Best Emergency Camping Tents – Review of Four Top Tier Emergency Shelters
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Have you ever had a dog come through the side of your tent and make their own door? Have you heard that sickening sound of a tent ripping under the stress of a paw and claw? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed emergency shelter to get through a night in the woods?
Do you have a solution for this?
In a survival situation you need to shield yourself from things like rain and wind. These elements can induce hypothermia quickly. You might think that a spring afternoon of hiking is beautiful, and nothing could go wrong but a cold rainy night could become life threatening. Your body loses heat so quickly when it’s wet.
While you might not think it reasonable to carry a full-size shelter around on your back for a day hike, you might consider a single person emergency tent. These are simple tents designed to house you and maybe one other person. These tents are made of reflective material that can protect you from the sun and from the cold and rainy weather.
Most models can be used in a matter of minutes and while they are not as protective as a real tent or shelter, they are a great option in an emergency.
With just a few lengths of paracord between two trees you will be able to hand one of these emergency tents and protect yourself from the elements around and above you as well as the ground beneath you.
The tents are open ended on each side which allows air in and your natural condensation out. If you can tie a simple knot, then you can put up an emergency tent.
We looked at 4 of the top emergency shelters on the market today to find out which is truly the best. We set them all up and spent some time inside each to get a feel for the space and its ability to keep you warm in less than ideal conditions.
The Delmera emergency tent blew us all away with its massive size and attached survival whistle. It was the most unassuming of all the items we reviewed but turned out to be the very best of the bunch.
That said, this was a tight review and the devil was most certainly in the details. So, take a look at four top tier emergency shelters and how they stack up.
Table of Contents
S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. Emergency Bivvy
S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. Emergency Bivvy is a different beast than these other emergency tents. There are benefits that the traditional tents don’t have and there are downsides, as well.
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The Bivvy Sack does an amazing job at trapping your body heat. If you are just dealing with cold this emergency shelter will probably have you uncomfortably hot in a cold weather situation.
Imagine a thin sleeping bag that is built from a durable and reflective emergency blanket. The Bivvy is 84X36 inches and provides ample room for one person. You can even climb all the way into this thing and cover your head.
It is bright orange and filled with reflective material on the inside. You can even turn it inside out to reflect the sun on hot days. The Bivvy is designed as a closed end sleeping back that packs down to the size of a soda can and weighs a little over 3 ounces.
We have slept outside on a cold night in the Bivvy and found that before long we were sweating and had to roll the Bivvy down a little to let it breathe. That is impressive. In most cases your Bivvy will rest on the floor or a bed of grass, leaves or whatever else you have around you.
This makes it less than ideal for wet conditions. However, it can be pulled over your head. If the ground under you gets wet, the Bivvy may not provide as much protection as you need. The sloping sides of the typical emergency tent work better to divert the heavier rains.
The closed ends of the Bivvy make it superior to most emergency tents for heat retention. In cold conditions we found that the open ends of the emergency tents let in lots of cold air where the Bivvy allowed you to hold heat through its sleeping bag design.
It packs up to be the same size as other emergency tents and, due to the lack of paracord required to set up emergency tents, it weighs about 5oz less than the other tents in this review.
Overall, if you are dealing with cold the Bivvy is the best but if you are expecting some rain, you might want to set up under a tree or reach for the emergency tent. The Bivvy is also a great little addition for cold mornings. You can wrap up in a Bivvy, by the morning fire, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee or cocoa.
Delmera Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag
Delmera Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag tent was the dark horse of the group. While the other three came with great graphic designs, cardboard boxes with tips, breakdowns, and graphics, the Delmera was the last tent we tested.
Primarily because, if we are honest, the others looked so much cooler! It was clear that there was a level of design that went into the other products packaging that was left out of the simple Delmera.
In a simple orange bag, the Delmera looked like an orphan amongst well to do children. In fact, the tent was so unassuming that at first glance you could miss the fact that it also had a survival whistle that was threaded on the bag itself. This was one of our favorite parts about the Life Tent and seeing the Delmera have it as well was interesting.
The DDITW emergency tent was huge and it was a great 2-person tent at 4.5 feet of area to lay. The width of the Delmera emergency tent was wider by a half a foot! That gives you a shelter that is 5 feet wide by 8 feet long! This kind of space is a big deal when you bed down for the night.
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A two-person emergency tent is a big deal because the body heat from two people is more substantial than one, obviously. This tent had room for two people and room for bags, boots and whatever else you might want to drag out of the rain.
Like the other models this tent was incredibly durable with reinforced seams and made of hi mil Mylar. It is packed up much like the other two tents with 20 feet of paracord inside of it. The setup was quick and easy which is exactly what you want if you are dealing with a disaster in the woods or trying to get out of the elements.
Overall, the Delmera was the best tent of the bunch! We paid very little attention to it because of its lackluster packaging but after some testing it was clear that this larger tent was superior to the others and also featured the survival whistle that was one of our favorite features of all the tents.
Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter
This was the first tent we reviewed and found that it was surprisingly easy to work with. This is an open-ended survival tent; the material is typical of all the emergency shelters that are reviewed in this article.
Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter packs way down and is hardly a noticeable change in your pack adding just a little over 8 ounces. You can also buy the Life Tent in several colors. The most important of which would be the orange tent if you are planning for emergencies.
The forest green tent is also a great option if you are looking for a simple shelter to accompany you on a lightweight backpacking trip. There is no other shelter that can do what an emergency tent can do for you.
Setting this tent up took us about 5 minutes each time we set it up. We even set The Life Tent up in heavy wind and while it was a little tougher, the tent was still up in minutes.
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The day was particularly cool so jumping in the tent not only blocked the wind, but it also warmed me up in a hurry. When I say it warmed me up inside, I am talking about from the cold wind to complete warmth in under a minute. This was very impressive because of how quickly we started to heat up inside. Even with open ends the temperature inside was tremendous and would have been comfortable for sleep.
The life tent is delivered in a parachute material bag that can be tightened by the paracord strap. This bag could be used for other things when the tent is setup. It had us talking about foraging wild edibles. There is also a 12-decibel emergency whistle that is attached to the paracord. It’s threaded right through the cordage.
This whistle is loud enough to blare through the canopy of trees and out into the world if you are looking to be rescued. This means you have a method of signaling for help and keeping warm and dry all in this 8oz package.
Overall, The Life Tent is an impressive emergency tent that would go the distance in a wilderness survival situation and keep you warm in the worst-case scenarios. It comes with its own chord and a great whistle to hand off to kids if you are worried about them straying.
Don’t Die In The Woods World’s Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent
If there is such a thing as a luxury item in this review it would be in the form of the Don't Die In The Woods World's Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent. This is one of the most spacious tents of all the models. We set it up several times and found that its claim of 4.5 feet width was easily achievable. This gives you ample room to sleep two people!
The [amazon link=”B07CQ58ZCB” title=”Don’t Die In The Woods Survival Tent”] is a simple setup and comes with 20 feet of paracord that is wrapped up in the center of the tent. This design mimics all the tents we reviewed. It seems to be the most efficient way to pack up one of these tents.
The large size of the tent is backed up by the fact that it is 100% waterproof with extra wide seams to sure up durability of the entire tent. The paracord is 20’ in length and 425lbs test. This means it can double as cordage for something else important if you do not need the emergency shelter.
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Overall, this model stood out because of the extra space. We felt warm inside, we were dry inside, but we also had room. There was even space to pull the bag in and not be cramped with it by your side. This emergency tent by Don’t Die in the Woods is all about size and durability.
It’s a great fit for the outdoorsman and it comes from a great company.
Best for Your Survival Kit
We found that The Life Tent was the best option to have packed away in your survival kit. This tent gave us several benefits for the survivor or the person who is lost in the woods.
This is a light as air shelter that can hardly be compared with any other type of shelter. While you might be able to compare weight to something like a hammock, the hammock will provide no overhead protection and that is a problem.
Without protection from the rain you might as well not have a shelter at all. While the Life Tent is about the same size as the rest of the tents reviewed, this one has some unique features. You can buy the tent in a number of colors.
If you are concerned about getting lost, you will be able to buy your tent in blaze orange. If you would prefer to stay hidden, you could order a green tent and blend right in with the brush.
Setting this tent up effectively for survival would mean looking for a place that is not too low lying and safe from falling trees and windowmakers. Safety is critical with these tents because there isn’t much to them.
The other great feature of the Life Tent is that it comes with an incredible 120 decibel whistle. For survival, having a whistle is tremendous. Now you can be heard from far away. If you know your Morse code, you could even whistle SOS until someone found you.
The Life Tent is both an incredible emergency tent but also a great option for your personal survival kit.
Best Emergency Tent for Backpacking
There is one thing that trumps all when it comes to backpacking. That is weight. If you are planning on covering serious miles with a pack on you want that pack to be as comfortable and as lightweight as possible.
For some ultralight hikers this can even become something of an obsession that drives them to do crazy things with the items in their bag. They will remove the handle from their toothbrush to spare the ounces. Weight means a lot to them.
For this choice I thought it would be important that we mention the weight and take that into consideration. We had trouble deciding on one product for the backpacker so we decided on two which will make perfect sense when you see our choices.
- The first choice is our lightest reviewed item by far. The S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. Emergency Bivvy weighs several ounces less than any of the emergency tents in the review. At just 3.8 ounces you are getting something that is half the weight of any of the paracord pitched emergency tents.
All that said, you might prefer the mylar tent structure to the sleeping bag design of the Bivvy. If that’s the case then you will want to know about the most efficient emergency tent, in terms of weight.
- The [amazon link=”B07CQ58ZCB” title=”Don’t Die In The Woods World’s Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent”] is spacious and the lightest version on this list. It weighs in at 8.5 ounces and packs down to nothing. It doesn’t hold a huge advantage of the others but it’s definitely the lightest of the bunch.
So, it really comes down to the preference of the backpacker but these two were different enough in weight and use that we thought it best to mention both.
Best Emergency Tent for your Kids
Look, things happen to kids in the woods and in the dark. They get scared. That must be accounted for. If your kids are old enough to carry a bag you should consider having them carry their own emergency tent, too. Or have them carry the emergency tent for both of you.
While hiking for fun is great with kids, giving them duties will make them feel like they are part of the adventure. Perhaps they carry food and shelter while you carry water and everything else. No matter how you slice it you need an emergency tent if you are going on adventures with kids.
This is particularly true if that child doesn’t spend a lot of time in the woods. When the sun goes down their little eyes will be darting into the shadows. They will be looking to see what might be lurking. While you might think you are in for a good night’s sleep it will likely turn into your child clinging to you and struggling to fall asleep.
The dark scares children so you need to be sure you have a spacious emergency tent that can easily fit two. They will not want to bunk by themselves in a tent that is next to yours. They will want to be in your tent!
For this reason, we decided to go with the Delmera as our pick for best kids’ emergency tent. The biggest benefit is having that large footprint that means scared kids can easily fit right alongside you.
The other benefit of this tent is that it comes with a survival whistle. The survival whistle is a key component to a safe hike with kids. If anything were to happen and you were to get separated, that whistle could be heard from far away.
The Delmera Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag gives your child plenty of room and a way to make noise if they find themselves in an emergency.
These tents are inexpensive when you consider what they are capable of. If you have no other options these emergency tents are literally lifesaving shelter. A simple fire outside of one of these tents and you will be warm and dry for the night.
Our favorite tent also happened to be the most inexpensive on the list. In fact, the Delmera Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag was a savings of nearly $2 in comparison to the other models.
For a tent with that kind of space, durability, and the incredible survival whistle, this 10oz emergency tent was by far the best value.
Durability is a massive consideration when it comes to emergency tents and survival gear in general. When you need this stuff most you simply cannot have it break. So, to assure that you are ready when the chips are down you should invest in the best durability that you can for the price.
That is one of those things we all struggle with when it comes to survival. We simply cannot afford everything. We need things but there are serious budgetary issues.
While the emergency tents, all three models, were effective and durable it was clear that the Bivvy was made of a material that was much thicker and more durable than the emergency tent. The tents were not going to rip easily but the bivvy is decidedly thicker.
From a durability standpoint the S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. Emergency Bivvy was the best option.
At the end of the day all these items were exceptional at performing as intended. It’s a pretty simple recipe for success with an emergency tent. What really set the top tents apart were the additions like The Life Tent’s whistle and the ease of putting these tents up.
The Delmera Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag was the diamond in the rough and excel over the other tents in almost every way outside of a fancy logo and branded box. It would be our first choice in terms of emergency tents.
That said, we were reviewing items that all worked great. This was a razor thin review where every shelter performed. If you found yourself and others in a bad situation in the woods you would be blessed to have any one of these tents.
The emergency tent is usually something we store in our bag and don’t think about or even use. We put it in there for the sake of safety and because other recommend it. However, it was very cool to climb inside of these things and see how they really perform. I was impressed at just how easy to setup and effective this type of gear. Walking away from this review we all believe that we are dealing with essential gear in emergency tents and that you should pull yours out and climb in once and a while!