When looking to buy a survival tent, there are a few things to keep in mind. Materials, size, storage, durability, waterproofing, and ease of setup are all factors that should be taken into careful consideration before deciding which survival tent should be purchased.
Choose your tent wisely, as it should be able to withstand everything nature has to throw at it and be usable for years to come.
Use this buyer’s guide to choose the very best survival tents currently on the market, and learn just what makes these tents live up to those standards. Here are some details to watch out for before beginning a search for the perfect tent.
Our Top List: The Best Survival Tents
- Best Overall Survival Tent: North Face Bastion 4
- Best Lightweight Survival Tent: Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
- Best Winter Tent: Mountain Hardwear Unisex EV 3 Tent
- Best Tent for Long-Term Living: Big Agnes Flying Diamond – 6 Person Tent
- Best Survival Tarp: Ultimate Survival Base Hex Tarp
Scroll down to read our detailed reviews on each of these items, but you can check out the current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon by clicking the links above.
The material that a tent is made of plays a significant role in its durability, ability to shield against extreme weather conditions, and weight.
Nylon and polyester are the two most popular materials used in survival tents, and both come with their own benefits. Polyester tents retain their tautness when wet, which could be helpful to the camper stuck in the rain without any waterproofing supplies. Additionally, polyester itself is cheaper to produce, making for more economical tents for the shopper on a budget.
However, nylon tents can be significantly more lightweight than polyester, so this option may be better suited for backpackers and survivalist who frequently travel and have to carry the tent with them. Nylon is also much more durable, holding up better against tears than a polyester tent might.
It is also a good idea to look for a tent with polyurethane seals, as this will protect against extremely cold temperatures.
To learn more about why tent material is the most important factor when it comes to purchasing the perfect survival tent, click here.
Choosing what size survival tent to buy will be largely determined by how many people will need to sleep inside of it. A group of four backpackers, for example, will need a larger tent than a single survivalist traveling alone.
Keep in mind that smaller tents are often more lightweight and come with fewer poles, stakes, and other materials, so they will be more convenient to travel with.
It can be tempting to buy a tall tent with the intention of being able to stand inside of it, but keep in mind that shorter tents closer to the ground are less likely to be affected by strong winds. If traveling or living in an area with extreme weather conditions, choose a tent with just enough room to sit up and lay.
Survival tents, especially the low-to-the-ground ones, can feel full and cluttered rather quickly once you are inside.
For this reason, it is a good idea to look into purchasing a tent with a vestibule. Vestibules are closed off areas of a tent, often right inside the door or along the side of the tent, which can be used for storage. Having a vestibule allows campers the comfort of not having to sleep and live among clutter, and a safe place to keep belongings during rain, wind, or snow.
In the event that a camper’s shoes or clothes will become wet or muddy, a vestibule at the entrance of the tent could act as a mudroom. This is beneficial so that sleeping areas can remain clean and dry, and is a better option than tents which have vestibules along the longer side.
If buying a tent without a built-in vestibule, it’s a good idea to buy an add-on, although they can be a little difficult to setup if not specifically made to be compatible with a certain brand of tent.
It would definitely be in a camper’s best interest to buy a tent with a built-in vestibule at one of the openings if you have any intentions of spending significant chunks of time using your tent.
As mentioned earlier, look for a survival tent made from the materials nylon and polyurethane. This will be the most durable to weather and tears overtime, and will allow campers to reap the benefits of the tent for even longer.
Durability should be a top concern for four-season and winter campers, as a strong tent is needed to withstand the weight of possible snow without ripping or sagging.
Even if a tent will not be exposed to heavy snow or harsh weather, buying a four-season tent might be a good idea. These tents are specifically made to be the most durable, meaning that rough terrain and sharp surfaces won’t cause tears or rips in the fabric as easily. Consider this option if setting up camp in a rocky area, or anywhere that the fabric of the tent may be punctured or eroded.
To find more information on tent durability, check out what survival gear guru say about four-season tents and all their benefits here.
The best and most durable survival tents are made with nearly waterproof materials. However, just about any tent could begin leaking if made to withstand enough heavy rain. Some may even develop condensation on the inside lining if not properly waterproofed, which can create extremely uncomfortable sleeping situations.
To avoid this and play it safe, buy an environmentally safe waterproofing product to apply to the outside of any tent. The product can simply be sprayed on to the tent’s outside lining and left to dry, creating a waterproof barrier which is still breathable.
Ease of Setup
It can be really difficult to tell if a survival tent will be easy or difficult to set up while trying to buy it.
Some tents will claim to be easier to set up because they don’t use poles, but be wary of this. Tents without poles are typically not as sturdy as others. Instead, choose a pole with either fiberglass or aluminum poles.
Aluminum poles can be easier to work with because they are so lightweight, so choose this option if you want quick and easy setup. Another positive aspect of aluminum poles is that they are far easier to repair than fiberglass.
When considering ease of setup during purchasing, keep in mind that a tent with nylon loops at its base will make it easy to stake into the ground. Additionally, buying a tent with a built in vestibule will make for far quicker and easier setup than buying a tent and having to add on a vestibule separately.
Best Overall Survival Tent
The best overall survival tent currently on the market is the North Face Bastion 4.
This tent has absolutely everything campers should look for when choosing a tent. It includes a vestibule at the front entrance, and as a bonus has a rear door as well, making it incredibly safe in case of emergency.
The tent is low to the ground and made of nylon material, allowing it to withstand harsher weather and winds.
Campers won’t have to worry about durability because this tent is made for four seasons. Warm in the winter, and breathable in the summer, the North Face Bastion 4 is the best option no matter what weather conditions may be, and campers will always be prepared for the worst.
The only drawback to this tent is that although having aluminum poles, the tent is not as lightweight as some other on the market. It weighs in at 13 lbs though, which is plenty lightweight enough for almost any traveler.
Best Lightweight Survival Tent
If specifically looking for a more lightweight tent, the best option on the market is the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent.
This tent uses aluminum poles and weighs in at only 4.69 lbs, making it the lightest high-quality tent. With only two poles, this tent can be assembled quickly.
Like the North Face, the Moutainsmith Morrison has two doors in case of emergency, but unfortunately no vestibule. It does have some storage areas, however, utilizing inside mesh pockets. This may not be enough, so consider a vestibule add-on.
Best Winter Tent
Although 4-season tents are among the best for any weather condition, some campers specifically use survival tents in winter conditions only. In this case, the best tent would be the Mountain Hardwear Unisex EV 3 Tent.
This tent is made for use in below-freezing temperatures and at high altitudes, making it ideal for mountain-climbers. The tent features a vestibule at the door for storage and to help campers keep the snow from their boots out of their sleeping area.
Weighing in at only a little under 5 lbs, this lightweight tent is easy to travel with, especially for climbers who wouldn’t be able to carry a heavier option. The polyurethane material is resistant to freezing temperatures and helps keep the tent waterproof.
Best Tent for Long-Term Living
Some campers use survival tents for travel, backpacking, hiking, and other temporary trips while others plan to actually live in one long-term. If looking for a living situation, the best tent for this is the Big Agnes Flying Diamond – 6 Person Tent.
At 19 lbs, the tent isn’t really made to be carried around. Instead, it is to be set up as a base and is livable during all four seasons. This tent is larger than the others mentioned and could easily fit a family but for a solo survivalist the tent offers plenty of long-term living space.
Best Survival Tarp
One option for those who don’t necessarily need or want to carry a tent is a survival tarp. This is also a good option for campers who like to be prepared in the face of an emergency. If something happens to the tent, it is a good idea to have a survival tarp on hand to throw together a quick shelter. Additionally, tarps can be used as a backup barrier for tents not thoroughly waterproofed.
The best survival tarp to buy is the Ultimate Survival Base Hex Tarp. One side of this tarp is made with aluminum material so that it reflects light and can also be used for thermal insulation. It is lightweight and easy to travel with, making it ideal for minimalist backpackers in fair weather conditions.