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Poncho Tent Shelter

A poncho can be used to construct an emergency shelter. There are a variety of different ways you can do this. It all depends on they type of ponch you have, how much time you have, and what other resources are at your disposal. We've put together a video showing how you might set up one of these shelters.

Emergency Shelter

It is worth pointing out that a simple shelter made from just a rain poncho isn't ideal. It is an emergency survival shelter. The idea is that if you don't have anything else, you can make a passable shelter using little more than a pocket sized poncho.

Large Rain Poncho - Space and Size

A rain poncho, like a mylar emergency blanket, doesn't take up a lot of space. You can easily slip one in your bag or even your pocket. This is useful for situations where you want to travel light but still want to have something in case of an emergency. You normally wouldn't want to carry a tent or even a tarp around with you just to go for a hike. You wouldn't normally want to carry a tent just to go hunting or fishing. With a rain poncho you don't need to worry as much about space. It won't weigh you down or take up a ton of space.

Given how small these are, it is a good idea to carry more than one. You can make a much better shelter with three rain ponchos than you would with just one. You also might want to actually wear one of them. You are going to want to select a large rain poncho. Get the biggest ones you can. These will give you significantly more coverage and make setting up a shelter much easier.

rain poncho packed

Could We Do Better?

Yes, we could do a whole lot better if we got larger poncho made of more durable material that won't rip or burn as easily. We could have also done better by not using a poncho at all. Tarps and emergency blankets should be much better. Another option would have been to make a hut out of branches and used the ponchos as just a water proofing layer.

poncho tent shelter

How To Construct a Poncho Tent

Construction of a poncho tent shelter is not hard. So long as you have the materials (ponchos and rope) it shouldn’t be a big deal. The hardest thing you are likely to run into is heavy wind. Also, you don’t want to have to fumble around in the dark without a clear idea of how you want to lay things out. Just make sure you have an idea of how you want it setup. Think through the details ahead of time and maybe test it out. Don’t just say, “Oh yeah, it will be easy. I’ll just string it up between two trees.”


You are going to want rope or string to tie it down. It doesn't hurt to have a cutting tool for stakes but you don't need one. Another optional item that can help a lot is duct tape. This is good for reinfocing the corners so that they don't rip when you tie them down. It can also help to bind multiple ponchos together and keep out water.

What you get:


The steps will depend on how many rain ponchos you are using.

Steps: Single Regular Sized Rain Poncho

Steps: Three Regular Sized Rain Ponchos