Tent Life

It’s January in Texas and I’ve been living in the tent for 2 weeks now. Everyone asks if it’s cold.

The radiator that I have has a hard time heating up the whole tent when the temperature drops below 40 degrees fahrenheit. In these temperatures the only thing that’s really changed about my bedroom lifestyle is that I wear more clothes. I really don’t want an electric blanket. However, I have been looking into getting reusable sodium acetate heat packs for extra cold nights.
One major thing that I forgot to do while setting up the tent was to lay down a layer of insulation between the deck and the tent floor. The floor of the tent is very cold. I still haven’t bought a large carpet for the floor. I’m still looking at options which include rugs made for tents that are pre-insulated.

I had a minor water leak at the electrical line entrance. I solved this problem by stapling together the extra material and stuffing the gaps with a small hand towel.

It took me a weekend to move in, a weekend to unpack, and this weekend to tidy up to finally feel moved into the tent.

I completely get ready for work in the tent, aside from using the restroom. On most work days I: wake up, go inside, use the restroom, pour a cup of cold brew, go back in the tent, put on makeup, get dressed, do hair, get the paper for dad, leave for work, come home, relax in the tent, eat in the house, shower in the house, internets, yoga, and bed in the tent.

Today I tightened up the guy ropes, sprayed some bug spray around the perimeter, swept, and dusted. Today was also the first day that I opened up all the windows and left the screen door entrance open. The temperature was about 65, heater was off, and the cool breeze was blowing through the tent.

Below are some pictures of my setup so far.

Looking in to the right.
Looking in to the right.
Looking in to the left.
Looking in to the left.
Looking right from the entrance.
The “living room”. Looking right from the entrance.
The "bedroom". Looking left from the entrance.
The “bedroom”. Looking left from the entrance.
Desk area. Starting from left: Heater, ferret cage under desk, computer, desk stuff, make-up mirror, chair that doubles as a clothes hanger, make-up box.
Desk area. Starting from left: Heater, ferret cage under desk, computer, desk stuff, make-up mirror, chair that doubles as a clothes hanger, make-up box.
Looking out from the desk is my sofa, end table, trash can, yoga matt, brita water pitcher, an open suitcase that holds shoes, purses and an umbrella.
Looking out from the desk is my sofa, end table, trash can, yoga matt, brita water pitcher, an open suitcase that holds shoes, purses and an umbrella.
This view is looking towards my bed from the sofa. I have laid a bookcase on its side to block off the bed. It also serves as my closet and bookshelf. I do my hair at the mirror to the right.
This view is looking towards my bed from the sofa. I have laid a bookcase on its side to block off the bed. It also serves as my closet and bookshelf. I do my hair at the mirror to the left.
Looking out from the bed.
Looking out from the bed.
Make-up box and "clothes rack".
Make-up box and “clothes rack”.
My heater.
My heater.
The ferrets.
The ferrets.
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Build the deck, Pitch the tent

The tent is finally up. It was easy and looks very spacious inside.

The deck was built earlier this week by a friend of my Dad. It was built 16x16ft. The tent is 16.4ft across the diameter of the groundsheet. So it’s a tad bit too small. Looking at it now, we are thinking a 18x18ft platform would be best for a 16.4ft bell tent.

The tent was relatively easy to pitch. Simpler than some other camping tents that I’ve assembled before. You begin by spreading out the tent and deciding where the door will go. Since the deck is square and the tent is round, I decided to put the entrance on one of the corners of the deck. This way I have a space to remove my shoes before I enter. After you have the tent in place, you put up the center pole and it looks kind of like a teepee.
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center pole


The entrance has an A-Frame style pole. This is a nice feature because it allows you to enter the tent without having to duck or crawl in. Additionally, the overhang of material on the entrance and the slope should help keep rain from falling into the tent when the entrance is opened.
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After installing the A-frame, we staked in the guy ropes and tightened them. All that was left was to attach the “screen door”.
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The tent is not as moisture proof and water resistant as I thought. It appears that the electricity entrance hole is at the bottom of the tent and not at the top as I had understood.
See below quote for tent specs from canvas camp.

Zipped front door for fast access. The corners of the doors have a flap that allows power cables into the tent without having to make a hole or affect flood proofing.

It seems that the huge hole for the power cables is enough to affect flood proofing.

Either way, I’m pleased. I’ll soon be living rent free with a main house to access as needed – cigarette smoke included. It’s a temporary solution to be close to family and gain a savings. Last official day in my central Houston location is December 31st.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Making my home a tent never crossed my mind until just a few weeks ago on Sunday, November 9th. I spent only that day researching online and reading blogs. The very next evening after work, I placed my order.

Almost a year of wanting to move closer to my father has led to this decision.

Ever since my father’s chemotherapy I’ve wanted to move back into my parents house.  I can’t though because he and my mother smoke cigarettes inside the house. I also avoid living in apartments. And most of all, I wanted to be close. Real close. Like, walk across the street in your pajamas close.
This led me to trying to rent from a close friend of mine who lives across the street from my dad. She was moving out in June of 2014. It was nice small 2 bedroom house that was $500 over my budget. My parents said they would help cover the costs, but it was too good to be true. For many unpleasant reasons that plan fell through.

It wasn’t until October, after my dad had an accident, that I had the idea to have a tiny house built in the backyard. Another good friend of mine even offered to have her husband build it. We made the plans to have it built that month. It was going to be a 10x12ft tiny house with running water, a real toilet connected to the house sewage line, shower, electricity, and of course a cool loft bed with plenty of nice windows. I was so excited about the tiny house that I felt like I had won the lottery. Not only would I be able to be über close to my dad, I could save a ton of money too.

You really are not allowed to just put up a little house in your backyard without out letting the city know. But people put sheds up in their backyards all the time. And because you can pass it off as a “shed”, it’s very easy to get away with unnoticed. However if noticed by the right people, the city can make you take it down and fine you. After much debate, my dad wasn’t willing to break city codes.

That night, after he said no to the tiny house, I asked him if he would call the police for trespassing if I moved into a tent in the backyard. He said he wouldn’t. I thought it was really cute though when he told me I wasn’t allowed to live in a tent.

So, like I said, I spent the day researching and reading blogs, especially this one. And there you have it.

Will I have electricity? Yes. Will it be cold/hot? Sometimes, but electric blankets, ceramic space heaters, and fans help.

Will I finally have a savings account? Yes.
Will I be able to give back to the home and person that gave to me? Yes.
Am I sure I want to do this? Yes.

It’s Official

Within a week I’ll start moving into a canvas bell tent.
I currently live very near downtown Houston in a small garage apartment. I’ll be moving into my parent’s backyard.

The floor of the tent is a circle and is 16.4 feet in diameter.  The peak of the tent is in the center and is about 9 feet at its highest point. I’m anticipating that it will be cozy. Large enough to fit 4 queen sized mattresses in, I may get a divider that will divide the tent in half.

The tent arrived last week weighing in at 84 pounds. I haven’t opened it yet because I’m waiting for the deck to be built. I’m placing it on a platform for a couple of reasons. In order to keep it off the ground from weathering and to provide a level solid surface for me to place my bed, sofa, and desk/table.

The deck process will begin late this week. I’ll update soon.