While clothing is your primary defense against the elements, additional shelter is desired whenever possible.

It will keep you dryer when it rains, cooler when it is sunny and warmer when it is cold.

Preparing for your family’s shelter needs during a disaster are similar to camping, only you need to ensure you can carry everything you need – in your bug out bag, of course.

When I was growing up, it was all about huge tents and loading as much camping ‘stuff’ as possible into a truck bed or car trunk.  For disaster preparedness or prepping, it is all about taking care of your needs with items that are compact and light weight (so please forget about the eight-person tent).

If you have to evacuate your home, or if your home is still inhabitable but is damaged and/or without power and utilities, what shelter options are the best?  Here is our list:

Sleeping bag:  In our opinion, there are few things more miserable than being cold, so we recommend a sleeping bag “system” that can be adjusted to the temperature.

There is a lighter overbag for warmer temperatures.  It can be combined with the core bag, the other part of the system for super-cold temperatures.  At present, a pillow and compression bag comes with any of the bags we recommend.  A pillow will make things even more comfortable, and the compression bag will keep the sleeping bag from being too bulky when storing or carrying it.

When choosing a sleeping bag size, we suggest getting the largest, regardless of your body frame size.

  • For the overbag that can keep you comfortable to temperatures down to 35 degrees F, click here and look for the Foliage Green overbag.
  • For the core bag that can keep you comfortable to temperatures down to 20 degrees F, click here and look for the Foliage Green core bag.
  • For the sleeping bag system that can keep you comfortable to temperatures down to -20 degrees F, click here and get BOTH the overbag and core bag (in Foliage Green).

Pillow:  While you do not have to have a pillow, it definitely makes roughing it less rough.  If you get our sleeping bag recommendation above, you will get a pillow at no additional charge.  It is the one I use, and works just fine.

Hammock:  If you have ever camped in a tent and slept on the hard, cold (and sometimes damp) ground, I am sure you have thought “there has to be a better way…”  Well, a hammock is a better way.

Not only is a hammock a much, much, much more comfortable night’s sleep, it is also easier to put up and take down than a tent.  It also weighs less and is much smaller and easier to carry than a tent.

For our hammock choice, we recommend getting a “double” hammock for each adult.  It is a lot roomier for very little additional weight.

Although it is tempting to get one of the cool, brightly-colored hammocks, we recommend choosing a natural-colored option that will blend into your geographical environment.  In a disaster situation, you may need to hide from people that did not prep and want to take your stuff.  Blending into your environment will make it tougher for those hungry, thirsty and desperate people to find you and threaten to take your stuff and potentially harm your family.  We, like you, hope this situation never happens, but just in case, we suggest a natural color that blends in.

For our hammock recommendation, click here.

Hammock straps:  You will need straps to hang your hammock between two trees or other, similar stable objects.  The straps will keep your hammock suspended off of the ground, which will make sleeping much more comfortable for you.

The straps we suggest are adjustable and will compensate for the varying distances between trees or other objects – so you can more easily find a suitable place to hang your hammock.

You will need one set of (2) straps for each hammock.  Each package includes a set of two (2).

For our hammock strap recommendation, click here.

Sleeping pad:  Unless you have slept in the great outdoors in a hammock, it is very easy to consider a sleeping pad a luxury.  Nothing can be farther from the truth.  The sleeping pad is another critical piece of equipment.

In reality, the sleeping pad is really more about warmth than about comfort.  A sleeping pad provides needed insulating benefits when you are suspended in the air in a hammock.  Right now, you are likely thinking that it’ll be warm enough without it – but I strongly encourage you to reconsider.  It is truly amazing how cold the underside of your hammock will get without a sleeping pad – and it does not have to be that cold for the heat loss to happen.  Unless you live in the tropics where the nightly low temperatures never get below 72 degrees F, we highly recommend that you include a sleeping pad in your bug out bag.

When choosing a sleeping pad size for your body frame, if there is a doubt, go bigger.  If your elbow, arm or foot slides off the sleeping pad during the night, you will know it (because it’ll be cold!).  Getting a pad that is slightly larger than your body’s frame will help prevent this from happening.  The 20″ wide version is fine, but if you can afford the 25″ wide version, you will likely be glad.

For our sleeping pad recommendation, click here.

Rain fly / tarp:  Being wet makes for an uncomfortable night’s sleep.  To avoid getting wet from rain, snow, sleet, dew, etc. while in your hammock, you will need a rain fly or tarp.

The rain fly will be suspended slightly above your hammock and keep you, your hammock and any stored gear dry.  Our rain fly choice folds compactly and neatly in its own storage sack and weighs about 22 ozs.

As with the hammock, we suggest purchasing a rain fly in a neutral color that will conceal your location.

For our rain fly recommendation, click here.

Stakes:  Camp stakes will be needed to properly secure the rain fly/tarp.  Since you will have to carry them with everything else in your bug out bag, titanium stakes are preferred since they are extremely light.

For our titanium stake recommendation, click here.

Rope & String

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand these recommendations are provided to be helpful and accelerate your level of disaster preparedness, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.