In many emergency situations, we can find ourselves without the comfort of shelter that we’re used to. We may take many parts of shelter for granted in our day to day lives; privacy, comfort, warmth, and safety are essential for our survival. Preparing a SHTF (shit hit the fan) tent and plan is the best way to ensure that you will have a safe shelter if you become displaced. Below you’ll find some of the best SHTF tent options to accommodate just yourself or even your family.
What is a SHTF Tent & Why You Need It
Securing shelter is a necessary step, just like starting a fire, for your safety in an emergency situation. Without it, we are vulnerable to the elements and other dangers. You may find that you need to protect yourself from weather, animals, other humans, or even dangerous chemicals. A SHTF tent and plan is the best way to ensure that you have a portable mode of shelter that will be able to withstand many of these dangers. For a quick history lesson, the earliest portable shelters were recorded in ~40,000 BC and were made from mammoth hides. Romans began to use tents militarily for portable safety in ~300 BC, and in 1862 the term “Pup Tents” was coined, as during the civil war soldiers were unsatisfied with their tent specifications. Around the 1970’s, there were technological advancements to create trends out of aluminum and synthetic materials rather than canvas, making tents lighter and more durable.
So, you can see that tents have been around for centuries, and their simplicity and durability make them even more powerful shields than we may think. A “Shit Hit the Fan” tent should be durable, lightweight, and able to fit your entire family. You’ll also want to be sure that it is easily secured to the ground and that you will be able to seal off entrance and exits. Another factor to consider is color; if you’re camping for survival, you’ll want a neutral color to blend in. However, if you would need to be rescued, a bright color will help search teams find you more easily.
There are a ton of options out there, so we’ve highlighted a few favorites. When considering which is best for you, you’ll want to consider weather factors, insect populations, size, and category. There are backpacking tents, high altitude tents, car camping tents, and tents that can go in the bed of a truck. Cold weather tents can be a little bit more expensive because they have technology that traps body heat to keep you warm and alive in freezing weather. Backpacking tents, on the other hand, are super lightweight and can be carried for a long time. They’re designed to fit easily in your bug out bag. Done tents are designed to be as large as possible, and are often used by professionals. They work at high altitudes and high wind survival situations.
No matter where you could end up and what your needs are, there is a tent that is perfect for you. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favorites!
Winterial Single Person Tent
This is one of the best SHTF tent options out there as it is incredibly lightweight at just 3 pounds and 9 ounces. It’s designed to shelter one person and fit easily into a backpack or bug out bags. It has a two hoop design so it should be quite quick and easy to put together by snapping two cords together. It has a mesh roof in case it is summertime and warm, but there is also a rain cover in case you need to protect from rain or it gets colder.
Snugpak 1 Man Dome Tent
This tent is also for one person but is a bit more durable. There is a waterproof fly Sheet and protection on the ground in case there is flooding. It comes with two tent stakes that are easy to set up, and the tunnel shape of this tent will protect you from any harsh wind. There is also a no see mosquito net to protect you from insects. It is also more low profile and can camouflage into your environment if visibility is a concern for you.
Kelty Dirt Motel (Updated Versions of the Kelty TN 2 Person Tent)
This tent has received awards for how durable and easy it is. It is compact and light and can easily sleep two. An important feature of the tent is its “stargazing fly” so that you can look up at the stars while you sleep. It also has silent zipper pulls as an added safety benefit.
The North Face Summit Series Assault 2 Tent
This tent is designed for two people in high altitude cants. It has an escape hatch back door and two top vents for improved breathing and stability at high altitudes. In terms of wind protection, the company says it is “bombproof”. When the wind hits the side of the tent, it backfills the interior and “equalizes the pressure to create a stronger structure”. There is also space here for hanging stoves or drying lines.
Nemo Hornet Tent Ultralight Backpacking Tent
This tent is slightly larger as it can fit 2 people. It is somewhat of a minimalist tent and is only 6 pounds.
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent
This houses two to four people. It is freestanding and easy to set up as all of the pieces are color-coded for easy assembly. It is only 3 pounds so it can fit in your bag easily.
Marmot Limestone 6 Person Tent
This tent is larger and can fit 6 people. It has full coverage and two vestibules. It is heavier, though, at 16 pounds. This would not be the best option for a bag, but if you are going to be transporting it in another way then it is a great option, as it can likely fit an entire family.
Coleman Sundome Tent
This tent can fit six people and is “Amazon’s Choice”. It is very waterproof and wind and rain tested. It can withstand 35mpg winds. It’s also easy to set up in just ten minutes and comes with an E port so you can set up your electronics. It can fit one queen size air mattress.
Coleman 8 Person Tent
This is a very affordable option that can fit 8 people. There are room dividers inside that you can use if you’d like to turn the tent into a 3 room. There is also an innovative wethe control system and a cool air port so you can control airflow as you’d like.
A camping hammock is a fantastic option if you’re looking to try something different than a traditional tent. Hammocks can be even more lightweight than a tent and require even less set up. You can also get a higher vantage point with a hammock and will not have to worry about sleeping on the ground if there is bumpy terrain or wet conditions. You will also want to get a rain tarp and bug netting so that you can sleep as comfortably as possible.
Here are some of our favorites:
Whichever SHTF tent or hammock you may choose, securing a survival tent can be a matter of life or death. As many of these are very lightweight, you can rest assured that you can bring shelter with you on the move. These options are built to withstand all of the harsh conditions that you may find yourself in, whether that’s damp weather or very high altitudes and high winds.