Shelter When You Need it Most
Tents, Tents, Tents.
Tents, Tents, Tents. There are so many styles and so many uses. There is the tent I made in my bedroom as a kid by hanging a sheet over some chairs. Then there is the survivalist’s lean-to made of a pole and some branches.
Tents are basically a shelter you can make on-site or a shelter you can take with you. Kids play in them, My neighbor uses one to shelter his car because his garage is filled with junk.
What you need to survive after a storm destroys your house is far different from the shelter you need when climbing a mountain.
Because this website focuses on resilience, we will focus on what you need to camp on your property until your home can be restored after it is destroyed in a storm. The good thing about having a tent is, depending on what you get, they can have multiple uses. You can use them for camping and have them available for an emergency,
Tents have been around since our ancestors came out of their caves. Nomadic people still use tents for shelter. In the arctic shelters are made from snow. Mongolians call their shelter yurts. We call the shelters of Native Americans living on America’s Central Plains TeePees and the sacred shelter of the Navajo are Hogans.
Today we use tents for outdoor shelter when hiking in the backcountry, when weekend car camping, and any place we need temporary shelter. Think carefully about how you want to use your tent. The tent you want to withstand a blizzard is much different from the tent you can use in the backyard or when the kids want to camp out.
Be aware of the materials used when fabricating a tent. Broadly, tents are made of man-made materials, usually nylon, or from natural materials, cotton or poly-cotton. Man-made materials are used in backpacking tents because lightweight is important. Cotton is a heavier material and is suitable for car camping and situation where you set it up and leave it in one place.
Nylon tents are generally stronger and waterproof. They will resist tearing. Condensation can result in puddling inside the tent because the tent doesn’t breathe. Nylon flaps in the wind and is much noisier than a cotton tent. Nylon is a poor insulator. A nylon tent will get hot in warm weather and cold when it is cold. Because the nylon tents don’t breathe an interior stove for warmth and for cooking can build up carbon monoxide gas inside the tent. Be sure your nylon tent is well vented if you plan to bring a heater into your tent.
Tents from natural materials
Cotton tents are heavy, breathe, and absorb water. Condensation is not a problem, but you will need a rainfly to make your tent leakproof to anything but light rain. A rainfly provides an air gap between the tent roof and the waterproof rain fly. A cotton tent is subject to mildew. Make sure a cotton tent is dry before storing it and it is a good idea to set it up occasionally to let it air out when you live in a humid environment. A poly-cotton tent has a polyester woven into the cotton material. It makes the tent stronger and less prevalent to mildew without destroying the tent’s breathability. Poly-cotton tents are more resistant to rips. For Details on tent materials
You will see tents described as one-season, three-season, and four-season tents. One-season tents are designed for mild weather use during the summer. In Hawaii, people bring open-sided tents to the beach to shield them from the sun. They can roll down cloth screens to shield them from mosquitoes that fly mostly at dawn and dust. Three-season tents can be used in all but the foulest weather.
Know what you are buying. Some companies have built their reputation on price. Their tents are generally made from manmade, cheaper materials. That is not necessarily bad. In fact, if you are an occasional camper, buying an inexpensive tent for summer camping can make sense.
You will want a large tent that can shelter your family for survival camping after a storm. You may want to consider smaller one or two-person tents for family members who want sleeping privacy.
Furnishing your tent for utility and comfort will be the subject of other posts. Consider how you are going to store your survival supplies and equipment. When your house is destroyed your stuff will go with it. Consider storing your stuff in public storage. Make sure it is a reinforced concrete building that can withstand the storm.