It’s easy enough to be taken in when you see an item that claims to save your life and provide piece of mind, and that at under the cost of a pint. So when we saw this Emergency Shelter for sale on various sites, under various names we thought that doesn’t look right. So we had to give it a go. As you’re likely to be using this if you’re benighted, we decided it was no use trying to pitch it in the daylight, and that the only realistic test was to do so at night in the conditions you expect to use it, that is on top of a mountain. It didn’t help that it was November, and a dusting of snow wasn’t going to put us off!
On opening the pack, we found a large silver sheet of the type given to marathon runners and some string that hardly fills you with confidence.
In the absence of trees and walking poles, realised that we weren’t going to get this looking anything like the picture on the bag! It didn’t take us long to see how impractical this was on the hill and how implausible it would be for the benighted to pitch this in the first place let alone receive any sort of protection from it. The only way this is going to warm you up is with the initial activity of trying to pitch it, and the ensuing fit of rage. Don’t bother trying to pitch it, instead use it as a survival bag for which we thought it was actually quite effective as it’s basically what they give runners at the end of a race along with a short length of string.
Had we persevered, we probably could have pitched it with a pair of walking poles (in the general absence of trees on the hills), but it would be too much faff in an emergency situation. It’s probably going to be windy, and you’d be much better off using it as a simple survival bag.
Our verdict? This is cheap as chips, and definitely not a ‘tent’, and irresponsible of it to be advertised and sold as one! Once we realised that, we found it served well as a survival bag, possibly more effective than just a plastic orange one as it does reflect some heat back. You may well have a bit of a laugh with this under controlled conditions to see if you can survive the night, but I certainly wouldn’t want to depend on it. The rating is given for use as a blanket – as the ‘tent’ like shelter described we’d be hard pressed to give this item a single star.
Ultimately it’s better than nothing, only just. For even better options, see our article on survival shelter options where we compare it to other (better!) options.