Choosing a tiny house (on wheels)

After about a month of waiting, our new home will arrive tomorrow! We’ve gone through quite a bit of research and have looked at different setups before we settled on our Avion. I thought this would be an appropriate time to go more in detail about how we arrived at our decision.

Tiny Houses
When we first started looking at tiny houses, we loved the Tiny Texas Houses. They use reclaimed materials, old building techniques, and they’re tiny to boot! If and when we decide to settle down, we will definitely revisit the Texas Tiny Houses again. The issues we had were placement (we currently do not own land) and cost (no financing as of right now). They are still inspirational and one of our favorite manifestations of tiny house building.
We then started looking at the Tumbleweed Houses. (www.tumbleweedhouses.com <- can’t get the hyperlink to work!) They had the charm and look of a wood cabin, but the mobility that we were looking for. Also, since they are on wheels, we would have more flexibility regarding size and building codes. The possible DIY aspect really appealed to me as well. Our plan was to build the Fencl model. We reconsidered this project, mainly due to weight of the final product (6,000-7,000 lbs for a 18 ft trailer w/ loft) and the fact that I have no building skills. :( When we’re in our travels, I’d really like to meet up with people who are building tiny houses, and help out and gain carpentry skills – I love working with my hands!
After we discussed the Tumbleweed houses, we really started to get serious about looking at RVs. After paying off our debt we decided we wanted to travel, and that’s what RVs are made for, right?! :) I touch on each class of RV, and how we arrived where we are. We went to an RV show and was glad to get a little taste of everything!
Motorized RVs
Class A Motorhomes
We both weren’t initially drawn to Class A’s. The size and gas mileage were disadvantages for us, although we’ve seen some really interesting set-ups. We really liked the idea of going older for our purchase, and looked at a 1978 Avion motorhome. Unfortunately, I felt like I’m just not handy enough to keep it going and maintained for a long extended road trip. A newer model was more than our budget allowed.
Class C Motorhomes
When on our RV search, we came across a few Class Cs that caught our eye. Being self-contained all in one driveable unit does have it’s allure. It’s not stealthy at all, though. We felt like if we were living/driving in the same unit, we’d like to be able to stealth camp when we want… which brings us to…
Class B Vans
We really, really liked this idea. It’s tiny, portable, and can be stealthy if we work it right. We visited Sportsmobile, and saw a few units for sale and ones being converted. On their website, we saw a used 1990′s model that had teal stripes down the side (just calling Rose’s name!). When we went to view it, we found out it had sold – otherwise we probably would have bought it. We still may end up with a Class B eventually, especially if we decide to explore more of the ‘boonies’ and look for a 4×4 set-up. We eventually decided that we’d like to make our purchase our first ‘home’, and don’t know how long we’d be comfortable living in a van.
Towables!
Truck Campers
Rose really liked the idea of the truck campers, but I really wasn’t excited about them and veto’ed the idea. I felt like if we were going to live that small, I’d like to be stealthy and go with a Class B. There were some adorable aluminum truck campers we found, though…
5th wheels
Most of the 5th wheels we saw were the standard white-box type. I felt like if we’re living in a rolling home, I want it to reflect our quirky and unique nature, and the standard 5th wheel just didn’t do it for me. They also seemed to be on the larger/heavier aspect of the RV spectrum, and I’d rather not get a 1 ton truck if I don’t have to!
Pop-ups
I liked the idea of the pop-up, especially the ones that are more fit for off-road use. Rose veto’ed the idea though, it’s a bit too open for her taste.
Travel Trailers
Which finally brings us to travel trailers! There’s an overwhelming amount of manufacturers and styles. We knew we wanted to go small, and checked out a number of smaller models. We looked at the T@b, the T@da, Scamp, Casita, and Airstreams. I really liked the vintage look of the teardrop T@b, and the aluminium of the Airstreams. We found a 23′ Airstream for sale in town, and liked the size and layout but we thought the asking price was too much considering the condition. Then, Rose’s dad found an Avion for sale in the Thifty Nickel in our hometown. I was intrigued, as I’d never heard of them! After pictures were sent and research was done, we were really interested. I looked at what others had said about them in the Airforums. Overall, it seems that some would argue that the construction of the Avion was a bit ‘beefier’ than the Airstream – and the reviews were overall positive. So, we decided to jump – and we’ll meet our baby in the morning!
I better get working on the house… we’re scheduled to move the rest of the big furniture out and rain is in the forecast. We’re not ones to turn down a challenge, though!
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7 responses to “Choosing a tiny house (on wheels)

  1. Neat read considering I’ve followed a similar path. I started out interested in tiny homes. And likewise still think I may end up building one at some point. I’m pushing for a Class B myself, though. It may help that there’s just one person in my scenario, though! I’m still searching for mine, though! :-)

    Congrats on pulling the trigger and I look forward to hearing more about it.

    Random Stranger from the net. :-)

  2. Went went through many of the same considerations when selecting our little home on wheels. The T@b was a sweet set up.. but not very ideal for 2 people and a dog ;) (Though, folks are doing it!)

    Rose is a wise woman.. a pop-up is not good for full time travel. The set-up and take down will grow old quickly (even in the super sweet and easy A-liners) – not to mention, most of them you can’t use in bear country.

    Can’t wait to see your new home !!

    Congrats!

  3. Congrats on finding your rig! We’re looking forward to meeting you at the rally.

    Sara
    http://www.happyjanssens.com

  4. Oh, this all sounds so familiar!

    Congratulations on your purchase. I look forward to seeing pictures.

    I think I lusted after that very same teal striped Sportsmobile!

    Jennifer

  5. wow, i could have totally written this post. we have been living parallel lives. we aren’t quite ready to go nomadic yet since our home is not in good enough condition to rent out right now (yet good enough for us to live in? go figure.)
    tomorrow we are taking our fun finder out to the lake for a long weekend for the first time. i just finished 10 months in nursing school so this is a MUCH needed vacay. i look forward to hearing how things go for you guys! congrats on the life change!

  6. Hi, wow! I guess this is a common theme. My husband and I started looking at tiny houses and have come to the conclusion that a travel trailer is the best option for us right now since we don’t know what part of the country we will end up in. We have about $10,000 we can spend…any ideas?

    • We looked for our rig for 3 months before we settled on our current set-up. The lady’s father found the Avion in the Thrifty Nickel of our hometown. We found telling everyone we were looking for a rig helped open up opportunities otherwise unknown. Look Craigslist/Ebay, look used, and do your research to know what problems to look out for. We lucked out, and there are great opportunities out there, especially with the end of summer. :) Good luck!

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