Regular, common camping tents are often overlooked when considering emergency shelters. There are several reasons for this, mainly being that they are not very durable for long term survival, and they are not very roomy and therefore liveable. Admittedly these are indeed significant drawbacks. But there are significant bonuses to such shelters. They are by far the least expensive, easiest to obtain and smalles/lightest for storage and transport. For those on a budget, or with significant storage and transportation constraints, I will take a look at these kinds of tents. Just keep in mind that there will be no use of a wood burning stove in these tents, so good sleeping bags would be a very important companion in the winter time.

The bottom line of these tents would be the coleman-style, family camping tent. I say bottom line because these versions are the mass-produced tents, found in just about any sporting goods section, in a great range of sizes and prices. These are designed for the families who camp two or three weekends a year. They will not last for prolonged periods in the backcountry, and they do not stand up well to particularly violent storms. They are casual camping tents. But they are cheap, and after all they are indeed shelter. If you have very little money, and emergency shelter is on your mind, this should be a consideration. Can be purchased at any sporting goods store for anywhere between $50-several hundred dollars.


From here you would want to consider a good 4-season Expidition tent, or Mountaineering tent. This is similar to a family camping tent, but made of much better materials and designed to withstand very harsh conditions. The kind of tents used at the base camps of Everest. A notable drawback is going to be size. These tents are made to withstand extremely harsh elements for moderate periods of time. Such a tent would provide a reliable shelter for sleeping and storm sheltering in just about any conditions. They may not hold up well over the course of a year of constant exposure, but it would give you a good month or two of reliable if cramped shelter regardless of the time of year. Can be purchased at stores like REI for anywhere between $400-$800.*all


Another good option is the Springbar tent. Small and simple to setup like regular camping tents, but made of canvas rather than nylon, and designed to be roomier and more liveable on the inside. Springbars are very well regarded tents, and rightly so, but you are going to pay more than you will for your standard family camping tent. Springbars are going to be much more comfortable, but probably not stand up to fierce weather as well as a lower profile dome style weekend tent. Where the standard tents and expedition tents rely on anchor points around the base of the tent, and a sloped wall to deflect wind, the Springbar is more reliant on guylines to prevent the collapse of it's vertical walls in heavy winds. Much like a wall tent. However, their manufacture is very rugged and simple, and in normal weather conditions they would fare well, and be much more comfortable than the above two designs. Can be purchased in a wide variety of optional designs for between $400-$700 from Springbar.