3 Best Tents For Long Term Camping (Buyers Guide)

There’s a significant difference between spending a few nights in a tent and camping long term.

When you’re only spending a few nights in a tent during your vacation, it’s easy to handle a little discomfort. That all changes when you’re living in your tent year-round.

You might be backpacking across the country or moving closer to a remote worksite, but comfort and protection are crucial for long-term camping.

With that in mind, our experts have compiled a list of the three best tents for long term camping to help you camp safely and comfortably for as long as you need.

Long Term Camping Tent Comparison Chart

DescriptionAwardPrice
Editor’s Choice Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person Tent Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person TentBest OverallSEE PRICE »
Luxe Tempo Tent For Living All Year Round Luxe Tempo Tent For Living All Year RoundBest For The Restless NomadSEE PRICE »
ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person Tent ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person TentBest WeatherproofingSEE PRICE »

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1. Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person Tent

  • Best Overall

The large Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow tent is heavy, so it’s arguably not the best backpacking tent, but that’s also an indicator of excellent quality fabric. High-quality, water-resistant, cotton-duct canvas makes this model extremely resistant to wear and tear with long-term use. The simplicity of the design makes it easy to set up, despite the weight.

The style allows water to run off smoothly without pooling, and the silicone finish repels water further, so the canvas doesn’t absorb too much moisture during heavy storms.

The floor of the tent is made from 16-ounce vinyl and keeps your feet dry.

Thick canvas could impact breathability inside the structure, but not to the same extent of a rain skin. Kodiak compensates for the thickness with two D-shaped doors, funnel-flow vents, and four windows.

The flex-bow tent accommodates eight people comfortably and comes with an awning for extra space or shade. At a height of over six feet, there’s ample space for tall campers—an unusual benefit for these types of products.

There’s a small catch—you will have to dig deeper into your pockets to pay for this model. It’s not cheap compared to similar choices.

Is it worth the cost? Perhaps, not for a once-a-year camping trip. However, for long-term use, the spacious interior and weatherproof qualities are well worth it.

The company provides a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects. If well-maintained, the tent will last for decades.

About Kodiak Canvas

Founded in 2012, Kodiak Canvas has built a reputation for durable, high-quality camping gear. Designed for Rocky Mountain conditions, Kodiak Canvas tents had to be tough and sturdy.

Key Features

  • 100% cotton canvas
  • Watertight
  • Two large doors
  • Four big windows
  • No-See-Um mesh for privacy and protection against insects
  • Flex-Bow frame for sturdiness
  • Funnel-flow vents for temperature control

Specifications

  • Brand: Kodiak Canvas
  • Capacity: 8 people
  • Walls: 8.5-ounce canvas with Hydra-Shield coating
  • Ceiling: 10-ounce canvas with Hydra-Shield coating
  • Floor: 16-ounce vinyl, reinforced with vinyl and welded seams
  • Frame: Galvanised steel tubing
  • Rods: Spring steel Flex-Bow rods
  • Footprint: 10 feet by 14 feet
  • Height: 6 feet, 6 inches
  • Weight: 79 pounds with the stakes
  • Folds Down To: 30 inches by 16 inches without the poles
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
Pros
  • Outstanding water-resistance
  • Double doors and four windows
  • Spacious
  • More breathable than a tent with a rain skin
  • Excellent for year-round use
Cons
  • Not suitable for extreme cold
  • Pricey compared to competitors
Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person Tent

Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person Tent

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2. Luxe Tempo Tent For Living All Year Round

  • Best For The Restless Nomad

If you’re backpacking across the country, you won’t want to lug around a 79-pound behemoth. At just under six pounds, the Luxetempo model won’t weigh you down. It is easy on the eyes, and this compact model is also surprisingly affordable.

The lightweight material seems flimsy at first but keeps snow and rain out effectively. The padded floor smooths over rocky ground and keeps moisture at bay. High-grade polyester is surprisingly weather-resistant, even in cold conditions.

What’s the catch? The size.

The two-person tent has a small footprint, and it is low to the ground. In cold conditions, this is an advantage. In warmer weather, you may need to open the doors to improve airflow.

You won’t be able to stand up straight unless you’re under four feet six inches tall.

If you’re moving around a fair amount, the lighter weight is a necessity over the extra headroom, and protection against frigid, snowy conditions is invaluable if you’re mountaineering in colder climates.

About Luxe Tempo

Luxe Tempo’s founders are avid campers. The team set out to create an excellent quality, affordable range that was highly functional. The result is a useful camping range that won’t break the bank.  

Key Features

  • Inner and outer layers for better temperature control
  • Exterior layer accommodates an awning
  • Breathable
  • High-low ventilation to reduce condensation inside the tent
  • PU coating exterior is water- and sleet-resistant
  • Reinforced corners to maintain tautness
  • Dual-layer doors
  • Mesh loft for additional storage
  • Doors open from the inside for extra security
  • Durable
  • UV-resistant

Specifications

  • Brand: Luxe Tempo
  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Made From: 210T rip-stop polyester
  • Frame: Aluminum tubing
  • Footprint: 6.8 square feet by 8.7 square feet
  • Height: 4 feet, 69 inches
  • Weight: 5.7 pounds with the stakes
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Works for cold weather
  • Affordable
  • Padded floor
  • Wind-, water-, and snow-resistant
Cons
  • Not ideal for tall campers
  • The footprint is an extra
Luxetempo Tent For Living All Year Round

Luxetempo Tent For Living All Year Round

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3. ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person Tent

  • Best Weatherproofing

The reason this tent made our list is that it’s incredibly easy to pitch. While it’s billed as a four-person tent, it’s easy for you to set it up or pack it away on your own.

At 10.5 pounds, it’s not as light as the Luxetempo version, but the extra space in the tent makes up for the increased weight. If the load is a concern for you, consider upgrading to this manufacturer’s Lynx Tent instead.

Is the Taurus a four-person tent? Perhaps, for four small people.

For four strapping, tall men, it would be an extremely tight fit. We would be more comfortable saying it’s a spacious three-person tent.

Even so, it’s an excellent deal for the money, and you won’t find a better quality, more spacious option at this price point.

Is it the perfect option for years of long-term camping? It is a strong contender for a few weeks at a time in colder climates.

The weatherproofing is superb and will keep out snow, sleet, and rain throughout your trip.

Condensation tends to accumulate between the rain fly and the exterior, so you will have to take extra care to dry the tent before storing it. It isn’t a dealbreaker while camping, however. The interior stays cozy and dry.

Key Features

  • The two-pole design makes assembly easy
  • Relatively lightweight
  • UV-resistant
  • Water, snow, and wind-resistant
  • The tent fly provides extra storage
  • Reasonable ventilation
  • Two doors with inlaid zippered windows make it easy to get in and out
  • Mesh roof

Specifications

  • Brand Name: Alps Mountaineering
  • Capacity: 4 people
  • Weighs: 10.5 pounds
  • Footprint: 7 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 6 inches
  • Height: 52 inches
Pros
  • Free-standing
  • Easy to set up
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Best weather-resistance
  • Extra storage space
Cons
  • Windows could be designed better
  • Too small for a four-person tent
ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person Tent

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person Tent

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Tents For Long-term Buying Guide

A great tent is an excellent investment if you love the outdoors. Is it possible to live in one? Ask anyone in the armed services, and they’ll tell you, “Yes.”

Tents provide adequate protection in a range of weather conditions. It’s easy to pull up stakes and move to a new location, giving you a variety of choices.

Your experience will depend on a range of factors, including the tent’s design, quality, and capacity. In this section, we’ll explore what you need to consider when purchasing the best tent for long-term camping.

Size

When camping overnight, you don’t need many supplies. When you’re digging in for a week or longer, you’ll need extra clothing, food, and gear.

Choose a tent size bigger than you’ll need for extra space when inevitable guests arrive and ample room for all your gear. The additional storage room could save your life if the weather turns nasty, too.

Privacy

You have to balance factors like comfort and privacy. An open-plan interior maximizes space but leaves little room for privacy. It won’t be an issue with a couple but could make camping with friends uncomfortable.

Another consideration is privacy from outsiders walking past. Clear windows afford you a blend of visibility and protection. It also makes it easy for people on the outside to see into your living area. 

A tent with privacy mesh over the windows and a door flap is a good compromise.

Comfort

Comfortable camping refers to several aspects:

  • Temperature regulation: Temperature regulation is a serious consideration when you’re camping through several seasons. Will your tent be as comfortable in hot or cold weather? Can you add or remove a rain sheet for better climate control?
  • Breathability: Polyester and nylon tents are at the bottom of the list when it comes to breathability. Canvas tents, on the other hand, are extremely breathable and offer good insulation, making them a great choice for all seasons living.
  • Available space: The more spacious the interior, the more comfortable your camping trip. Will you be able to stand and make yourself coffee? Can you fit a bed or cot in the space? Do you have space for all of your belongings?
  • Moisture control: Condensation on the inside of the canvas affects temperature control. It might also create an environment ripe for bacterial growth. Good weatherproofing prevents condensation from forming on the inside of the fabric. 

Weight

Will the weight of the canvas and poles be problematic for you? If you’re setting up in one spot and staying for a while, probably not. When you’re hiking and moving campsites every day, you’ll feel every extra ounce.

There are many ways to reduce the weight. For example, aluminum poles weigh less than steel or fiberglass. A smaller tent option will typically weigh less, and you might also want to switch from canvas to polyester.

With each choice, there’s a tradeoff. Polyester may not be as breathable as cotton canvas. Aluminum poles typically cost more than fiberglass. Carbon fiber poles may be more fragile in colder climates.

Understanding the selection that you’re making is essential to choosing the best option for your needs.

Ease Of Assembly

Typically, campers look for a tent that goes up quickly and requires two or fewer people to pitch. Some tents, like instant tents, can go up in as little as 60 seconds with only a single person.

While this typically holds true for long-term camping as well, if you plan on staying in one spot for extended periods of time, a quick setup might not be as important.

So, when looking for the best long-term tent for your camping needs, take into account how long you plan on staying at one spot, and if you have help pitching the tent or not.

Tip: Practice pitching your tent in the yard before you leave home to work out any kinks ahead of time.

Weather Protection

In a sub-tropical climate, you don’t need protection against snow and blizzards. You’ll do better with a low-weight option with proper ventilation. You might also need extra protection against rain.

In a colder climate, you might freeze to death if you use the same model. It might be more likely to snow than rain, and this is a challenge, too.

The one weather condition all campers endure is the wind. Windchill may drop the temperature a few degrees in a colder area. Tropical climates are also not immune to a blustery gale.

It’s important to research how your chosen model will stand up to different climatic conditions as you consider your destinations.

Waterproofing

Treatments like waterproofing perform more than one function – they keep water out and extend the life of tents.

Waterproofing is typically done by the manufacturer. However, it can and will degrade over time. Especially if you live in a tent long-term.

To add additional waterproofing to your tent, the type of treatment you use will depend on the type of fabric your tent is made of.

For polyester and synthetic material tents, Nikwax Rain & Solarproof is the perfect product to not only add waterproofing protection to your tent but also protect it from the sun’s damaging rays.

Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof

Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof

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Tip: Check out our guide on how to waterproof a tent the right way if you decide to treat your tent fabric yourself.

Canvas tents should be properly seasoned and if needed can be additionally protected with the use of a waterproofing product like Nikwax Cotton Proof. Check out our guide titled Are Canvas Tents Waterproof for more information on this.

Nikwax Cotton Proof Waterproofing

Nikwax Cotton Proof Waterproofing

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UV Protection

UV protection is not only important for you but for the fabric of your tent, as well.

Of course, you want a tent that will block out as many UV rays as possible to protect your skin, but prolonged UV exposure can damage your tent and degrade it an increased rate.

So, choose a tent with built-in UV protection, pitch your tent out of sunlight as often as possible, and you can even apply over-the-counter UV protection products to help protect you and your tent.

Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof

Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof

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Accessories To Consider

The point of “roughing it” is to simplify life to some degree. There are some accessories that you might consider to improve the experience, though:

  • An Awning: While not essential, an awning provides additional shade and increases useable floor space. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a sundowner on your front “porch.”
  • A Mosquito Net: If there’s a risk of malaria where you’ll be staying, a net is essential. Outside of malaria areas, mosquito nets also keep bugs off your skin.
COGHLANS Mosquito Bed Net

COGHLANS Mosquito Bed Net

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  • Extra Stakes: A few additional aluminum stakes won’t add significantly to the weight of your pack. It comes in handy when the wind is particularly strong, or you lose the originals.
Eurmax Galvanized Non-Rust Tent Stakes

Eurmax Galvanized Non-Rust Tent Stakes

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Tips To Follow To Keep Your Tent In Optimal Condition

  • Reading a manual is boring, but with long-term camping, it is also essential. Focus in particular on the assembly and care instructions so that you can prepare everything you need.
  • Nikwax the fabric before use to improve the built-in weatherproofing. You can find quality tent waterproofing spray’s at the camping store. Unroll the canvas and inspect it for tears and then follow the instructions on the can.
  • Camp in your backyard overnight at least once before the trip. You’ll practice the setup and see if you need any other supplies.
  • Always use a tarp or tent footprint, even if you have an in-built floor. The additional layer protects the floor from rough surfaces and rising moisture. It also provides an extra layer of insulation for the campers.
  • When your trip is over, storing the fabric is crucial. Use warm soapy water to remove dirt and then rinse it. Allow the material to dry completely before folding it for careful storage. Check out our guide on how to clean a tent step-by-step for a more detailed explanation.
  • Learn to fold the material properly instead of stuffing it into the bag. It prevents crinkling that may damage the surface and makes it more compact to carry. The pack also protects the fabric inside.
  • Finally, store it away from direct sunlight where it won’t get scratched or poked so that it remains in pristine condition.

Tents For Long-Term Camping: FAQs

Is it possible to live in a tent?

Yes, it is possible to live in a tent. You won’t have all the comforts of home, but with the right preparation, you can have all the necessities. We covered this topic pretty extensively in our guide on how to live in a tent long term.

Can you survive the winter in a tent?

Yes, on condition that you choose the right model and increase your level of knowledge.

If you’re a complete beginner, we don’t recommend trying it long-term. Do extensive research and try some short stints before gradually extending your stay—your survival (and sanity) may depend upon it.

How do you improve the weatherproofing of your tent?

Use a protective spray, like Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof, on your tent before your camping trip.

Test the waterproofing on the fabric and particularly on the seams, by pouring water directly onto it.

When you’re out in the wild, start from the ground up by using a high-quality tent footprint or tarp. It provides extra insulation and protects you from rising cold and damp.

You might also consider adding a rain skin over the top of the canvas to provide an extra waterproofing layer and more insulation.

Finally, be set up the tent carefully. Pay attention to the manual and secure the pegs properly or risk your tent being blown away.

Check out our guide on how to weatherproof a tent for more tips!

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