Instant Tents: Here Are 4 Unique Types You May Not Have Seen Before

Space and weight are two survival shelter features that are critical. Every ounce and every cubit inch are precious.

So what I’m going to do is show you 4 unique instant shelter solutions. Each has it’s own unique twist.

Once you finish this article, you wont be thinking about shelter in the same way. You’ll begin to think about alternatives to standard shelter solutions. In some cases, you may avoid carrying shelter altogether. That’s because you’ll be able to improvise from anything you find in your path.


One way to combine 2 functions is to check out a poncho. It combines the function of clothing and shelter. This saves weight and space in your survival kit. Make sure you get a poncho with grommeted corners to attach to trees.

Now we’ve got the dual purpose thing down. Can you get a survival tent that’s even lighter than a poncho?


OK, experimental shelter might not be available at Bass Pro, but it is definitely interesting. Its an inflatable space blanket instant shelter. Designed by Martin Azua, it folds up small enough to fit into your pocket. The shelter also inflates with body heat and if you reverse it, the shelter will reflect the suns rays to keep the interior cool.


Usually shelters are in the form of nylon, mylar or plastic. Here’s something that you wouldn’t expect…cardboard.

The Homeless Awareness Network is distributing cardboard shelters. Cardborigami is a portable shelter made of treated cardboard that is folded into an origami structure. It is stable, insulated and weather-proof. These same shelters require no assembly after construction. And they fold up into a compact format. Although not available to the general public as of yet, they may be coming soon.


A simple garbage bag, albeit a large one can serve as shelter. But if all you have is small bags, and some duct tape, then you can make one large tarp. Just tape the bags together.

Its a good idea to carry 4mm thick orange bags with you in your kit. You can make them into a poncho or crawl inside of a bag for the evening. Its not pretty, but its packable, and protects you from the wind and rain.

Instant shelters are about quick setup and light weight. Mylar space blankets are the lightest and most packable material. But consider ponchos. The poncho shelter idea is proven through the military. Check it out. Try one out. They are cheap no matter which one you get. And if you go with a multipurpose type instant shelter, you’ll probably save money over one of those 2 second tents.