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Man Living out of his Prius

This is the story of a man living out of his Prius.

Would you ever consider doing something like this?

On the outside of his Prius, you’ll notice it has a roof pod, or “attic”, for extra storage.

When you look inside you’ll see a bed, closet area and even a small stove top for cooking.

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

Man Living out of his Prius


Images © Chris Sawey

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Images © Chris Sawey


Discussion: Would you ever consider living out of your car? Have you already done it? Do you think you would do it? Why or why not?

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 30 comments… add one }
    June 7, 2016, 6:08 pm

    I agree with Brent Naslund! People living, subsisting, or because of homelessness, using there vehicle as their living space, do not belong on the Tiny House Talk site! Start another site to highlight the creativity and organizational skills used to transform a vehicle into a “camping space”!
    It matters not to me if anyone comments negatively to my opinion!

    • Michael L
      June 9, 2016, 12:41 am

      Maybe what you could do is start your own site. Then you can dictate what belongs on THAT site!

    • Brian
      June 12, 2016, 6:02 am

      Everyone has their own opinions and views, and it is wonderful being in this awesome country where everyone can and does have their own opinion, and without it being imposed on others and I applaud you for conveying your opinion, always great to read about ones views, however Alex and his great TinyHouseTalk website obviously has his or their view on what should and should not be featured. I personally prefer the less pre-notioned or boxed in view, and enjoy seeing the eclectic feature stories of all spectrums of Tiny dwellings.

  • Barbara E
    June 7, 2016, 6:17 pm

    Impressive space planning. This, at once caused me to feel free & stifled.

  • alice h
    June 7, 2016, 6:20 pm

    I would love it for travel but something between 250 and 500 sq ft would suit me better for long term living that would need to accommodate various pursuits. As for it not being a house, well, no, but it is, for all intents and purposes, a home. It also fits well enough into “small space freedom”. People have their own varied definitions of what makes a home a house. My view is more along the lines of “living space” than a strict definition of “house”. There are several perfectly valid living spaces that some won’t consider for various reasons (usually something to do with indoor bathrooms and/or cooking) but as long as the person is making it work and staying healthy and happy that’s good enough for me.

  • Rich
    June 7, 2016, 6:37 pm

    This isn’t a story about being homeless. It is a story of adventure. A Prius, laptop and internet connection shows he is not living in poverty. I admire the planning and organization he demonstrates. Tiny House Living is about letting go of material things you don’t need in your life. He let go of more things than I could but he is only doing it for a summer. Taking your Home on the road is the ultimate freeing experience for any Tiny House Owner. If you live in a car you have even more flexibility. So lighten up people.

  • marcia sutter
    June 7, 2016, 7:44 pm

    I am appalled at you folks who are berating this article! How high and mighty you must believe yourself to be…..I am envious that he is so organized. I live in my 1996 Ford F350, which is a vehicle and a converted Uhaul Box truck. I acquired the truck for 1500$ and at 67 did all the work myself. I think Tiny Living is just that and to put limits on what can be discussed here is well….you should start your own site and make your own rules and regulations! I just wish I got the gas mileage he does. Good for you Chris and I hope I see you along the way in this wonderful adventure…..Peace out, Delusional Gypsy

    • Michael L
      June 9, 2016, 12:42 am

      Go Gypsy! My thoughts exactly!

      • marcia sutter
        June 9, 2016, 12:23 pm

        Thank you, Micheal L!

      • marcia sutter
        June 9, 2016, 12:34 pm

        Thank you, Micheal L! Go for the gusto…my 2 cats and 2 dogs are great travelers. The cats load-up with the dogs and associate HOME with the truck. Start the kitty out with short trips…after they quit screaming they start to enjoy the view, too. Happy trails and if you see an old Uhaul with a log cabin look on the back, be sure to flag me down! Delusional Gypsy

        • Michael L
          June 9, 2016, 11:40 pm

          We’ve made several camping trips, and one to NC as a threesome (cat, dog and me)! No real hitches… they each have “their” spot to take up residence and for the most part respect that. I checked this guys blog and am even more impressed with him! He is a remarkable young man. And to heck with the negative comments!

    June 7, 2016, 7:47 pm

    I agree with Rich about living small and making it more flexible to suit your needs even if it is in your own vehicle.
    Whatever the case, I found it very organized and neat, better than I would in my own mini-van, considering I use the back for storing my camping gear. Anyway, I think it’s great, good job!

  • Randy Payan
    June 7, 2016, 7:58 pm

    I live in a 5000 sq. ft. home and long for maximizing living. I see the practical application of living big in a Prius. Thanks a million for providing your tiny home as an example. It IS a home. A home is a dwelling. You dwell there, its a home. You are not homeless.

    • Eric
      June 8, 2016, 8:18 pm

      Randy… and excellent salient point. It is a dwelling, albeit temporarily… i.e. for the summer.

      And… a dwelling is a home. While the example shown here isn’t for everybody, heck, probably not for very many at all, it is certainly NOT an example of homelessness as someone previously mentioned/complained.

      Would I do this? Nup! Not only would I need more space I have issues with my lower back which this way of living would seriously aggravate in a very short period of time.

  • Michelle
    June 8, 2016, 12:19 am

    Having lived out of my car for a period of time – and not nearly as well – I think he has done an awesome job making do with what he has. It is not an easy thing to do and can be demoralizing if done for a significant amount of time – and it is your only option. It appears he has options and is very intentional and that’s makes a huge difference.

  • Rue
    June 8, 2016, 4:09 am

    If the worst happens and I should ever be left with only my vehicle to live out of, I’ll be grateful for posts like this, which show not only that it can be done, but gives some ideas on HOW.

    If part of tiny living is about living more simply with fewer possessions, then living truly micro like this certainly does fit the theme!

  • Carrie D
    June 8, 2016, 12:32 pm

    an adventure – yes. But where does he park his ‘home’ when he is working? No doubt in front of my house, where I am paying property taxes, etc. to keep ‘our’ community vital.
    I have no problem with Tiny home ‘parks’ where everyone contributes to the community. But just ‘wandering’ around is for youth (still trying out things), or retirees who have paid their share!

    • marcia sutter
      June 9, 2016, 12:22 pm

      That is soooo contradictory, Carrie D! It’s okay for a youth to wander still trying to figure things out and a retiree who has already contibuted????!??!!! Contributing to community or local economy consists of buying gas, food, propane/butane, shampoo and other sundries, wifi, insurance and registration and taxes on the Prius, among other things, and probably the occasional Girl Scout cookie along the way. Taxes? Doesn’t everyone pay sales tax? And why on earth would he want to park in front of your house when the great outdoors is so beautiful?

    • Michael L
      June 9, 2016, 11:44 pm

      Carrie… why on earth would he want to park in front of your house, in that part of town? The guy has a nice car for heavens sake! He doesn’t need to wake up and find his wheels gone and he’s on cinder blocks!

  • Jen
    June 8, 2016, 4:29 pm

    Over the past 3 years, I’ve been sleeping in my car most nights while traveling. Usually trips are 2-3 weeks long. I’ve traveled to all over the US. I mostly sleep in free places like a Walmart parking lot while moving from place to place and then stay in campgrounds using the tent spots. It is great money-wise but mostly I just like that I’m not packing and unpacking or wasting time. I feel as safe as I ever did in hotels. I have a pretty good system of organization by now. I’m using my Chevy Impala that I already had as a daily driver and am 5’6″ although you could sleep in it even if you were a bit taller. I love it! I don’t know if I could do it everyday forever though. I think I’d want a smallish van, station wagon, or maybe a Prius for full time living. I’d love to try it though!

  • Porcsha
    June 8, 2016, 6:22 pm

    Fascinating, curiosity, adventure and bravery come to mind when I see an article like this. Although it not for me, I respect this way of life. For a person without children and possibly lacking the money, this maybe the easiest way to explore the world and meet people you wouldn’t ordinary meet. Also, he has more time learning and forming a closer relationships with people met on his travels. Plus, his car looks organized and planned out, I can respect that! I wish this man good luck and safe travels!

  • Greg H
    June 8, 2016, 9:03 pm

    I have a similar setup for camping in my Toyota Echo. Although I respect this guy’s sense of adventure and organizational skills, I wouldn’t want to live like this full time (gettin’ too old for that). As for whether a story like this should be included in Tiny House Talk, I say definitely YES! Tiny House Talk has always been about exploring all the options of living small and consuming less. While some of what I see on this site isn’t personally attractive to me, I’m happy to read about all of it and think it’s great that it might be just the information someone needs to see. Those of you wanting a narrower focus might want to start your own blog. If the guy with the Prius ever is confronted with a disaster of some sort and needs to leave the area quickly he’ll be in much better shape than some of his detractors.

  • Michael L
    June 9, 2016, 12:56 am

    Chris… You have inspired me! I’m retiring in a couple on months and have been planning to trade my SUV in for a pickup and a used travel trailer and hit the road for a while. There is so much to see!

    But after seeing a couple of posts like yours on here, I’m having second thoughts. I’m now thinking I might do a trial adventure like this in my SUV. I’ve already downsized with my home last year from 1600 sq ft to 300. I’m sure I could try a SUV adventure, specially one as organized as yours. I just need to consult my traveling companions first… The cat and dog. That alone could make for an interesting blog!

    Thanks for your post. And for all the nay Sayers… blow them off. Who is it out there living the adventure and who is just sitting there offering criticism?

  • Kurt
    June 9, 2016, 1:50 pm

    I assume he has to shop for food just before cooking it. There’s no mention of a cooler/fridge, although I don’t think there is room for either.

    Not sure I would want to do it, but I’ve contemplated it since I’ve been out of work for some time and prospects of becoming employed in my career of choice and making somewhat decent money are looking more and more like a pipe dream.

    • Kurt
      June 9, 2016, 1:51 pm

      Whoops…forgot to mention there’s a nice video of another guy who travels/vacations out of his Prius on the Enigmatic Nomadics channel on YouTube. He even carries a folding bike in the back of his Prius.

  • Anthony
    June 10, 2016, 2:13 pm

    Chris is truly an inspiration. check out his Instagram account: hotelprius. His buzzfeed video gives me chills everytime i watch it (about 100 times now).

  • Brian
    June 12, 2016, 6:16 am

    This is a great story. With our nation’s leaders telling us the economy is hunky dory (nothing to see here, move along), and then changing the way it calculates unemployment figures to add up to much less than reality, more and more jobs having less than 40 hrs per week thanks to a certain healthcare law, small businesses struggling to compete, feature stories like this may come in use for some readers who may find this type of living a necessity. It also appeals to folks like myself as I have used my 4Runner in a similar fashion when camping on weekends. The article gave me some great ideas, Thanks For sharing this article Alex! I would love to send photos, and my story about how I built the conversion camping platform in my 4Runner to make my weekend tiny camping dwelling out of it.

  • tanya hohe
    August 1, 2016, 11:38 pm

    Hum…ok I think it is great this guy can exist out of his car. But to me if you can not take a pee or a shower in the house, then it isn’t a house, tiny yes, but house no….and no a bottle is not a toilet nor is a coffee can but hey if you are happy have at it!!

  • Phyllis Randolph-Whitacre
    April 17, 2017, 7:22 pm

    Love it. Nice set up. I am thinking hard about doing the same, but in a Toyota Highlander. I would take out the back seats since they do not lay completely flat and I cannot sleep on them and would bring the storage container up to the right level for the bed.
    I’ve a question. How do you support the board/table your stove is on?
    Keep on living the life. Phyllis

  • Ivy
    August 30, 2019, 8:15 pm

    What’s the setup for the base under the stove on the back?

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