Can you live in a tent long term?

Can you live in a tent long term?


For whatever reason sometimes the thought of living in a tent long term can be an option for some people. Whether it is for the simple life, tiny home movement or it could be to save money or live cheaply without the cost of large rents and bills. This brings me to the question Can you live in a tent long term?

The answer is yes, you can live in a tent long term and save lots on rent and utility bills. There are some challenges to living in a tent long term and some important things you need to consider.

In this post, I’ll explain the things you need to consider when choosing to live in a tent long term. This should give you a good idea if it’s an option you want to follow through with.

Update: Read this post when your finished it’s related Living in a Tent Long Term

Moving Around Or Permanent Pitch

One of the first things you need to ask yourself when considering long term tent life is, “will I be staying in one spot or moving around”. When you know this you will have a better idea of the situation you’re getting yourself into.

While it won’t make much difference if you move around and that’s the beauty of tents, it will impact on the size of your tent, wear and tear, and space and storage.

If you’re moving around a lot you won’t want a large tent. However, long term living in an ultralight 2 man tent would not be fun at all. So Ultimately you want to find somewhere you can set up for awhile.

Normally a caravan park will be the best option unless you own land or know of someone willing to rent space on there’s.

Best tent sizes for permanent living

Choosing the right tent size for a permanent living situation is a big thing and easy to underestimate. When nothing is inside a tent it can look massive but start adding a bed, a table, some seating, and storage boxes.

You will find that massive space turns to a tiny space in no time at all. For some people, this is not too bad and they won’t have a problem with it.

However, for others, it could end the experience of living in a tent long term in a matter of weeks.

For me, I’d suggest a large tent with lots of room for a permanent living situation. If it was just me and my husband I’d say a 14 man tent would be the way to go.

Now that is a very large space, but I think if we were going to live permanently in a tent the extra room would be so useful and make it feel more like a home than a tent.

Canvas or Nylon Tents For Permanent Living

While this is subjective and I honestly can only say my personal preference I believe a canvas tent is a much better option.

I think it’s more durable, looks a lot nicer, you can set up stoves and wood burning heaters inside, It’s easy to repair just to name a few reasons.

While there are some great nylon large tent options, the canvas always feels right for me and that’s even more so when thinking of long term living in a tent.

I believe if you think about it nylon is not the best option for long term tent life and it posses way too many drawbacks over a canvas tent.

Concerns About Security & Theft

One main downside to long term living in a tent is security over your stuff and break ins ( Tent Invasions ). The lack of solid walls and door lock really make security and issue for long term tent life.

I’ve found that there really are not many ways around this, except leaving your valuables somewhere else while your away or camping in a caravan park.

I will add that there is one more great option but really it is over the top and only possible if doing this on your own land or rented land with permission.

It will require you to dig a large hole and cement a safe into the ground. Your typical floor safe would work or a large box with a lockable lid.

You would then cement it into the ground flush with the earth, so a rug could go over it again this is a lot of work but 1 option you might want to consider.,

The fact of it is tents can be broken into pretty easy. Leaving or having very valuable stuff is a big risk if you’re not there to guard it.

Issues Regarding Safety & Wildlife

The only real safety & wildlife issue you could run into with long term tent camping is wildlife. You could get hungry animals following food smells trying to get inside your tent.

While a case of ants won’t be too much of an issue a feral dog, bear, wolf, or equally ferocious animal could spell disaster.

There are again not many ways to protect your self from these things besides staying in a caravan and camping park & keeping food well away from your tent.

Cost of Wear & Tear

Surprisingly wear and tear costs are pretty cheap, you can add patches to most canvas rips and specially designed tapes for nylon.

A tent, even a cheap one will last a year and if you buy well you could see it last for many many years. Make sure when purchasing a tent for long term living, you choose one that is extra durable. trying to save a few bucks here could cost you a lot in the long run.

Sun damage and moisture that creates mold will be the 2 things you will have to deal with when camping for any amount of time.

Limited Space & Storage

Dealing with limited space when long term living in a tent could become an issue. If you use your imagination you will find lots of space saving ideas you could implement inside your tent.

Using a rack style bed that’s raised off the floor so you can use creates or boxes under the bed for storage is a top space saving idea for living in a tiny space.

Hanging racks are also a great way to store clothing and other items. Most good large tents offer these as an extra addon feature.

This is also another reason i love canvas tents because you can sow hanging pouches onto the walls if you really needed.

Heating & cooling Options

When long term tent camping you have the chance to really set up a base and heating and cooling might be an option you want to splash out on.

In most cases, the best way to cool a tent down is opening the vents and using fans. You will find it’s easy to cool a canvas and nylon tent down.

You can read this post I wrote on tent camping during hot weather for more information on cooling down your hot tent & the best ways to reduce the heat.

Heating a nylon tent will require a slightly different approach to heating a canvas tent. The beauty of a canvas tent is you can have a wood stove inside that will create lots of warmth without burning or melting your tent.

This is just another reason that canvas is the superior option for permanent tent camping.

Heating a nylon tent is not quite as easy as light a nice warm fire inside. There are quite a few ways to achieve the warmth your looking for but it will require much more effort.

Powering Your Site

If your gonna go ahead with the whole long term / permanent tent life, you might want to consider generating power for your tent house.

You have a couple of options the two main ones will be a generator or solar panels and batteries. Out of these 2 options, I really love the idea of having a generator for when there is no sun and having solar panels for every other day.

A simple 100-watt solar panel set up will power 2 laptops and some lights while charging a mobile or two. This would ample power for your day to day use.

Toilet facilities & showers

A concern some people might have with long term living in a tent is the fact there may not be a toilet & shower option.

If you’re staying in a caravan and camping park you will find these have both a toilet and a shower facility. If you’re staying on land you own or someone else does, you may find you will have to use a composting or chemical toilet.

As for the shower option, there are a bunch of showers you can buy online that are solar heated and work very effectively allowing you to get a proper wash after a long day.


So the long and short of it all is yes it’s more than possible to live in a tent long term or permanently. However, you will have to consider many things before rushing into it.

This post will give you a solid foundation to start planing for a long term stay in a tent.

If you liked this post please leave a comment or rate this post maybe share some of your tent buying tips.

Also, we added a few social features to the site and now if you sign up using this link – Tent Report Registration you can post in the forums your activity feed participate in groups and update your profile. live chat with other campers for even greater free information.

Update: here’s a new post we made on this topic, for a little bit more info Living in a Tent Long Term

Check these other great posts we wrote

How to Tent Camp In Hot Weather? – Link:

Can You Repair A Tent? – Link:

Trying To Solve Tent Condensation – Link:

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Hi, my name is Becca I'm a mum and wife and I love camping with my family. I started this blog to share great information about tents and camping.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

    1. Becca

      My husband has a twitter however it’s not just about tentreport.

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    1. Becca

      We have all the time, and i’m starting to add more media in longer posts. good tip thanks.

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    1. Becca

      yes im sorry English is not my first language and Grammarly doesn’t seem to help, very sorry.

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  5. Hello this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    1. Becca

      Thanks for the kind words. i’m not really into guest posting, but i guess id be open to it if the right offer come along.

  6. Justin

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    1. Becca

      Thanks for the comment. We have a page here DevCred, We are using a very customized version of the theme listed on this page. Sure you can use the theme listed, don’t think you will get it as we have it. My husband is a developer and has been working online making websites and business for over 15 years. But your welcome to use the basic version as we did then you can just code it to your liking.

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