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Survival shelter buying guide

Situations in the wild gravitate from the best-suited ones to some time the worst challenging ones. Whether you may be an expert in surviving skills and have a lot of experience in the world, but you cannot deny the significance of suitable survival shelters.

The shelters are sufficient enough to provide you a safe and secure space in the wild. You can keep maintaining your body temperature by suiting the outside environment. Also, they are easy to set up and maintain.

However, selecting the right choice requires precise evaluations of all its vital factors. You cannot just rely on any type of shelter without considering its material, type, durability, resistance, and other additional properties.

Gathering detailed information on different characteristics can take up a lot of time and resources. On the contrary, if you refer to a comprehensive buying guide, you will get all the necessary information on the product. Also, you will get all the answers to your questions and queries.

What do you mean by Survival shelters? Why do you need them?

Are you Bear Grylls' fan and want to explore the wild just like he does? Then you must be aware of the essential survival gears.

To be a master in survival skills, you need to be perfect in building a survival shelter.

Survival shelters are the temporary roofs over your head, which provide you safety and a comfort zone in the wild environment. They protect you from animals and harsh weather conditions.

They can be dugout snow tunnels or wooden structures, Survival shelters come in various forms and cater to many needs.

A good survival shelter should:

  1. Be able to protect you from heat, rain, and storms
  2. Take less time to be built
  3. Allow natural light to enter during the daytime
  4. Be near the source of food and water

If you know the story of the famous Robinson Crusoe, then you know how crucial the role Survival shelters play. When you are stranded in the middle of nowhere or going out camping with friends, you need a place to rest, which is safe, to regain your lost energy.

Abundant sleep can make a huge difference.

Why should you read a buying guide before selecting a suitable shelter?

By reading a buying guide, you can easily evaluate your requirements with the shelter's critical factors that alter its performance and usability. Also, you can make an informed decision and make a suitable purchase.

So, without any further ado, let us dive into detailed information about the product's different characteristics.

Types of Survival shelters

When you are out in the wild, Survival shelters come to your rescue more often. They are your best buddies when you are away from your home.

Survival shelters are of various types:

  1. Tree branch shelters

They are abundantly found in nature and form the fantastic Survival shelters.

You need not cut them into shape, for it decreases your energy level. Using them the way they are is not a bad idea. They are further classified into two types:

  1. Round Lodge

They have better insulation and a stable doorway with the most significant benefit to accommodate smoke flaps at the top.

  1. Debris shelter

Tree foliage and dead leaves are the best picks for debris shelters as they provide insulation and help in protection. They come in various shapes and designs, but the most common is the A-frame.

It is advisable to mix mud with the debris to make it strong enough to withstand the pressure of strong winds.

  1. Tarp shelters

If you have a tarp with you in your survival kit, then you have access to a wide variety of accommodations that you can make which are:

  1. Tarp Wing

It can be used as a temporary structure while you build a reliable shelter. It offers partial protection from rain, and when combined with fire, it provides you with the warmth needed to survive for a small period.

  1. A-frame Tarp

It is triangular and requires specific tools like tarp, sticks, and ropes to build the entire structure. Though it provides little insulation and warmth, it protects you from the harsh weather.

  1. Wedge Tarp

It can be made with limited tools and resources and is an ideal shelter for windy weather. It is easy to build and takes no time.

  1. Tarp Burrito

If you have no tools but only have the tarp in your kit, then tarp burrito is the ideal shelter for you. Cover yourself in the burrito as much as possible. Use moss, soft branches, and fallen leaves to increase insulation inside your tarp.

  1. Cold weather shelters

Maintaining body temperature is the crucial element of survival when you are experiencing icy-cold weather. It is essential to create the right amount of insulation inside your shelter and trap as much heat as possible.

Using fallen leaves, dry branches, and moss is an excellent way to create insulation.

Besides protecting yourself, you should also consider insulating the surface you are lying on because direct contact with the cold ground can have adverse consequences.

Use the same insulating material to make your bed preventing the ground from absorbing your body warmth.

When you are taking shelter in cold weather, you should build a fire around you, which aids you in maintaining the warmth. If you have matchsticks with you, then you can simply light a fire, but if you don't have one, then you have to start the fire from scratch.

You can light a fire with the help of dry branches, shrubs, and other flammable materials using stones, magnifying glass or stick, and tree bark to get the igniting spark.

  1. Snow shelters

If you want to go trekking in the snowy mountains, it is the best idea to have an ice or snow shelter, and if somehow you've got stranded there, you don't have enough time to build a structure.

  1. Quinzhee

A quinzhee is a hallowed quarter made out of a large pile of snow because it protects you from the harsh conditions in snowy areas.

  1. Snow cave

A snow cave is the best shelter if it is built correctly. If you lack in creating it in the right manner, then you will have to face dire consequences.

  1. Igloo

It is made entirely of ice, but you need some tool to cut out the ice blocks to build up the wall.

  1. Desert shelters

Whenever you are planning for desert camping, make sure you go all prepared with all the gears and equipment. Ramada is the ideal structure which provides you shelter in a desert setting.

It has a roof with no walls. Its purpose is to supply sun protection.

Things to Deem About While Selecting an appropriate Survival Shelter

Survival shelters are your friends for an emergency while you are out having a great adventure in the wild who rescue you from all the big troubles coming your way and safeguard you until help reaches you.

Though they are inexpensive, you must invest in something which provides you with full safety and can withstand the harshness of the wild environment.

Below are some of the vital features of Survival shelters on which you should lay more emphasis while you are out there making your purchase.


High-quality, abrasion-proof material is something you would like to pay for while searching for the ideal shelters for you. The different materials used to make accommodations are:

  1. Mylar

The best property of this material is its reflectivity, which uses the body heat of a person to create a warm environment inside the shelter.It thermally regulates the interior temperature.

It provides excellent insulation, which makes it an ideal material for emergencies.

It is both waterproof and windproof.

Due to its reflective properties, the outer surface of the shelter appears silver and shiny, making it easier for identification by the rescue team.

  1. Aluminum

Some manufacturers use aluminum to make shelters. Like the Mylar, aluminum, too, possesses the ability to regulate the temperature and appear to be silky and silver from the outside.

  1. Hybrid (Aluminium and Mylar)

Many times, aluminum is combined with Mylar making the shelter more durable. This allows the product to possess the benefits of both types.


While making a decision, always focus on the values that you get access to when you buy your favorable tent.

If you have a limited budget, values will help you decide which option suits you better and what are the benefits that you are going to gain. If you are not, it will be an additional knowledge for you to get to know your emergency companion better.

Some shelters last long while some can accompany only two people.

Consider your needs and focus on what you'll be getting after purchasing the product.

Weather resistance

Considering the terrain and weather conditions of the place where you are going, you need a shelter that provides you with enough warmth to protect you from the harsh climate outside and the beastly animals which may harm you.

Since most of the shelters are made out of Mylar, they make an excellent shelter for you because they are water-resistant, making it perfect for rainy and snowy weather conditions.

When combined with aluminum, its durable material becomes damage resistant, thus protecting you from the harmful animals out there keeping an eye on you.

The windproof property of the shelters, make them ideal for windy areas or desert settings where you will often come across dust storms.

Depending on the location of your preference, choose the Survival shelters which suits the situation best.


Shelters are meant to protect you, and it becomes very crucial to have a close look at the material it is made of, its durability, portability, weather resistance, etc.

Search for shelters that give you full protection from the weather as well as the predators, which may catch a sniff of you and come searching for you.

Besides these factors, you should also ensure that your shelter is fireproof because fire is an essential thing you will need to keep yourself safe from the chilling weather outside. Having access to a fireproof shelter makes it easier for you to light a fire around the shelter.

Also, the shelter should be easy to build, in case you do not have enough time.


It is always clever to be well prepared whenever you plan to stay outdoors as you never know what mother nature beholds in the wild.

With such affordable emergency shelters, it would be foolish to get trapped outside and face the consequences.

Shelters are made lightweight, compact, and portable for easy transportation. This makes it easier for you to carry them whenever you go out because something is better than nothing, in case the weather shows it's scary face.

Lightweight shelters protect you from all the adversities that may come your way. Their compact size helps you fit it in a small space.


Since the shelters are used only in emergencies, they are not used too often and become a victim to the coarse dust particles which coat them overtime.

To find out that your supportive shelter has lost its protective property over time and it won't help you in your emergency is something you never want should happen.

To ensure that your shelter is durable and stands the test of time, spend on something which pays off and avoid going for the cheaper ones, which will lose their existence with time.

Look out for shelters that are made of the combination of Mylar and Aluminium. Though they are a bit expensive, they are more durable.

If you buy those, you will not regret your decision.


Survival shelters are inexpensive, and your investment will never go waste if you decide to buy one.

If you are going out in the wild, you should always be well equipped with all the necessary tools and, most importantly, a survival shelter because you never know when you will get trapped and what the condition there will be.

To avoid getting yourself in such situations, it is always better to invest in something which can save your life or at least provide you safety until the rescue team reaches you.

Having an emergency shelter in your survival kit will not harm; rather, it will always help you out in the worse situations which you are likely to face while enjoying the wilderness.

Extra accessories

If you have an emergency shelter with you, you are good to go, but along with the shelter, you may also want to invest in something that you consider accompanies your shelter and may help you during your outing.

Items like:

  1. Home weather station
  2. Survival radio
  3. Canned or non-perishable food
  4. Flashlight
  5. Sleeping bag
  6. Compact pillow
  7. Bug out bag
  8. Mosquito repellent
  9. Swiss army knife

These are some which you may invest in besides the shelter.

Though the shelter won't be your temporary residence for you, it is never harmful to carry extra items for you, which may save your life.

Steps to Use and Store a Survival shelter

Using the shelter is pretty simple as you are provided with an instruction leaflet which you will get at the time of purchase. You just have to read the instructions carefully and try to build up the shelter a few times at your home itself.

This way, you get to know how to put things into their respective places, and you get to practice a lot because the more you do practice, the more perfect you become.

This will help you build up your shelter faster in emergencies where you will have no time to go through the instruction leaflet.

Also, some of the shelters come with multi-use features. Hence, they tend to have more instructions than the other ones. The instructions of the shelters with multi-use features generally come in an e-book.

Since shelters are designed to be lightweight and compact, they generally come in a case that becomes easier to store and carry.

While you are not going out for your trip, you can store them in your closet or even at the top of the shed outside the house because they occupy very little space.

Essential Material Checklist when you have a Survival Shelter

Now that we have covered almost everything about a survival shelter, starting from their need to their storage and their features, it becomes vital for you to know the essential gears that are required to build one.

The following items come handy in extreme situations:

  1. Rope or Paracord

A strong rope or a paracord is essential when it comes to building a shelter. It helps in tying your shelter with the supporting pillars so that your shelter stays firm.

If you want to build your shelter at a secure distance from the ground, then also the strong ropes or paracords are required so that they are capable enough to bear the weight and hold it firmly.

  1. Knife

A strong and sharp knife comes in super handy while cutting materials like wood and ropes required for building the shelter.

Besides building the shelter, they are also helpful for cutting fruits or any edible item which you may find nearby or even scare away animals.

A knife serves as your protective shield while you are in the wild.

  1. Tarp

It is never a bad idea to keep a tarp in your survival kit as it is the versatile hardware which is beneficial in building Survival shelters.

  1. Parachute

Parachutes are quite useful when you don't get any other material to build a shelter for yourself. They, too, can provide you with some protection while you wait for help alone in the scary forest.

  1. Shovel

You never know when you might need a shovel while stuck in the emergency. It helps dig up holes for fires or secure poles on the ground to make you shelter strong.

Just like a knife, a shovel can also be used to scare away animals or dig holes to hide something or cut some hard material.

  1. Duct tape

If your shelter has loose ends or water is leaking through a tiny hole, duct tape can always be used to secure these small damages. Though it is not essential, having it in your kit is not a bad idea.

  1. Shelter kit

Since you are unaware of what good deals the day might offer you, having a shelter kit is a must. You can carry your first aid items and other essentials in it, which can be helpful for you at any time.


  1. How can I choose the best material for the shelter?

You need to consider the durability, water, and wind resistance properties of the material. Also, you need to pack light for your expedition, so consider the weight of the product, which is altered by the material.

  1. I am going to experience a wild expedition for the first time. Is mylar material as good as it is presented?

Yes, the material is lightweight that makes it quite portable. It is easy to maintain and has excellent temperature regulating properties. Also, the material is waterproof by nature, but you need to select the windproof option as it comes handy in challenging situations.

  1. Is durability compromises with the price level of the product?

If you select a very cheap variant, then the trade-off will cost you the durability of the product. But this does not mean that you always have to choose a high budget product.

Consider the environment variable and evaluate the aspects of your journey and make an informed decision before opting for any option.

  1. What are the advantages of the two-person variant?

Firstly, as the name suggests, the product is able to accommodate two persons safely. It removes the need for a second separate shelter for the other person and can help you save your budget on the journey.

Final Verdict

You can never take your safety for granted when dealing with the wilderness. All your skills and experience will fail if you don't have the necessary equipment for your survival, especially if you lack in making a suitable shelter.

In this comprehensive guide, we have presented all the necessary information on the product. All that lest for you to do is arm yourself with proper shelter and enjoy a safe wild expedition. / - © Copyright 2020