This is a guest post by Kathleen of Tiny House, Tiny Footprint.
We’re Kathleen and Greg. A year ago, we left our city apartment in Denver in hopes of finding a more affordable and rewarding lifestyle.
Our plan? To live in a camper trailer while we build a tiny house.
Couple Living Tiny in a 140 Sq. Ft. Camper Trailer
Images © Tiny House, Tiny Footprint
In the fall, we found a 1969 camper for $1,800 on Craigslist and searched for land on Airbnb. After a month, we got lucky and found a great spot outside the city with views of mountains and foothills.
We spent the first few months living in our trailer while doing renovations. Greg worked to build insulation blocks covered in radiant barrier to cover the walls and windows. We made our own cushion covers and curtains.
We had to adapt to living a little off the grid. While we are connected to power and WiFi, we do not have access to running water. Instead, we refill gallon jugs and shower at the gym. We also use a composting toilet.
When we began our tiny house design and build process, we got disenchanted with how much money we would have to spend. The added cost for a land loan combined with the materials and labor to build a tiny house seemed like the reverse reason why we were interested in tiny living in the first place.
We decided to ditch those plans and just live in the camper trailer.
Our goal is to inspire others to live this lifestyle, whether it’s on the road or in one location. You don’t have to give everything up to live small.
We want to encourage people to reduce their environmental footprint by limiting water use and other daily resources.
Images © Tiny House, Tiny Footprint
New… Check out Kathleen’s Book, Van Life Diaries! It’s out on Amazon…
Our big thanks to Kathleen for sharing her story with us!
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I loved little story. Over the last 15 years I’ve lived in 3 different buses, a 5’x10′ utility trailer and now I’m in a nice size pickup truck camper while I finish building my THOW. If you and yours are FB people feel free to look me up on FB Dennis Kern and have a look around in my photo album called “Building to Dew Drop Inn” and let me know what you think.
Peace along the way
Dennis the bus dweller }:o)
Dennis, I am so jealous of you:) It is awesome to see someone living the “dream”. My daughter is 22 and will be moving out soon. I’m going to see if I can figure something out for myself and my 100 pound service animal. I live in Las Vegas and the rents here are ridiculous.
That little camper is similar to the one my husband and I lived in. We were able to park it on my father in law’s land under a large barn. It slept 6. It had a couch that pulled out to a bed and a bunk that pulled down above that and the dining area could be made into a bed. It had a tiny bathroom, but the pipes were all messed up so we had an outhouse and would shower at in law’s. We absolutely loved the year we lived there and miss it.
Wow, Liz, did someone pee in your cheerios?! I didn’t see any trash lying around and those “weeds” look like flowers. Sure, the trailer could be repainted – and I’m sure that’s the last consideration anyone has if they’re attempting to leave within a very small budget.
I meant to post “that’s the last consideration anyone has if they’re attempting to *live* within a very small budget.
How inspiring and refreshing when I hear and see stories such as this.. People and couples who share and practice the same kind of ideologies are true heroes to me.. Keep stories like this flowing.. it makes my day..
Wow, how hateful, not to mention showing your ignorance, too, of local wildflowers. I felt they are really engaged in tiny house living, instead of all the people who post to whine about what they MUST have, or how unsuitable a certain home is for them. Like who cares already. This couple is making do to see what they need, versus want, and should be applauded. They didn’t deserve your snide, inaccurate remark.
Agree with your comment 100%. In my opinion, those who cannot do, just make nasty and snarky comments. This young couple is trying very hard to make a life for themselves and all the OP could do was make nasty comments. If they were my kids, I would be very proud of them for what they are doing.
Exactly. Liz’s remark was very mean-spirited.
I thought I was imagining that I was the only one who wanted to do this. Am currently designing a 10×6 DIY camper built on a 4×8 trailer and want to live in something I own without having a roommate or landlord throw a fit at me when a girlfriend/relative wants to move in and I’m homeless. This brings me hope that my dream isn’t just smoke.
It makes me pine for the days when my husband and I were young and full of energy like these two young people. They and their beautiful dog look happy and I wish them well, and I respect their choice to live in a way that is kind to the environment.
As near as I can figure it, you mistook tall wildflowers for weeds, and a propane tank and her hat or purse put down momentarily next to it. As I’ve moved through this life, I’ve noticed that those who are intimidated by change tend to attack those who just go ahead and TRY. It takes no great intellect to pick apart and complain; but it does take courage to get your butt out there and actually DO something.
Don’t be frightened…..
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I think that young folks are so brave, and believe they are invincible, so are unafraid to do the unconventional, they should go for it, I did things when I was young that others thought was reckless, daring, even foolish, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything else. I especially think that while they have no children, this is when they should do what they want. If they do have children, it becomes what is fair for the whole family, and may make them rethink their living without plumbing (baby poo, baths, etc.), it is nice and cozy, romantic, and they have the ability to save up their money, or use it how they want, I think it is great. I am older, and want to go tiny, but need plumbing personally, and that is the word, personally, it is what they like, so it is right for them. Too bad that there is always a gloomy Gus to judge, we will all be judged one day, we don’t have the right to judge others, not our providence. At that age I definitely would have done what they are doing, why not.
Hey Liz-Hope life takes you to a place where you no longer feel the need to wield that acerbic tongue of yours.
This young couple is definitely on the right track, and I admire them for what they are doing. I think I would have a problem with carrying water jugs, but that’s more because of my age than anything else. I really admire anyone who can reduce their use of the planet’s dwindling resources, and feel that even those of us who aren’t in the position of being able to live tiny, can reduce our water and electric consumption in many little ways.
Thanks for this great example of young people making such a difference.
I am 71 and love in a 144 ft tiny house without plumbing and I haul water jugs. Even us oldies can live simply if we want to.
Girls, girls. Calm down. You don’t know me at all. I’ll be living this life real soon and I care enough about where I live and what I live in to keep it looking nice, not like trash. And if it weren’t for people like me who tell the truth, who would you whiney babies have to complain about? If you want to show off your home, show off a nice home. I can look at the local south side if I want to see trash. Now girls, go take a pill and calm down.
Your post is rude, mean spirited, and condescending. Shame on you.
Nope, the only one who needs to “take a pill and calm down” is you. That whining noise? It’s coming from YOU. Oh, and for the love of biscuits, please keep your “trashy” attitude to yourself…
So sorry your relationships keep failing. I know it makes you sad and bitter but being mean really won’t make you feel better. Try kindness and use the “THUMPER RULE”: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Good luck with your upcoming Tiny House adventure!
I recently purchased a 79 invader. Its a 20′ box. We have set it up at my daughters home. My lil corner of the institution. I have been living in it for about 3 weeks. I am 55 yo woman who got tired of paying rent and utilities and getting nowhere. My grandchildren are here every day. I appreciate tips like how to insulate, dehumidifiers etc. I will be having to do some repairs but for $800 what else would I expect. LOL I know how to paint and paper. I want to understand I am not alone in my choice and others are going through difficulties I may have to face. I pay my daughter for lot rental and extra for utilities. I appreciate any information. Thank you for your article.
You are certainly not alone in what you’re facing. I am trying to save enough money ($1500-2000) to build a 10 x 6.5 camper on a 4×8 trailer. It’s hard for me to save the money being between teacher’s aide positions at this moment…but at 65 sq ft…it will be all mine that no one can take from me. From there…want to get a prefab 100 sq ft shed to make my permanent home. For all of this…I have no credit and no one to borrow money from…so I want to pay for this as I go.
That’s what I like. I can now say I own my home. The roof leaks but I have a new tarp on it. Lol My daughter lives in the county in NC. No one seems to have a problem with me living here. My daughter and 5 grandchildren are my next door neighbors. I come & go as I please. What I used to spend just on rent, I now give my daughter. I save money and she gets a lil extra.
I like your small home. It seems to have ever thing you need, and remember weeds are just plants growing were you don’t want them. Enjoy you plants where they are.
Thank you for sharing, I have an old camper that would be a great project and home for me. And I do not mind learning the rip apart and rebuild, I would feel like I really did it. This would give me some time to save for my dream THOWs. There is not much I need to be comfortable and have room for my grandchildren to spent time being out side. Thanks for letting others see the potential of not becoming homeless, as the world keeps changing. I am inspired-up in the Northern part of Canada called the Yukon…
Since you are going to be rebuilding the camper, insulate it well for the cold. It would it be nice to see it here when you are finished.
“We decided to ditch those plans and just live in the camper trailer.”
Why not indeed. Sure simplifies things. My neighbors on either sides of me start cutting their lawns on Monday and finish BY Friday. Blairing Rush all over the neighborhood to educate us…Noise, the smell of gasoline engines, fertilizer poisoning my stream—and can’t understand why I reduced my lawn area. And I can’t understand why people need to cut acres of lawn? Why even have it? And they brag about “not being able to be any further to the right”…how nature needs to be controlled…” You get the idea. Always has to be someone like that around…
Oh yeah–loved everything about this camper trailer post for sure.
RV living is fine if you can get away with it. In El Paso county Colorado you can only live in an RV (full time) for one year ( while building your home) and that’s with a permit.
El Paso county has approved tiny house living in rural areas with certain restrictions. We have a large (8′ x 32′) travel trailer on our property that we use we we go out there but we’re not living there full time,….yet!
I just got my mother’s 8 by 35 ft. travel trailer this month. My plans were to build a THOW but knew I could never afford it. Therefore, when my brother (contractor by trade) said I could have “mom’s” trailer I was thrilled. I am almost 60 with severe arthritis. I live in an 2nd floor apartment and I’m so tired of climbing stairs. After my brother finishes renovating and winterizing my trailer I am parking it in a mobile home park for now and live in it. This story is inspriring but I need indoor plumbing.