Off the grid/Vanlife/Tiny Home/Boat living lifestyle

EuropeanJ

Chicken
I’ve done can life for a while to save up money for a house. If you get a more expensive sprinter van, rather than a cargo van, it’s not uncomfortable. You can stand up in there and have enough storage for all your necessities.

Your dating life will suffer to the extreme. Women want a man who is successful or with big dreams, and living in a van doesn’t invoke strong feelings of those natures. I’m sure you could frame it well in some situations, but it’s not going to be easy.

it’s also not legal to sleep in most cities, which is why people started converting cargo and sprinter vans rather than buying camper vans or campers. They are more stealthy. It probably isn’t good for your psyche to have a lifestyle where you have to skulk and hide.

There is nothing wrong with a tiny home. If you make it bespoke you might spend as much as a normal home, depending on what you do, and it would be a cute little place. You would save on heating and cooling, but that might not be much of a problem unless you live in Siberia or something or want to air condition your entire house.
 

Dr. Howard

Peacock
Gold Member
That's affordable, specially here in the States. I was reading about it and I heard the downside is the owner of the land spiking rent since they know you can't move your "mobile" home without spending many thousand dollars.

But if you own the land, it seems like an easy good decision. Why do people say mobile homes go down in value like a car? Is the construction bad to the point it falls apart with time?

Great question, I've never really understood that either. Maintenance certainly makes it go longer. When i lived in the south you had trailer parks that were for retirees and vacationers that were really well maintained and then you had your trailer parks for the meth addicts and welfare moms. Lots of trailers there with bowed walls looking like they were about to fall in.

My assumption is that mobile homes require car like levels of maintenance....as in if they are neglected they will deteriorate quickly.
 

joost

Kingfisher
Just want to say this thread is awesome, I've wanted a tiny house for a long time! My current plan is to buy a fifth wheel RV. The one I have my eye on is about 42 feet long, a toy hauler (meaning the back is a ramp and can be stopped halfway and left there to form a deck/patio, and it as a garage in the back that's about 14ft long) it has 2 bathrooms, both with showers, one with a shower/tub, full kitchen, dining room table, couch, pantry, loft with space for a twin mattress and extra space for storage, king size bed in the master with a full closet, and a garage which I plan to make an office/living room/gear room. The cost will be somewhere between $65k-$80k. I plan to make a large down payment and pay it off within a couple years. I like the RV option vs tiny house/van/mobile home due to the low cost, enhanced mobility vs a mobile home or tiny house, ability to travel with it or move to a different area rapidly if necessary, and RV's are more common than tiny houses or living out of a van so there is already a large industry to support it with which has the benefits of easy service and maintenance, access to spare parts, and accessories for the RV. In addition if I were to want to sell the RV at some point, it is much easier to sell and RV than a tiny house, modded van, or mobile home.


Paying more than $30K for an RV seems too much.

I opened the first website in my search results for RV FOR SALE. I found this one:
If you look for options below $30k, there's brand new models with modern interior. I imagine you can find bargains elsewhere.

The RV indeed seems to be great. It's a mature market so you can find bargains. I just don't see it as a place to live when you get older and/or build a family. But I like the idea of just having to rent a pickup truck to be able to move my "home".
 

Aizen

Kingfisher
How does one stay hygienic in these arrangements? Do you park the RV / build the cabin near a stream where you can wash off in? I would find this difficult to entertain, especially with a woman present. Can't imagine what that cooch would smell like after a week of no bathing. If it's off the grid, there's no plumbing or water coming in. This goes for RVs too. How to accommodate such basic hygienic needs?
 

Thomas More

Hummingbird
How does one stay hygienic in these arrangements? Do you park the RV / build the cabin near a stream where you can wash off in? I would find this difficult to entertain, especially with a woman present. Can't imagine what that cooch would smell like after a week of no bathing. If it's off the grid, there's no plumbing or water coming in. This goes for RVs too. How to accommodate such basic hygienic needs?
An RV carries a tank for clean water, and one for dirty water, usually 40 gallons each. You would also have a generator, and carry propane for the stove, oven, and hot water heater. You can be fully covered for off grid camping.

If you live off grid, you'll have to haul the trailer to a dump station regularly, and be very stingy with water for showers, cooking, and washing dishes and clothes, so you can make your supply last a few days. If you rent a space at an RV park, you should have water, power, and sewer hookups, so it's like a regular home.
 
Paying more than $30K for an RV seems too much.

I opened the first website in my search results for RV FOR SALE. I found this one:
If you look for options below $30k, there's brand new models with modern interior. I imagine you can find bargains elsewhere.

The RV indeed seems to be great. It's a mature market so you can find bargains. I just don't see it as a place to live when you get older and/or build a family. But I like the idea of just having to rent a pickup truck to be able to move my "home".
I disagree with not paying more than $30k, your right it's incredibly easy to get an RV for less than $30k and especially less than $60k but if I was that concerned with expenses I'd live out of my truck, and shower and sleep at work. Compared to renting an apartment for 3-5 years, I would still save money buying an expensive RV, not even considering the money you could get back when you sell it. Also it is not an ideal arrangement to build a family in but my plan barring the pending societal collapse is to live in it for a few years, park it on land, build a house or barndominium type building and then sell the RV.
 

joost

Kingfisher
An RV carries a tank for clean water, and one for dirty water, usually 40 gallons each. You would also have a generator, and carry propane for the stove, oven, and hot water heater. You can be fully covered for off grid camping.

If you live off grid, you'll have to haul the trailer to a dump station regularly, and be very stingy with water for showers, cooking, and washing dishes and clothes, so you can make your supply last a few days. If you rent a space at an RV park, you should have water, power, and sewer hookups, so it's like a regular home.

Big downside. If you have to live parked next to a bunch of other trailers to have access to basic necessities like water and sewage, it's not nice at all. Just like boats. At least in one (boat) you can flush your crap and have a water filtration system.



I disagree with not paying more than $30k, your right it's incredibly easy to get an RV for less than $30k and especially less than $60k but if I was that concerned with expenses I'd live out of my truck, and shower and sleep at work. Compared to renting an apartment for 3-5 years, I would still save money buying an expensive RV, not even considering the money you could get back when you sell it. Also it is not an ideal arrangement to build a family in but my plan barring the pending societal collapse is to live in it for a few years, park it on land, build a house or barndominium type building and then sell the RV.

Seems like a good plan. What I noticed is that your need to own the land, even if you plan on selling in the future. And if you get electricity and water, you're set.
 
I’ve done can life for a while to save up money for a house. If you get a more expensive sprinter van, rather than a cargo van, it’s not uncomfortable. You can stand up in there and have enough storage for all your necessities.

Your dating life will suffer to the extreme. Women want a man who is successful or with big dreams, and living in a van doesn’t invoke strong feelings of those natures. I’m sure you could frame it well in some situations, but it’s not going to be easy.

it’s also not legal to sleep in most cities, which is why people started converting cargo and sprinter vans rather than buying camper vans or campers. They are more stealthy. It probably isn’t good for your psyche to have a lifestyle where you have to skulk and hide.

There is nothing wrong with a tiny home. If you make it bespoke you might spend as much as a normal home, depending on what you do, and it would be a cute little place. You would save on heating and cooling, but that might not be much of a problem unless you live in Siberia or something or want to air condition your entire house.
Many areas are already open to this or are becoming much more adaptive to it. Especially in outdoorsy communities/areas which the Western US has a ton of. As long as one has a cell signal, a booster and hotspot enables wifi to work remotely in a white-collar job. Plus there are coffee shops and co-working spaces.

I also don't think my dating life will suffer at all - if anything it will get better. Women want a man with a purpose and who is working towards achieving that purpose - those dreams and goals may just be in line with freedom and adventure while earning a good wage. I know my goals and am actively working towards them.

The adventure life on the road is only growing and with it, it's becoming much more acceptable to live this way and earn a good living. It's not all dirt-bagging climbers and surfers chasing the next mountain/wave. There are meetups for van lifers/RV'ers too. It's a way of life that isn't for everyone but many don't want the traditional life that 'society' has programmed us to follow which comes with overwhelming debt, a materialistic society based on consumption and status, and has us living away from nature.
 
Anybody interested in this nomad life check out the following link. It is a seminar on how to nomad. This year it is virtual. I have attended these in the past and recommend them highly for their information. But if you're experienced it might be to basic.

Rtr stands for rubber tramp rendezvous.

 

Thomas More

Hummingbird
A bit of inspiration: a 77 year-old woman who has lived off grid her whole life.

That home appears to be very tidy and comfortable.

She apparently has water, wood, and candles or lamps available conveniently.

She must go to the market every day with no refrigerator. She could easily get a solar panel to run LED lights and charge a smartphone, but she probably doesn't want those things.
 
Talked to a family member who works in real estate to try to get some listings on houses/land etc. Again I am frustrated with the ~$200k benchmark of buying a relatively small home with hardly 1/2 acre of land that was built 50+ years ago. The whole thing is maddening to me. I am looking into buying land then building, but am not too sure what I am getting into price wise with building. I have a wife, so the trailer/RV/Storage unit living concept is not going to fly with her even I myself would consider it. Can you build a modest but reasonable home for $100k?

Maybe I should just a buy one of these sort of scammy "starter" homes and consider it an investment until we can get land/build a home? At this point, buying a more expensive home with a small mortgage seems better than renting an apartment which is where I am at now.

I tell ya, the barriers to entry for getting your own home and land are challenging. Sometimes I wish I could be like a pioneer, but I still think I've grown up far too unseasoned for that kind of life.
 
Came across this channel and watch the serie of videos where this guy builds a cabin.

This one is the last of the serie where he explains the costs and responds to the negative comments.


What's really interesting, and an eye opener for me, was the part from 4:40 to 7:45. He basically explains how he bought some land 20 years ago, build his first small cabin in Alaska with his wife while living in a tent, and the progression from there to a bigger house and more land. Basically he says you don't need much, you just start small and go from there.
Really inspiring.
 

PaulC

Robin
Came across this channel and watch the serie of videos where this guy builds a cabin.

This one is the last of the serie where he explains the costs and responds to the negative comments.


What's really interesting, and an eye opener for me, was the part from 4:40 to 7:45. He basically explains how he bought some land 20 years ago, build his first small cabin in Alaska with his wife while living in a tent, and the progression from there to a bigger house and more land. Basically he says you don't need much, you just start small and go from there.
Really inspiring.
He has a solid channel. I also liked his simple shower system.

 

PaulC

Robin
Question about this: how do you build this to support a family ? Extra storage containers for each kid ? If I buy a house, it's to support a family pretty much.
Good question. Live simply, expand as you are able? My great-grandparents raised a family in a one room log cabin. My grandparents started in a one room tarpaper shack, then added on rooms as the family grew.

I might recommend this channel. They have a number of children and live off grid (they do helpful Q&A videos as well). Hope this helps.

 
Good question. Live simply, expand as you are able? My great-grandparents raised a family in a one room log cabin. My grandparents started in a one room tarpaper shack, then added on rooms as the family grew.

I might recommend this channel. They have a number of children and live off grid (they do helpful Q&A videos as well). Hope this helps.


In most parts of the world, whole families still live in a one room dwelling.

Around a third of the houses built in the 1950s were owner builders. There are books that would go through the process step by step. Over a weekend, it is possible to erect a watertight shack. Over time, you'd expand, and add creature comforts.
 

Leads

Robin
Lived in cars for years, mainly for kicks and to stack cash. Last year, I bought a 2018 Sprinter and built it out while living in it through the Rocky Mtn Winter. Not for everyone, but it's the only way to truly experience the US backcountry. It's about as close to the American Dream is anyone can get. Waking up deep in forests that humans rarely see - You really are forced to whittle down belongings and put alot of thought into organization (or the opposite, if you're on crack, etc).

Luckily, I was able to sell it back in March at a hefty profit. Selling a vehicle (depreciating asset) for more than twice what you paid is quite the feeling and the backbreaking work to get there was worth it. (hardwood floors, kitchen, full solar system, etc). I had a rare window of access to skilled craftsmen which occupied my apartment complex. Everyone was stoked to see it come together and I got it done on the cheap.

The negative side would be waking up in random Walmart parking lots and trying to figure out where to take a dump/shower. Once 24hr fitness shut down, then the rec centers, I was basically showering in a bucket. Although the vehicle continued to draw compliments from strangers, I knew it was time to flip
 
Lived in cars for years, mainly for kicks and to stack cash. Last year, I bought a 2018 Sprinter and built it out while living in it through the Rocky Mtn Winter. Not for everyone, but it's the only way to truly experience the US backcountry. It's about as close to the American Dream is anyone can get. Waking up deep in forests that humans rarely see - You really are forced to whittle down belongings and put alot of thought into organization (or the opposite, if you're on crack, etc).

Luckily, I was able to sell it back in March at a hefty profit. Selling a vehicle (depreciating asset) for more than twice what you paid is quite the feeling and the backbreaking work to get there was worth it. (hardwood floors, kitchen, full solar system, etc). I had a rare window of access to skilled craftsmen which occupied my apartment complex. Everyone was stoked to see it come together and I got it done on the cheap.

The negative side would be waking up in random Walmart parking lots and trying to figure out where to take a dump/shower. Once 24hr fitness shut down, then the rec centers, I was basically showering in a bucket. Although the vehicle continued to draw compliments from strangers, I knew it was time to flip
This is what I'm planning to do but honestly don't have the time to build it myself so I'm looking to get it professionally done. If you don't have access to the proper tools and helpers it can be a real challenge.

I also look at it as somewhat of an investment - not just because it should hold its value relatively well, but also as an investment in my mental health and also adventure goals/values.

Did you work on the road too? I plan to get signal boosters but am worried about not finding adequate places to work from. Curious to hear about your setup. I was also planning to spend time at coffee shops and co-working spaces but who knows what the status will be of those or if I'll need certain 'papers' to even get in. Also, the shower situation is a good point since many used their Planet Fitness/24 Hour membership to shower.
 
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