Tents and RVs are the common shelters that come to mind when you think of camping. What you may not realize is that other options exist for a shelter that is a bit out of the ordinary. Maybe you want an extra-light shelter for backpacking, or maybe you just want a portable home reminiscent of your off-the-beaten-path nature. Whatever your reasons, a few of these unusual shelters have become more popular.
The yurt was originally a shelter for nomadic tribes in Asia. These round shelters consist of a wooden lattice frame surrounded by a sturdy canvas shell. They can easily be broken down and moved in the back of a truck or SUV, and constructed in a new location in less than a day. Larger models are much easier to put up with a partner's help, but smaller yurts can be assembled by just one person. Yurt interiors range from primitive and portable to elaborate wooden interiors that make the yurt more of a semi-permanent vacation home.
In the category of highly portable shelters, consider the hammock tent. Essentially, this is a hammock with a shell around it to keep out bugs and the elements. Most come with a rain fly that can be mounted over the top on rough weather days. These small shelters require no poles to set up, just a pair of trees in fairly close proximity. On nights spent in the open or above the treeline, they can be assembled on the ground with hiking poles.
A more recent phenomenon is the tiny house. These are literally small houses, and while they can be permanent structures, they are often built on trailers to make them portable shelters. Some are even constructed on boat shells or pontoons to create tiny houseboats. Plans are available online to build your own, or they can be purchased complete, just like a small RV.
Article Written By Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.