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Survival Tents and Shelters | Shelter for Survival

What is the best shelter for survival?

If we are able to believe what we see in the popular outdoor press we are lead to assume building shelter or survival tent is as easy as pie. Just look at the natural surroundings in a wilderness area or expansive backcountry terrain. There are plenty of natural items we can utilize to build survival shelters sufficient enough to protect us, right? Based on what we read we think there should always be a convenient way to seek emergency shelters in natural surroundings. Think again! In a real survival situation, there will most likely be no time to build an elaborate shelter or search for a rocky overhang, hollow tree or cave. Many carry a lightweight tent which will work however canvas tents and even dome tents can be quite heavy. Some even say the best survival tents are mylar blankets (these blankets are not worth the few dollars they cost - read below!) If you are in trouble you will need to protect yourself quickly, efficiently and the survival tent or survival shelters you use for your shelter better be effective in protecting you from harsh conditions. 

Survival Tents and Shelters, Shelter for Survival
An unexpected change in the weather is something to always be aware of. Especially when venturing above treeline. 


To be 100% sure you are protecting yourself you will need to make sure you have the materials required to build a shelter when you need it. It is nearly impossible to shelter that is completely waterproof and windproof from materials that come directly from nature. Building a wilderness shelter or survival shelters completely from natural materials available in the outdoors simply is not practical. 

Imagine you are on a day hike. It's getting late and the temperature is dropping. You were sure you'd have enough daylight to make it back to the car the only issue is that the trail looks different on the way back and you find yourself lost. "No, I can't be lost, I've never been lost before in my life," you say subtly to yourself. You take what you are sure is a shortcut back to your car yet you find yourself even more lost. "No worries," you think to yourself. "I'll just pop open my smartphone and find where I am at" you think as the sun continues to drop behind the mountains and it's getting dark. "oh no! my phone is dead." Panic starts to set in. How will you protect yourself?

When the realization first hits that you will be forced to have to spend a night outside that you had not planned on you will realize you need to start the process of building shelter. Now, this is not a time to be running around gathering big logs for an elaborate survival shelter. How will you have time? What if you are injured? Shelters made from natural material require time, effort, a quality cutting tool and a qualified survivor who has practiced building a shelter for survival in the past. 

Its late, dark, cold and the wind is picking up. You need a survival shelter that is windproof and waterproof now! What should you do? Being able to protect yourself from inclement weather quickly is a fundamental requirement if you would like to stay alive. 

Mylar Space Blankets and Bags

Mylar space blankets are often found in commercially sold survival kits and are largely USELESS in an emergency. Consider the scenario above. It is dark, cold and windy and you are in desperate need of a shelter. Your body is starting to go hypothermic as you begin to shake. Space blankets require both hands to keep wrapped around you and also let your body heat escape. Space blankets are cumbersome to get out of the packages, unfold and drape around you. They are usually very noisy which might prevent you from hearing rescuers. Mylar plastic is very easy to tear especially if the material is punctured, nicked or torn. Bags made out of Mylar are also sold in commercially available survival kits, however, other than the fact that they are a "bag," these emergency shelters suffer from all of the same flaws as the blankets. We do not recommend products made from Mylar plastic for an outdoor shelter for survival. 

Thermal Blankets

Thermal blankets act in a way similar to space blankets yet are made from a more durable material reinforced with fiberglass threads and grommets in each corner. Thermal blankets can be used as a body-wrap, however, as with space blankets, Thermal blankets are often too small and cumbersome to completely protect you. Some people have attempted to use a thermal blanket as a shelter roof by tying lines to each corner of and stretching the blanket out between anchor points. If it's clear and still as day this may be a decent solution for building shelter, however, in windy conditions or with a load of snow build up this solution will fail very quickly as the grommets are not strong enough to hold any amount of resistance and the blanket will be destroyed. 

Endure Survival Instant Shelter

This heavy (4mm thick) bivvy sack provides excellent protection against harsh conditions that may lead to hypothermia. For survival situations, a bag is always better than a blanket. The Endure Instant shelter creates a heavy-duty barrier around you and will provide the protection you need in case you find yourself in an unexpected change in the weather. The Endure Instant Shelter is an instant wilderness solo shelter solution that also acts as a signal. Royal blue is more likely to be seen by rescue teams at far distances (safety orange can easily blend into brown and yellow foliage which particularly an issue in the fall) The Endure Instant backcountry shelter weighs approximately 9 oz. and comes vacuum packed so you can easily fit it in your pack. 

Survival Tents and Shelters, Shelter for Survival

Heavy duty 4mm thick polyurethane plastic
Includes instructions and proven tip sheet
By cutting a hole condensation will stay on outside of bag
Waterproof with glossy finish to wick water away
Lightweight (9 oz)

For the above scenario, you will need a large, short-term, emergency shelter that will keep you dry, warm and protect you against wind-burn. It may be difficult to find something that will suffice in the natural environment as you will need a shelter you can climb under or better yet, climb or crawl under. The Endure Instant Shelter serves this purpose very well. You can crawl into the Instant Shelter while completely covering yourself inside leaving room for fresh oxygen to come in at your feet trapping all of your body heat inside the shelter. While cutting a hole for your face to breath on the outside you will allow the water vapor within your breath to escape to the outside of the shelter.

Having the ability to protect oneself from the potentially life-threatening conditions mother-nature can bring on is a fundamental survival skill. Failing to prepare to have proper wilderness survival gear and equipment is a direct invitation to die from hypothermia! Too many people venture into the wilderness unequipped to endure an emergency, change in weather or any other unforeseen and potentially hazardous situation. Many of these people find out too late that they may not have the right gear, equipment, and know-how to shelter themselves from the potentially overwhelming natural environment. These people may also find out that the clothing they are wearing may be great to protect themselves when they are recreating and active however the same very clothing may be totally inadequate when they are not moving or in a stationary position. 

"It's better to have it with you and not need it rather than not have it at all"

Survival Tents and Shelters, Shelter for Survival

Sheltering is all about creating a strong defense between your body's core temperature and the natural environment that is potentially a threat. As long as you can actively defend your 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit core body temperature from dropping you will be able to keep yourself alive. This all starts with survival rule # 1: Your clothing is your first shelter but doesn't rely on it for stationary protection against precipitation, wind, and extremely low temperatures. Also, bear in mind that without the proper clothing you may be risking the ability to find and construct a shelter and your ability to build a fire. Sheltering yourself and keeping warm is a fundamental part of practical survival skills.

The only shelter you can count on is the shelter provided by your clothing and the shelter you carry with you. Don't forget that it is absolutely not good to you if its left in your car or at camp and you are miles deep into the wilderness. If you can't rely on anything but what you carry then it may be a good idea to choose your shelter carefully!

Additionally, we lose most of our beady heat from our heads. Our body heat is the only heat we can 100% rely on. It may be wise to not waste it!