Coat to Tent: A Wearable Shelter for Refugees

A lack of shelter, warmth and waterproof clothing is a major problem in refugee camps and particularly for those on the road to a new home. In response, students at the Royal College of Arts have designed a garment for refugees that can be transformed from coat to tent to sleeping bag.

The first prototype is designed for summertime and is made with Tyvek, which is light, soft and breathable, as well as rain repellant. Inside, the garment is lined with Mylar, an insulating material often worn by marathon runners and commonly referred to as a space blanket. The design includes a hood, numerous pockets for belongings, as well as a marker so that wearers can personalize their garment by writing their name or drawing a picture onto the white Tyvek. The coat can be opened up with its black zips and turned into a sleeping bag. Lightweight kite-rods can also be fed through seams to form a tent.

The team intends to crowdfund the project and has a marketing plan in place to bring their innovation to those who need it most by including a ‘buy-one for yourself, give one to a refugee’ option during summer festival season. They hope to be distributing the garments to refugees by June/July 2016 and with the help of feedback from wearers, carry on with a prototype for a winter version.