Tents as Tiny Houses

There are still a few weeks of summer left and now’s the time to dig out another type of tiny house—the tent. While most people would never think of a tent as a tiny house, many people who spend months hiking over 2,000 miles on trails like the Pacific Crest and the Appalachian look at that bundle of nylon, cordage and plastic as their shelter, safety, warmth and haven.

Like the turtle with its shell, there’s something to be said for being able to strap everything you need for the next few days, weeks, months or even years of your life onto your back. The sense of self-sufficiency and freedom is empowering.


Caro Ryan, of the blog Lotsafreshair, posted a creative, little video of how her tent has become her tiny house. Caro is an Aussie gal who films some beautiful hiking and backpacking videos in the Australian bush and shares tips on how to get the most out of your fresh air trips. She covers how to cook and eat well, how to pack a backpack, hiking health and fitness and how to be as light on the land as possible. You also have to watch her videos just to hear her say “billy” in her Aussie accent.


With the new movie, Wild (based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling book) coming out soon, folks may get even more inspired to chuck their material possessions and hit the trail. The idea of the tent as a temporary or long-term home may become even more acceptable—even in the tiny house realm.

Photos and video by Lotsafreshair/Caro Ryan

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Deb Myers - August 18, 2014 Reply

I love Caras videos, thanks for sharing. I am a backpacker and a camper. When I camp, I am a tent glamper with rugs and pillows and extras. It is absolutely my tiny home!

alice h - August 18, 2014 Reply

My first winter in the Yukon I lived in a 10×12 canvas wall tent set up on a wooden platform. It had a lumber frame with built up side walls and a loft but no insulation, heated with a wood stove. It was surprisingly cosy, as long as you were around to feed the stove. There were lots of little houses in Whitehorse that started out as similar tents and were gradually roofed over and built up right over the old tent.

Dave - August 18, 2014 Reply

Brings back memories of when I hiked the PCT. Everything I needed was on my back. Content with life and just had to wake up and walk, taking in the sights and sounds, spending time with people from all walks of life until it was time for bed. Rinse, repeat.

I was looking into tiny houses before that adventure but it reinforced the idea that I don’t need much to be happy. I’m still planning on building one but I have a few more big trips I want to accomplish before that.

Becca - August 18, 2014 Reply

Love her video… she certainly makes the “turtle life” seem appealing.

Kirie - August 18, 2014 Reply

My dad built a tent platform and threw up a canvas tent for six kids and our friends when we were growing up out here in the Olympic National Forest wilds. I resettled here as a young adult, stumbled in the Tiny Houses book, built one from repurposed materials, lived on a tent platform for three years while building a slightly larger house, also with mostly repurposed materials, and just last year realized I missed sleeping outside. We pitched a tent next to the tiny cottage, and we’ve never looked back. We fall asleep to eagles and waves against the rocks, look up at Douglas fir and moon and stars, and sleep like babies.

Kari - August 19, 2014 Reply

Thanks for such a cool article! I too, love to tent camp.

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