Mechanical vibrations, air and thermal instabilities are among the most disturbing agents that make difficult or impossible a successful speckle interferometry measurement in harsh environments. Usually, they destroy the interference signal or, at least, dramatically reduce the interference signal quality, what raises the measurement uncertainty to unacceptable levels. Understanding the effects of disturbing agents on speckle interferometry is a first step towards finding strategies to perform effective measurements in harsh environments. There are three main strategies to successfully measure under unfavorable conditions: isolation, robustness and both. By isolation, we mean ways to avoid the action of the disturbing agents on the speckle interferometer and on the measurand. By robustness, we mean using a robust mechanical design, a robust optical technique, a robust data reduction algorithm and/or a robust configuration that is not much disturbed by mechanical, thermal or air instabilities. Compactness, high stiffness, robust mechanical design and an effective clamping system are very important considerations to minimize the influence of mechanical vibrations. One-shot measurement and averaging are also robust strategies to minimize the negative effects of mechanical vibrations as well as air and thermal instabilities. Protective enclosures are useful solutions for reducing air instabilities effects, but sometimes ineffective for achieving thermal stability outside the lab. Robust optical techniques are perhaps the most effective way to reduce the effects of thermal dilatation. The paper describes these concepts and discusses four speckle interferometry systems developed and successfully used by the authors in harsh environments: An achromatic speckle interferometer, using a diffractive optical element, was developed and has been applied to in-situ measure of residual stresses in pipelines. The second and third systems are compact and attachable shearography systems for in-field testing of the adhesion of joints of composite material pipes. Finally, the fourth system is a configuration of a shearography system using two apertures to produce carrier fringes for the measurement from a single image for each loading stage.