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Tiny house options

Tiny houses vs safari tents – let’s take a closer look

Looking at living off-grid? We take a look at the tiny house vs the safari tent – the practicalities, the aesthetics, and of course, the costs!

If you’re thinking of joining the off-grid or tiny home lifestyle community, then chances are you’ve already investigated the options for free-range living. Northland’s sub-tropical climate does lend itself to tented, year-round living, although the winters can be long, wet, and – let’s be honest – colder than you’d think! We of the North are hardy folk, however, and many of us would think nothing of ‘roughing it’ for a few years if we had the chance to go off-grid. We’ve spoken to quite a number of would-be lifestylers now, and the choice always seems to boil down to two main options: tiny houses vs safari tents. Where you fall on this debate can largely come down to cost, but there are many other considerations that you should be taking into consideration. Here’s a quick, realistic comparison on what these two options will deliver.

How much will a tiny home cost vs a safari tent?

Tiny house - pod

Tiny house costs

Currently, a tiny house will set you back anywhere from $14,750 for a basic, open plan portable cabin without facilities of any kind through to luxury options –which can go up to 37sq metres in size, and sell for anywhere from $90,000 and upwards. Honestly, the sky is the limit with how expensive these tiny homes can get – depending on whether you want all of the off-grid bells and whistles such as composting toilets (around $1000 for a very basic option such as the Bambooloo solar panels and potable water systems. The costs for a tiny home can become very similar, in fact, to a small regular home: so be aware of escalating prices as you plan. Also, tiny homes will need to be transported to your site, and the site itself will need to be fairly level. These may sound like small considerations, however the formation of a driveway alone can cost many thousands of dollars.

tiny house - safari tent2

Safari tent costs

Purchasing a safari tent for placement on your land or section can also add up pricewise. While a basic safari tent structure can start at around $15,000, Safaritents estimates around $40-$50,000 as an initial complete outlay, including decking and frame construction, and partitioning. These aren’t ordinary tents, mind – these are genuinely long-lasting, hard-wearing living structures, designed for everyday living. They’re designed to withstand the harshest conditions and the strongest winds, and the experience of sleeping and living in one is not far off from that of living in a cabin. Looking at costs of tents, we can see that a top-of-the-line canvas tent from Kiwi Camping will set you back $3,500 – but this is a family camping/holiday tent, as opposed to a true-blue safari tent. The difference? A safari tent is constructed around a solid frame, reducing turbulence within the structure. A safari tent often contains wooden partitions, giving a more ‘solid’ feel. A safari tent is able to comfortably fit household furniture – and a safari tent can even be insulated. Yes, the price bracket places it in a similar category to the tiny home option: and you would still need to organise your utilities: power, water and waste.

Practicalities of living: safari tents vs tiny homes

Tiny house - floor plan

Tiny house

If you have children, are about to have children, or are thinking of having children in the near future, then the practicalities of living in a non-traditional structure do come into play. Likewise, if you are elderly, unwell or in some way disadvantaged, then you may need to know which of these living options will give you a more comfortable experience. Tiny homes have walls. That’s point number one. OK – it’s an obvious point – but anyone who’s transitioned from a family camping holiday to a family caravanning holiday can attest to the difference four walls can make! The outside world instantly feels a bit more remote, the sense of security is greater, and the stability of a ‘normal’ home is more tangible. If it rains, the solid roof provides shelter, and you can close up the windows while still keeping a clear view. When it blows, the walls don’t flap about. Tiny homes are often double-glazed and well-insulated, so they’re easy to keep warm in the winter. Tiny homes also offer a standard kitchen, and comfortable (if tiny) bathrooms. If you’re wanting a lower price tag more than a back-to-nature eco experience, then a tiny home may be your best bet.

Safari tents

Practically-speaking, safari tents are ideal for remote locations due to their versatility. This is their strength: that, and a certain versatility of internal space use. When it comes to practicality, the reality is that tents are tents – they do react to wind (although a solidly constructed safari tent is a far cry from your standard Kiwi camping holiday tent), and they have windows that need to be rolled up or zipped open. They require an adjustment in thinking: if you’re not a fan of camping, then this isn’t the life for you. Also, it is rare to find a safari tent set up with a bathroom inside. The smaller ‘luxuries’ in life, such as having a bathroom under the same roof, will take a backseat – but for some, this is exactly the appeal. For a faster construction, choose a safari tent, for a softer profile and easier transportation, choose a safari tent. For standard home comforts? Choose a tiny house.

Aesthetics of a safari tent vs a tiny house

This is where your heart needs to rule your head – many people adore the rustic country-cottage look of the tiny house, which is easier to adjust to for those who aren’t camping or eco-minded. If you intend to live within a section of unspoiled native bush, however, a safari tent would be the ideal dwelling: a low-profile, tasteful and comfortable living option. Also, the logistics of traversing large tracts of bush would tip the scales in favour of a canvas structure.

In conclusion – if you’re weighing up the pros and cons of alternative living structures, be sure to take into account all angles before making your choice: don’t be scared of contacting those who have experience, and ask for a detailed breakdown of cost!

Considering an alternative lifestyle? Contact goodGround real estate for current listings.