Guest Post by Laura LaVoie
We just returned to our tiny house from a week long camping trip (and two week total vacation). We are so happy to be home in our little space on our mountain. We have camped before, often at festivals and typically for at least four days at a time.
This was our first 8 day camping trip and we only made it to the 7th day; we were simply ready to go home. We had a great time and I would do it again. I miss all of our friends and the community we built for that short time.
What found interesting were the number of parallels between tiny house living and long term festival camping. Here are some of the things I learned.
- Have the right equipment. When we downsized our lives to move into in the tiny house we made sure we had all the necessary things to live comfortably but not take up a lot of space. One of the things we’ve struggled with is pots and pans. We were given a small pot and pan set which appeared as though it wouldn’t take up much space but it doesn’t stack or store well. While we were camping our friend had a nice set of stackable camping pots which worked great. We were excited by the idea that we can replace our current set with the ones that stack so they store better in the tiny house. Looking at luxury camping equipment for your small space is a great way to get the things you need and have them be as functional as possible.
- Don’t skip the comfort. We don’t actually camp at these festivals, we “Glamp.” Glamping is a portmanteau for glamorous camping and we don’t skimp on anything. One night we made a six course meal and hosted a very successful dinner party. Our tents were nearly as comfortable as our homes with real bedding and as much organization as we could muster. Our kitchen and bar were well stocked. Living in a tiny house, even one off the grid like we do, doesn’t mean you have to trade comfort for simplicity. We have a nice mattress and a comfortable sofa for relaxing. We’ve nearly finished building an outdoor kitchen to make use of our mountain as much as we can. Just because we have a small house doesn’t mean we have to hide inside all the time.
- Be respectful. When camping with a large group of people you have to keep a lot of things in mind. We had 10 people at our campsite but the festival hosted over 1000. Be respectful when people are sleeping. Clean up after yourself when you’ve been cooking. Be responsible for trash. Pitch in to help with setting up or taking down. Chances are you aren’t living in a tiny house with 10 other people, but being courteous of the person you do live with or just the space in general is good practice. We do the dishes and put them away after every meal. We keep all of our personal items neatly put away where they belong. It is easy to come inside, kick off your shoes, throw your keys and mail on the table, and ignore it. Instead, take a moment to put the shoes in the closet, the keys on the hook, open and distribute mail appropriately, and straighten up before relaxing. It really only takes a few minutes especially in such a small space. Also, divide any daily or weekly chores up so no one becomes frustrated that they are doing all the work.
- Always have fun. I was really impressed with the positivity that everyone in our camp possessed. Even when things were going wrong, no one pouted or got overly upset. We all just did what we needed to do to solve the problem. When you’re living and working in a small space every day staying positive is key. This is not to say you won’t have a bad day now and again, but dwelling on the negative never helped anyone.
Living and working in a small space can be very rewarding as long as it is the right move for you. Never shoehorn yourself into a situation that isn’t right. There are lessons to be learned from camping or tiny house living that can be applied to any lifestyle. Stay positive, comfortable and neat and you’ll find things are much easier.