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Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!


Marsha is a long-time Tiny House Talk reader as well as a tiny-home-dweller. She just sold her amazing THOW in Arizona because she’s moving back home to North Carolina to be closer to family. While she’s planning on building a new tiny house in NC, she needed something to live in during her road trip/move.

So what did she do? Built a tiny house in her truck bed! Here’s what she told us:

Because of a gasket leak that was fixed with a liquid sealer, I had to keep this camper very light to try to make it home to NC from AZ, so 4 simple arches, 1/2″ plywood, white heavy duty tarp, and cardboard boxes for storage. Left over memory foam became a “rug” down the center to save my knees. It has an electrical port and 2 screened windows and redwood floor. Living out of it for 2 weeks now at my friend’s house, just two more weeks to go until school is out, and I can head home to my son’s farm where I can build another tiny home. Enjoy!

She even decorated the exterior, which I just love!

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She Built A Temporary Truck Bed Tiny House

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

This gives a whole new meanings to “tiny living,” and she keeps it so cozy!

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

Here’s the plywood shell she created.

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

Interior of the shell (notice the electrical port).

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

White paint makes it look more finished!

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

Love the little roof overhang on the back here.

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

It’s all in the details.

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

Another close up of her counter top space.

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

Twinkle lights brighten up the space at night!

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

And here it is again all decorated! So quaint.

Marsha’s Temporary Truck Bed Tiny Home!

Images via Marsha

Our big thanks to Marsha for sharing!

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Natalie C. McKee

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 two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Avatar jerry dycus
    May 22, 2020, 6:59 am

    Nice. I always buy, build a vehicle I can sleep in for trips and emergencies where you always have a home. My hurricane strategy is to drive to a heavy concrete garage, my local hospital one in my case as I have heart problems, and live in my car/truck.
    Unless you are going to walk on the roof, sides, 1/4′ ply is fine, cheaper and lighter especially if you curve them a little by putting a curve in the frames, ends. Makes it look better too.
    Next sacrifice some storage for more bed headroom. You really need at least 2.5′ headroom and 3′ better top sit upright.

    • Avatar Marsha Cowan
      May 22, 2020, 6:00 pm

      Yes Jerry, when I get to NC and build my tiny house, I can move all my things from the camper into the house, and then lower the bed and shelf and make it more for camping. Right now, those boxes are full of all my belongings. I also plan to finish the outside and inside when I get home, but for now I don’t want the extra weight on the camper.

  • Avatar Jade
    May 22, 2020, 9:01 am

    This lady always comes up with the coolest little ideas!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      May 22, 2020, 1:29 pm

      I totally agree!

      • Avatar Marsha Cowan
        May 22, 2020, 5:56 pm

        Thanks Jade and Natalie!

  • Avatar D. Pedersen
    May 22, 2020, 9:27 am

    I like the concept. But if those tarps used are PVC, then it is a hormonal health hazard to be in the camper. PVC is known to cause disturbances in the hormonal balance and reproductive system – because of the high content of Phthalates.

  • Avatar Shawna
    May 22, 2020, 11:13 am

    Nicely done. I just don’t understand not making it at least tall enough to sit up on the bed when you’re already making it from scratch. Otherwise, very nice and homey.

    • Avatar Marsha Cowan
      May 22, 2020, 5:55 pm

      Hi Shawna, when I get home and build the tiny house, I can move all my things from the camper into the house. Then I can redo the bed and the counter and lower them so it is more comfortable for camping, and so I can sit in the bed for reading (right now I prop up a pillow and sit on the memory foam rug). Anyway, that’s the plan, and to finish the inside and outside replacing the tarps.

      • Avatar Shawna
        May 22, 2020, 11:44 pm

        Thanks for the reply, Marsha. May your transition go well. 🙂

  • Avatar Steve Downing
    May 22, 2020, 2:31 pm

    What a sweet little camper. In case anyone missed it, the little painted doohickey inside the horseshoe (four photos up from the bottom) is a Round TUIT … as in “I’ll get a round tuit.”

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      May 23, 2020, 5:09 am

      Oh thanks for that insight! I was wondering 🙂

    • Avatar Marsha T Cowan
      July 16, 2020, 7:41 pm

      Steve! You got it! Great! My friend, Pat, in Casa Grande made that little “round tuit” for me for my last tiny house. He also made the little teardrop camper plague on the outside of the camper. He is so good with wood!

  • Avatar Dana
    May 22, 2020, 5:35 pm

    I’m curious to know more about her electricity set up. Does she just have a porthole to pass an extension cord through so she has power while parked at her friend’s house or does she have her own stand-alone power source?

    It never ceases to amaze me how camper shells can make a small truck bed look so large. I have a Mazda with a long bed, and it still looks too small to me to bother thinking about sleeping or living in it.

    • Avatar Marsha Cowan
      May 22, 2020, 5:52 pm

      It is called a port plug and you can order them online. It has the plug on the outside with a weather cover, and on the inside it is a 15″ long cord with a plug on the end. I use a three-way plug on the end of that so I can run the lights, charge my phone, and run the fan all at the same time. I have a 14 gauge cord that I plug up on the outside of the camper, and then plug into the outlet on the outside of a house or campground post. It’s very easy to install.

      • Avatar Dana
        May 24, 2020, 11:02 pm

        Thank you, Marsha! That makes a lot of sense.

  • Avatar Marsha Cowan
    May 22, 2020, 5:47 pm

    I ordered them online from Tarps Plus. They are Polyethylene, the simplest plastic in use and can, under certain conditions, cause harm to humans, but mine is not exposed to the sun (UV rays) or heat, and there is a screened window at each end of the camper which keeps a nice flow of fresh air coming through, especially at night. I do not plan to live in it, and when I get my tiny house built, the camper will be finished on the inside and out. I just did not want to add that weight to the camper for this trip.

  • Avatar Pat
    May 22, 2020, 9:28 pm

    Hey, Marsha! It’s great to see you again. Hope you have a safe trip back to our NC. I’m always fascinated by your builds and ideas. Can’t wait to see the next one. Hope you kept your blue and yellow quilt and other pretties for the next tiny. Take care out there!

  • Avatar Michael L
    May 22, 2020, 11:11 pm

    Marsha… You rocked it, again! The designs are great each time. I keep watching for tiny house parking in NC. I’m finally retired and heading
    back to NC! I’d love to find a small community of tiny houses.

  • Avatar Chris Hazelett
    May 23, 2020, 12:44 am

    Beautiful work as always Marsha!!! You are amazing. Safe journeys always.

    • Avatar Marsha T Cowan
      July 16, 2020, 8:00 pm

      Hello Chris! I didn’t see this comment back in May. Sorry! Thanks for the sweet words. This is a very special moment for me. May your own journey be safe, and may our paths touch again in the future. Take care, my friend.

  • Avatar Theresa Perdue
    May 23, 2020, 12:20 pm

    I absolutely love it😍. It practical and cute all in one. If you ask me she should go into designing tiny for a living!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      May 27, 2020, 6:29 am

      I agree!

  • Avatar Theresa Perdue
    May 23, 2020, 12:22 pm

    Oh and I forgot to add the best part, she has a round toit🥰!

  • Avatar hunter-grace
    May 23, 2020, 5:35 pm

    Marsha, been following you since the tiny nest and little red bus projects..You are one awesome lady builder and you have my appreciation for what we women can do. i love all your projects and wonder if you have a face book page that i could follow you on your adventures? all my best Hunter-grace

    • Avatar Marsha T Cowan
      July 16, 2020, 7:50 pm

      Hello Hunter-grace, I jusy saw this comment by you. Thank you for your sweet comments. I do not have a facebook or other social media page; I don’t really have time to keep up with it. Alex gets first dibs on any projects I do, so you can keep up with them here. I hope to see some of your tiny house builds on here soon, right?

  • Avatar Mary Rex
    May 29, 2020, 1:06 pm

    Marsha, You are so amazing at this. I have loved all of your creations, and texted with you once about the little red school bus. My ideas of having my own tiny home some day are very close to what you have done so beautifully. The Tiny Living TV programs that show the wife whining about having a king size bed and a place to store all of her shoes make me laugh hysterically knowing how much more can be done with some imagination and intelligence!

    Thanks

  • Avatar jannezack
    July 16, 2020, 4:22 pm

    NICE build! I’m hoping to build out my truck bed like this, although I have a shell, I think it will look a lot like that on the inside once I add insulation, etc.

    • Avatar Marsha T Cowan
      July 16, 2020, 7:57 pm

      Jannezack, good to hear from you. Be sure to lower your bed so you can sit up in it at night if you plan to be in it for long lengths of time. I have been living in this camper now for 3 months, first in a camp site, then at my son’s house. I can hang out in my son’t house so it isn’t so bad, but I am looking forward to moving my things out and redoing the bed lower. In the next couple weeks I will be able to start my tiny home on a foundation here at my son’s farm in NC. I am excited!

  • Avatar Marsha Cowan
    August 25, 2020, 5:51 pm

    Michael, I have always lived monthly at RV parks which is usually pretty reasonably priced. I also get to meet very interesting travelers and tourists, so it has been nice. The parks have shower houses and laundries, too. Just a thought. . .it may be harder to find monthly places in NC, but I know there are some on High Point at Oak Hollow Lake, and in Wilmington. I am sure there are more.

  • Avatar Francine
    August 30, 2020, 3:22 pm

    This is just brilliant! If it were a permanent abode I would at least need a sunroof not to feel claustrophobic. Very cozy!

    • Avatar Marsha Cowan
      November 24, 2020, 4:46 pm

      True, Francine! Even a skylight would brighten up the place. I hope, however, to have solar panels on the roof soon hooked to a Goal Zero Yeti 200x so I can be off grid sometimes. However, perhaps there would be room for both. . .hmmm.

  • Avatar Paul Larsen
    November 24, 2020, 8:23 pm

    Marsha ! Well done ! All I can say is you did great with this great and simple build! There is beauty in keeping things simple . I do have my own truck shell camper i have used for many years camping and still love it!

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