Bug Out Shelters: Tents and Bivouacs

Underground Survival Shelters

One of the top survival priorities for doomsday preppers is shelter. And as preppers we should be planning for the worst; which would mean having to backpack out from a region of disaster carrying all our survival gear with us. So the first order of business to provide for your bug out shelter is a great sleeping bag, and a lightweight, backpacking tent or bivouac.

We also can’t predict in which form doomsday will decide to present itself, but many doomsday scenarios result in extreme cold weather events. An asteroid or comet strike, a major volcanic eruption, a gamma-ray burst, or nuclear war could all result in drastic temperature drops. For example around 530 AD the world experienced an extreme cold weather event in which it snowed during the summer. 1816 also experienced summer snow, and was likely caused by an Indonesian volcano. The point here is to plan for the possibility that you could be bugging out on foot, and in very cold weather; so your bug out gear should include lightweight tents and sleeping bags designed for extremely cold conditions. And if this extreme cold weather doesn’t occur, you can always adjust and remove layers.

The most important part of your extreme cold weather bug out shelter is going to be your sleeping bag. But to protect it from water and block wind you’ll need a waterproof, backpacking tent or bivouac sack. If you will be bugging out with a family, the most efficient option will likely be a tent (or multiple tents). There are 2 or 3 person tents which don’t weight much more than single person tents, and don’t take up much more space either. On the other hand if you expect to be bugging alone, consider a lightweight single-person bivouac sack to save a bit of carrying weight.

High Peak South Col 3-Person 4-Season Tent

The High Peak South Col is a true four season tent, able to shelter 3 people (or two people with lots of gear). Used in extreme adventures around the world, this High Peaks tent has earned its stripes as a rugged and portable survival shelter. Two of these could easily provide shelter for a family of four should the SHTF.

Both the outer rain sheet and inner tent are made primarily of polyester, then double-stitched and taped to keep water out. For even more waterproofing, this backpacking canopy tent has been treated with polyurethane to varying degrees as appropriate. At the front of the tent are two vestibules where you could store your other prepper gear at night, and have it be protected. High Peak has also engineered the South Col to comply with the strict California testing requirements of CPAI-84 for being flame retardant.

The South Col comes with everything needed to setup this tent as your temporary survival shelter. High strength aluminum poles are included to support the structure, along with stakes, guy lines and carrying bag. The tent can even withstand extra-strong winds with the use of additional guy ropes.

But don’t think the South Col will weight you down. At only 9.7 pounds this tent is relatively lightweight, great for backpacking and perfect choice for a bug out bag shelter.

5 / 5 stars

2015 Tasmanian 3 Backpacking Tent

Another top prepper pick for bug out bag shelter is the 2015 Tasmanian 3 tent from Alps Mountaineering. The Tasmanian compresses down to just 7x20 inches and makes for an easy to carry backpacking tent. This tent is serious duty 4-season tent with substantial water-proofing in all the right places, with factory-sealed floor and fly seams. As a 3-person tent with over 34.5 square feet of floor space, there is plenty of room for 3 people - including their gear! If you need a bit more room, the Tasmanian also has two external vestibules for another 13 square feet of extra storage.

The rugged Tasmanian 3 is a free-standing tent, with 9mm poles in 7000-series aluminum. The rain fly is made of thick polyester and is UV coated to prevent the sun from degrading the material over continued use. This tent’s canopy is crafted in polyester and nylon mesh with pockets for storage and gear loft. The durable floor is also extra thick polyester / taffeta and factory-sealed to prevent water from leaking in.

The Tasmanian 3 weights just over 7 pounds packed-up including the tent, rain fly, poles, 7500-aluminum poles. The ruggedness and light weight of this 4-season, 3-person tent is an excellent backpacking tent, and great choice as a doomsday prepper bug out bag tent.

5 / 5 stars

Aqua Quest 'Single Pole' Waterproof Ultra Light Bivy Bivouac

Made of extremely lightweight, anti-rip material, the Aqua Quest 'Single Pole' Waterproof Ultra Light Bivy Bivouac - One Person Multi Season Shelter - Green Model makes a perfect gift for anyone that likes to spend a great deal of time in outdoor situations. Camping, hiking, and outdoor vacation excursions are the perfect fit for this one person, aluminum pole-erected shelter. It's waterproof, and the heat taped seams make it all the more impermeable to water/liquid. It also offers effective insect protection. When you're in this one person shelter, you're not going to be bothered by gnats, mosquitos, or any other bugs.

On the rear and front of the Aqua Quest One Person Multi Season Shelter, there's breathable mesh boxes that offer condensation protection and air circulation support. And, once inside the shelter, you'll notice it comes equipped with a TPU clear window that provides a fantastic view of the sky and surrounding environment. You can also combine the Aqua Quest 'Single Pole' Waterproof Ultra Light Bivy Bivouac - One Person Multi Season Shelter with the Aqua Quest Ultra Light 'Sil" Tarp for a completely dry and 100% secure camping environment.

And while this one person shelter is able to sleep two people in demanding situations, it's best to have one for each camp mate that's with you. It weighs in at a total of 2.4 lbs, and the dimensions are as follows:

Completely Setup and Ready For Sleeping: 91 X 35 X 28 Inches

Stored Away And Compressed: 16 X 6 X 5 Inches

What makes this sleeper a great choice for prepper gear, is that is only weights 2.4 pounds! If disaster forces you to bug-out on foot, you don't want to be carrying extra. This bivouac will allow you to carry more in food, while still keeping you warm and dry.

5 / 5 stars

Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent

A 2 Person, 3 Season Tent like this one can make any outdoor event something truly spectacular. Not only do you get protection from the elements, but you get enough space inside the tent to really sprawl out with 1 person, or sleep comfortably with 2. The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent is designed with taped seams to keep the interior completely dry. The polyester construction with 2,000 millimeter rated polyurethane outside coating, and 5,000 millimeter polyurethane inside bottom coating make for a material that simply wicks away moisture and doesn't allow it to ever get "soggy".

Featuring 35 square-feet of internal floor space and 14 square-feet of vestibule space, theoretically, one person would have plenty of room to set up various items inside the tent to stay more comfortable. The measurements of the fully setup and constructed Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent are as follows: 56" Width X 43" Height X 92" Depth

It's also easy to pack this tent away and travel with it in a vehicle if need be. It packs up into a portable travel size of 7.5" Width X 18" Height. It's also very light at only 4 lbs, 11 ounces.

The two pole design is incredibly easy to setup, and if you take a look at the Amazon reviews, you'll see that 99% of people who've purchased the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent have been incredibly happy with its performance. And what's more, this product didn't just do good in the Amazon reviews, its received a couple of different awards from publications like the independent Backpacker Gear Guide, including their "Killer Deal" and "Killer Value" awards. Research this item thoroughly for yourself, and if you'll see that this is truly one of the best deals out there for a 2 person camping tent.

5 / 5 stars