Living in a Tent Full Time

How does living in a tent full time sound? Maybe you’re just curious about what it would be like? Maybe you’re looking for tents you can live in – tents to live in year round. Got questions? Hopefully we can help!

Some people do decide to live in a tent for an extended duration, and believe it or not, they live quite comfortably. There is a lot to factor in before deciding to go live in a tent, but when you prepare properly, it can not only be a lot of fun but it can be a truly unforgettable experience.

wall tent with fire

Whether you are living in a canvas wall tent or bell tent or any other sort of tent, it can be a major change of pace for some people. However, it brings with it a lot of benefits and lifestyle changes that attract more and more people to it every year. It may sound miserable to a lot of people, but to others it’s paradise. 

But is it even possible to live in a wall tent? What are the benefits and downsides of canvas tent living and what makes a good tent in the first place?

In this article, we are going to cover these questions and more, so if you have ever wanted to live in a canvas tent, then you are in the right place.

Why live in a Tent?

canvas tent sunset

Save Money

One major advantage is how much it costs to live in a tent. It is so much cheaper than living in a house or even in an apartment. There are a lot of supplies you will need to buy but the overall cost is still much lower than paying every month for gas, rent, internet, and electricity.

Improve your Health

There have been studies done to show that spending a lot of time in the forest, often called forest bathing, can help make you healthier in many important ways. The phytoncides released by plants help you to take in more air, maintain regulation in your body, and strengthen your immune system. Some believe that spending time in the great outdoors can help you to be happier as well. Let’s also not forget about the increase in Vitamin D.

Lower your Carbon Footprint

If you want to reduce the negative impact you have on the environment and on the world, living in a tent is one of the best things you can do. By living in the great outdoors, you keep yourself from using electricity, water, and other things that have a major impact. Your mark on the world, or your carbon footprint, can be made so much smaller by living in a tent, and you can feel confident and peaceful knowing that you’ve helped make the world a better place.

Simplify and Prioritize

Things in the world are becoming more complicated all the time. A lot of people want to get away from all this drama in the world and just focus on the important things. Living in a tent can help you to sort out your priorities and focus on the things that matter in the long run. The things that seem so important in the world are pushed to the backburner. You will realize that luxury items and other things that seemed so important before, don’t matter all that much. The money you would normally spend on these things will be put to much better use. It is a truly cathartic and soul-searching experience.

Move Around

You are no longer stuck in one place! Don’t like where you’re at? Move! Want to try something new? Move! Got someone you want to visit? Move!

Challenge Yourself

camp living essentials

Another thing that makes living in the outdoors such an attractive and exciting idea is that it is a real challenge. It will almost surely be one of the most challenging experiences of your life, and therefore one of the most rewarding. So many resources that you take advantage of every single day are suddenly unavailable. You get to learn so much about yourself and figure out creative solutions to problems that arise. You will have unique situations, and you’ll better be able to understand how people lived for hundreds of years before all the technological advancements we see around us today.

The Downsides of Living in a Tent

living in a bell tent in the winter

Living in a tent is not without its disadvantages, however, and there are things you need to take into consideration before deciding to live in a tent.

Safety Concerns

Injuries can occur when living outdoors, and you must have first-aid kits and survival gear on hand. When emergencies happen, you will need more than just these supplies. When accidents or severe illnesses do occur, a major disadvantage is that you are likely a long way away from medical treatment. It would be a good idea to come up with a plan for when things do go wrong.

Depending on your area, wild animals may also be a concern. While attacks from most animals are rare, when you live outside you do increase the risk of being attacked by wild animals. To reduce the likelihood of coming across dangerous animals, keep your food covered and sealed. If you live in an area with grizzlies, don’t keep the food in your tent. Some will also hang food from tree out of reach.

Bad Weather

When you live in a house, bad weather isn’t that big of a deal, since you can just duck inside for a few hours. Living outdoors is a whole other story. Bad weather can be an instant deterrent for many who have considered living in a tent, as those conditions can make one miserable. 

wall tent at night glowing

If you plan to live in a tent during the colder months of the year, you’re going to need a source of heat. You’re going to want a wood-burning stove or a quality propane heater.

Any canvas tent can be fitted with a stove jack to accommodate a wood stove. At Elk Mountain Tents, a stove jack comes standard on all models.

But even if you’ve got the perfect tent, weeks of bad weather can make you feel trapped.

Sanitation Issues

Now, we are not saying that living in a tent is naturally unsanitary, we are merely explaining that there is a natural lack of modern sanitation devices. For instance, plumbing and waste removal. While there are public facilities where one can take care of this, it can become very inconvenient for the tent dweller. What will your long term solution be?

Then there is the fact of there being no showers in a tent. Again, there are public showers, especially near places like campgrounds and beaches, but those may or may not always be accessible when one may need it. However, there is also the possibility of bathing in a river or other body of water. This is probably more doable for those who are out in the woods when living in their tents; however, heavy winters may make it near impossible to do.

Community (or Lack thereof)

Most people crave alone time until it’s all they have and then suddenly they want people. You do you; I’m not gonna judge! Know yourself and plan ahead. One idea to help you stay part of the community is to schedule regular events with friends – every Saturday you plan games, for example. Or, you might consider buying a gym membership; this would not only give you some human interaction but also allows you access to a shower. Public libraries are another way to combine community with utility — free internet!

Other things to Consider

winter tent for living in the outdoors


Know your area, know the laws, and know your rights. If you intend to stay on federal or state land, there will be restrictions on how long you can stay in a given location. Are fires allowed? Do you need a permit? Research before you go!


Generally speaking, you’re going to want the kind of supplies you would use on an extended elk hunt. Rather than list all of the supplies here, I’ll instead suggest a planning activity: Take a few minutes to close your eyes and imagine your day in great detail from morning until dark, thinking about each item you will use and when. Then, extend the exercise to include the variation in activities you can expect over the course of the week. Imagine your body from head to toe. What are you wearing? How does it change depending on the weather or the activity? Visualizing can help you work through what you need and prevent you from forgetting key items. Also, ask yourself how long the things you choose to pack will last.

“Utilities” and Groceries

Does the area have sufficient shade for the hot summer months? How easily accessible are internet and phone services? Will you need to pack in water or is there a water source nearby that you can purify? What’s your long-term solution for when nature calls? What will be your schedule for packing out garbage?

As far as food goes, you may be able to catch some fish in the river, but it can be hard to rely on that for every meal, especially since you will likely have times where the fish aren’t biting. You may be able to go hunting, but that can be an even more unreliable a way to get food than fishing if you don’t have a lot of practice. It takes a bit of time to learn and it takes practice. It would help to know these skills, just make sure you are confident enough in your abilities. It wouldn’t hurt to head into town every once in a while just to stock up on necessary commodities. (Before you do any of this be sure that you have a valid fish and game license from the state where you are staying).

Tents you can Live in – Canvas Tents

glamping tent spacious

A simple flimsy nylon pop-up tent won’t do the trick for actually living in the wilderness because it isn’t designed to withstand the elements. You will want to look at tents to live in year round, that is, a true 4-season tent.


Camping just one night in a cramped little hole is one thing, but if this is going to be your new home you’ve got to be comfortable. You need space to move around! You need space for the gear to last you a season! You’ll want space for a friend to come inside! YOU WILL WANT TO BE ABLE TO STAND UP. Canvas tents provide all these.


You will need something that you can set up and not worry about getting destroyed by the sun or rain or snow. You will want something that’s going to be strong. You don’t want to have to worry about your walls or roof constantly ripping or tearing. You need something that’s going to last not only through the season but well beyond that. They can be used as tents to live in permanently.


wall tent and gearAvailability

Your home comes first. Survival supplies next. Check out your options now.

But is it really possible Living in a Wall Tent?

nighttime glow tent

So, now the question is, ‘is it actually possible to live in a canvas tent?’ and the answer is Yes!

If you’ve got a quality canvas tent, it should last you for years, especially if you take care of it well.

With enough planning and preparing, you can not only live in a tent but live well. Hell, our ancestors did it for centuries!

Honestly, the biggest challenge isn’t the tent or the gear, it’s the laws. To make it work, unless you want to be constantly moving around, you’ll have to find a friend or someone else with private land for you to stay on.

Of course, if you’re that passionate about it, you could always buy your own property. Sometimes you can get some amazing properties for dirt cheap simply because building a house on them would be too difficult. Their loss is your lake-front property! Perfect for your new canvas tent house.

House Tents you can Live in – Why buy Elk Mountain?

people talking in a canvas tent at night

We recommend purchasing a canvas wall tent or bell tent from Elk Mountain Tents if you plan on doing more than just casual camping, and the argument is an easy one to make

More Standard Features

Traditionally canvas tents have been a market of customization, each buyer would put in an order requesting each feature individually (and paying extra for each one!). At Elk Mountain Tents, we decided to offer only a handful of models and just include all of the features everyone requests!

  • 4-6 Screened Windows
  • Angle Kit
  • Wire Support System
  • 5ft side walls
  • Zippered Front and Back Door
  • Ridge Openings
  • Uncut Fiberglass Stove Pipe Jack w/ Cover (can cut 4″, 5″, or 6″opening)
  • Reinforced at all corners, ridges and pole locations – corners Velcro and tie so you never have to worry about them ripping out
  • Eave Ropes and Tensioners
  • Tent Bag and Angle Kit Bag
  • 12″ Steel Tent Stakes

Low Prices

We STRONGLY encourage you to shop around. By avoiding custom orders, we are able to produce our tents for less, and we pass those savings on to you. Please shop around and see what a quality canvas wall tent or bell tent costs – be sure to add all of the custom options like windows and and a stove gasket, and you’ll find that we’ve prices that simply can’t be beat. Our low prices make rummaging around on Craigslist for used tents and other DIY canvas tents simply unappealing.

Unique Canvas Material

Our tents are made from a heavy duty 11 oz. polyester canvas – the same material used for military tents around the world – perfect for year-round tents. We believe this is the best material for your wall tent for the following reasons:

•Polyester canvas will not rot like cotton canvas. It’s a synthetic material so it doesn’t offer much for cirtters and microorganisms to enjoy. While mold can grow on any surface it won’t be living off your tent canvas.

•Polyester canvas is lighter than cotton canvas. Now, let’s be real for a second: all canvas that can withstand the four seasons is going to be on the heavier side, but polyester canvas will be 10-20% lighter for the same amount of strength, making it easier to set up. For example, our 13 x 20 is the largest tent we offer, and it’s only 70 lbs which is about what my bulldog weighs.

•Polyester canvas is more durable than cotton canvas. Our unique tent material is an 11 oz canvas with a breaking strength of 449 lbs (warp direction) and 382 lbs (fill direction), making it significantly tougher than traditional canvas which has a breaking strength of 382 (warp) and 241 (fill) for 12 oz canvas and about 210 (warp) and 140 (fill) for 10 oz canvas. The tear strength is 67 lbs (warp) and 40 lbs (fill); this is roughly double that of the Sunforger canvas material used by other tent companies.

•Polyester canvas cannot absorb water like cotton canvas making it naturally waterproof. You do not need to treat your tent with a waterproofing solution. In fact, you don’t even need a rainfly. That said, you’re welcome to use Nikwax for polyester canvas to create an extra protective layer and if you plan on living in your tent year round, we would recommend a rainfly for added protection, especially from things like tree sap.

◦Polyester can now breath like cotton canvas. This used to be the one con of a polyester tent. It use to be the case that traditional cotton canvas allowed for a breathability that polyester couldn’t. And this used to matter a lot since it made summers cooler and created less condensation in the winters. However, modern technologies have advanced polyester canvas from the plastic-like material it used to be into a truly breathable woven fabric.


Because we avoid customization and focus on only a handful of quality models, your next home for outdoor living is available now, ships the next day, and will reach you in 3-5 days.

Expert Survivalist Reviewers

But, don’t take our word for it. Check out Off Grid Web’s article on extended duration shelters, Skilled Survival’s take on canvas tents, Survival Common Sense’s best wall tent article, or Reality Survival‘s take.


It is up to you whether or not the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to living in a tent. It’s certainly an endeavor worth considering, and with proper preparation to face the challenges to come your way, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life! Shoot us an email if you have any questions! [email protected]


Eureka Camping