One of the most basic camping items is a tent. It is also one of the most basic emergency items.
While a tent is not always necessary in order to go camping (as many people use camp trailers, or have the skills to locate and build natural shelters), having a good tent (or two – or three), and knowing how to use it are highly encouraged as a part of your emergency preparation.
There are a variety of tents on the market today – including various shapes sizes, makes, models, materials, etc. From “single man” bivy style or pup tents, to large military canvas style tents; from tents that are only intended to be used a couple of weeks out of the year, to those that are made to last for several years without being dissembled, there are of choices to choose from.
One important point to keep in mind when purchasing a tent is that it is like most other gear: You will inevitably get what you pay for. Less expensive camping tents tend to be made of inferior materials, and tear or wear out easily. And when you are talking about emergency preparation, durability is a huge issue to consider.
Also keep in mind that tents are manufactured for use during various seasons of the year. When purchasing a tent, pay close attention to which seasons it is manufactured for. Tents are labeled as being one season (summer use only), three season (spring through fall use), or four season (year round use – including winter) tents.
There are three types of tents that are most often recommended for emergency preparation procurement and use:
- Single man bivy or pup style tent. This tent is excellent for placing in each individual’s emergency kit for individual use. They should be small, lightweight, and easy to set up and take down.
- Family size camping tent. This tent should be placed with the rest of your camping gear, and should be fairly easily transported in your vehicle.
- Heavy Duty Canvas style tent (such as a military tent). This tent is meant for long term use. Certain emergencies (such as a hurricane where your home is devastated – or civil unrest where it is no longer safe to remain in urban environments) may require some type of semi-permanent housing away from your current residence. As most traditional camping tents will not last much longer than a few weeks (or possibly a few months) if set up permanently, this type of tent offers you a longer-term shelter if needed. This type of tent is usually bulky (even when disassembled) and rather heavy, requiring extra preparation measures to store and transport. They can usually be purchased from a military surplus outlet.