How to Live in a Tent Long Term

If you are looking to become closer to nature, living in a tent for the long term can be an excellent option. There are many locations to choose from, depending on what you want to achieve with your living experience. For you to make your tent experience successful, you must prepare thoughtfully and carefully. You must cover all your bases and make sure you set yourself up for a safe and healthy tenure.

There are many benefits to living in a tent for an extended period. Living in a remote area in a tent enables you to unplug from social media and large groups of people. You can create mindful time to reflect on your life and strategize a plan to become a better person and live a more meaningful life. You can organize your thoughts, recharge, and reap the benefits of focusing on the present life and nature around you.

This ideal environment teaches you survival skills as well. When we live in an apartment or house, everything is accessible to you. You can quickly call someone for help, run to the store, and receive the safety and security of a roof over your head.

When you are in the wilderness, you must take careful steps about the way you orient yourself with the environment. You will learn to start a fire, make food without electricity, and sustain a livable campsite.

In this article, we examine everything you must consider before you make your big move. We will discuss your location options, the necessities that you must bring, and how to create a sustainable lifestyle while immersing yourself in the outdoors. It may seem like a tough transition and dragged out process, but if you dedicate time to organizing your plan, you will find that it is not as hard as you thought.

Choose the Right Tent

The first step is choosing a suitable tent that fits your specific needs. The type of tent you would look for in a short weekend trip is entirely different from the one that you would select for months or years. You want a tent that will give you enough space for many rooms, protect you from severe weather, and provide you the safety and security for you to live efficiently in the long run.

When it comes to the type of material that you should look for, the canvas tent will be your sturdiest option. A canvas tent will work to keep rain and moisture out from the interior because of its deflection properties. During the warmer months, it will allow your tent to circulate air more effectively because the fabric material is breathable. A military tent is an excellent example of this, and it is simple to set up.

The downside to a canvas tent is the cost. Since you are living in a shelter for the long term, this could be an investment that is worth it to you. If you are looking to save money, another valuable option for you could be the nylon tent. While it is not as durable as the canvas style, it will still allow you proper protection. But you should make sure that it comes with a rainfly to keep you dry.

Canvas tents are also bulkier than the nylon tents, so you should consider this if you intend to move around a lot. If you are changing locations around at least once per week, a nylon tent may be the best route to go. If you intend to live in a specific area for weeks on end, then the canvas tent will accommodate you better and provide a more stable home for you and your possible companions.

Apart from the structure of the tent, you should be strategic when choosing the correct poles for your living space. Always aim for the stronger option, which is aluminum poles in this case. A lot of tents will come with fiberglass poles, and these will not withstand longer-term living or consistent harsh conditions. Please ensure that the shelter has a roof vent for circulation and airflow as well.

Hold Off The Rain

Regardless of what tent option you go with, you should ensure that the outer material gets built for withstanding rain. You never know what the weather will bring you, and it is smart to prepare for everything. One thing you can purchase is a waterproof treatment that you can apply to the outside of the tent on a weekly or daily frequency.

Another important aspect of your tent is space and flexibility. You should choose a tent that has many rooms for you to work with. When setting up your tent, you should be mindful of where things go and remain organized. You should have a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen. Set up durable rugs or mats throughout the tent to accommodate the appropriate activities.

If you want to prevent dirt from the tent, place a mat on the inside and outside. The external carpet should be for wiping off dirt, and the internal one should be for putting shoes, sandals, or boots. You should make sure to set up your bathroom outside of the tent so that you can separate your waste from your living space. You could set up a mini lean-to for this too.

Pick a Great Place to Live

The next step is choosing a logical place to set up camp. There are many options that you can choose from, but everything is built upon partnerships. No matter where you decide to live, you will need to offer value to the person or business owner that you meet. You must also define your goals for your living situation. Before you move, outline a game plan of how long you will stay at each location and where to go next.

Ask a Friend or Family Member

If you have a large family of people who own private land, a great place to start would be to ask if you can live on their property. Ask to see if you can set up in the backyard in a private, remote location that will keep you out of the way. The goal is to provide value and stay out of the way so that you are not bothering anyone. Make sure that you tell them that this stay will only be temporary and define the time.

A great way to return the favor here is to offer to do outdoor chores for them free of charge. In return for them giving you a rent-free place to stay, you can mow their lawn, trim the trees and bushes, or improve the landscape overall. If you can build structures, you can offer to make them a shed, fence, or bench that can add value to their property. In return, they may let you use the kitchen here and there.

Make a Deal with a Farmer

Another option is to make a deal with a farmer to set up your tent on their land. Farmers own many acres and should be flexible about offering you a small space to set up camp. Just like with your friend or family member, you can offer to do handiwork on their land for the duration of you staying there. Farmers are always looking for ways to save time, and an extra hand could be just the thing needed.

If you are looking for people to get in contact with, there are a variety of avenues and programs that set up plans for people to live and work on farms, especially organic ones. Nonprofit organizations such as the WWOOF enable you to create valuable opportunities like this one. First, you should define where you would like to live and then target an association in that area.

Farmers are also excellent entrepreneurs, and they have all learned valuable skills to increase the value of their land through hard work and sacrifice. Living and working on a farm could be a relevant learning experience for you. This environment provides you with an excellent avenue to ask questions that could help you out if you decide to start your business in the future.

Set Up Tent on a Free Campsite

Most of the campsites available to you are ones that can be rented on a nightly basis. But if you perform thoughtful research, you could find campsite options that are free for you. There are some public campsites, as well as state parks, that may allow you to set up a tent for free. When you pinpoint a great location, you should ensure that you settle on a flat, cleared out spot.

Some benefits of this option are the free amenities, such as a firepit and bathroom. Most campsites have communal bathrooms that are within reasonable walking distance. This living strategy does not require you to put in extra work or effort or strike a deal with someone. When you have found your desired campsite, check to see if there are any limitations on how long you can stay, or where you set up.

Look for a Secluded Spot if All Else Fails

If you cannot strike a deal with a friend, family member, or farmer, and there is no luck at free camping sites, you will need to get creative with your search. The last option is to scope out a secluded spot for your home. One of the more important things here is to avoid busier cities and parks. You want to separate yourself as far as possible from commotion and distractions so that you can absorb nature fully.

Before you settle down for good, investigate the area thoroughly for potential signs of danger. Do not live near another habitat where a dangerous animal is living. Besides checking for other signs of dangerous wildlife, you should ensure that you are not settling on private property. This issue could open another avenue of danger with the person who owns the property, and it could involve legal action.

The ideal secluded habitat would be one that is in a grassier part of the woods. You want to make sure that you settle on flat ground. A great balance of sunlight and shade is also ideal. When you are looking at things from a hygienic standpoint, it is smart for you to reside near a pond or body of water, so that you can bathe yourself when the time is right.

Pack Appropriately

When you go on a short camping trip, you can afford to forget a few things. But if you are looking to live in a tent for the long term, you want to double-check that you bring the necessary tools to sustain yourself. There is a lot that goes into packing items that will keep you safe, and that includes kitchen supplies, health and hygiene, clothes, and repair tools to fix issues.

Campsite Supplies

The campsite supplies are essential for setting the tone of your campsite and tent. The first things to remember are the sleeping bag, sleeping pads and pillows, and blankets. You must pack these items in advance for a wide range of temperatures, hot and cold. For the warmer months, it is wise to pack flannel sheets and pillow covers and invest in a weighted blanket that will keep you extra warm.

You also want to bring camp chairs and a table, especially if you are living in a secluded spot. You will not have the luxury to ask a friend, family member, or farmer, for extra items. Look for sturdy chairs that are comfortable to sit and eat food in. You can also include plastic cloth that you can eat on to make sure you are staying clean and sanitary. This item will also be easy to throw out when it is dirty and done.

Another smart thing to bring is a lantern or flashlight. There will be nights where you may need to move around your campsite or go to the restroom, and you do not want to injure yourself while it is dark out.

The campfire is also an essential component of your campsite because this will be a top source for cooking food. You should pack firewood and a Firestarter to have your bases covered here. Firesticks are also a great thing to have when you roast hot dogs, sausages, or food items over the fire. If you are looking to keep the mosquitos away, citronella candles are also a great way to deter these annoying pests.

Kitchen Supplies

Your diet will be a big part of your survival as you live on your own, so you want to make sure you have all the supplies to complete your kitchen area. An electric or gas grill will be your friend, as it will be the centerpiece for your meal preparation for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Cooking pots and frying pans will also be an essential thing to have as you make your meals over the fire.

You also want to make sure you have a steady supply of plastic plates, napkins, paper towels, forks, knives, and spoons. If you are trying to be environmentally friendly, there are many compostable options out there on the market for you. Apart from the cutlery and plates, you should also remember to bring plastic cups for cold drinks and mugs for warmer drinks like coffee and hot chocolate.

It is important to remember to pack a sharp knife to cut through ties on firewood, small branches, or another packaging that you may need to get through. There will also be times when you need to slash meat or another hard vegetable for food prep, so be sure to pair this with a reliable cutting board.  A bottle opener is also a great tool to bring if you decide to bring alcohol bottles.

Apart from food preparation, you must also have your cleanup responsibilities covered. To remain sanitary, you should have a system to clean your pots, pans, and mugs that you used during your meals. The essential things to pack here are the bottle of dish soap, a pot scrubber, and several wash bins to store dirty and clean dishes. To accompany this cleaning process, you should also bring many dish towels.

Tools and Repair Supplies

You never know what could go wrong in your living experience outdoors, so you want to have a plan for all emergencies. This plan starts with your collection of tools and repair supplies. you cannot go wrong by remembering to pack the following items:

  • Duct tape – this could come in handy when you are patching up holes or rips
  • Surge protector – you will be using a variety of energy sources, so you will need to consolidate the power source
  • Extension cord – if you are running a power source far from your surge protector, this will be much needed
  • Tent-pole repair sleeve – if it breaks, you must have a backup option
  • Mallet or hammer – you will need this when you set up your stakes and tent
  • Saw or ax – firewood will need to get cut
  • Small broom or dustpan – this will help keep your tent floor clean

Health and Hygiene Supplies

When you are camping out in the wilderness, you will be more exposed to dirt and debris. Since you do not have a reliable apartment or home bathroom available, you will need to be more mindful about cleaning your body and your mouth. You also want to protect yourself from natural threats, like extra sunlight, bugs and mosquitos, and cold temperatures. The following items will have you covered:

  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toiletry kit
  • Prescription medications
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug spray
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat with a bill
  • Lip balm


When you pack clothes, you need to assume that you will see all types of temperatures. For your barriers, you should also prepare clothes that can withstand high winds and moisture. The following items will be crucial for you and your wardrobe on your expedition:

  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Lightweight jacket or fleece
  • Boots
  • Moisture-wicking socks
  • Moisture-wicking underwear
  • Sandals
  • Moisture-wicking shirts
  • Quick-drying pants and shorts
  • Sleepwear
  • Carpenter socks

Setting Up the Tent and Campsite

No matter where you go, you need to assess the campsite for safety. Because you are not within the safe confines of a house or apartment, you are exposed to a lot of unexpected variables. Below, we examine the necessary aspects to remember when you set up your campsite and tent.

Ideal Tent Conditions

The precautionary measures begin with you setting your tent on high, flat ground. You should avoid placing the tent on the bottom of a slope or an incline. If you stay away from this area, this will prevent any rocks, debris, or branches from falling on you during your stay. For heavy rain periods, this will also protect you from any flooding or erosion.

You should also have substantial floor cover throughout the tent. In the space between the bottom of the tent and the ground, you should lay a tarp. Throughout the inside of the shelter, try to place the rugs strategically throughout the area. You should have walk-off mats near the entrance of the tent, and the more comfortable rugs in the bedroom and living room.

Sleeping Area

Your bedroom area should promote a good night’s sleep. When you decide on the proper platform to rest on, you should research air mattresses or padded camping cots. The more layers you lay across the surface, the better. Another great way to ensure comfortability is to place a heater or fan in the corner of the room so that you can circulate ideal airflow throughout the night.

When you are packing furniture in advance for your expedition, look for small, compact tables that will hold a lamp or alarm clock. When you lay the groundwork in your bedroom, it is also crucial to have a warm, comfortable carpet that you can step on in the morning, especially when the ground is cold.


The important thing here is to remain organized. There will not be a lot of space within the tent, so you want your items placed so that you can move around freely. You also want to reduce stress on yourself by having things in locations where you know you can find them. Outside the tent, set up a fireplace that is 24 inches wide and 6 inches deep, so that you can adequately clean clothes and cook food.

Find Healthy Ways to Eat and Prepare Food

Because you are living in a strange environment, you must maintain a healthy diet that provides you with high energy to sustain your campsite and survive the wild. As you prepare your meal plan, focus on foods that are lower in sodium and fat. Many foods at the store denote this on the packaging. Make sure to pack a lot of foods that are strong in these areas.

Avoid the foods that are high in sugar because while it may give you an energy boost for a short time, this burst will undoubtedly wear off eventually. You want to be sharp when you hike and maintain your campsite, so stay away from sweet as much as you can.

Most of your meals should include a combination of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like wheat bread. Fruits contain natural sugar, which will provide you a clean source of energy and mental clarity. Go after foods that are rich in calcium, which will make your bones and joints durable. Foods that are high in calcium include beans, dried nuts, broccoli, and dark greens.

Dried foods are also a valuable addition to your diet because they are nutritious, and you do not have to spend a lot of time cooking them or preparing them. Food sources like beef jerky, dried fruits, and dried vegetables are all light and deficient in fat, which allows you to function correctly and for longer. Remember to also make room in your diet for essential vitamins, such as calcium and Vitamin B Complex.

If you are staying in an area for a long time and have room outside your tent, you could even plant your garden. The healthiest form of food is one that is closest to its natural source, so this could be an excellent opportunity for you to work on your gardening skill and gain quality nutrients.

Conclusion: Always Have a Backup Plan for Everything

As you can see, many things go into living in a tent for a long time. The critical thing to remember is that this is not a camping trip, but a camping lifestyle. You should account for this in the strength of your tent, the quality of clothes you bring, and the types of food that you pack. You should approach this trip with a priority of safety and long-term health.

Lastly, use your long-term camping experience as an opportunity to reflect and connect with yourself. You will be in a unique environment away from distractions and influences. Think about how you have developed as a person, where you want to take your life and your unique set of skills that can be of service to the world. Track your improvement and appreciate that you are surviving and growing as a person.

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