Canvas Wall Tents

The basic canvas wall tent, used by outdoor enthusiasts and the military for hundreds of years, can be turned into more than a tent with the simple addition of a wooden platform. My family has some property in a beautiful meadow with mountain views and we are looking to put up a canvas wall tent on a wooden floor to use for guest camping and enjoying the summer nights. Research for these tents has turned up some fantastic photos of what can be created with these portable but heavy duty structures.


Photo by David Ellis Canvas Products

Wall tents are different than tipis and in that they have four sides and a peaked roof, much like a tiny house. Canvas wall tents have been used by the military as early at 1740 and were used extensively in the American Civil War. Hunters and trappers in the 1800’s used wall tents while on the frontier and they are still used today as shelters in refugee camps and by soldiers in Iraq.


Photo by David Ellis Canvas Products

Canvas wall tents range in size from about 8-10 feet wide and 10-20 feet long. They can be supported with a simple wood frame, steel poles or traditional timber poles cut down on site. The walls are typically 5-6 feet high. Some canvas tents are large enough to contain a wood burning stove and the canvas roof can include a hole for a stove pipe. Furniture, carpets and even wall hangings can be used for interior decoration.


Photo by Yellowstone Under Canvas

Canvas wall tents can actually be mounted to a hard surface deck. This keeps the tent from being blown away and damaged in the wind and also keeps out unwanted outdoor critters. These types of tents are called deck tents and can be secured even further with cable systems that tie the tent down to the deck.


Photo by 1859 Oregon Magazine

Because of their sturdy construction and ability to let in fresh air while protecting campers from the elements, many canvas wall tents have become popular for glamping enthusiasts. The tents can be enjoyed in the summer and fall and then packed up and put away when winter arrives.


Photo by Rand McNally – On the Road

Photos by David Ellis Canvas Products, 1859 Oregon Magazine, Yellowtone Under Canvas and Rand McNally

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Just Because You Can Build A House Doesn’t Mean You Can Tile!

By Catherine Zola

Wood and nails for anyone who can use tools and has built a book shelf can be conquered to one degree or another. Plumbing however, is a problem. It took me three tries to get running water in my tiny house WITH help! I used my welding skills from college sculpting class, and wished I had learned more in algebra so I could calculate materials etc. But I didn’t cry until I got to wash my first dish in two years in warm, indoor running water. But those were tears of joy.

The shower however has been another story altogether. For the last two years I have showered in the garden, behind a rose bush, under a water tower. For six months of that the water was warmed in the hose by the sun until I discovered a wonderful invention called an outdoor propane water heater. Who knew such things existed. My outdoor shower recently got an upgrade with some free sliding glass doors that providence sent to me, probably out of pity. They help keep the elements at bay and provide a wonderful view of the mountains until I figure out the mystery of indoor shower creation. Which after two years and three months I am still doing.

shower prep

And here is how it has been going:

Let me start with this: It is particularly important to trust the timing in projects when you don’t know what you are doing. It takes time to research materials, to discover new angles, to invent solutions when none exist, and to make modifications to fit insurmountable personal or material limitations. One needs to mull things over, cogitate, acquire new knowledge and skills for a huge project such as building a house. Unless of course you are lucky enough to be a carpenter. I have complained about how long an indoor shower has taken to figure out but if I had rushed I would never have found Schluter Kerdi.


I bought the heavy cement board one usually lines showers with but took it back after some consideration. Each panel was so heavy I couldn’t fathom fitting it into a house with weight restrictions. There has to be a way to make a shower water proof without that nonsense I cried. If I had not designed my tiny shower with a bench I would have broken down at that point and bought an RV plastic shower. But no, I had to do things the hard way because I figured if I was going to go to the trouble of building my own house I wanted it how I wanted it and that’s final! But I paid. It took me months of searching for alternative water barriers and cheap, thin, lightweight, glass tile. Finally found the tile: Bright orange was the only color they had. Good thing I like orange! And then I went into a tile place in town and the nice man behind the counter told me about Schluter Kerdi – a European shower system that uses cement and thin water proof paper. It was expensive and a lot of work, but I got it installed.

more shower prep

Then came the nightmare of cementing over that and placing the tiles. Something I should have taken a class on before attempting. Or maybe at least watched a couple dozen youtube videos. I am finally at the caulking stage and using a dark green color to tone down the color of the tiles. The bench of course just added to the pain and headache but in the end it really does compensate for the tiny size of the shower by allowing you to sit down to wash your hair etc.

Despite all the trauma and time I’m mostly pleased with the bathroom’s design because it is open and contributes to an ample feeling to the house. If you clock how much activity a bathroom gets it is small in comparison to the amount of space it takes up in tiny homes. I wanted the space to be usable when it wasn’t being used as a bathroom so I altered the original design and removed the door, and widened the doorway so the light from the bathroom window would enter the kitchen. Now the bathroom bench is usable for visitors to sit on while I cook.

Schluter Kerdi paper (coincidentally the same lovely orange as the cheap tile I found), paper backed tiles from hell (but they were 2.50 a sheet as opposed to the $15+ glass tile normally is) You get what you pay for my mother always said. And the paper removed. Ooooh almost looks like a shower. Wow!

To follow Catherine’s blog go here:

shower almost completed

Tips for Transitioning to a Tiny House

by Jane Roarski

There are plenty of advantages to living in small spaces: fewer possessions, reduced impact on the earth, and lower living expenses are just a few of them. More people are choosing to live more simply, and for some that means using the bare minimum of living space.

While living in limited square footage poses many challenges, a growing number of people are proving that minimizing essentials, combined with some innovative custom remodeling, is enough to meet the task of tiny house living.

Whether your small living space is 1000 square feet or 100 square feet, these ideas can help cushion the transition from a bigger home.

Less is more. If you’re making the effort to live in a smaller space, you’ve probably realized that tiny house living leads to liberation from unnecessary stuff. Moving to a tiny space means letting go of non-essentials. In return, you’ll be rewarded with more time and money, as a smaller home takes a lot less of both to maintain.

storage closet under loft

Storage closets and a kitchen find room under a sleeping loft. Photo credit: Koch Architects.

Love the loft life. Bedrooms can take up a lot of space, but sleeping doesn’t have to. The sleeping quarters in a smaller home are often the same size as the bed itself. With a loft design, the bedroom can be located directly above another room, even though most tiny houses are single level. And when placed on a custom platform, a loft bed can rest on top of essential storage. Continue reading

SylvanSport’s Coolest. Contest. Ever. Adventure Contest!


I covered SylvanSport’s GO back in 2010 and they are having a contest I thought you might enjoy entering so I am letting you know about it. Here are the details:

What’s your ultimate dream adventure? Surfing the sky-blue waves in Malibu? Kayaking the class five rapids of the Appalachian foothills? Star-gazing in Bryson Canyon?

There’s no better way to adventure than with your favorite gear in tow. A Swiss Army Knife of campers, the SylvanSport GO is the ultimate adventure aid. A GO can hold up to 10 kayaks or 5 bikes, or all your camping and a few surf boards, or an ATV and rock climbing gear, or…well, you get the idea!

Detail your GO adventure in this online essay contest for bold and creative outdoor adventure junkies—that means YOU—and you just might win a chance to GO on the adventure of a lifetime.

Sylvan Sport GO

ENTER at our contest homepage, and in 400 words or less tell us what your epic plans are for a gear-heavy GO expedition AND how you would promote your adventure. Blogging? Stop-motion photo stream? Sky writing? Would you brag to your friends? How about your office, your ex or your grandma? Tell us!

The three best essays win a hooked up gear package from our premier outdoors sports sponsors including Yakima, Kelty, Keen, Black Diamond, Wenger, Jackson Kayak, SPOT, Grand Trunk Goods, and Orbea AND… the GO itself for up to three months to live and document your adventure story.

The most epic and well documented resulting adventure of the three finalists keeps the Go itself and bonus gear from our sponsors-That’s the GO, thousands of dollars worth of gear, major online publicity, and bragging rights.

Contest ends May 31st 2012, but don’t wait! Each week contestants are automatically entered into weekly giveaways for more great gear from our sponsors! The earlier you sign up, the more chances you have to win prizes.

Contest graphic