So, You Need to Go Super-Tiny
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According to the US Department of Labor in a pre-pandemic report, a worker could expect to remain in his or her position only 2-3 years. The numbers were more dismal for workers over the age of 50, who would need two years to find new employment. The pandemic of the past year has made those numbers even more dismal by drawing younger workers into the picture. People of all ages have been shown to the corporate door without so much as a by your leave. Without a plump corporate paycheck to cover their rent or mortgage payments, redundant workers have been forced out of their homes and into a frustrating search for affordable housing.
Enter the picture: alternative housing, which includes everything from automobiles and SUVs to travel trailers, and mobile homes. And, yes, motor homes and tiny and small houses, although these tend to be too pricey for many redundant workers.
With front seats that recline and back seats that fold down, a car can provide the first choice for a place to sleep and have a roof over one's head. In a video, a woman reclined the driver’s seat and propped her feet on the console. She used foil insulation in the windows for privacy and warmth, kept her personal belongings on the front passenger seat and floorboard, her food on the back seat, and a five-gallon bucket to use as a potty on the floor of the back seat. The rest of her car held blankets. Let’s face it: cars aren’t built with stationary heating and cooling in mind.
A man showed how he could sleep in his small SUV. He placed a cooler on the floor of the back seat, lowered the back seat, and used the head rest to fill the gap between the cooler and his bed pillow. He unrolled a sleeping bag to soften his “bed.” He could use the front and back seats, floorboards, and behind the back seat to store his belongings. The man had a definite advantage over the woman: he could stretch out to his full length.
Here's a theme that will pop up again when we discuss motor homes: One of the greatest advantages to cars and SUVs is the close proximity to the driver's seat. If you need to make a fast getaway to avoid a dangerous situation, you can without having to get out of the vehicle to reach the steering wheel.
Next best from a financial perspective would be a small travel trailer. They are suitable for one or two people and can be pulled behind a modest-sized SUV. Be sure your vehicle is capable of towing the trailer you choose. You need to consider both dry weight (car and trailer, alone) and wet weight (car, trailer, and all contents). Be sure to consult your car's manufacturer to learn its weight limits to avoid transmission, cooling system, brake, and suspension problems (all expensive repairs). Small travel trailers come with a kitchen and an option for a microwave. They also come with options for an upgraded heating system, a bathroom with shower, solar power, a television, and more. They have bench seats that make into either two twin beds or a king bed. They also have small tables that connect to the floor for dining, using a laptop computer, or playing board games.
Every travel trailer has its limitations, especially as regard adequate heat and insulation. As with those who live in their cars, those who live in travel trailers find they need to add foil insulation to the windows at night and possibly use rugs or carpeting to add insulation to the floor. The best bet is to buy a trailer that is insulated for northern climes; however, these are not easy to find. Know this: the lightweight travel trailers, while more affordable up front, may well cost more in auxiliary insulation and heating.
Above all, be very careful with your heating sources. Do not use any heater that does not come recommended by the manufacturer of the trailer. Also, toxic fumes are dangerous, so make sure your heaters are properly vented to the outside according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Before I end this discourse, let me say a word about safety from intruders. This may be more important now, when established campgrounds and RV parks are full and places to set up camp are at a premium. Be sure to use common sense. Criminals are everywhere: certainly, on the streets, but even in those established campgrounds and RV parks. So, keep your eyes and ears open. If you don't like the look or the feel of a place, leave! Go somewhere else. Even when you've found a good place to set up camp, make sure to lock yourself in, and be creative in discouraging criminals. Invest in an electronic hitch that makes it more difficult for criminals to hitch your trailer to their truck and make off with it. Protect yourself from their even trying to break in. Some people keep a dog for that purpose. Others have been known to use recordings of dogs barking. Keep a can of mace to ward off the criminal who manages to pick the lock. You'll be glad you did.