10 Best Survival Tents For Survival and Preparedness
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10 Best Survival Tents For Survival and Preparedness

By Will Brendza | Last Updated: September 2, 2017

Survival TentsThe Best Survival Tents On The Market Today

Sheltering is fundamental to survival.

Because having a roof over your head and walls surrounding you, keeps you:

  1. Dry
  2. Warm
  3. Safe
  4. Private

But securing a shelter is not always a simple task in a survival situation.

Sure, you might get lucky and find an uninhabited cave (void of wild animals).

Or you might be able to build a shelter out of branches and logs (if you’re a survival expert).

Or you could stumble into a vacant cabin. Anythings possible…

These are all valid options for securing shelter, but it’s relying on luck – and luck in survival is always a terrible idea. And most of us are not survival masters. This means you’ll want the next best option – to take shelter with you.

No, I’m not talking about mobile homes or RV’s, I’m talking about survival tents!

Tents are one of humankind’s most ingenious survival technologies.

Tents have been around for the last 43,000 years. To put that in perspective, we understood how to make portable shelters before we learned how to cultivate agriculture. And we’ve had a lot of time to perfect tent technologies.

Today tents are thousand times more sophisticated, more elaborate, and more specific.

But that’s a problem – the selection process is overwhelming!

Everything from group tents -for an eight-person family; to tiny tents for a single occupant.

Plus, there are:

No matter what situation or adventure – there’s a tent designed for that purpose.

So you have to know what you want and what you’re looking for within your survival tent budget.

Skilled Survival’s – Survival Tent Guide

The bottom line is you came to this comprehensive skilled survival buyer’s guide to find the survival tent that’s right for you.

This guide will cover the following:

  • Things to look for in a survival tent
  • Considerations to take into account
  • A list of the highest-rated and most acclaimed survival tents
  • An overview of how to clean and care for your tent
  • A brief history of tents

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Minimalist Camping Tent Setup

What To Look For In A Survival Tent

Here are the essential features you want for any tent (especially for survival):


Modern fabrics are engineered to be highly durable. But some tents are more “bomb proof” than others. The more durable in extreme environments – the better.


Heavy tents are a pain in the back. If you’re carrying one in your pack, every ounce matters. When it comes to survival, a lighter-weight, portable tent is your best bet.

Even for larger family-sized tents, if all things other things are equal, I’d take the lighter one every time.

Ease Of Setup

There are tents out there 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.

Shape and Color

The shape isn’t all that important unless you’ll be in high wind terrain – locations like the side of a mountain. In these situations, a low-profile aerodynamic tent is best.

But for survival, color is the more strategic choice. It depends on if you’re trying to stay hidden or if you’re more interested in rescue. Wilderness survival vs SHTF survival…

For SHTF survival, you’ll want a natural-colored tent to blend in with your surroundings.

For a situation where rescue desirable (like high altitude mountain climbing adventures) bright orange is best for high visibility.


A tent with a vestibule is like having a mudroom for your tent. Vestibules allow you to keep your muddy boots and gear outside the tent but still keep it protected from rain and snow. Vestibules are a handy tent feature.

Rain Protection

If a tent doesn’t come with a rain fly, it should be made of a single waterproof wall. Nothing sucks worse than waking up trapped inside of a wet bag. So make sure you investigate the waterproof properties of any tent you buy.

The Number Of Occupants

If you have a family you intend on sheltering inside of a survival tent; you’ll have to go big. Big enough so everyone can fit inside.

For me, I prefer a two-person tent because it’s spacious for one, yet I can fit a friend if need be. Some people like single-person tents, but I find them a little claustrophobic.

This decision is all about personal needs and preferences.


Some tents are insanely expensive while others are cheap. Fit the tent you buy to your budget but remember – you usually get what you pay for when it comes to gear like this.

If you go super cheap, expect cheap results.

The Many Types of Survival Tents

There’s a tent out there for every possible survival situation. It would be impossible to list all the brands and models in a single article. So, here’s a list of the more popular types of tents available:

4 Season Tents

These tents are good for year-round use.

They have the waterproofing necessary to get you through a wet spring. Insulation to get you through fall and even winter. And removable rain fly’s to help with cooling capabilities in the hot summer.

Cold Weather Tents

These tents are engineered from the ground up to pack in heat like an oven and keep the cold at bay.

Some of them even come with little stoves or heaters you can set up inside. Cold weather tents are no joke. Cold weather tents can be expensive since they are so high-tech.

Backpacking Tents

Designed to be ultra-lightweight and super-compact. These tents are my personal favorite for survival.

They can fit inside of a bug out- bag. They’re designed to be carried long distances. They take up minimal space. You can set them up quickly, and they break down with ease.

Backpacking tents are ideal for survival on the move.

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Dome Tents

These are designed specifically to give you lots of ROOM.

Most professional expedition tents are dome tents. That way, they can fit as many people and as much gear as possible.

Because they don’t use any flat walls, they also work well at high altitude, high wind survival situations.

Tactical Bivvy

Bivvies are the ultimate in camping minimalism.

Bivvies are little more than a body sack to keep mild elements at bay. They look like tent coffins, but they’re highly packable and life-saving in a pinch.

TACT Bivvy In HandWe recommend the TACT Bivvy by Survival Frog.

This Bivvy comes in an easy-to-carry pouch and weighs less than 5 oz.

This Tact Bivvy is also made with NASA technology material called Mylar. This material traps your own body heat to keep you warm even in freezing temps.

The perfect survival tent for cold weather emergencies. I think everyone should add one to their glove box it can save your life.

However, Bivvy’s are not a survival shelter for the long-term haul but it’s the perfect survival tent for surprise emergency situations.


Made famous by the Plains Indians, teepees have been a popular style of tent for a long time.

Even today there are modern material tents designed in the shape and form as a teepee. One single vertical pole holds up the walls, which are staked to the ground around it.


Yurts were invented by nomadic tribesmen in Central Asia. Today, they are popular in mountainous regions around the world. They are anything but portable, though.

Most modern yurts sit on a concrete foundation and need a full work crew to build it. But once a yurt is up, it’s the ultimate in permanent tent life.

They are spacious and stay warm when it’s cold out and cool when it’s hot. Ideal for long-term survival.

Cold Weather Tent With Man Sitting Outside

The 10 Best Survival Tents

The order of this list is from smallest to largest in size capacity:

1. Winterial (1 person tent)Winterial Survival Tent

This personal-sized small tent is both lightweight and very affordable. It’s good for three seasons and uses an easy “two hoop” system for a simple, quick setup.

Packed this tent only weighs 3.8 lbs!

2. The Snugpack Lonosphere (1 person tent)Snugpak Survival Tent

Another personal tent, this lightweight tent is perfect for your bug out bag.

It is durable, and even if you do manage to damage it, it comes with a small repair kit so you can fix the tent on the go.

3. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra (1 person tent)Teton Sports Survival Tent

Another single-person tent, this innovative design uses only one lightweight pole.

The first wall is a light, protective mesh that allows users to sleep under a full view of the stars. But it also includes a durable and waterproof rain fly for wet or cold weather.

4. Kelty TN (2 person tent)Kelty Survival Tent

This double-wall tent packs down to 4.5 lbs, still easily packable for a backpacking trip or survival excursion.

The rainfly is waterproof and can be removed – under the wall is a mesh insect net.

One of the unique features of this tent is its “stargazing window” on the rainfly. It allows you to watch the stars and sky above your tent, without removing the rain fly.

No, not a survival feature but still awesome.

5. The North Face Summit Series Assault (2 person tent)The North Face Summit Tent

This North Face Summit tent is the one I use, and it has served me well for almost five years. It uses two lightweight crossing poles and sets up incredibly fast. It’s a two-person, single-wall tent, which is waterproof and warm.

It comes with an attachable vestibule and breaks down into only 3.25 lbs. The assault series was designed for high-altitude, high-intensity expeditions. And it’s still a very durable and extremely versatile tent.

Not only that, but North Face offers a lifetime warranty on their equipment. So, if there’s ever a problem with your Assault Series tent, you can get it repaired or replaced without any worries.

6. Nemo Bungalow (4 person tent)

This four-person tent combines lightweight minimalist with function and durability.

The tent bag comes with Velcro pockets and compression straps. So no more fighting with the poles and rain fly when it’s time to get back on the go.

7. Kelty Grand Mesa (4 person tent)Kelty Grand Mesa Tent

This four-person tent uses a snap-on pole design that makes the setup fast. When packed away it is 7.5 lbs.

The tent is suitable for rainy conditions and high winds, but functions just as well in warm weather.

8. Marmot Halo (6 person tent)Marmot Halo Tent

A spacious tent, it will comfortably fit six people. Unfortunately, any tent this size starts to get pretty heavy.

However, due to its size and weight, I wouldn’t recommend this tent for your bug-out bag.

9. Coleman Sundome (6 person tent)Coleman Sundome Tent

Coleman has been a trusted brand name in survival and camping gear for decades. Their equipment is durable, reliable, and their Sundome tent series is no exception.

The 10 ft. X 10 ft. floor sleeps, six people. It’s incredibly easy to set up – requiring only two lightweight poles. And for its size, it’s affordable vs tents of similar size.

10. Coleman Red Canyon (8 person tent)Coleman Red Canyon Tent

The largest tent on our list, this eight-person survival tent is 17 ft. X 10 ft. and is tall enough to stand up inside. The Coleman weather-tec system is guaranteed to keep people inside dry and safe from wet weather.

An airflow port allows fresh air to move through the tent, without sacrificing insulation. There are even room dividers inside the tent. These enable users to create several rooms for maximum privacy.

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Canvas Cold Weather Tents

So far we focus only on nylon and polyester survival tents, however, another fantastic survival tent option you might want to look into is high-quality, durable, and warm canvas tents.

Check out our 3,000-word post called Canvas Tents: Canvas Tents – How To Find The Best One For You

glowing tent in the evening

Caring for and Cleaning Your Tent

The better you care for your tent, the longer it will last. And since most tents aren’t cheap, it’s in your best financial interest to make your survival tent last as long as possible.


Use a non-abrasive sponge, cold water, and non-detergent soap and wipe doesn’t the interior and exterior of the tent gently. Scrub off any caked dirt, and make sure to wash away any mold or mildew you might find.

Clean the zippers and seams the same way as well.

Never machine wash your tent! That’s the fastest way to ruin it for good – the modern lightweight materials are great for wind and rain but can’t stand up to machine wash abuse.

Once you’ve wiped down your tent, allow it to air-dry outside in direct sunlight if possible. The UV rays help to kill any remaining germs leftover from your most recent adventure or survival endeavor.

Care For Your Survival Tent

When you get a new tent, it is imperative to read the instructions. No matter how many times you’ve set up a tent, everyone is different. Don’t risk ruining it before you ever get to use it.

Be gentle with the zippers and poles. While they are designed to be durable and endure some abuse, they are not unbreakable. Busting a zipper or breaking a tent pole is a relatively easy fix – if you’re in town. But if you’re out in the wilderness surviving, replacing those is not so easy.

So take care of them, and be as gentle with them as possible.

Never store a tent wet.

Often when you get back from the wilderness your tent might be damp – either from rain, or snow, or dew, or perspiration. Whatever the cause, you need to make sure you let the tent air-dry for a while before you roll it up and pack it away.

If moisture gets locked in with the tent, mold and mildew will begin to grow.

Whenever you’re storing your tent, roll it neatly and tightly, don’t stuff it away in a sleeping bag. This advice is important because it keeps the material from crumpling and creasing all over.

Creases can create weak points in the nylon’s waterproofing, weakening its durability. When you roll it up neatly, you minimize the number of wrinkles in the tent’s fabric.

Use a footprint or tarp underneath.

It will increase the life of your survival tent by years if you use a protective layer underneath it. Most tents have an individually sized footprint that you can buy separately. But there are also standard footprints that will fit most tents. And if you want to go old-school, just purchase a tarp, and fold it to the size/dimensions of your tent.

Avoid leaving your tent in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Sometimes you can’t prevent this, but if you can, it’s good to try and keep your tent shaded for most of the time it’s erect.

Direct sunlight has its benefits when you’re air-drying your tent, but long exposures can mess with the chemistry of the waterproofing.

Leave the shoes outside!

It’s not just common courtesy, but it prevents your boots from tearing holes in the floor. Also, it keeps excess dirt and debris out, which is a benefit unto itself.

Shake your tent out before rolling it up. Getting all the dirt and leaves and twigs and insects out of the tent before you roll it up is essential. It keeps the tent clean and reduces the frequency with which you need to clean it.

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Old School Tent

A Brief History of Tents

The oldest evidence of people using tents was from about 40,000 BC. Humans were, at that point, roaming and hunting mammoths! Which, was what they used to make their tents.

Mammoth hide tents weren’t exactly lightweight. They were good at insulating our ancestors from the harsh weather of the tundras.

Animal hides had another benefit, besides being warm. The oils and fats that people harvested from the animals were used as waterproofing. They didn’t have Gortex-like materials back then, so they had to get crafty. By infusing their tents with natural oils, they created a water-repellent surface.

Around 450 BC Yurts and teepees were the highest-tech tents on the planet. They functioned as portable caves for nomadic peoples.

By 300 BC the Romans had adopted tent technology out of pure necessity. Their armies were so massive, and moved so frequently tents became an important Roman technology. The Romans used goat or calf skins for their army tents, which usually slept around eight soldiers apiece.

Fast forward to World War II

The next biggest innovation in tent history was underway. Eberhard Koebel designed a tent-like the Scandinavian Lavvu tents (which were like European tee-pees). This tent was banned in Germany during the war but quickly became popular in German scouting after.

Then, in 1951, Eureka’s self-standing draw tight tent changed the game forever! This tent was the first built using an aluminum frame and synthetic materials for the walls. Since then, tents have been getting lighter weight and more advanced every year.

Tents have come a long way since the days of mammoth-hide, but the idea is still the same: portable, weatherproof covering.

The Final Word

Tents are one of the most important survival inventions in human history. They changed the way we hunt, the way we interact with the outdoors, and the way we survive in the wild.

The idea is straightforward and elegant, and with modern technology, our tents have become marvels of engineering.

But finding the right survival tent is no simple endeavor.

Honestly, the best way to meet all your survival needs would be to buy several tents:

  • A tent for bugging out
  • One for camping
  • A one for backpacking
  • One for the whole family

But for most of us, that’s financially unrealistic. This means you need to figure out which survival tent can meet as many of your survival needs as possible.

Whatever tent you choose, having a survival tent isn’t a matter of comfort–it’s a question of survival necessity. Make sure that you have a survival tent on your survival gear list!

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Will Brendza

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

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