The Best Tent for Full Time Living

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Tents are commonly used for full time living across the country, and this “nomadic” lifestyle is getting more and more popular among those seeking to get back in touch with nature and rid themselves of unnecessary distractions.

Downsizing and tiny living are among the hottest trends right now, as more and more people decide to get off the hustle and bustle, and go back to basics.

If you’re seeking a simpler life with a better connection to the nature, a large tent of a proper quality is a great choice.

A tent is easy to handle and requires little to no maintenance, and you can set it up anywhere as long as the ground is level. Some even come with a stove jack, so you can stay warm and cook your food inside your tent with a small wood burning stove.

Our top pick is the TETON Sports Sierra Canvas Tent, a bell-shaped yurt style tent perfect for those who want to live and sleep comfortably through all four seasons.

Best overall: TETON Sports Sierra Canvas Tent

TETON Sports Sierra Canvas yurt style tent set up and ready for all seasons
Editor’s choice

TETON Sports Sierra Canvas Tent

Do you want the ultimate tent for permanent outdoor living? The spacious TETON Sports Sierra Canvas Tent is the perfect choice for all-season camping with the entire family.

What we like

  • Very spacious – from 12′ diameter, 8’4″ center height.
  • Beautiful design inside and out.
  • Vents allow for a good airflow on hot summerdays.
  • Windows and doors come with a bug mesh.
  • Perfectly able to accommodate you and your family full time.
  • Nice ‘glamping’ experience.
  • Can be decorated and used in a garden.
  • The bottom zips off if you don’t need it.

The TETON Sports Sierra Canvas is a superb yurt style tent, that comes in different sizes and fits from 10 persons and up to 16 persons, depending on the size chosen. Its rounded shape gives it a nice and spacious feeling, and the canvas is angled in a way that most snow will fall off. You still have to clean off any built-up snow from time to time, but it will take a large load of snow before it starts caving in.

There’s a heavy-duty bottom included with this tent, and you can easily zip the bottom and sides apart if needed. There’s also a designated opening for a power cord, if you want to run electricity into the tent without having to pull cables through the entrance.

If you’re permanently camping and living in a cold area, you can easily turn this tent into a hot tent by cutting a hole and installing a stove. We recommend that you contact TETON Sports directly beforehand, in order to confirm whether it’s still covered under warranty or not. Replies made to Amazon users indicate that you’re still covered under warranty after cutting a hole for a chimney, but we would recommend that you ask them to confirm this directly with you.

If you’re embracing the idea of living full time in a tent and want to do so with style, the TETON Sports Sierra Canvas Tent is probably one of the most beautiful options you’ll come across.

Best on a budget: Coleman WeatherMaster 6-Person Tent With Screen Room

Coleman WeatherMaster With Screen Room
Best value

Coleman WeatherMaster 6-Person Tent With Screen Room

The Coleman WeatherMaster 6-Person Tent is the perfect budget choice, and makes for a great permanent or semi-permanent living space.

What we like

  • Fits 2 queen-size airbeds.
  • 6’8″ center height enables you to stand upright.
  • Has ample storage pockets to keep you organized.
  • Hinged door allows for easy entrance for kids as well as adults.
  • Uses an all-mesh ceiling, angled windows, and adjustable airflow vents for ventilation.
  • Color-coded poles make it easy to set up the tent.
  • The screen room is a nice addition if you’re in an area with many mosquitoes.
  • Weighs 32 pounds, which is less than other similar tents.
  • Available for six or ten occupants.

If you’re in the market for an affordable tent for full time living, consider the Coleman WeatherMaster 6-Person Tent With a Screen Room on the side. It sleeps up to 6 persons comfortably, and if you’re in an area with lots of mosquitoes you’ll definitely love the shaded screen room on the side.

The Coleman WeatherMaster tent comes with a hinged door that opens and closes like a normal door, and the spacious interior has a center height of 6’8″ – more than enough for most people to comfortably stand upright.

This tent stands on 19-millimeter steel poles, and it has been reinforced to withstand rough weather, but we do recommend getting an extra tarp for additional waterproofing if you’re expecting heavy rain.

Best double room: Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent

Core Instant Cabin Tent

Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent

The Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent is your perfect travel buddy for road trips, and it’s big enough to provide shelter for the entire family.

What we like

  • 78-inch center height.
  • Ample space for 2-4 persons, but sleeps up to 9 persons.
  • A detachable room divider allows for privacy when traveling with kids or friends.
  • Bug mesh in front of all windows and doors allow for proper ventilation while keeping mosquitoes out.
  • A removable rainfly reveals a nice “skylight” made of bug mesh.
  • Floor is made of durable polyethylene.
  • Sets up in just 60 seconds with poles pre-attached to the tent.
  • Lightweight – only 30.5 pounds, which is great considering the size.

The Core Instant Cabin Tent is super easy to set up, and can be done in a matter of minutes. This is especially useful if you enjoy the nomadic lifestyle, and want to set up your tent anywhere without wasting a ton of time.

There’s room for up to 9 people inside the Core Instant Cabin Tent, but for full time living it’s recommended to stay a maximum of 2-4 persons, in order to have a bit of free space for your personal belongings.

One feature that may come in handy for those living in the tent full time, is the ability to divide the internal space into two separate rooms. This gives you the feeling of having a separate bedroom and living room, instead of just one big room.

Best instant setup: E-Z UP Camping Cube 6.4

E-Z UP Camping Cube 6.4 Tent

E-Z UP Camping Cube 6.4

If you want a modern tent for full time living, the E-Z UP Camping Cube 6.4 is a great choice. It’s easy to set up, and comes with a range of great features.

Please note: The E-Z UP Camping Cube 6.4 is an add-on to the E-Z UP Pyramid Instant Shelter, and you need to buy both to get a complete tent.

What we like

  • Nice and spacious on the inside.
  • 6’4″ internal height allows most people to stand upright.
  • Looks and feels like a small cabin due to the cubistic design.
  • Practical storage pockets inside.
  • Available in different color options.
  • Very easy to set up and take down in a few minutes.
  • Because it’s a modular build, you get to decide what kind of frame and roof you want.
  • Pet Portal opening is a fun little addition that allows pets to enter and exit through a small opening.
  • Very large entrance.

This tent makes for great full time living conditions in a hot climate, and because it’s a 2-in-1 combo you can use the Pyramid Instant Shelter separately if you want to set up your own shaded area on a beach or keep dry when you’re cooking or entertaining family and friends outside.

With the cubistic design you get a 10′ x 10′ living area with an internal height of up to 6’4″, allowing most people to stand upright comfortably.

Because of the cubistic design it’s very spacious on the inside, and feels very much like a regular home. You can place a large bed inside, and still have plenty of space to your belongings.

On the side there’s a dedicated pet portal, where your four legged friends can help themselves in and out without letting too much cold air inside.

Best wall tent: Elk Mountain Large Canvas Tent

Elk Mountain Wall Tent set up in nature with cloudy weather

Elk Mountain Large Canvas Tent

The spacious Elk Mountain wall tent offers a full-size living area, perfect for those who want to live comfortably in a tent.

What we like

  • Resembles a small house in shape and size.
  • Beautiful design that allows for cozy days and nights with friends and family.
  • Stove jack and cover included.
  • Large front entrance and plenty of ventilation options to keep you cool during the summer.
  • Makes a great space for guests and friends as well.
  • High-quality waterproof canvas style fabric made from polyester.
  • Durable metal frame.

If you want a permanent tent with plenty of space to get you and your family comfortably through a full year, the Elk Mountain Large Canvas Tent is worth considering. Just by looking at the product photos you’ll discover multiple ways to organize it and set it up as a comfortable full time living space.

Of course this type of tent works best if you have access to a backyard or piece of land, where you can set it up in an unexposed area.

There isn’t a floor included with this tent, but since it’s main purpose is to provide a permanent or semi-permanent living area, most people would probably opt for a more sturdy bottom such as wood pallets with a tarp on top to make it windproof and a soft, large carpet on top for better comfort.

The Elk Mountain tent is available in multiple size options from 13′ x 13′ and all the way up to 13′ x 20′.

Best for truck bed: Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent set up on a black truck

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

If you want a modern tent for full time living, the E-Z UP Camping Cube 6.4 is a great choice. It’s easy to set up, and comes with a range of great features.

What we like

  • Available in multiple sizes that fit most truck beds.
  • Large mesh windows offer plenty of ventilation during hot summer nights.
  • Ample storage pockets to keep you organized.
  • Tent comes with waterproof bottom to keep you clean and dry in all weather conditions.
  • Sets up in just a few minutes.
  • Stay in the comfort of your own vehicle and avoid the could, wet ground.

If you’re living full time in your truck, consider a tent that sets up on its bed. With such a tent you get endless possibilities to sleep anywhere you want, and you don’t have to worry about the grounds getting flooded during rain. And if you by any chance feels unsafe during the night, the truck is always there for you.

Whether you’re living permanently in your truck or for a limited period, this tent is a great choice. It doesn’t take long to set up, and it comfortably sleeps two persons.

The tent is available in multiple sizes that fit different trucks, and it works great in most environments.

How to find the best tent for full time living?

Whether you’re in a temporary situation where you need to cut costs or want to completely change your lifestyle, there are a few things you need to consider when buying a tent.

Most tents are designed to provide a temporary living area, and will keep you warm and dry for a few days of camping and hiking in nature. These are all perfect for full time living, but you might want to consider NOT opting for the cheapest tents on the market.

As we researched the market and reviewed the best options, we considered what factors were the most important based on a situation where one would have to live in a tent permanently. These are the most important factors to consider:

  • Build quality
  • Layout
  • Size
  • Features

You want a tent with durable yet flexible poles, that are able to withstand a bit of rough weather. Poles are usually made of a composite material, such as glass fiber, but in some cases they’re also made of steel tubing. Both options are great as long as you opt for tents of a proper quality and from brands that are well known.

The layout plays a role too, especially if you have kids. You definitely don’t want a tent where you have to step over each other just to get in bed or get out for toilet visits during night, so make sure it has plenty of room for sleeping. Some tents have room dividers too, allowing you some privacy.

Some tents are quite small because they’re supposed to be carried in a backpack when hiking. A tent for permanent living doesn’t have to fit in a backpack, hence we considered canvas tents as a viable option too. Canvas tents are heavy, but they offer a completely different experience with a beautiful look and a breathable material.

When it comes to features, the most important one is whether it keeps water out or not. Some tents have pockets for storage and organization, and others have screened windows that you can open if you need fresh air. Other tents are made to set up instantly due to the way the poles are designed, and these are some of the main features we’ve considered.

How to successfully live in a tent year round?

Yes – you CAN live in a tent year round, and many people choose to do so voluntarily. Living permanently in a tent gets you back in touch with nature, there’s no mortgage, no maintenance, and no boring chores waiting for you after a stressful day. Just climb into your bed or sleeping bag, and rest.

Man sitting next to tent enjoying the view

1. Keep it simple

The key to living in a tent full time is to keep things simple. If you happen to find yourself in a situation that you didn’t choose yourself, the first and most important thing to realize is how little you actually need to get by.

Keeping things as simple as possible is extremely important, if you want to succeed. Barry Richardson talks about some of the most important factors of how to live in a tent, and he highlights the simple life as one of the main advantages of living full time in a tent.

2. Read books

This may sound cliche, but there’s truth to it. According to University of Minnesota, reading can help reduce stress.

If you ever find yourself bored in your tent, consider buying a book or listening to an audiobook for a while. For most people, especially those who just stepped out of the hamster wheel, living in a tent might proof a challenge due to boredom. But it’s perfectly fine and good for you to relax and be bored some times.

You can either focus on novels or romans, or you can read about a topic that interests you. Or you could read about something random to open your horizon. The options are endless.

3. Stay warm

Staying warm in your tent is important, especially if you’re living full time in a cold area. There are multiple options to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the cold nights, and here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Wood burning stove
  • Gas heater
  • Heated blanket
  • Sleeping bag and air mattress for cold climate

Be aware that a wood burning stove and a gas heater require proper ventilation in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

4. Stay safe

A tent does not provide any protection against the elements, and if you’re in bear territory you might want to consider getting protection from curious bears.

If you have a car we recommend that you lock your personal belongings inside your car while you sleep.

5. Stay legal

It isn’t legal to live permanently on public land, but you can legally live permanently in a tent on your own property or ask for permission form any property owner to live on their land.

By making sure you’re legally living where you are, you can organize the area around your tent and make a cozy living space for yourself and your family.

Who needs a tent for full time living?

Granted: Living in a tent full time isn’t for everyone. There might be situations where it’s your only option though, maybe you’re in urgent need of additional accommodation, or you simply want to scale down on living costs to make the most out of your money.

We believe the tents mentioned above are the best type of tents for this purpose.

Below we’ll go through some of the common situations where tents are an attractive way of living:

Family having breakfast next to their tent
Most kids love camping with their parents and siblings, it’s a great way to spend more quality time together as a family, while saving money at the same time.

1. When you want to live in a cheaper yet comfortable way

Are you having a hard time keeping up with the cost of living? The easiest way to cut down on your living expenses is by moving to a tented stay. Such a tent will get you through the harsh summer days, and some are even capable of taking you through the cold winter months too. With a few camping accessories to keep it warm, your winters will be quite cozy. Such a move will cut your rental costs and other utilities, so you can work less hours and have time for other things in your life.

The gym trick: Hot showers, stable WiFi, proper workouts

But, what if you long for your home experience but have no alternative but to live in a tent? Then, you can link up with your local gym. For a membership to a gym guarantees you hot showers, access to internet, and a few other amenities to keep you occupied and sane. You can use all these facilities as you operate from your tent.

2. Anyone looking for a challenge

Can you survive on a tented stay away from your home comforts? Yes.

Often, we want to test our limits as we prepare for a future event. For example, you could be planning to travel to remote areas with limited facilities.

Hence, you want to test it out from the comfort of your home. In turn, you’ll expect any challenges awaiting you and make adequate plans to deal with them.

3. It is your way of living an eco-friendly lifestyle

Tented living has minimal carbon impact on the ecosystem. More so, when you use a full time tent put together using organic or repurposed/recycled materials.

So, if you were at a loss on how to reduce your carbon footprint, here is an affordable and efficient solution for you.

Tents don’t require paint, insulation, and there’s no need to mow the lawns and maintain the plants – let everything grow on its own, and embrace the nature you’re living in and living off.

4. For anyone seeking a forest bathing

Forest bathing is about taking leisure walks in the forest to get some health benefits. Indeed, research suggests that plants emit Phyntoncides as a way of protecting themselves.

These substances also help to reduce stress, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

So, put up a tent for full time living deep in the woods. Then, take these nature walks every day as you go for your house supplies.

Final note

Whether you’re going through a non-voluntary transition or made a conscious choice of scaling down, full-time tent living can definitely be a fulfilling experience.

It is a great way to get on touch with nature, find your inner peace, and harvest the many benefits of breathing fresh air and reducing the pace of daily life.

Once you’re settled in, you may even realize how much you’ve missed throughout the years, and start noticing things that you’ve completely forgotten. Little things might all of a sudden make sense once again.

Living full time in a tent surely takes away the many distractions of a big house with a mortgage, cars, maintenance, bills, and all those other duties that will keep you chained to the treadmill for years on end!

2 thoughts on “The Best Tent for Full Time Living”

  1. Great article! I’m not really a fan of living in a tent but if I had to live in one the coleman weathermaster 6 is the only tent that comes to mind. Sometimes I prefer it to my own home!

    • Thank you Larry!
      And true – although it’s not the best circumstances, I would much rather live in a proper tent full time than being in a house I couldn’t afford.
      Every one of us could end up there some day, and I think it’s important to consider these things and think about what we really need in order to get by. Most of us could certainly find peace in a tent, as long as it’s suitable for permanent/semi-permanent living.
      And as an added bonus, we get plenty of fresh air every day!


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