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Lead Bivy Intro Photo
Because bivy bags are so light and compact, you can store one just about anywhere when you’re on the go. Delmera

Anyone who spends time in the outdoors increases his or her chance of encountering a survival situation in which wind, rain, and cold are your biggest enemies. Keeping an emergency shelter always on hand makes unexpected hardship a little less consequential. Here are three tried-and-true types to consider.

Top Pick

This bivy can help you get through a cold and wet night in the woods. Amazon

Survival blankets offer the most economical insurance against being unexpectedly caught out in the cold. They are extremely light and compact, as well as waterproof and windproof. The downside is that they are usually not breathable and can cause condensation on the inside, but for immediate protection that is easy to keep on hand, they can’t be beat. Bags with reflective interiors offer the most thermal protection.

A Great Survival Blanket

Presto, change-o: Your bag can morph into a cover to sleep under. Amazon

A bivy bag serves all the same functions as a survival blanket, but in a more durable product. They are meant to be the outer layer of an integrated sleeping system that includes your bag and mattress. A quality bivvy sack is made of waterproof, breathable fabric capable of withstanding the abuses of the backcountry. In many situations, a bivy sack and a sleeping bag are all you need to bed down in comfort under the stars.

Great Value

This one has multiple uses. Amazon

The traditional tube tent is not much to look at and may seem more appropriate to a kid’s backyard campout than real survival, but the fact that it has been around for so long is a testament to the product’s effectiveness. Use as an impromptu pup tent, ground cover, bivy, or even a reflective background to make the most of a log fire or radiant-heat tarp shelter. When it comes to staying alive, the good old tube tent is best summed up as the something that’s better than nothing.