What Tents Do the Army Use?

Civvy tents and military and have a few things in common but in most ways are worlds apart. In this guide, you'll learn more about the types of tents used by the US and British militaries.

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Written by: | Reviewed by: Brian Conghalie
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Armies in various nations around the globe use a variety of different tents in different scenarios and environments. These tents, naturally, tend to be very different to those used by your average camper—it wouldn’t be ideal to be catching your kip in enemy territory in a fluorescent yellow truck tent built for a quick overnighter, after all!

In most cases, in fact, military forces don’t use the standard type of tent we’re used to using in the backcountry at all—“civvy” tents are cumbersome, bulky, and take a long time to pitch and dismount. As such, when making forward observation posts, military personnel typically use lightweight sleeping bags and tarps.For expeditionary purposes, however, the tents used by the army are something to behold. Check out the small selection of tents used by the US and British Army below to see what we mean.

Tents Used by the US Army

One of the most common military designs currently used by the U.S. Department of Defense is the TEMPER tent. TEMPER is an acronym that stands for Tent Expandable Modular PERsonnel. These tents typically use a tunnel-style design in combination with extremely rugged fabric that is flame resistant and able to self-extinguish quickly.

TEMPER tents can be erected by four people in about 15-30 minutes and usually feature solar shades that reduce solar loading (which can impact the structural stability of a tent by stressing the fabric) and thermal liners to improve energy efficiency, comfort levels inside the shelter, and the tent’s lifespan.

The other operational tent type used by the U.S. Military is the DRASH, or Deployable Rapid Assembly SHelter. As the name suggests, this portable, geodesic shelter can be pitched very quickly (a few minutes with four people) and with no special tools. These tents are collapsible and include features and components that allow for air conditioning and heating.

These tents are also used by NATO and have been deployed in a number of domestic emergency situations: by emergency medical teams during Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and in Mississippi as living quarters for the State Police; in Connecticut during the 2001 anthrax attacks; by the National Guard during the October 2007 California Wildfires; by the Department of Public Health following the 2010 Connecticut power plant explosion; and at the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Texas during the 2009 flu pandemic.

Tents Used by the British Army

The British Ministry of Defence’s main supplier of expeditionary tents is Franklin, whose ITC (Improved Tented Camp) is currently in use in British military bases around the globe.

The (ITC) is designed to be easily erected, versatile and modular, and is used as both sleeping quarters for soldiers and as an expeditionary field shelter.

The main module of the ITC measures 24 feet wide by 18 feet high and can be used in configurations up to 72 feet long. This is combined with a 12-by-12-foot shelter unit, a porch, a passageway, and a four-way connector to make the five essential components of any expeditionary camp.

Last update on 2023-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Kieran James Cunningham is a climber, mountaineer, and author who divides his time between the Italian Alps, the US, and his native Scotland.

He has climbed a handful of 6000ers in the Himalayas, 4000ers in the Alps, 14ers in the US, and loves nothing more than a good long-distance wander in the wilderness. He climbs when he should be writing, writes when he should be sleeping, has fun always.

Kieran has taught mountaineering, ice climbing, and single-pitch and multi-pitch rock climbing in a variety of contexts over the years and has led trekking and mountaineering expeditions in the Alps, Rockies, and UK. He is currently working towards qualifying as a Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor and International Mountain Leader.

Kieran’s book Climbing the Walls—an exploration of the mental health benefits of climbing, mountaineering, and the great outdoors—is scheduled for release by Simon & Schuster in April 2021.

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