We’ve well and truly done it. Rachel and I are living full-time in a house smaller any bedroom either of us has ever had before.
Our New and Only Home
Into a 10×15-foot storage unit we place our very few prized or irreplaceable items that can’t come with us on the road – photos, books, keepsakes, heirlooms, and a few other favorites. We sell or donate all the rest: clothes and furniture and all the other stuff. Just so much stuff.
Despite having downsized from our fancy house two years prior we still had too much stuff. Out it goes. Thank you Craigslist and Goodwill.
Which leaves us without a home, except for this tiny rolling one.
A Tiny House … Only Tinier
Libbie has roughly 150 square feet of living area. (Tiny houses often run to three times that.)
Squeezed into that area is a bathroom, a sleeping berth, a slide-out dinette, and a kitchen. Storage, always at dear premium for RVs of any kind, is well-planned and about as copious as one can imagine for a metal box smaller than most garages.
What She Does and Doesn’t Do
Libbie is a 21-foot Lance 1685 four-season travel trailer. She is pulled by Kyrie, our trusty Jeep Grand Cherokee tow vehicle. For y’all newbies out there, which we were not so long ago, here is an RV primer.
Distinct from a motor home, a travel trailer has no engine. Libbie’s drive train consists of two axles and a brake system.
Distinct from a tent, Libbie has holding tanks, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, propane infrastructure, a robust entertainment system, rigid walls, and the necessary appliances. Having tent-camped many, many times, we have now come to very much appreciate all of these comforts.
Why We Picked Her
The first consideration was always that Kyrie, already decked out with a factory tow package, would be our tow vehicle. Any travel trailer needed to be short enough to handle well with Kyrie’s wheelbase, have a max loaded tongue weight well under Kyrie’s 720-pound rating, and have a loaded vehicle weight well under Kyrie’s 7200-pound rating. All while configured with our mountain bikes somehow attached.
Plus, be small enough to fit into plenty of back-country and off-the-main-drag spaces that bigger rigs couldn’t.
And still be big enough to live in for at least two years, much of which would be boondocking: self-contained camping without hookups. For that purpose, maximizing the essentials of water, fire, and electricity mattered most.
In the end there really wasn’t any.
Oh, we flirted with the gorgeous smaller Airstreams like the Caravel. But weight, lack of storage, and minimal water capacity nixed those for us.
We even considered the tiniest motorhomes, hopped-up maxi-vans like the Winnebago Revel fully kitted out for the road. But #vanlife wasn’t for us, as those were just too small inside, and we couldn’t imagine driving anything bigger for the duration.
Closest to Libbie would have been Intech’s Sol Horizon travel trailer, a stylish and elegant competitor. While researching last summer, we even visited their assembly plant in Nappanee, Indiana, to see Amish craftsmen (no doubt my near relatives) build the units from axles up.
Yet we always came back to this Lance model, no matter how many others we crawled through, pored over, or imagined driving. In the end, simple stats like 45 gallons each of fresh, grey, and black water tank capacities tipped the decision.
That, plus Lance’s sterling reputation for reliability and the inescapable fact that their models are just so dang pretty.
And now she’s our home.
So we ordered Libbie with all the extra solar that could fit on the roof, maxed-out lithium batteries, an off-road lift kit, and the few other options.
What Her Name Means
It’s the freedom of being on the road, untethered. The autonomy to make our own choices with where we go and how we spend our time. The independence we hold as our core value, made real enough to live in.
And shortened, just so, to sound dear and friendly and fully ours.
Wow Glenn that is amazing! Congratulations on taking such a huge step and minimizing so drastically! Did you sell your MTG cards?! I’m slowly succumbing to my wife’s minimization tendencies and starting to get rid of “stuff” though not to the extent you have, yet. Are there any provisions for internet (4G?) with the camper, or is it all up to you?
Hey, Noam! I sold all my paper Magic cards (amazingly, for more than enough to buy Libbie!!), and so now I play exclusively online, via MTG’s Arena client. Hit me up there if you play. Internet is one of the biggest challenges, and we’ll be writing about how that goes as we learn more. For now our plan is to tether to our AT&T cell service, and augment with a cellular signal booster when we can. Libbie doesn’t add anything to the equation, except a solid 12V power source from solar.
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never played MTG… But I do remember you had very valuable and rare cards, protected by thick plastic. 🙂 Looking forward to hear more from your adventures!
Happy Trails! Thanks for including us on your adventure!
I can’t believe someone lives somewhere even smaller than my Manhattan apartment. But then you have a much bigger yard! How bold and exciting.
I suppose that “bold” and “foolhardy” are very closely related, as are “exciting” and “calamitous”!
Have you ever heard of Crater is Diamonds State Park in Arkansas? It might be an interesting place to add to your trip.
Our list needs filling out for Arkansas, so thanks for this tip! We’ll look into it.