Top 7 Best Survival Tents in 2020

Best Survival Tents

The survival rule of threes states, three days without water, three weeks without food but only three hours without shelter in bad weather. Of all the priorities of survival, shelter is not only one of the most critical but also the most time consuming to construct from natural materials. While tarps are more than sufficient to erect a decent shelter they can never replace the enclosed safety of using a tent. If it is your survival on the line you want to have the best survival tents.

When selecting a survival tent there are several factors that must be taken into consideration before clicking ‘add to cart’. At a quick glance, here are our top picks:

TENTS DETAILS
  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Waterproof.
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  • Simple to setup.
  • Lightweight.
  • Included repair kit.
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  • Easy to setup.
  • Lightweight.
  • Packs down small.
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What to Look For In A Survival Tent: Buyer’s Guide

What is the tent’s purpose?

This is an important consideration because a tent for your bug out bag is going to be different than a tent for your hunting setup or to be used as an emergency shelter in your day pack. If it’s going to be in a cache then weight and size become less of an issue but if it’s going to be in your get home bag or bailout kit then a sacrifice needs to be made to get the size and weight down to reasonable levels. This is the absolute first question you must ask yourself.

Weight

I put this at number two for the simple reason that most times when it comes to a survival tent it is to be transported via human locomotion. The issue with going lightweight is that either the lighter the weight the higher the price point or it comes with a reduction in quality or features. This is one consideration that needs to be weighed carefully especially when trying to stay within a budget.

How Many People Will it Sleep?

This is tied into the concept of weight as well because the larger the tent the heavier it will become. The rule of thumb for tents is that if it says the tent sleeps two people it will only fit two people so your gear is going to have to sleep elsewhere. I’ve always taken the number of people who will sleep in the tent, doubled it and that is the size of a tent that will fit everyone and their gear. In larger groups it often makes better sense for everyone to have their own tent rather than lugging around a larger tent that fits everyone. 

Rain

Rain will ruin your day and if it comes down at night can ruin your sleep as well. Any three or four season tent should come with a rain fly and a footprint to provide a barrier between you and the rain. This is something that you should test before trusting it in the field. A quick spray down with the garden hose and some seam sealing will pay off big time when it rains for real in the field. A footprint keeps the damp ground off the bottom of your tent further insulating yourself from the cold.

Setup

Any tent you buy should be easy and intuitive to erect. After a trial run or two there should be no reason to need to look at the instructions. Some tents are designed with ease of setup in mind whereas other seem to be designed to give the end-user a migraine. This is an important consideration so read the reviews to see what other users say about the setup.

Durability

This is critical in a survival tent. If the tent will not stand up to hard use then what good is it? Some fabrics are just plain better than others and more often than not the more durable fabrics come with an increased cost.

Price

You get what you pay for but the majority of us have a budget to live by so it is important to purchase the best quality tent you can afford. At the end of the day you have to decide what features are worth the added costs and how much of a potential reduction in the quality you are willing to accept.

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you should be looking for here are my picks for the best survival tents.


Best Survival Tent: My Top 7 Picks

1. Best Survival Tent for Day Pack – Don't Die In The Woods Survival Tent Review

World's Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent • 2 Person Mylar Emergency...

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Don’t Die in the Woods is a company that sells Mylar survival blankets and this two person survival tent on Amazon.

Since this tent is a Mylar product it is just a straight up last ditch survival tent. All this tent consists of is a triangular tube made out of Mylar. It is designed to prevent you from dying of exposure when the feces hits the oscillator and that is all. Quick and easy to set up it will fit two people rather snugly but in any situation where you pull this option out of your bag of tricks sharing body heat is going to be on the menu anyway. Definitely the lightest option on this list but it’s lightweight comes with decreased durability. This option is probably best suited for a get home bag or a day pack.

Dimensions and Weight

  • Packed 3.5” x 5”
  • Set up 8’ x 4.5’ and 20” tall
  • Weight 8.5 oz

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Small
  • Easy to set up
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Both ends are open
  • Best used as a one time use
  • Requires two trees to set up

World's Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent • 2 Person Mylar Emergency...
  • TOUGHEST MYLAR EMERGENCY TENT ON EARTH – Designed for hiking and outdoor adventures, the DDITW...
  • “ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE SURVIVAL GEAR” – Your words, not ours. Our tear-resistant, extra-thick...

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 01:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Best Bug Out Tent – Snugpak Stratosphere Bivvi Tent Review

Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent, Waterproof, Olive

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Snugpak is a British company that’s been around since the 1970’s operating in the Yorkshire Dales. They produce both tactical and outdoors gear for markets around the globe.

Space in your bug out bag is at a premium so when thinking shelter you want something that packs down small and weighs as little as possible while still keeping you nice and dry. The Stratoshpere Bivvi will keep you dry and warm with no bells or whistles. The aluminum poles give added head room which is a must when sleeping in such a small space. They even include a small repair kit. The main draw back is that there is literally only room inside for one person, so your gear is going to have to live outside. It is olive drab so it will help you to remain undetected when bugging out.

Dimensions

  • Packed 12” x 5”
  • Set up 91” x 32” and 20” Tall
  • Weight 2.5 pounds

Pros

  • Simple to setup
  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Included repair kit

Cons

  • Moisture transfer between sides of bivvy and occupant can be an issue
  • No room for gear
  • Only sleeps one person

Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent, Waterproof, Olive
  • Inner dimensions are 91 inches long, 32 inches wide, and 20 inches tall; built to accommodate just 1...
  • Lightweight and compact pack size is 12 inches long by 5 inches wide, it weighs 2.5 pounds; stands...

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 01:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Runner Up Bug Out Bag Tent – River Country Products Trekker Tent Review

River Country Products Trekker Tent 2, Trekking Pole Tent, Ultralight...

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A Washington state company that specializes in backpacking products, River Country Products designs and then tests their products in the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest.

The Trekker tent is a lightweight option for those of us who like to utilize the mechanical advantage of a couple of trekking poles. The tent itself is really lightweight and easy to set up but does require the use of trekking poles or failing that a couple of stout sticks. Being a two person tent it is plenty roomy for one person and gear or a snug fit for two adults. Unfortunately the lightweight comes at the cost of having no rain fly or footprint and is lacking any vestibules. Aside from the relatively minor downsides this tent would be a good bug out bag option.

Dimensions

  • Packed 8” x 5”
  • Setup 7’ x 5’ and 42” Tall
  • Weight 2 pounds 12 ounces

Pros

  • Easy to setup
  • Lightweight
  • Packs down small

Cons

  • Requires trekking poles or sticks
  • No rain fly or footprint
  • No vestibules

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River Country Products Trekker Tent 2, Trekking Pole Tent, Ultralight...
  • Super fast and easy set up! Great for hiking, camping, or adding to your survival bag, this compact...
  • Great one-person and gear tent or two-person tent without gear.

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 01:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Best 3 Season Survival Tent – ALPS Mountaineering Zephr Tent Review

ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-Person Tent, Copper/Rust

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ALPS Mountaineering is an outdoor equipment company established in 1993, and based out of New Haven, Missouri.

The Zephr is a great tent for one person and their gear to sleep comfortably or for two people to snuggle up. Although not the lightest three season tent around the weight penalty comes with some more durable materials and an overall better product to be using in a survival situation. This tent has two doors, dual vestibules, several mesh pockets and a gear loft. What it lacks is a footprint but does come with a rain fly.

Dimensions

  • Packed 6.5” x 18”
  • Set up 7’4” x 4’10” with a height of 38” at the center
  • Weight 5 pounds 8 oz

Pros

  • Small size
  • Easy setup
  • Lots of room for one person
  • Dual doors and vestibules
  • Gear loft and pockets

Cons

  • A little on the heavy side
  • No footprint

Sale
ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-Person Tent, Copper/Rust
  • There's no assembly frustration with our Zephyr Tent series; this free-standing, aluminum two-pole...
  • Polyester tent fly resists water and UV damage while adding two vestibules for extra storage

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 01:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Runner Up 3 Season Survival Tent – Marmot Tent with Footprint Review

Marmot Unisex Limelight 2P Tent, Cinder/Rusted Orange - One Size

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Marmot is a well know company in the outdoor space that produces a wide variety of outdoor gear. Established in 1974 they have been making clothing and gear for quite some time and are trusted by a large segment of the outdoors community.

The Limelight tent caught my eye due to the vertical sides. I have had far too many experiences with inadvertently having the side of regular tent coming into contact with me simply because it slopes up to the peak at an angle rather than coming straight up like this tent’s walls do. It may not seem like a big deal but the transfer of the cold through the tent wall when you’re touching it is very real and has robbed me of sleep more than once. Definitely not the lightest tent but it does come with a footprint, rain fly, several places to stash gear and a nice vestibule. Probably a good option for a cache due to it’s packed size and weight.

Dimensions

  • Packed 22” x 8”
  • Setup 88” x 54” and 43” tall
  • Weight 6 pounds

Pros

  • Vertical walls
  • Double doors
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Heaviest tent on the list
  • Large packed size

Marmot Unisex Limelight 2P Tent, Cinder/Rusted Orange - One Size
  • Body Zone Pre-Bends Create Vertical Walls for a more spacious living area
  • 1 super-sized double door and rear D shaped door with 2 Vestibules

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 01:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6. Best Budget 4 Season Tent – Naturehike Cloud-Up Backpacking Tent Review

Naturehike Cloud-Up 2 and 3 Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent with...

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Naturehike is a company based in China but before you scoff at that I personally own one of their tents and for the price point in my experience its a solid product. While I own a three season Naturehike tent they also produce a four season version which I have chosen for this list.

The Cloud-up four season tent is a good choice for those who want a decent four season tent that wont break the bank. This model of tent comes in either two or three person and includes a snow skirt. These tents are exceptionally easy to set up and include all the necessary hardware. They come with a decently spacious vestibule and a good amount of head room inside. Definitely a decent budget option as this company also produces three season tents as well.

Dimensions

  • Packed 2 person—15.7” x 5.1”
    3 person—18” x 6”
  • Setup    2 person—107” x 50” and 40” tall
    3 person—119” x 71”and 44” tall
  • Weight  2 person—3.8 pounds
    3 person—5.2 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Includes footprint
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy setup
  • Good sized vestibule

Cons

  • Company headquartered in China
  • May be issues with seeking warranty work
  • Zippers can be a bit sticky

Naturehike Cloud-Up 2 and 3 Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent with...
  • ➤BEST QUALITY on AMAZON -- [Inner tent] made with anti-scratch 20D nylon mesh, comfortable &...
  • ➤DIMENSIONS for 2 PERSON -- Inner layer size: 83(L) x 49(W) x 39(H) inches. Outer layer with extra...

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 01:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7. Best Survival Tent for Ease of Setup – Kelty Late Start Backpacking Tent - 2 Person Review

Kelty Late Start Backpacking Tent - 2 Person (2019 Model)

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Kelty is another of those outdoor brands that we all know and many of us probably have used or own a few of their products. Based out of Colorado Kelty has been making outdoor gear since 1952

This tent is specifically designed to be set up very rapidly hence the name ‘Late Start’. With nothing too fancy about it this tent is just a simple down to earth tent. Unfortunately it does not come with a footprint and only has one door. That being said Kelty has gone the extra mile in making this tent foolproof to set up in a hurry. They have placed pockets for the poles at each corner and colour coded everything to make setup a breeze.

Dimensions

  • Packed 16” x 7”
  • Setup 85” x 54” and 45” tall
  • Weight 4 pounds 8 ounces

Pros

  • Very easy setup
  • Nice sized vestibule
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No footprint
  • Only one door

Kelty Late Start Backpacking Tent - 2 Person (2019 Model)
  • Updated Version of Kelty Salida Tent
  • The tapered tent measures 85” x 54” (at its widest point), giving you an interior area of 29. 5...

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 01:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Care and Maintenance

You’ve bought your tent now you’ve got to care for it. A simple repair kit can be easily cobbled together with a few minor but critical pieces.

A sample repair kit could contain:

  • Tenacious tape
  • 1” Gorilla Tape
  • Mesh repair patches
  • Superglue

The Tenacious tape is great for the outer shell or even the floor while the Gorilla tape is best suited for taping together poles that have a broken shock cord. Superglue and mesh repair patches are pretty self-explanatory.

NEVER STORE A WET TENT!

There is one cardinal rule that you should never violate when it comes to a tent.

Always dry your tent out immediately after every trip even if the weather was dry. Hanging the tent to dry and air out is the first thing on your to do list when you return from any trip.

Another rule to live by is to never wear shoes inside the tent. Always leave them outside by the door in the vestibule or if no vestibule is available just inside the doorway inside a plastic bag to keep the dirt and debris outside your sleeping area.

When it comes to cleaning your tent always follow the manufacturers instructions and never machine wash it.


FAQs about Survival Tents

What makes a good Survival Tent?

A survival tent must be durable, easy to set up and suited for the conditions that it is to be most likely used in. For example a three season tent is not suitable for use in the sub-zero conditions of winter in Alaska.

Why Should I Not Wear Shoes Inside of My Tent?

Not only do shoes or boots track dirt into the tent but that dirt and debris will be very abrasive when stuck between the shoe and the floor of the tent. This will result in abrasion and wear that will reduce the lifespan of the tent.

Why is a Footprint Important?

A footprint is essentially a piece of waterproof material that separates your tent from the damp ground. It will aid in insulation and also keep the bottom of your tent a lot drier. If your tent does not come with a footprint one can be made out of an old tarp or a piece of Tyvek building wrap.

What Are the Advantages of a Tent With a Vestibule?

Vestibules offer a covered area to store gear or your boots that will keep them protected from the elements. If you plan on keeping all your gear inside the tent then this is a feature that is not as important.


Verdict

When it comes to tents I’m the kind of guy who is willing to make a lot of sacrifices in order to have a shelter option that will encompass a wider variety of situations and be well with in my budget. Personally I own a Nature Hike tent and while clearly not the best survival tent it serves my purposes well.

As much as I liked the Marmot Limelight the Alps Zephr beats it in weight and packed size which is why I was my choice for best 3 season survival tent.

In my opinion the Snugpak Bivvi is the best option for a Bug Out Bag simply because of the tactical advantage in it’s low profile. While the River Country Products Trekker Tent is a great option the requirement for trekking poles or sticks to set up makes it less advantageous for a Bug Out scenario.

These items are a personal choice and what works for one person may totally not work for another so do your research and make sure you are asking yourself the right questions before buying. You discussed the one you personally use, and that’s great. Please add the one or two from the ones actually reviewed in this article, and why they are the best.



Joel Jefferson
Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of SurvivalCache.com. After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

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