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4 Myths About Tiny Homes

Busting the Myths about Tiny Homes on Wheels

Living in a tiny home is living intentionally, away from what society thinks you should do, away from debt, and away from many day to day stresses. It gives dwellers freedom of location, finances, and time. While living tiny is not something new, it has been newly embraced as people realize the current system of big houses, big mortgages, and big expenditures is unsustainable for the long term.

Despite the various benefits, this life of minimalism has its misconceptions. The reason is ignorance and the myths that surround tiny homes.


4 Myths About Tiny Homes

Tiny homes are meant for young hipster singles:

The biggest market for DIY tiny homes is actually women over 50 who have never built anything before. Tiny homes are about living intentionally rather than just living small. At Terraform Tiny Homes we have worked with families of four to traveling entrepreneurs, to single mothers. Tiny Homes are about a lifestyle more than a physical structure. They are suitable for anyone who wants to take control of their life and live intentionally.


Tiny Homes feel cramped:

It’s all about how you design them! At Terraform Tiny Homes, we strive to make each tiny house as spacious as we can so that you’re able to live comfortably.

When designing it is important to take into considerations things like, how the light moves through the house during the day, color pallets, room flow, and other concrete design features. In Terraform One we used pull-away walls and pocket doors to keep the whole home feeling open while still providing privacy when needed. Another tiny house dweller once told me “despite their home being the same exact size… Terraform One felt SO much bigger”.

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With Terraform Three smart design takes an extremely tiny footprint and expands it, as one visitor described, “like Mary Poppins purse”. 54 sq ft of interior living space expands to 124 sq ft of usable space by opening up a back wall, turning the roof into usable space, and other clever design features. DIY tiny homes may feel cramped at times due to lack of professional planning but ones constructed with experienced guidance can be surprisingly spacious and comfortable.

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They aren’t safe in a storm:

Not true! They are built to withstand hurricanes. When you are going down the highway at 60 mph and an 18-wheeler blows by at 60 mph in the opposite direction… That’s a 120 mph gust hitting your home. Add in potholes, swerves and bends in the road, and any number of road hazards, every tiny house move is a CAT 5 hurricane. So Tiny Homes are built to withstand these conditions. With the recent hurricanes in Florida and Houston, the tiny homes in the area did just fine. Learn more about their stories.

Another perk of living in a mobile dwelling is that in case of harsh weather conditions or expected hurricanes, you can take your home to a place where the weather is pleasant, something that you can’t do with a brick house.


Composting toilets are gross:

Living in a tiny house myself, I can assure you this it isn’t true at all. Through multiple exhibits, I’ve had over 10,000 people through Terraform One… Every exhibit I intentionally don’t dump my toilet beforehand to show first hand they are not as scary as people think. To this day, even with 3 weeks of poop and 10,000+ people just a few feet away, no one has told me that my toilet stinks.

Depending on your level of comfort there are different options. I use the Nature’s Head composting toilet which separates liquids and solids and has a vent fan to prevent odors. This is the Rolls Royce of composting toilets and comes with a high price tag, but the results are great. Many use simply a 5-gallon bucket and sawdust, while I haven’t gotten that brave, Terraform Three will have a DIY toilet somewhere in the middle of the two.

Composting toilets are much better for the environment. The average toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush and is flushed between 5-7 times per day. Add that all up and the average person uses almost 3,000 gallons of fresh drinking water yearly. Crazy to think about when you realize 844 million people, 1 in 10 people worldwide, don’t have access to clean water at all… and we poop in ours.

Terraform-TolietIf the environmental crisis wasn’t convincing enough… composting toilets, believe it or not, are much easier to clean.  They can be removed from the home, taken into the yard and simply hosed off. Much nicer than dealing with chemicals and sticking your head between the toilet and the cabinet to clean. A skeptic when I moved into my house, I have become an advocate for composting toilets as seen in my bedpan planters in Terraform One.


As Tiny house designers and dwellers ourselves, we strive to help people of all ages and backgrounds live more intentionally. While there are compromises and some struggles with living tiny, the net impact is extremely positive. This is how the tiny house community has evolved over the last few years and has witnessed a rapid rise in members.

Tiny house on wheels designers, Terraform Tiny Homes offers car camper designs, school bus conversions, and many more services to make your dream of living in an alternative dwelling come true.  

7 Benefits of Living in a Tiny House

Honestly, the best decision of my life was to downsize to a tiny home. After building a 250 sq ft home, then realizing that my tiny was still too big, from 250 sq ft I downsized once again to 54 sq ft. The Tiny House life has given me so much joy and amazing experiences.

The lifestyle is rapidly growing. DIYers all over are seeing the benefits of living large in very tiny homes. The best part is that just about anyone can build their own tiny house with a little tiny house coaching, some research, and a bit of creativity.

By going tiny you don’t have to spend 15-30 years of your life paying off a mortgage. Rather, save that money, travel the world, explore new places, meet new faces, or simply live a less stressed life.

If this isn’t convincing enough, here are seven more benefits of living in a tiny house:

Benefits of Shifting to a Tiny Home

Save Money

Buying a home bigger than your needs and budget can lead to years of struggles and stress in order to pay off the debt. Spending beyond ones means leaves a person financially and emotionally vulnerable. It limits options. You may feel as if you have to stay in an unhappy job, budget to the penny, and be stressed about the “what ifs”.  Downsizing to a tiny home reduces financial strain in a multitude of ways.

  • Moving to a smaller place (whether that be from 5,000 sq ft to 3,000 sq ft or from 1000 sq ft to 200 sq ft) has the obvious benefit of being cheaper to rent or buy. With the average American spending 30+% of their monthly income on rent, going from $1000+ per month to a few hundred per month by going tiny opens up your budget to a lot of possibilities.
  • Going smaller also saves on utilities. Simply put it takes a lot less energy to heat, light, cool, and maintain 200 sq ft than it does 1500… This adds up to hundreds every month in savings
  • There are many less tangible savings of simplifying.
    • You are less vulnerable to buying things just to fill space. It is proven, if you have the space to fill a room, you will fill it… Even if you never use that nightstand or bookshelf, a large space seems uncomfortable without stuff. 
    • You are less susceptible to planned obsolescence, which means you spend less money on stuff that is designed to break over and over again.
    • When you go small, the process of downsizing often means you have lots of things you need to sell. Which in turn, makes downsizing profitable.

Within a very small budget, you’ll have a roof over your head and the comforts of home customized to your needs.

Enjoy Financial Freedom

As compared to a typical home that can range upwards of $150,000; a DIY tiny house average around $30k. If you were to purchase one outright, they tend to average between $60-80k. In the states, 30+% of people’s income goes towards housing. Crazy when you think you could be debt free in a matter of years by just living differently.

Plus, tiny homes are versatile. They can be an income stream when not in use. If you decide to go into a normal home again, they make great guest houses or home offices… Or, sell it, and make back most of your expenses.

Freedom From Clutter

Only the things that you actually love will end up staying in your tiny home. Simplifying your stuff means more clarity of mind and less losing things. Everything I own brings me joy in some way, if it doesn’t, I get rid of it. Additionally, I lose my keys about every day. Luckily, I live small so it’s not too hard to find them. Everything has a fixed place, which means slightly less chaos!

Living in a tiny house makes life more organized, comfortable and enjoyable. It makes room for things that actually matter and gives independence of time, money and location.

Time Freedom

Since you’ve reclaimed 30+% of your income, that equates to essentially a 30% raise. Some people take that as “I need to work 30% less today” or “I can retire 30% sooner”. Either way, it frees up time now or later so that you can pursue your passions. The satisfaction of knowing that you have shelter, enough food and other possessions to keep life going sets one free. A 9-to-5 job can be replaced with freelancing or part-time jobs much easier, letting you pursue things that matter to you. With less to take care of, living in a tiny house is sure to give you more time for doing things that actually matter.

Permanent Roof Over Your Head

By switching to a tiny home, you will always know you have a home even if things go downhill. If you were to face financial hardships or lose your job, you won’t be homeless. A tiny house can be easily paid for, up front with a few years savings and if circumstances change, you can always move it to a new location.

Location Independence

Being able to adapt as life changes is something we all need, and living in a tiny house gives exactly that. Location independence is one of the main reasons why people switch to houses on wheels. One can easily move in case of a new job, stay close to friends and family, escape if a natural disaster is expected, and never pay for a hotel room on a road trip.

Stay With Like-Minded People

My favorite benefit of going tiny is being part of a like-minded community. Tiny House people, in my experience, are some of the kindest and welcoming people that I have met. There is a sense that we’re all crazy. Your craziness may be a little different than mine, but that’s okay. Staying with like-minded people makes life lighter and happier.

Ready to get started?

If you too wish to switch to a simpler, happier life in a Tiny Home, get in touch with Terraform Tiny Homes. We offer unique and attractive tiny home designs and alternative life coaching to help you live your best life today.

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The Terraform Tiny Home Story

At 22 years old, I was on top of the world. I had just obtained a Bachelor’s from one of the country’s best design schools without any debt, I’d already started an amazing career at a well-known advertising agency, and I ran by own side-business in the evenings. Everything was going my way. So, I decided to reward myself with something I’d always secretly wanted—a motorcycle. Little did I know this bike would be the catalyst for my tiny house.

Once I made the decision to purchase a motorcycle, I got to work finding the perfect bike. I even took riding classes before meeting up with a Craigslist contact. I left my apartment with $3,000 cash and returned with a new favorite toy. I was elated. After two days of practicing in a parking lot, I built up the courage to actually ride to work. The way there was fine, but it was on the way home that it hit me. “It” was a big, black, SUV.

She was distracted by her cell phone and blew through a stop sign. My plans for the upcoming weekend and my left femur were then shattered. I’d never broken a bone before, but I lead a “go big or go home” lifestyle, so it seemed appropriate the largest, strongest bone in my body was shattered into a thousand pieces. I was thrown from my bike, helmet wrenched off. Through recovering from full-body road rash and undergoing a series of surgeries on my leg didn’t seem too positive, the experience would change my life forever.

While cooped up after surgery, I came across a click-bait article titled “Couple Builds Home for $22,000”. I watched the accompanying video, thinking this 200-square-foot home was absolutely insane. Who the hell would even want to live in a space that small? As time passed, I began to see more posts about Tiny living. Call it divine intervention (or tracking algorithms), but the more I saw the more intrigued I became. I started to understand how some people lived in tiny homes and even imaged a hypothetical one for myself. Tiny houses had taken up permanent residence in my brain.

The next few years brought waves of enthusiasm about, and avoidance of, tiny houses. Just as I’d get excited about building a house, the stress about money, inexperience, and massive scope of the project would shut me down for months at a time. Then, I’d wander to the opposite extreme of needing to build. I knew renting apartments was a waste of money and felt stifled by the prospect of building a permanent structure home. After spending a deal of money on a new car, I realized this mental back-and-forth was ridiculous. Even if I utterly failed at going tiny, I knew I had to try.

Over the next few months, I contacted an architect, a trailer manufacturer, a shell fabricator, and found land to build my new home. I painfully wrote a $12,000 check for my trailer and walls, knowing I’d thrown myself past the proverbial point of no return. I did my best to keep busy with prep work in order to distract myself from this insane decision. On September 2, 2015, my trailer arrived at the home of the parents of one of my good friends. The next day the walls were delivered. The day after that, September 4, construction began.

10 volunteers gathered under the blazing Texas sun. Over the course of two days, and with the direction of Artisan Tiny House’s Patrick Sughrue, these inexperienced builders created the shell of my new home. We battled triple-digit heat, heavy paneling, and utter exhaustion. In the end, though, we were all exceptionally proud of what we’d built.

Shell Complete

The tiny house became a second job of sorts over the next four and a half months. I would work my 8:00-5:00 day job, anxiously awaiting to rush home and start my real work. I’d eat, throw on battered work clothes, and make the half-hour commute to the build site. I’d work until 1:00 in themorning or so, then get up the next morning and do it all again. Finally, on January 15, 2016, I left my over-priced city apartment and moved the last of my possessions into my (still under construction) new home.

I kept my full-time job for the next month and continued to build late into the evening. I soon became fed up with agency life and made the decision to quit my corporate position and begin my own marketing firm. Thankfully, my existing freelance clients were excited about this prospect and ready to expand the scope of their work. For the first time in my life, I felt totally in control. I owned a home, started a business, and was debt free with the financial stability to live each day as I wished. Of course, this major life transition came with several stumbles and much uncertainty, but each challenge was welcomed as a chance to develop myself.

One major challenged occurred in March when I was asked to exhibit my less than finished home as Earth Day Texas 2016. I agreed to participate despite my home being in no condition to be seen by 100,000+ people the following month. I rushed to finish projects before moving my house for the first time in April. The house was rock solid, but I was a mess.

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My home was visited by 5,000 people on the grounds of the Texas State Fair. 3,000 more saw Terraform at another exhibit a few weekends later. Many of these individuals had never seen a tiny in person. It was surreal to be considered an “expert” by so many since I was still in disbelief I’d even accomplished a such a build.

The summer months continued to be eventful. In June I was approached to be on HGTV’s hit show, “Tiny House Hunters.” I originally turned down the network because they wanted me to say I simply bought my home. After some negotiation, they agreed to let me tell my building story. I toured homes on the show for “inspiration,” one of which belonged to a friend of mine. We shot her tiny home Friday, then packed it up for a cross-country move the following Monday.

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I prepped a second “tiny house on wheels,” as a travel vehicle. My Honda Element soon became a 32-square-foot micro camper for a two-month excursion to scout for a new place to put the big tiny house. The trip turned into four months and my car became my home. I rushed through the last leg of my trip to make it back to Texas for the holidays, I returned home and was overwhelmed at the excessiveness of my 250-square-foot tiny mansion. I had become so comfortable in the car, even through freezing nights and giant storms. My experiences had far outweighed the need for the comforts of a traditional home.

 

car-camper-designI think my tiny house experience was similar to most others. A life-changing event prompted contemplation and the need for change. The change takes form as a tiny house. Fear, doubt, and overwhelming scheduling almost crushed my tiny house dreams, but in the end, it was all worth it.

I learned the do it yourself mindset in a tiny house goes far beyond simply getting a roof overhead. The ability to problem solve and willingness to get your hands dirty to accomplish an insurmountable goal transfers to many things in life. A community willing to gather around an individual trying to follow his (crazy) dreams brings about renewed faith in humanity. And the opportunities to teach, inspire, and help others meet their goals is endlessly rewarding.

All I wanted out of a tiny house was a cheap place to live. I got so, so much more. A tiny house isn’t just about the home, but about the life it allows you to create.

For more information about my tiny home and adventures, please visit TerraformTH.com, follow me on Instagram @TerraformTinyHomes, or send me an email at Richard@TerraformTH.com

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Short Bus Conversion

“The Wander Bus”

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Victor came to Terraform Tiny Homes with no building experience, tools, or much of a plan as to how to turn the school bus he purchased for $2,200 and had traveled across the country with into a home. He reached out and Terraform was there to help. We worked with Victor and his friends to provide training, tools, and trips to Home Depot for informative field trips. We helped to get Victor into his bus in a matter of weeks and gave him the skill set to confidently build out the rest of the bus. Victor’s bus build was extremely budget-conscious.

TESTIMONIAL

“Once I decided to go tiny, I had no idea what I was getting into. I purchased the bus and reached out for help. Terraform Tiny Homes responded and came out the very next day to assess the situation. The flexibility in working with budget, materials, constraints, and the creativity in finding the best fit for my situation is a true testimony to the skills that Terraform Tiny Homes developed over time. While every project might be different, Terraform Tiny Homes helped me reevaluate my plans, consider different insulating and other materials options, and even helped provide the necessary tools for the project. In just 3 weeks, Terraform Tiny Homes helped me transform a school bus into a functional, comfortable home! I could not be happier to recommend Terraform Tiny Homes to anyone thinking about, or already building tiny.”

– Victor P. Davidenko, owner of The Wanderbus

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How to make your own car camper.

When designing any car camper, a lot of research goes into finding the perfect “thing” to fit a specific (and ideally multiple) needs. Terraform Two was an easy build since most of the features and functions were purchased straight from Amazon. Just about any vehicle can be converted to a stealth camper, it’s all about finding what works for you. Here’s what I found worked well with my 2010 Honda Element build:

SLEEPING:

SLEEPING PLATFORM:

This would have been the most complicated part of the build. Luckily I found a previous Honda Element owner who was selling exactly what I needed for $50! But even if I were to build it, the design is relatively simple. A piece of ¾” plywood was traced and cut to fit the back of the Element, 7 Gas pipe floor flanges were screwed on around the perimeter and 7″ pipe nipples were screwed onto those. At the front, the plywood was cut down the center and piano hinges were attached in a way that they could fold down when the seats moved forward. The whole thing was wrapped in speaker felt, and Viola! a platform was made. By getting taller or shorter pipe nipples, you can easily customize the height of the platform to fit your needs. A taller platform means more storage, while a shorter one means more headroom. I found the 7″ pipes worked perfectly for me because my four storage boxes just fit underneath.

MATTRESS:

On the first four-month trip, I used the ALPS Mountaineering Comfort Series Air Pad 4″ memory foam self-inflating camping mat. Comfortable, durable, easy to clean, the camping mat served its purpose well for a solo traveler. The only downfall I found was that it made “sleepovers” very difficult and uncomfortable. As an over-optimistic hopeless romantic… I upgraded from the single person mattress to the double-sized Lucid 4″ memory foam folding mattress. This I found fits perfectly in the back of a Honda Element once you take one section out, is water and stain resistant, and could comfortably fit a cute gypsy travel partner (now accepting applications).

STORAGE:

UNDER PLATFORM:

When I started the trip, my car was FULL of plastic storage bins, 4 “under bed” style plastic boxes and two large bins beside the bed. As I traveled I learned more efficient ways to pack and got rid of everything I wasn’t using (about 50% of the car),  After freeing up most of the back platform, the car started feeling SO much bigger and a much more comfortable place to live. I now only have the 3 “under bed” boxes inside the car, one for food, one for cooking supplies, and one for camping gear. The rest of my travel supplies go into the life-changing roof cargo box.

THULE ROOF CARGO BOX:

It took me three months on the road before I broke down and spent the money on the cargo box… but from the moment I installed it I thought “Why didn’t I do this from the start!”. The cargo box was life-changing. All of my “soft and bulky” stuff got removed from the car and thrown up on the roof. Clothes, blankets, my solar water heater, and so much more were out of sight and out of mind. This completely changed the way I car camped and made it possible for me to make room for a second traveler.

CEILING NET:

Another essential (and cheap) storage component of the Element was the Truck bed storage net. While this doesn’t hold a lot of things, it does wonders to keep things organized. Believe it or not… even living in 32 sq ft, I lose my keys, phone, wallet, mind…. about every day. With the cargo net, I was able to clip all the small daily use items (Swiss army utensil set, keys, Luci lightmesh toiletry bags, and more) up and out of the way to keep them from getting lost in the nooks and crannies of the car. The net also worked as great storage for my window shades, and to keep a pair of clothes handy just in case someone were to knock on the window in the middle of the night.

CENTER CONSOLE:

This may or may not be necessary for every vehicle, but with my Element, I felt the center console was very poorly designed. So I ripped it out and built a custom box in its place. It’s nothing fancy, just some leftover ¾ plywood, a hinge, lock, some foam, and fabric, but it provides much-needed locking storage for my valuables. Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to start ripping things out of your car if they don’t work for you.

BIKE RACK:

Another great purchase was my Thule bike rack. I began with a cheap $40 rack, but after a few thousand miles of bumpy roads, it completely fell apart on me. Having a bike in addition to your car is a great extension when traveling. Often when visiting a city, I would park on the outskirts in a neighborhood where I could find free parking for the day, then bike into town for events or just to explore. Biking lets you see a new city in more detail and makes it easy to just lock up and go into that cool little coffee shop or art gallery that you otherwise would have missed.

STEALTH:

Stealth was one of THE MOST important aspects of my Honda Element camper design. Unless you plan on paying for campsites and hotels your whole trip, there will be times where you will have to pull off into a neighborhood and sleep. The more stealthy you can be — the better you’ll sleep. Trust me.

A few tips on converting an existing vehicle or things to consider when buying a new one:

BLEND IN:

Keep neutral colors and lose the polarizing bumper stickers. “420 friendly” may be something you’re proud of but your collection of bumper stickers or flame decals are going to make you stick out in an upper-class neighborhood. The less interesting you look, the better. This applies to your clothing and mannerisms while traveling as well, but that’s an article for another time. For more on blending, I recommend the Grey Man Principles of Survival article. In short, it’s the nail that sticks out that gets hit.

GO DARK:

The less it looks like you’re living in your car the better. By the end of my trip, I had my entire back empty except for my sleeping mattress, pillows, and cooler. All of my bedding was BLACK by design so I could just throw my blanket over everything and to anyone looking into my windows, it just looked like an empty car. I didn’t have to worry about someone seeing my laptop bag, expensive cooler, or anything else that someone may find it worth it to break into my car for. Black bedding also makes you invisible at night when you’re sleeping. The biggest thing that’ll give you away when you’re sleeping in your car is someone seeing a body part. If you’re wrapped in black sheets and blankets, you just blend into the night.

Another big part of stealth is making sure people can’t see into your car in the first place. If you feel so inclined to spend the money, tint your windows as dark as legally allowed. But even without tinted windows, it’s very easy and inexpensive to make blackout curtains for your vehicle. My Element has seven windows, three on each side and one rear. The rear windows and back hatch windows do not open. For those, I got Reflectex, Black thrift store fabric (I used $0.25 XXXL T-shirts), safety pins, and black duct tape. Cut the Reflectex to fit your window. Cut your fabric and wrap around the Reflectex. Safety pin (make sure they are on the inside of the car), and then use black duct tape to secure them in place and fill any gaps. The black fabric makes the windows just look dark tinted rather than aluminum foil and the Reflectex actually helps to insulate and keep your car more comfortable in addition to blocking peering eyes.

For the front windows, I used cheap bungee cords attached to the sun visors and passenger grip handles as a curtain rod, then simply safety pinned black thrift store fabric around the bungee for a cheap DIY curtain. With a window shade for the windshield, this makes the car 100% black from almost any angle at night for just a couple bucks. The car is easy to set up in 2-3 minutes without ever having to get out of the car and gives a lot of peace of mind when sleeping in front of a stranger’s house.

For more information about stealth camping and living for free on the road, Schedule a consultation!

COOKING:

Being able to cook on the road is another critical aspect of living cheap and staying healthy while traveling. While my kitchen is compact, it’s powerful and I frequently cooked for fellow rest-stop visitors, couch surfing hosts, and campsite neighbors. Being able to give someone a good meal who may have been in less than ideal living quarters for weeks or months is a great way to make friends and give back.

THE KITCHEN BUILD:

My kitchen has changed more than anything else in the Element. It started with a large table between the two doors, but that proved to be too much of a hassle to set up and tear down just to make a cup of coffee. The current version which served me for most of the trip is nothing more than a left over piece of ¾ plywood and drawer hardware attached to the bottom of the sleeping platform. It pulls out, I can stick my stove and cutting board on it, then hides away and takes up zero space in the car. A hook and plastic grocery bag work as a great trash can and a camping shower bag thrown on the roof provides running water.

STOVE:

For my stove, I opted for the two burner camping stove. Since I like to cook for people, I wanted something a little bigger with two burners (I cook eggs and boil water for coffee just about every morning). You could do a backpacking stove if you wanted to save a little space. The 1lb propane tanks are readily available at most Wal-Marts and I also purchased a cheap 15lb to 1lb fill adapter so I can save $3-$5 per bottle and refill my spent tanks off those RV’ers large tanks (who I just cooked dinner for).

POTS/PANS/UTENSILS:

I cook a lot, but run a minimalist kitchen. I use one 12″ cast iron skillet for 90% of my cooking. I carry one small sauce pan to boil water, beans, etc., One decent sized cutting board and most importantly a HIGH-QUALITY chefs knife! Keep one plate, bowl, Swiss army utensil setpour over coffee maker, can opener, one coffee cup, one water bottle, and one hydroflask growler. Most of the time I eat out of the pot I cook in to cut down on dishes, so one set of everything can usually suffice for two people, and most campers have their own stuff. For more information about minimalist cooking, I recommendThe minimalist kitchen article.

COOLER:

I traveled for four months using my Yeti 45 Cooler. For the most part, it worked great… It would keep bagged ice frozen for 3-4 days and block ice frozen for nearly a week. The one downside I found to using an ice cooler is… you have to keep getting ice every few days. For Terraform 2.2 I am researching a DC 12v cooler. Thus far though, I haven’t found a cooler in my price point that seems worth getting so, for now, the Yeti will have to do.

ELECTRICITY:

BATTERY BANK:

In my last trip, my main source of power was a 5-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Start. For what it was, this bank served me well for the trip. It was cheap, but it provided enough battery to charge my phone, laptop, and hotspot when I needed it. But, it would only run my o2 Fan for about four hours during the night, which was less than ideal. The bank charged off the 12v outlet in the car, which was nice when I was driving consistently, but on days I was parked, it wouldn’t get any charge. Because of this, I upgraded to the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Powerpack. The Yeti will run my same fan for 20 hours on a full charge, has built-in inverters for USB and 110v, is more compact, and best of all… after some creative wiring, it pairs with a 100-watt flexible solar panel mounted to the roof of the car. This way, while I’m driving the Yeti is charging off the car alternator, when I’m stopped it’s charging off the sun.

Since my phone keeps me alive while I’m traveling. I also use a solar battery pack (the one I got turned out to be junk, but I do recommend having one) to help top off and for lighting, I use the 2.0 Outdoor Luci Lightsolar LED light.

CONCLUSION:

The gear here has served me well for over 10,000 miles and four months of travel. New road trips are planned and I am super excited to get out on the road again.

Full disclosure, many of the links in this article are Amazon affiliate links, meaning a small percentage of the purchase price comes back to me. Any of the purchases I’ve made that I do not feel are up to my standards were not included. Also, what works for me may not work for you and while I’ve tried to include the “best for your money” items, Amazon is always changing. What I’ve listed in these links may not be the best or cheapest at the moment. I encourage you to shop around and do your research, but if you do choose to purchase anything you’ve found in this article, I would appreciate if you do it through the links provided (it doesn’t cost you a penny more but it helps me continue to write and give advice).

If there’s anything else I can do to help you with your car camper or travels, feel free to reach out to me at Richard@TerraformTH.com.

Thanks!