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270 Sq. Ft. Off-Grid Prospector-Style Tent

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Mat and Danielle from Exploring Alternatives trekked 4 km into the woods to stay in a 270 sq. ft. prospector-style tent that is completely off-grid. The tents are rented out as 4-season accommodation for outdoor enthusiasts in Québec’s Gatineau Park but that’s not the only reason the couple was interested in checking it out. They thought it might also be an interesting option as a permanent or semi-permanent tiny home.

The tent is built with two layers of weather-proof canvas stretched over a wooden frame and is equipped with a double combustion wood stove for heat, a solar panel to power 1 LED light, and a propane fridge to keep food cool. There’s also an outhouse, barbecue, and picnic table outside. To maximize indoor space, the tent has a cascade-style bunkbed that sleeps 4.

After spending 2 nights in the tent, they agreed that it would make a very comfortable tiny house with a handful of modifications, including a more robust solar setup, an indoor composting toilet, larger windows for more daylight, a rainwater collection system (for 3 seasons), and a small couch for relaxing by the fire.

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270 Sq. Ft. Off-Grid Prospector-Style Tent/Cabin

270 Sq. Ft. Off-Grid Prospector-Style TentImages © Exploring Alternatives

This prospector’s style tent is completely off-grid, and you actually have to hike 4 km (2.5 miles) to get to it.

270 Sq. Ft. Off-Grid Prospector-Style Tent

Once you’re there, though, it seems pretty cozy. Fireplace, table, kitchenette. What do you think?

270 Sq. Ft. Off-Grid Prospector-Style Tent

Images © Exploring Alternatives

Video: Off-Grid Prospector-Style Tent: A Tiny House Alternative

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What are your thoughts on living in an off-grid prospector-style tent like this?

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Danielle is a digital nomad who is passionate about tiny spaces, living with less, reducing waste and eating plant-based food. Danielle is half of the Exploring Alternatives blog & video project. You can find more of her at www.ExploringAlternatives.ca and her Exploring Alternatives YouTube Channel.
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Marcy
    January 21, 2016, 10:49 am

    When I saw the title tent, I wasn’t expecting this. Basically, it’s a A-frame house. Interesting. I imagine that one could make this quite livable as a full time home by just some minor changes that one would need for an actual home.

  • Elizabeth Rubio
    January 21, 2016, 1:23 pm

    Dawn Owens: I agree with your comments. It really does come down to money and special interests, doesn’t it? That is to say, who has the money and wants to keep it and who has the power. But I am encouraged by the increasing number of ordinary citizens who are voting with their feet: constructing their own dwellings and doing the same for homeless people, giving their own money and time to help in times of disaster and speaking up. The more of us who do such things will eventually create a tide that will cause building codes to be changed, food and shelter to become available to those who need it, renewable power sources to be fully utilized, health care to be available to every last person. It won’t happen overnight, but I think we are on the way. Thank you for making your voice heard in a public forum.

  • alice h
    January 21, 2016, 3:13 pm

    I’ve spent a Yukon winter living in a wall tent on a platform with sidewalls, it can be nice and cozy. Until the fire goes out anyway. It even had a loft. Several old buildings around Whitehorse started life as wall tents and gradually got boarded in, roofed over and turned into “real” houses.

    • Sheridan Collins
      July 3, 2019, 12:35 pm

      What brand of tent did you have?

  • Deb Cain
    January 22, 2016, 1:36 am

    I would so love to live in a prospectors tent! Does anyone know where to purchase one? Maybe surplus? And really cheap is my price range~as I have found myself homeless again! Thank you, I’ve always admired tiny homes. Hope to have one soon!

  • Rue
    January 22, 2016, 3:12 am

    There’s a guy on Ice Lake Rebels that lives on one of these as his “houseboat” (basically a prospector ‘s tent on a raft), and it always made me wonder….how durable are they, long-term? How long before the tent walls start falling apart?

    That said, this would be great for off-the-grid, homeless, or emergency housing for a few years. The “cascade” bunk arrangement is pretty interesting too (though I’d put the person with the strongest bladder on top!). I bet you could make this really homey with the right bits and pieces.

  • Sandi B
    January 23, 2016, 6:05 am

    Tents are quite adaptable — I had one for my bedroom at our vacation house growing up in Washington — in Paulsbo to be exact across from the Navel base. It was quite serviceable. — Was not double walled but on a platform, had high side walls etc. was about 12 x 20.

    I also think the cascading bunk beds are interesting — who would have thought. Something like this would certainly be doable if you owned your own property or were on a family members property etc. Not something that would pass any kind of inspection. But a great alternative idea for those short on cash and long on ideas and enthusiasm! Thanks for the share.

  • Harold Conover [Hal]
    January 24, 2016, 4:29 pm

    I thought that place was cool. I could hang out there. Maybe do some trapping , and hunting, fishing…..??? Who no’s?

  • Charles Tersteeg
    February 4, 2016, 1:46 pm

    I’d live in this in a heartbeat with a few modifications! I found a video showing them build one. Now to find a place to build!

  • Eric
    February 18, 2016, 5:21 am

    Hmmm, problem, touch the walls and instant destruction of the waterproofing if it is wet on the outside. Never seen ONE tent of any description that didn’t have this… (cough, cough) feature.

  • Jim
    March 23, 2019, 3:21 pm

    Who is the manufacturer of this prospector style tent?

  • Sheridan Collins
    July 3, 2019, 12:37 pm

    Looks like a custom buildt on a wood frame.

  • Janet
    December 7, 2020, 10:30 am

    Fun. I grew up in Alaska and worked a summer camp as a teen that had similar, although smaller tents on wooden platforms. My first thought is: better make sure and hike ALL your food scraps back out as the bears would have a ball with that. It’s cool.

  • Mary
    December 7, 2020, 11:25 am

    What about bears? Does not seem very bear safe. Sure the can smell the food inside and their claws could rip it open with ease?

    • janet pierce
      December 8, 2020, 8:35 am

      Oh yes. I’ve seen sturdy cabins with doors clawed out when foods left behind, even canned foods. We had to vigilantly check campers for any snack or food items in their tents. Food is usually put in a cache box, up high on a nearby tree when living in remote, (and not so remote), areas and all is packed out when leaving.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 8, 2020, 3:50 pm

      Hmmm that’s a good point. Not sure how many bears there are in the area — or maybe they hang food out of reach?

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