As some of you may already know… over the course of the last year, I have downsized all of my belongings, moved into a tiny house and back out of a tiny house. That last part wasn’t by my choosing though.
It’s a long story, so if you want all the details, you can read my blog post about it here. The Reader’s Digest version is that my builder messed up a lot of things on it, so I eventually demanded a refund and he took the house back, leaving me to start all over.
Needless to say, after stressing out about it for about five months straight, I needed a bit of a breather to clear my head. Not to mention get through the holiday season. But now that things are starting to calm down a little, it’s time to start planning my next tiny house journey.
After all, I still LOVE the lifestyle. I don’t miss any of my old stuff and I still want to live mortgage-free. I just don’t want to have dirty water come in my house whenever it rains or cabinet doors that come off in my hand. Call me crazy that way.
BUT… now that I do have the opportunity for a do-over, it’s raised a few questions for me. The biggest one being…
Should I do another tiny house or go with a renovated camper?
During my last journey, I hadn’t even really thought about a renovated camper. Sure, I had seen a few and thought they were cute, but I thought the renovated school buses and storage containers were cute too, didn’t mean I was buying one.
But now that I’ve had a little time to think about it, there are certain things about a camper that appeal to me too. The biggest one being they are a whole lot CHEAPER than a tiny house. But also they’re even more mobile, so I’d be able to “pick up and go” a lot easier.
I’m not saying I’ll definitely do a camper this time. In fact, I usually go back and forth about every 5 minutes or so.
This is why I haven’t started down any definite path yet.
But, I am looking into both options because they both are very appealing in their own way. And after all, I’ve already gotten rid of 90% of my stuff, so the hard part is over!
So what are the pro’s and con’s for a tiny house vs. a renovated camper? Let’s take a look:
- PRO: They are just stinkin cute. I mean come on.
- PRO: They are more spacious than an RV and can include additional living spaces like a loft or outdoor deck.
- PRO: They feel more “homey” and can be custom designed and personalized for your individual lifestyle.
- PRO: They have “real” showers (or at least bigger than the ones in an RV).
- PRO: There are more toilet options in a tiny house from low water flush toilets to composting to incinerating.
- PRO: They are more substantial structures so they should (when built properly!) hold up better than an RV.
- PRO: It can be a place to call home… a landing spot… a “home base.”
- PRO: They are better insulated than an RV so a little easier to heat/cool and keep dry.
- CON: Since people are still not very familiar with tiny homes, it is much more difficult finding legal parking.
- CON: They are not as easily mobile as an RV, requiring a pretty substantial size truck to pull them and more logistics to hook-up and tear-down.
- CON: They are more expensive than a lot of small RV’s and renovated campers.
- CON: There aren’t really any specific “tiny house” codes or standards for builders quite yet, so it’s hard to find where you fit in.
- CON: Getting insurance on a tiny house can be hard since the homeowners people tell you it’s an RV and the RV people tell you it’s a home…
- CON: You still have to pay for utilities unless you have a water catchment system, propane and/or solar panels (more costs).
- PRO: I hate to repeat myself… but come on, they are so stinkin cute! Again, when they are done right.
- PRO: They are much cheaper than a tiny house (if built by a builder like I will be doing again).
- PRO: They are more easily mobile since most times, you can either drive them or pull them with a car, as opposed to having to rent a large truck to pull a tiny house.
- PRO: It is much easier to find parking for a camper since people aren’t “confused” like they are with TH’s.
- PRO: No utility bills!
- PRO: There’s not much space so that means no ability to hoard or hold on to stuff that I don’t need to. (Even though I already downsized considerably, I’m not gonna lie… the thought of having to get rid of even more is appealing!)
- PRO: More overall “freedom” to roam the countryside, work from anywhere and meet lots of new people!
- CON: They are not insulated as well as a TH, so they are harder to heat & cool and moisture can be an issue.
- CON: Gasoline costs.
- CON: Bathroom blues like a tiny (or non-existent) shower and having to dump the… stuff.
- CON: May be less dependable and more apt to have things break easily (which is a problem since I’m not very “handy”!)
- CON: I would not have a permanent “home base” anywhere which can be both a pro and a con.
- CON: The crowds I would be hanging with at the RV park may be substantially older than me and/or louder than me if they are just there to party (whereas I’m there to live).
- CON: I would want to purchase one that is already renovated (since I again, don’t really have the time or know-how to do it myself), which makes the chances of finding a nice one in my price range even more slim. Doable… but few and far between.
So, which way to go?
I’m not sure. Yet. But that’s the beauty of a tiny journey… I don’t have to follow anyone else’s “expectations” or go the popular route. Whichever way I decide to go, it will be because it’s the type of life I want to create and the way I want to wake up every day.
Either way, it’s going to be without a mortgage and of course… it’s going to be purple.
Ready to start your own downsizing journey? Grab my FREE “DeClutter, DeTox, DeStress” cheatsheet now and get on your way!
Jenn Baxter is an accomplished writer in Charlotte, NC, who launched her website, Live a F.a.s.t. Life, based on her own experiences with clean living and downsizing into a 160 sq. ft. tiny house. Quickly gaining recognition in the tiny house community, her posts have been featured on popular tiny house sites like Cometcamper.com, TinyHouseTalk.com and SimplyTinyFreedom.com. She released her first eBook, “Tiny Abundance” in September 2015 and will be releasing an e-course on downsizing and clean, stress-free living in early 2016.