Creating the Simplest Tent in the World

I have been in many situations where a tent or shelter could not be set up quickly. Rain and fatigue has caused me to settle for less then homey conditions while I have been out in the backcountry. There is a solution to this problem that is easy to carry, only requires rope, a tarp made our of a tarpaulin material and tent stakes. This solution is not magic and is not one you will find in a camping store. Instead, it is one created through human ingenuity and survival. It is the survival tent.

A survival tent is a tent that can house one to two people, depending on the size of the tarp. The principle and construction of this tent starts out with trees. To create this tent, one will first need a long length of rope. When you are packing this item always pack more then you will think you will ever need. Rope in the backcountry is just as important as ones pocket knife.

Once you have your rope, the next thing you will need are two trees. While this sounds like a simple task, since you are out in the woods, it can be a challenge. The trees need to be spaced out enough so that your tarp can fit between them but their span also needs to be close enough so that your length of rope can cover it.

After your trees have been chosen, wrap one end of your rope to one tree and tie off. Pull the rope tight and tie off the other end of the rope to the other tree. The next step of this process is to fold your tarp in half and drape it over the rope. Adjust each side so that equal parts are on each side of the rope. Then, secure the tarp to the ground by running tent stakes through the grommets on each corner. Once this is done, the survival tent is ready to use.

While the process of making this tent is simple, there are few hints I would like to add. One, prior to attaching the rope to the trees make sure to examine the ground. Poison ivy or ants hills can make your stay in your emergency shelter uncomfortable and unsafe. Two, make sure to look up and check the condition of the trees. Are there any loose branches or dead limbs hanging? Both of these situations can be hazardous and sometimes fatal. Finally, if it looks like rain prepare for it. While the tarp will keep the moisture off your head, it will not keep it away from your feet. To prevent your emergency shelter from flooding, dig a shallow trench around the tent area. This trench will channel away the water and in doing so keep the surface under the tent dry.

Understanding how to set up a survival or emergency shelter is an important skill that every camper should know how to do. The supplies are minimum and use pieces of equipment that should be part of everyone’s camping supplies. So before you go out to the woods this year, make sure you know how to build the simplest tent in the world. It could mean life or death.