Every list basic survival gear should include a simple emergency shelter. In many cases, such as day hikes or rides, carrying a full tent would be overkill. There are a number of alternatives, however, from simple blue tarps to rain ponchos that unfold into shelters.
Here are a few options, in case you’re in the market for tarp shelters.
The duct tape of shelters. They aren’t light for their size, but you can’t beat the price of the good old blue tarp.
Weight: 11 oz.
Area: 48 sq. ft.
Made from a supple polyurethane-coated nylon, this is a step up from the blue tarp in quality – and cost.
Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz. (small size)
Area: 63 sq. ft.
This simple tarp is relatively cheap and would come in handy in a pinch. Kelty makes three sizes, the smallest of which is 972 square feet and design for up to three people.
Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz. / 0.82 kg
Size: 81 sq. ft.
This poncho can be unfolded into a tarp that lives up to it’s manufacturer’s name: it’s super light. It’s also very small, designed for one person.
Weight: 7 oz
Area: 42.3 sq. ft
Another poncho that turns into a tarp, made with silicone coated Cordura.
Weight: 12 oz
Area: 39 sq. ft.
This MSR tarp is about the same size as the Kelty survival shelter, but weights much less. It will protect two people from the elements.
Weight: 1 lb
Area: 65 sq. ft.