Is It illegal To Live In a Canopy Tent In The Woods?

Is it illegal to live in a canopy tent in the woods

For those of us who dream of leaving the hustle and bustle of the city, and escaping into the wilderness, living in a tent in the woods is a dream. But, is it illegal to live in a canopy tent in the woods?

Many states in the United States allow camping for short period. Camping out in the woods in a canopy tent for an extended period can be illegal. Most states have a law that stipulates that you cannot camp in a particular place for longer than 14 days.

So, here are some more details for you. First, the Pacific Northwest region is the one that has the most wooded areas in the States. The states that have the most wilderness are:


Some of these states have stricter laws than the others about camping in the woods for a longer period than necessary. This is mostly out of security reasons. The woods are deserted regions, and there could be wild animals whose territory you are encroaching upon.

There could also be antisocial elements (like you have seen in various movies) that could cause you harm. Venomous snakes, insects, inedible plants, and a lack of amenities also could prove to be detrimental to your wellbeing if you camp out in the woods forever. 

Campers who like to stay away from the city look for plots of forests that are on sale. The caveat is that these plots are few and far between. The Federal and State governments, under whose jurisdiction most forest land comes, do not sell pieces of land to bidders. 

Can someone live in a Canopy tent permanently?  

If you are the kind who likes the rugged outdoors, minimalistic living, and a life that is in harmony with nature, then yes, living in a canopy tent is something that you can do. However, these tents are not as strong as houses. They are not built to weather storms and are not ideal for winters. They cannot keep you safe in case of a forest fire or a strong gust of wind. A canopy tent is rustic, and a temporary shelter. 

There is an increasing number of people who like to live like nomads. Canopy tents can develop tears and rip apart in the wind. Tents can be easily packed and moved from place to place. Given the size and space of canopy tents, there are few items that you can store in them. So, these tents serve as makeshift homes for the wandering soul. Owing to increased demand, there are canopy tents that are highly durable and can be used for extended periods. 

For those of you who are looking at revamping your life in a canopy tent, here are a few pointers. 

  1. Choose the right size of the tent. This might seem like an easy enough job. But, you must take into account the fact that you will be staying in it for life, like, forever. This means that the tent has to accommodate your bed (a sleeping bag would not serve as a comfortable sleeping companion for a long time), some storage boxes, and some seating furniture. 
  2. Choose the right fabric or material for your tent. Canvas tents are more durable and weather-friendly. They are also breathable and can be seasoned periodically to be water-resistant. Since they are not made of highly inflammable material, you can have your campfires closer to your tent without worrying about being caught in a sudden fire. 
  3. Check the cost of repairs. In most cases, making repairs on your tents can be inexpensive, but sometimes, the more durable ones can be too much on your wallet. 

Can you set up a canopy tent anywhere? 

Many wilderness areas allow camping. Though state laws prevent camping for a long time in the same place, most forest rangers and government officials do not trouble you unless you draw attention to yourself. 

Setting up a canopy tent is not allowed on private property. Some areas are not open to the general public in wildlife parks. You are not allowed to encroach upon these areas. 

Before setting up your tent, it would be a good idea to consider the following:

  1. Exposure to the elements – if you are camping close to a lake, river, or slope, you could be in danger from flash floods, excessive moisture, or even animals that come to drink from the water body. Staying too far away from an accessible source of water means that you may run out of water when you need it. Living in the shade of a cliff or in a land that is lower than the rest of the place could mean that any water runoff could end up flooding your tent. 
  2. Security concerns – You are living in a tent. There are no solid walls and there is no secure locking system. This could be a major problem for those who have their valuables or even identification documents with them. 
  3. Tree cover – Although having a tree canopy over your tent could provide shade from the harsh sunlight of the summer months, trees could prove dangerous during rainstorms. Falling branches are a major hazard. The leaves also drip water onto your tent long after the rain has stopped. This could also cause a leak in your tent due to condensation
  4. Wildlife – Since you are camping out in the woods, the chances of running into wildlife are greater than ever. Animals foraging for food could be a major concern. Even rodents could cause irreparable tears in your canopy tent. So, it would be a good idea to set up your tent where there is little movement of wild animals. 

Can you survive winter in a canopy tent? 

When you decide to live in the wild, you are setting yourself up to live closely with nature. Sometimes, in your zeal to explore your wild side, you may overlook some of the pressing problems that come with this lifestyle. 

Winter in a canopy tent could be tough. But, if you are planning to stay permanently in your tent, then, you can choose from a range of options that are designed for those who like the rustic way of life. There are different ways to warm a tent up during winter. Other than those pretty campfires that are a staple of the movies about living in the wild, you do have options.

If you are using a canvas tent, you can use a stove made of wood inside the tent. This will give you some warmth while you sit inside the tent. If you are using a nylon tent, you cannot use a wood stove inside it, as you may end up melting your tent. 

Some campers use a generator or solar panels and batteries to power the heating apparatus within the tent. This could be a better option for those who are looking at using nylon or polyester canopy tents to live in. 

How long will a good canopy tent last?

A good canopy tent can last for years if it is taken care of. Canopy tents come in natural and synthetic fabrics. If you are looking at staying in a tent long-term, then a canvas tent is your best bet. When seasoned properly, it is durable, does not leak, does not develop rips or tears, and is generally safer than synthetic ones.

Owing to demand, many companies have come up with canopy tents that resemble houses. You can choose from tents that have sidewalls, screened windows, fiberglass stove pipe jacks with covers for safety, ridge openings, and zippered doors. 

The new tents that are made for living outdoors for extended periods are weather-proof and do not develop mildew easily. They do not support the growth of mold as well. All things considered; these tents can last for more than five years. Some even come with a warranty for up to three years and a service pack that can be extended beyond five years. Seasoned campers vouch for a few tent manufacturers like Elk Mountain tents, Coleman, WhiteDuck, and Geertop. 

Most of these tents last up to ten years. This is, of course, dependent on the various factors that we have discussed earlier in this post- temperature, wind, rain, interference from wildlife, and how you use your space.

Since you are not allowed to legally camp in the same site for a long time, packing up and moving from place to place could result in wear and tear. If not packed properly, your tent could develop tears along the poles. The stakes could also get damaged easily. Hence, the durability of your tent is largely dependent on how you use it and what it is exposed to. 

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