to a tent, sleeping bag, and a heat blanket. For the reasons outlined above, in the interest of always being prepared and expecting the unexpected, it’s advisable to bring a traditional survival tent with you on a wilderness expedition as well as packing a few emergency tents in your bag. Like a first-aid kit, in a perfect world, emergency tents would never need to be used. However, since accidents and emergencies are part of our reality, they are vitally important to have.