The 10 Best Survival Tents

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This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in January of 2018. Sleeping outdoors for a couple of days during warm summer nights is one thing, but setting up camp for an extended period in less-than-ideal conditions requires a high-quality survival tent. We found models that will keep you comfortable in most weather and that are designed with the harsh elements in mind. We've also included a few options light enough for bug-out bags. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Kelty Dirt Motel

2. Snugpak Ionosphere

3. Aqua Quest Defender Tarp

Editor's Notes

May 25, 2020:

Survival tents run the gamut from Mylar sacks to keep on hand for emergencies to large, comfortable models for families or groups that plan to bug out in a vehicle. We've kept models to fit this range, starting with the small, lightweight Grizzly Gear Thermal and SE Emergency Tube. These are not for general camping; instead, throw them in a bag for use in case of emergencies. The Aqua Quest Defender Tarp can help keep you out of the elements, as well, but it may be a little tougher for complete newbies to set up.

As for bigger, true tent models, we added the updated version of the Kelty Unisex TN, the Kelty Dirt Motel. It's something of an investment, but this three-season model shouldn't let you down in a pinch the way that ultra-low-cost versions might. Offered in two, three, and four person versions, it has a maneuverable freestanding design. For a smaller, lighter option, consider the Snugpak Ionosphere. It sleeps one, making it a good choice for individuals who need a low-weight bug out model. At the other end of the size spectrum is the Coleman Red Canyon, which can comfortably accommodate up to eight people. As you might guess, this size means it's on the heavy side, so keep this one in mind for scenarios where weight isn't much of an issue.

Finally, remember that even though we've selected survival tents that are convenient and reliable, trying to stay alive out in the wilderness can be dangerous and difficult. Bear Grylls makes surviving a night with poor shelter look easy, but you could find yourself facing anything from hypothermia to wild animals. Take the proper precautions, like wearing the right gear for the weather; carrying several ways to make fire, including a survival fire starter; and investing in a good water filter.

Special Honors

Echo-Sigma Bug Out Bag Complete Putting together a survival kit can be difficult, since there are so many components to include and decisions to make, but you can simplify the process by selecting the Echo-Sigma Bug Out Bag Complete. It has both an emergency tube tent and a Suisse Sport sleeping bag to help you get some rest should you find yourself in a difficult situation.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 If your "get the heck out of Dodge" plan involves a bicycle, then the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 is a great piece of gear to consider. The pole segments are shorter than those you'll find on many models, so it packs down small, with a compression sack designed with bikepacking in mind. Plus, its packed weight is just under three pounds.

Black Diamond Bombshelter Feel free to go anywhere with the Black Diamond Bombshelter, a four-season expedition tent that holds up well in wind and poor weather. A bright yellow model, it offers you visibility that you may or may not want, depending on the situation, and it's quite pricey, although sturdy enough to justify the cost.

4. Coleman Sundome

5. Alps Mountaineering Zephyr

6. Mountainsmith Morrison

7. SE Emergency Tube

8. Mountainsmith Genesee

9. Coleman Red Canyon

10. Grizzly Gear Thermal

Melissa Harr
Last updated by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

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