June 30, 2014

Tiny Home vs Van

One evening while traveling we pulled into a tiny town. The local mall happened to have a tiny home on display in the parking lot. Feeling a kinship between this diminutive domicile and our own Lilliputian lair, we nestled in next to it for the night.

The next morning I had a sunrise walkabout in the parking lot and gopher field next door. I couldn't help but notice that the tiny home and our van were very similar. The tiny trailer home had some information posted in the window making a comparison possible.

The tiny home was 7 feet by 14 feet. Our van is 6.6 ft by 17.6 ft.

Our van is a bit longer than a standard tiny home, almost as wide, and not quite as tall.

The tiny home has a small porch in front which is about big enough to store one bicycle. Our van's wheelchair lift can be used as a porch for one to sit on, and the back rack has room for three bicycles.

Our van  is well constructed, and so was the tiny home. Inside though, the van wins hands down. The little house on wheels had a front room, a back room with two bunks, and a sleeping loft. It was nice, but that was all that was inside.

Our van on the other hand is completely self-sufficient. We have a bed, a single burner camp stove, 25 litres of water, a wash basin (actually it's an oven roaster doing double duty until we get to our destination), a cooler for food requiring refrigeration, and last but certainly not least, a commode.

We also have a "loft" over the bed area that acts as a large storage space. 2 small kids could sleep up there comfortably.

In the end they are similar, but right now I prefer the van.
The tiny home information did say that a photovoltaic system was included, which is something that Linda and I do not yet have. While we can live without electricity, having a no-emissions method of producing power would make things a bit more comfortable and convenient.

Bottom line on the tiny home was $18,000, and you would still need a vehicle to tow it to its destination. Our van cost us $8500 ($5500 plus our old truck), and it moves on down the highway just fine on its own. With the extra $10,000 dollars we could live the nomadic life for a long time.

That's it - for me, the van wins.


  1. You're right, $18,000 for a posh shed is a lot of money. Someone is making a lot of money from another who wants to live the 'simple' life!

  2. All I know is both sound wonderful.

  3. Anonymous7/02/2014

    Though those 'cute as a button' tiny homes are charming, I'll take the van too! I like the relocation logistics of a van.

    I agree with CharlotteP on the money making part of tiny homes. They feel a little too yuppie for me also. But will give credit to the tiny home industry (and that is what it has become, an industry) for educating people and offering another choice in sustainable living. The cute-ness seems to be attracting a lot of folks and inviting them to think about their over-consumptive lifestyles.


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