When we talk about the best survival tents, we are not talking about the tent you’re going to take camping with you and sleep in – that’s just your normal tent. A survival tent is a backup tent that you can use when everything goes wrong.
Let’s say you’re camping in the forest and you go for a hike, leaving your campsite for the day. Now some serious weather moves in and one of two things happens; the wind and rain blow or washes your campsite away so you have nowhere to sleep, or the weather is so bad that it’s too dangerous to make it back to camp for the night. What do you do?
Well, to survive you have to find shelter and wait out the storm until you can get back to the safety of your vehicle or a ranger station. Staying dry, warm, and safe from animals are your number one priority, once you have established a shelter, you can then think about finding food and water.
If you have one of the best survival tents in your pack, you’re going to have a shelter that will keep you dry, warm, and safe within a matter of minutes, and here are the top ones on the market.
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Best Of The Best
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Best On A Budget
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The Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter is a great survival tent to have in your backpack just in case you can’t get back to your shelter.
It weighs almost nothing at just over 8 ounces and packs down so small that even if you’re going on a day hike, you’ll be able to squeeze in your little day pack without worry.
The survival tent is made from polyethylene, the same as a mylar emergency blanket. It comes with a tough 550lb paracord so that you can string up the tent in next to no time – all you need is a tree or two.
If there are no trees, you can just sleep inside it, using it as a bivvy bag.
The mylar material reflects 90% of your bodies heat so you stay warm but both ends of this tent are open, so you’ll want to cover them if you can using your packs or some foliage.
This survival tent is waterproof and windproof to protect you from the elements. It also comes with a super loud whistle that can be heard from up to a mile away to attract attention and it’s orange so it can be easily seen.
The tent material is a little thin, and even though it’s reusable and puncture-resistant, you should still be careful with it.
One best survival tents I have ever seen is the LYN Heavy Duty Emergency Tent.
This tent is one I’d happily go regular camping in but it weighs just 1.7 lbs and packs down tiny so you can always find room for it in your pack.
It’s made from a fireproof material that is waterproof and windproof on the outside and covered in mylar on the inside for warmth. Even in freezing conditions, this survival tent retains 80% of your body’s heat, so you stay warm.
My favorite thing about it is that it comes with doors and stakes. One end is sealed shut, the other has a dual zipper door so you can close it up and block any cold winds or rain, and you can stake it down so there is no need to use your gear or find some rocks.
Pitching it couldn’t be easier too. There are metal rings at either end of the tent to thread the included cord to so all you have to do is thread them, tie the cord to two trees, and stake it down.
If you don’t have any trees around you, you can just sleep inside it using it as a survival bivy instead.
The LIT FITNESS Survival Tent is by far one of the top survival tents you are likely to find for the money. It costs just $12 and will get you out of trouble for a night or two when you need it.
The tent is made from an ultralight tarp with PET heat flex mylar on the inside. The outside is both waterproof and windproof to protect you from the elements while the mylar reflects your heat.
Pitching is quick and like most survival tents all you need is a couple of trees to tie the included paracord to once you have threaded it through the tent.
One thing this 2 person tent is missing is doors. Both ends are wide open so the wind will rush through removing all your heat. Try to block them up with gear or branches, or if it gets too cold, use it as a sleeping bag and drop the cord.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to use this tent but it’s worth having and for the money, it does a great job and will keep you going in a survival situation.
One of the most basic, affordable, and portable survival tents is the TEBRION Emergency Mylar Thermal Tent.
This 2 person tent is basically a thick mylar blanket that is sealed together to form a triangular tent. When pitched it creates a windproof and waterproof shelter for you to await rescue in that reflects up to 90% of your body heat so you stay warm.
You’ll need some trees to run the included cord and if there aren’t any, you can sleep in it like a bivy or sleeping bag.
The issues are that there are no doors, so despite being windproof, it does create a wind tunnel – so you might want to block the ends up with gear/branches. Also, there are no stakeout points, so rocks/gear will need to be used.
But, it’s only designed for a night or two of emergency shelter and you’re far less likely to survive without it.
Plus it’s incredibly light, packable, and it comes with two mylar blankets as well.
The Don’t Die In The Woods Ultralight Survival Tent is branded as the toughest mylar emergency tent on the planet, so if you’re looking for a durable option, this might be it.
The mylar used to make this tent is extra thick and it flexes so it doesn’t rip easily, making it quite a bit more durable than the others on the market.
You can pitch it like a tent using the paracord but this results in two open ends which if it’s cold, will let the warmth out. You can then string up just one end and close the other to insulate yourself better.
There are no stakeout points with this tent, so you’ll have to use gear or rocks to hold it down. Once pitched, the survival tent is windproof, waterproof, and it will reflect 90% of your body heat too.
Weighing in at just 8.5 inches with tiny packed dimensions, you can easily find a slot in your pack for it, plus it’s super affordable.
Overall, this survival tent will provide a shelter that’ll ensure you’re safe until you can find help.
The Primole Survival Tent Emergency Shelter is a very basic survival tent that is worth having in your backpack just in case.
It comes in a waterproof pouch that is just 3×5 inches and weighs just 9 ounces – you’ll always be able to fit it in your pack or even clip it onto your belt.
Along with the tent, you also get a whistle for attracting attention, an emergency lamp, and the tent is orange so you can be seen easily by any rescuers.
The tent is made from durable 4 layer mylar. It’s waterproof, windproof, warm and it’s tough enough to be reusable. It also comes with stakes so you don’t have to use rocks or gear in an emergency.
As usual with affordable survival tents, the ends are open and there are no doors. This is ok if you’re using it in the warmer months but if it’s winter, you’re best of closing one end and stringing up the other to retain more heat.
The W WIREGEAR Emergency Shelter is another good choice for a survival tent.
It’s super light and compact when packed so you can always find a space for it in your backpack and the few ounces it weighs won’t be a problem either.
It’s made for thick mylar which creates a waterproof and windproof shelter, plus it reflecting your body heat too.
Setting up this tent is quick and easy but a little different from the others featured.
Firstly it comes with stakes and stakeout points so you don’t have to use rocks and there are clips to secure the tent to the chord, this means it won’t shuffle up and down if it’s not level.
The main issue with the tent is that both ends are open, I don’t know why they don’t seal one and put a flap at the other. If it’s cold out, you’re best closing the ends when you go to sleep and using it as a bivvy/sleeping bag to retain your body heat.
It does come with a firefighter kit and a loud whistle which is an added bonus.
The EILIKS Emergency Thermal Life Tent is a super basic survival tent that will help you out in an emergency.
It’s just 9.5 oz heavy and packs down to a few inches, so there is always room in your pack, even in a big pocket for this to come with you on an adventure.
The tent is made up of a mylar tube tent and paracord. There are no stakes, stakeout points, or doors – the ends are open.
You can pitch it using the paracord for shelter in the day, and when it’s time to go to sleep, it’s best to drop the cord and close the ends if it’s cold or leave one end up it’s warm – this will retain more body heat.
The outer layer is both waterproof and windproof to keep you dry and sheltered while the inside reflects heat to help keep things warm.
Overall, it’s a solid survival tent that will buy you a few days of shelter in an emergency.
You’ll have noticed that most of the survival tents featured have some mylar built into the materials somewhere. Mylar is used in emergency blankets and is one of the best materials for reflecting eat and keeping you warm but it’s not that durable and can rip easily.
Make sure to look for a tent that isn’t just made of mylar or is thicker and more durable so it doesn’t break when you need it most.
When you take a tent with you camping, you’re technically taking a second backup tent for a just-in-case survival scenario. The last thing you want is to be hauling around something heavy and bulky which you might not even use.
Make sure you get a survival tent that is light and compact, some weigh as little as 8 ounces. If you end up going for a heavier one, you’re going to end up leaving it behind one day which might be the day you actually need it.
Your tent is going to need to be both waterproof and windproof if you have any chance of staying warm and protected inside it. All the survival tents featured above will provide you with full weather protection so you can stay dry and out of the wind, do not pick one that can’t do this.
Cold and hypothermia are some of the biggest killers in survival situations, so make sure the tent provides you with adequate protection.
The majority of survival tents above come with open ends and no stakeout points which are something you must be aware of. The lack of stakes means you have to be inside, use gear or rocks to hold the tent down.
The lack of ends means that no matter how heat-reflective the material is, you’re going to be sitting in a wind tunnel inside your survival tent. If it’s cold out, this is a recipe for disaster and you should drop the cord, close the ends, and use it as a sleeping bag/bivvy.
Or, you could get a tent with doors and stakeout points. They weigh a bit more and cost a bit more, but you’ll be a lot warmer and more comfortable which is key to managing a survival situation mentally.
There are tents on the market that seem to take an engineering degree to erect. These elaborate tents are time-consuming and frustrating to set up. Instead, try to find a tent that’s easy and intuitive.
Setting your tent up quickly and without headaches is a significant survival advantage.
You’ll notice that a lot of the survival tents featured come in two colors – orange plus camo or black. Always for the orange-colored tent. Orange is the color you can see from further away than any other and in an emergency survival situation, having an orange tent makes you very visible to rescuers and will increase your chances of making it home safely.
The all-around best survival tent featured is the Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter. It’s super light, compact, and easy to fit in your pack and it creates a waterproof and windproof survival shelter that reflects 90% of your body heat, all for an affordable price.
Our favorite tent by a long shot is the LYN Heavy Duty Emergency Tent. A bit heavier than others, this waterproof, windproof, and fireproof tent comes complete with stakes and zipper doors so you can truly lock yourself away into a warm cozy night’s sleep no matter what the conditions are throwing at you. I’d use it as a regular tent it’s that good.
The best budget survival tent is the LIT FITNESS Survival Tent. For $12 you get a waterproof, windproof shelter that weighs a few ounces and can be pitched in a matter of minutes. It’s designed to reflect and hold onto your body heat and will keep you going for a few days in an emergency survival situation.