How To Live In A Tent Long Term

It can be said that there is something liberating about living your life off the grid. You have the freedom to live life on your own terms and more time to take in the wonders of the great outdoors.

Whether long-term tent living appeals to you or you just want a few weeks hiatus from life, we have some great tips on how to live in a tent long term.

Some of the greatest reasons to live long-term, or even permanently in a tent are:

  • The ability to save money since you’re no longer paying for an expensive mortgage or rent
  • More time to do the things you love, like hike, fish, bike ride, and relax
  • There is nothing like looking up at a sky full of stars in the pitch-black night to help realign what is important to you
  • The feeling of satisfaction knowing that you and your family can survive on their own

how to live in a tent long term

What do you need to consider when considering how to live in a tent long term?

Where am I Going to Live?

The first thing you need to decide on is where you’re going to live. Do you have a piece of land you own? If so, how will you generate power? You might think about purchasing a solar generator and if there is no access to water you should consider a water storage tank.

Many campgrounds, like KOA, have access to power and water but won’t allow long-term tenting, so make sure you have a plan as to where you’re going to pitch your tent for the long haul.

Also, consider the terrain of where you will be setting up camp. If it’s rocky and uneven you will want a platform to put your tent on. Even tiny objects like twigs and small sticks will be uncomfortable under a tent floor.

If you’re choosing to live in a tent for a long period of time, or even permanently, then you’re going to want to make sure you’ve chosen a tent that is durable and can stand up to the elements. While canvas tents are great because they are lightweight, they won’t stand up to cold weather. Some better alternatives are:


Yurts were round portable dwellings, made of skins and furs, used by Turkish nomads. Nowadays modern yurts are made from materials like a tarpaulin, and should not be moved often. They are considered semi-mobile due to the how involved it is to set them up and break them down.

However, if you’re planning on long-term camping or living in a tent permanently, then a yurt just might be the perfect choice for you.

Military Tents

When it comes to long-term tent living, the military knows a thing or two about creating sturdy housing that can be collapsed quickly and moved to a new a location. If you’re for true tent living, then a military tent might just be what you’re looking for.

While yurts might cost upwards of five grand, a good-sized military tent that is fitted to accommodate a stovepipe will run you less than one thousand dollars. A basic tent like the general-purpose military tent can withstand weather conditions like storms and humidity, making it a good choice for those in the southern states that are looking to live in a tent long term.

Military tents can also be easily fitted for thermal liners, making them doable for the colder northern climates. These military tents come in a wide assortment of sizes and configurations, so they could work for the lone long-term tent dweller or for those with a large family that wants to explore living in a tent permanently.

Either way, a military tent is a great choice.

Whichever tent you choose, you will want to make sure it comes with a floor. However, even with the flooring, you will want to consider reinforcing it with a tarp. Small details like these need to be considered when you’re researching how to live in a tent long term.

If you're not sure which tent to use, subscribing to a monthly delivery service like Cairn is a great way to discover options you might like.

Raccoons, Spiders, and Bears, Oh My!

One of the biggest joys of any camping experience is the ability to commune with nature. As The Survival Mom points out, if the weather is favorable and you slip into slumber outside of your tent, you could wake up to an armadillo at your feet, or some other woodland creature curled up beside you. It’s also important to realize just how destructive animals can be.

How can you prevent them from annihilating your personal belongings?

  • Always zip tie your tent closed at night. This will prevent raccoons from being your next tent guest
  • Purchase bear proof bags or containers and use them. Even for things like toothpaste that might smell enough like something edible to attract a bear to your campground
  • You want to keep your coolers and other food and food-smelling items off the ground whenever possible
  • While you’re at, try not to wear any lotions or use shampoos that have too much of an artificial smell to it that might attract bears
  • And remember, even if there aren’t any bears, these tips will help keep smaller animals like squirrels out of your belongings, too

What about Sanitation?

Sanitation and lack thereof is a big issue when contemplating full-time tent living. If you will be choosing to stay at campgrounds this won’t be too big of an issue as they come with toilets and shower facilities.

If you’re looking to live truly in the wild outdoors, you will need to make sure your campsite has access to fresh public water. There are also portable camping potties that could be particularly useful if you’re close enough to municipal sources to get rid of wastes on a regular basis

There is nothing like living life out in the rough, becoming one with nature and exploring the wilderness. With enough preparation and the right supplies, long-term or full-time tent living is possible. There is nothing that can replace the experience of being self-sufficient and enjoying the world’s wonders on your terms.

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Join the Conversation:

  • Rose

    Can a full size bed fit in a 2 room tent

  • Claire Phillips

    Hey Rose,

    We're not too sure, as the dimensions of every tent are different. I'd suggest measuring everything carefully before making a purchase!

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