Long Term Shelter Options
Let's say you want to campout for a long time. More than a week, more than all summer, maybe forever.
Your cute $900 tent from North Face, Mountain Hardware, MSR, whomever may not be your first choice, first because you don't want to leave it behind - someone might steal it!!
So, what are your options? Build a cabin on Crown Land?? Might work, until the Ministry finds it and burns it to the ground. So, you are then seeking a semi-permanent solution. Cabin-like comfort and tent like portability.
As you can see by the pictures, cabin tents are making a comeback. Lower down is a white canvas tent with wooden walls, these are the cabin tents of the late 1800's, used by ranchers, prospectors, gold-miners and hunters. The wood walls and floor keep the critters out and the canvas top keeps the weather out and the costs down.
In my opinion, one of the best features of the cabin tent is the sturdiness. As long as you can keep the canvas tight and no oily fingers touch it, you get to stay dry. Also, these tents are big enough for cots, chairs, tables and even wood stoves. A small wood stove will keep a canvas tent warm even in the winter. The wood floor, makes you think you are in a house not a tent. Put a rug down and it is even more homey! For most canvas wall tents it would be best to have a large tarp strung over top. 1) To keep the water off and 2) to keep the UV rays from harming your home away from home.
Tents are not the only option. An RV can also work. The one pictured to the left has an add-a-room enclosure installed under the awning. This trailer is about 19 feet long and the add-a-room is about 10 feet long. Due to zip-out window covers, this addition is very weather proof. In fact, by adding it you now have another 80 square feet to live in. So, your washroom, kitchen and sleeping quarters are inside and your livingroom is outside. With a small propane or wood heater this setup could do for a year round setup. I would however, suggest that the RV have skirting installed, so, the wind cannot steal all the warmth from underneath the trailer - especially during the winter months.
This RV was setup in a public campsite, probably on a season's long rental agreement. A similar setup in the forest would work well if you had a location that had some form of security to protect it from vandalism when you were away.
The BBQ is also a great addition to any campsite. When the weather is fine, why cook indoors. There is enough of that during the winter months.
With just a tarp over our camp, our cots in the tent we were able to stay comfortable for our week long stay. My wall tent is a wee bit too small to setup as a cabin tent, it is only 8 feet by 10 feet. Enough space for 3 to sleep on cots. But, not much more space to live in.
However, the addition of the large tarp over top, we had a safe and dry zone outside the tent if and when it rained.
The secret to semi-permanent camps is to keep the canvas tight. If. it can't flap in a breeze it can't get wrecked.
Keep warm and Dry on your next outing!