This Cargo Trailer Converted to Homey, Cozy, Off-Grid RV is a guest post by Elizabeth Kelch
One trend in the tiny living movement is converted cargo trailers. The advantages to this are;
- they’re lighter weight,
- more easily mobile,
- and can often be used for free by ‘stealth camping’.
I recently got the guts to take the leap and I bought a 7×12 insulated cargo trailer and converted it to an off-grid micro RV. My tiny RV is designed for one person, maybe a couple, because I wanted to keep it very simple and lightweight but there’s no reason I couldn’t apply the same principles to an 8×20 trailer.
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Woman Converts Cargo Trailer into Off-Grid RV for $7k
I encourage you to read the rest of my story (including how much this cost me) and tour the rest of my DIY cargo trailer micro camper below:
My dream started years ago when my kids were little and I wanted to take them traveling. I wanted plenty of outdoor living and the convenience of an RV to be able to head out on the spur of the moment.
Back then my idea was a campground and lots of outdoor living but now I want to travel to urban and rural environments. As time went on I wondered why I had to pay for a campground. If I’m respectful and polite and don’t infringe on the rights of those around me, why can’t I live wherever and however I want?
My 7’x12′ Insulated Cargo Trailer ‘Before’ Shot
One of my problems with traditional RVs is the dark, closed in space. What I like about my cargo trailer is that it has a large ramp door on the back which, in this case, becomes opening a wall of your home and invites the outdoors in.
I open my ramp door and prop the end on my jacks so that it becomes level and I enjoy the slightly elevated patio. It’s one of my favorite features.
The ‘After’ Shot of my Cargo Trailer After Converting it to Home
The process took $7,000 and about a month of time. I parked my trailer in the driveway and- with the help of my very supportive fella- worked on it out of the garage. We kept it very simple starting with painting the plywood walls and insulating the underside. Next, we added the kitchen. It’s a used countertop and sink on two stock cabinets. And I use an RV pump handle faucet to maintain mindfulness of my water usage. The bed is a mattress on plywood with storage in milk crates underneath. This system offers tons of storage space.
The Micro Kitchen
Simple Gravity Plumbing and Water Storage w/ Hand Pump
How some of my other daily living needs are met:
- Plumbing – I have a 5-gallon tank/bucket and a 5-gallon gray water tank/bucket under my sink (you can see it above). At the moment I have to obviously fill my 5 gallon supply bucket by hand but an addition I’d like for the future is a rainwater catchment system and a Berkey Gravity Water Filter.
- Cooking – I have a solar oven and propane stove.
- Electricity – I have Goal Zero’s Yeti 1250 Kit with panels mounted on the roof.
- Toilet – For now I have a chemical port-a-potty. Soon I’ll have a composting toilet with a sawdust bucket under a wooden box disguised as a seat.
- Shower – Yet to be added, I’ll have a solar shower bag hanging outside with brackets for a privacy curtain mounted on the outside of the trailer. Or I may just use a commercially available shower tent. This will be great in a warm rural environment but I happen to be retired military and will want to use the gym anyway so I’ll shower at the nearest military base.
- Heating – Propane fueled space heater.
- Cooling – Fans.
Life is a Journey Not a Destination
The saying, “life is a journey not a destination,” certainly applies to this adventure for me. I even like to think about how this might be useful for people with unstable housing situations. There’s a whole community of people who could be served by off-grid living. This RV and the journey that it is are new to me. I continue to have ideas and read articles about ideas for improvements. I have lots of big plans, like the water catchment system I mentioned above, in my head for continued improvements and look forward to the journey.
Elizabeth, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! If you have your own story to share submit it here.
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