The 6 Best Emergency Tents for Staying Safe Outdoors


An emergency tent can come in handy in a variety of circumstances. Here are our top picks for safety, weather protection, and peace of mind.

By Maggie Slepian / Popular Mechanics

Emergency tents come in a variety of styles and materials. These shelters are usually lightweight and portable, designed to provide protection from the elements and visibility in emergency situations, unexpected weather events, or nights outdoors.

Each type of emergency tent has different primary uses. You might carry an ultralight, single-use model during ski tours, hikes, or river trips where you don’t expect to run into bad weather or stay out overnight, but prefer to be prepared. Or you might live somewhere with extreme weather events and prefer to keep a spare shelter in a to-go bag or in your car. Emergency tents are good to have on hand in case your car gets stuck and you need a place to sleep and/or stay warm. As an added bonus, some are highly reflective, making them easy to be seen by passers-by or a rescue squad.

Emergency shelters can be as simple as a plastic tube tent, or as rugged as a standard backpacking tent— and there’s plenty of crossover. Emergency tents are usually easier to set up than regular camping tents, and most require no tools. True emergency shelters don’t have the same livability or long-term durability as a camping tent, but they also cost less and aren’t meant for daily use over the course of a season.

Your backpacking or camping tent can also be used as an emergency tent, but for this piece, we focused on emergency tents that you’d stash in your bag, car, or would deploy in an emergency situation. CONTINUE READING

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