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Living in a Toyota Prius

This is the story of someone who’s been living in a Toyota Prius for 5,000 miles.

Have you ever thought of converting your car into a micro camper for traveling?

It certainly isn’t the most comfortable thing to do in the world, but could the adventure be worth it?

Would love to read about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thank you!

Living in a Toyota Prius for 5,000 Miles

Living in a Toyota Prius 001

© RosiPov.com

Living in a Toyota Prius 002 Living in a Toyota Prius 003 Living in a Toyota Prius 004 Living in a Toyota Prius 005 Living in a Toyota Prius 006
Living in a Toyota Prius 007

© RosiPov.com

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 39 comments… add one }
  • Don Lowery
    August 8, 2016, 3:32 pm

    Love the idea…but the reality is that unless you are some place which is safe (from being hassled by the police and others who don’t want you there)…you are not going to find this may be an option. In the three days I lived out of my SUV when I moved last month from Colorado…I was scared of the police and others in the big box store parking lot where I slept nights. On the other hand…if you’re camping in parks & such…go for it…in cities where you’re constantly looking “over your shoulder”…not so much.

  • CathyAnn
    August 8, 2016, 3:40 pm

    I’ve watched a couple of YouTube videos on people living out of their Prius who say they’re quite happy with it. Now, that’s what I call living a minimalist lifestyle!

    The people on those videos, however, didn’t spend a lot of time in cities, but spend time visiting national/state parks, and boondocking on BLM lands.

  • Diana
    August 8, 2016, 4:42 pm

    Ok, would be nice to have a story to go with these pictures!
    I have traveled and stayed with a tent out of my Prius many times. It is great to have the mpg the Prius gets and with the hatchback you have space to pack what you need. With a tent you can find state parks and rv parks that don’t cost much but you have your bath house to clean up. I tend to buy things as a vegan that I can use my cooler and just purchase ice from time to time and in some rv parks they have ice for less than normal prices. I have found a lot of nice folks along the way. Also, certain places you can fill up spring water for no cost if you know where to find it. I always carry a lot of water bottles along so I can make it from place to place rather than buy plastic bottles, I carry glass. I’m a health person so I like keeping it along these lines. I probably could live like this, especially if I had to. But its sure a lot of fun to travel like this and not spend tons of money on an rv and the gas it takes to drive them and the big trucks.

    • CathyAnn
      August 8, 2016, 7:38 pm

      Diana, I feel like you do. A tent would be a great way to go with a car this size. And paying for a lot of gas… not me! lol!

    • signalfire
      August 8, 2016, 9:07 pm

      There’s a story at the link right under the pictures.

  • Melanie
    August 8, 2016, 4:52 pm

    I lived in my car (Ford Taurus) and tent for three months the summer of 2008. It was awesome! I found lots of public lands to camp on (National Forest and BLM) and hikes in national parks. I was couch surfing too before I even knew what it was or that there was a website for it. If I could just figure out a way to support myself doing this I would do it more!

  • Kim W
    August 8, 2016, 5:02 pm

    This could be an option in various good sized hatchbacks/estate cars, especially in a tent, which would make it a better option for a coupl or small family. My husband and I did a lot of house exchange holidays when our children were younger. We packed up the car and lived in someone else’s house while they lived in ours! A great way to experience different parts of our own country (UK), Europe and USA. You travel light, because people leave bedding, towels etc. There were toys for the children to play with, which was great. I would think a Tiny Home would be very popular. Exchanging could help us gauge how small we are comfortable with and give us the change to try out an area you are thinking about living in. It is also a great way to have a holiday at the fraction of the cost of a standard holiday! Just chuckling, because I remembered the children’s horror at the ‘local speciality’ food the Norwegian family left for us….reindeer meatballs…..or ‘Rudolph meatballs’ as our eldest announced!!!

  • Michael Rotolo
    August 8, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Not for nothing guys but are we really going to open Pandora’s box and include “living” in various car models as part of the “Tiny Home”/”Tiny Living” phenomena?

    • Alex
      August 8, 2016, 6:01 pm

      Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Not recommending it. It might not be fun. But here at Tiny House Talk it’s not something we’re looking down at either.

      • Michael Rotolo
        August 8, 2016, 6:15 pm

        Yeah, I get it…I wasn’t making a value judgment on those that do live out of their cars either by necessity or for adventure. I was rather commenting on whether it’s wise to open up the scope of the kind of posts you’ll be making to living out of various cars.
        I’m just saying, I for one will likely unsubscribe if I’m getting notices of posts like “Living in a Chevy Impala”, “Living in a Toyota Gremlin”, “Living in a Porshce 997 Turbo”, etc., etc., etc.

        • Dave TheDrawingGuy
          August 8, 2016, 10:19 pm

          “Toyota Gremlin”.. LOL I’d love to see that..

        • Kurt
          August 9, 2016, 12:17 am

          @Mike: Why would you unsubscribe? Just don’t read them if you don’t like them. It is another “tiny house” option.

        • Alex
          August 9, 2016, 1:28 am

          Hehe, thanks Michael. Yeah, I don’t post about it too often so it shouldn’t bug you too much but once in a while it happens. When it does I think you should just ignore it and check out the houses instead. You may be right so I appreciate the feedback!

        • Michael Rotolo
          August 9, 2016, 4:12 pm

          I realized after I posted that I wrote “Toyota Gremlin” … a senior moment, no doubt. But seriously, I very much enjoy the Tiny House/Tiny Living movement and I continue to enjoy your website and posts. I’m even working on developing websites of my own like mytinyhomeplans.com, eztinyhome.com, eztinyhouse.com– just haven’t found collaborators yet… any one listening? lol

          Keep up the good work!

  • Susie M
    August 8, 2016, 5:27 pm

    Kudos if you’re young, and or, agile enough to fold yourself up into a pretzel, or squeeze in and out of tight spaces with your luggage and camping/cooking equipment in their also. I’m not in that category, being older and having a few health issues, however, I would love to try it with a light weight tear drop camper!

    • CathyAnn
      August 8, 2016, 7:47 pm

      That’s what I’m thinking of getting, a TAB teardrop trailer. I’m retired and want to travel and have something comfortable to live in that I can pull with my Ford Ranger. That trailer will be my home.

      There are a lot of retired folk living this lifestyle, but I know it’s not for everyone.

      Many people support themselves by taking jobs at such things as being a campground host for the summer, or working for Amazon.com shipping during the winter. Others have online businesses of some sort.

    • Kurt
      August 9, 2016, 12:19 am

      You don’t have to be young to do this. There’s a video tour of a guy who has traveled out of his Prius on the Enigmatic Nomadics YouTube channel and he isn’t young. However, I will give you the agile part. If you have arthritis or other issues that make you less mobile, this might not be the ideal way to live/travel.

      • Lorraine
        August 9, 2016, 3:01 am

        I’m so sorry Kurt, I accidentally clicked “report comment” instead of reply on your post which I ACTUALLY want to comment on…I was just going to say that I also subscribe to the Enigmatic Nomadics YouTube channel and I love hearing everyone’s different takes on van living, RV living, etc.

        • CathyAnn
          August 9, 2016, 5:40 pm

          I am also a fan of Enigmatic Nomadics. I’ve learned a lot from watching the videos. In fact, that is where I learned about people living in a Prius.

  • August 8, 2016, 5:39 pm

    You might want to feature/read this book in conjunction with this concept:


    TEN CONSECUTIVE YEARS LIVING IN CARS: Living, Traveling, Camping, Attending College and Performing Surveillance in Cars (LivingInCars.com)

    • Kurt
      August 9, 2016, 12:20 am

      Cool…thank you for sharing the link.

  • Sue Roberson
    August 8, 2016, 6:12 pm

    Yep, the ‘wanderlust’ lifestyle is tempting. Then as the Prius owner hits the ‘midtime’ of his life he realizes he has not saved anything or planned for the future!! So now he has to scramble to figure out how to do that. Now the THOWS are about the only thing that can he can afford…..

    • Kurt
      August 9, 2016, 12:23 am

      Who says that someone living like this wouldn’t have a nice nest egg for retirement? Think of all the money you’d save not having rent or a mortgage, utilities, homeowners/renters insurance, maintenance, etc.

    August 8, 2016, 7:08 pm

    Hay honey want to come back to my car for no night cap, or any chance of getting comfortable, or a shower in the morning … I won’t cook you breakfast, in the morning either…..! Rotfflmao….!

  • August 8, 2016, 7:29 pm

    Hey Alex
    there is a camping tent made just for the Prius Hatchback called a Habitent……….extends the area of the hatchback and looks like a very clever and affordable design

  • Claudia
    August 8, 2016, 10:27 pm

    Ha! Got one better! Travelled from NC to Az and back in a Toyota RAV. 4 camping and car camping my way with a black labordor retriever. As previously mentioned, campgrounds felt safer. 🙂

  • Gail Banter
    August 9, 2016, 12:08 am

    I have always been wooed by the Challange of compactness: earth is finite, population is growing, —tiny may be the direction our globe is going..?i draw the line with aKarma Gia or a volks….though,

  • Maria
    August 9, 2016, 1:32 am

    Since my THOW is not ready yet and I gave up my apartment, I decided to do a month long solo road trip in my Prius: NW Montana to Denver to Phoenix to LA and back up to Montana. Too funny that I just happened to open this and read about it. I have it set up the same way. It is tight living quarters, but for me it’s just driving and sleeping. I drink my protein shakes, drink water, my iPhone is charged so I can communicate with the outside world. I stay at Truck Stops and rest areas on my way to visit friends. I haven’t had a problem. I’m also staying at campsites. As long as I pay for the site they don’t mind if I sleep in a tent or my car. Walmart also lets you stay in their parking lots. It sure beats paying for hotels in the high season and it’s mobile so hats off to those who try it.

  • Large Marge
    August 9, 2016, 3:27 pm

    So, is it PREE us? We pronounce it the way it’s written: PRY us. Enquiring hearts and minds, you know.

    Could a Pryus idle with the AC or heater blasting all night while sleeping? We like this semi-minimalist camping.

    Does an idling Pryus produce enough juice to power a laptop and printer? 24/7 mobile office.

    Inside kate hauck’s (above) Habitent, we see a shower.

    Is a Pryus trailer-capable? With water-tanks, we see a tiny chuck-wagon.

    Could a Pryus charge batteries for a stand-still house or boondockers? We see income.

    Would car-less adventurers pay to door-to-door, meandering through parks and scenic areas in-between? A taxi couch-surfer?

    • Large Marge
      August 9, 2016, 5:12 pm

      Alex! You are a dear! Thanks so much for this article. The whole office is abuzz… no work getting done today!

      2016 Pryus tow capacity is about 1600-pounds (approx half that for kilos). 50mpg easy (quarter the gallons for liters then double the kilometers for approx kpl, about 4 liters per 100km).

      So, how about a mobile massage, dog wash, dental lab? Plumbers, electricians, taxi!

      We see millions of Pryus operators towing THOW!

      Could parts from a wrecked Pryus replace a troublesome gen-set on an RV? Provide quiet aux power for off-duty OTR truckers? Power a boondocking TH? Boaters, hmmm!

      With this efficiency comes freedom. At these prices, everybody can afford a THOW!

      • Large Marge
        August 9, 2016, 5:17 pm

        A Pryus providing juice to part of an off-grid festival. Another Pryus providing juice for another section of that festival, and so on.

        Powering a TH in remote hunting camp.

    • August 9, 2016, 5:27 pm
      • BW
        August 9, 2016, 10:30 pm

        Well… I just spent an hour going down the Alto Safari Condo rabbit hole on YouTube. Living accommodations with a 6’8″ height when the roof is raise *and* can be towed by a Prius? Yes, please! Sweet, indeed.

  • kevin
    August 10, 2016, 8:22 am

    this totally works for traveling. but not living. there are certain amenities that are required to “live” someplace. and you can’t do that in a car.

  • jm
    August 10, 2016, 11:36 am

    Even though I see some camping gear, I wouldn’t consider this a ‘micro camper.’ It’s just a car. A cardboard box would make a better house.

    • dave
      April 16, 2022, 4:45 am

      Jim, A cardboard box? Really? Did you think comment through? ANY vehicle is better than a cardboard box!
      Car living is about minimalism and frugality. Many have discovered they only need the basic necessities- a bed, a toilet, a cooler/refrig, etc. BTW, the prius from the rear to behind the right front seat(with it pushed forward is 7 feet long. I don’t live in a Prius, but I have met three people who do and they love
      it. No huge house/apartment bills which rob you of your future. Check out Cheap Rvliving and educate yourself.

  • jm
    August 10, 2016, 11:38 am

    But it was a pretty funny rip on this site anyway with pictures of the car and all…

  • jm
    August 11, 2016, 12:07 pm

    Actually the more I thought about how this came to be on this site made it less humerous. People look at tiny houses because they need affordable–very affordable–housing. Many people mock and make fun of the whole tiny house movement. But I remember greaser bullies in jr high picking on handicap and retarded people. Or picking on a kid who had only one pair of shoes–because he was poor. Or mocking people looking for a tiny home they can afford–because they are poor. Nothing gets on this site without the moderator. Sometimes true feelings come out in the unlikeliest of places.

  • January 26, 2020, 6:54 pm

    I find this idea very intriguing. Have “lived” in a Roadtrek camper van for a few weeks at a time and loved it. Growing up, my parents took my sister and I on a year-long road trip of Europe and Africa in a VW Westfalia. I have a tiny house on wheels now, which I love, as well as a bachelor apartment in the city downtown, but am eying the 2016 Prius as a fuel-efficient way to travel and ‘camp’. I think a van would be much nicer, but hard to argue with the fuel economy of a Prius (especially also as a daily driver), and I love the capability it gives to have HVAC on all night, for those muggy or cold nights. Of course, 2016 Smart (for city parking) and a small Helio teardrop trailer (350lbs) for summer travel is another option… hihihi. Anyway, thanks for sharing this story.

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