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Living in a camper with kids

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Have any of you fine mama's lived in a camper with kids? We have the opportunity to put a large camper on my parents land as we apply for subdivision approval before buying 5 acres on it, that we could then save money to build or put a modular home on. That means 1-3+ years living in a camper, which could be a big 40footer, with 2 kids (who are under 3yrs now) and possibly more if we get pregnant again. Wed have access to all my parents utilities as well as use of their laundry, tub, etc. We would also be able to put sheds up for storage if needed. Dh lived for 5 years in a 20ft trailer with his family of 4 while growing up & very poor. We don't think we'd "feel" poor since it would be a step towards living debt free, not something we are forced in to. My biggest concerns are space related, with living in a camper during our long winters. At least we get chinooks (Calgary, Alberta area) and would have my parents close by, since we have a great relationship with them. I'd love some Feedback if anyone has done something similar to this. Thanks!!!
post #2 of 14
I'd do it in a second! Dh would be less enthusiastic. For me the big thing would be having some storage but you said you can put up shed(s) as needed.

Can you maybe build a sheltered area beside the trailer that would expand your living space during milder weather while giving you shade/protection from rain?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
The may be issues with putting up any shelters that make it obvious it's not just my parents trailer parked behind there house, since it wouldn't be allowed according to bypass, asumming anyone complained, which is unlikely. Wed spend lots of time at my parents, which we are all happy with, yet have our own space for privacy. My moms crafty so i could use her surger & set up my sewing machine in her craft room, which I can learn on in the hopes of making money on easy later. There are so many benefits for us all (my parents adore our kids) bu the big issues are a 1-1.5 hour commute for dh, and living in a camper
post #4 of 14

My Aunt & Uncle

My aunt and uncle did it. Their kids were something like 4. 7 and 9 at the time. They only did it for a few months (maybe three or four), but the camper was small (like 12 feet) and old (like 1970).

I would definitely check the bilaws to make sure that it's going to be okay with your municipality, but if you're looking at doing it with a forty foot trailer it should be very doable. A forty foot trailer is as big as some small apartments, and usually they make significantly better use of space.
post #5 of 14
Does the camper have a small stove you can use to heat up food or make oatmeal, etc? If it doesn't, it would be hard to stay that long, wouldn't it? Does it have a heater? If it doesn't, parts of the winters would most likely be too cold. Isn't the average winter temperature in Calgary -10C or so? That means half the days are colder! Does it have a water tank or would you have ready access to water (other than in your parents' home) for washing hands, brushing teeth, etc? What's the bed situation like? Do both ends make a bed? Do you have a table that's seperate from that or does the table become the second bed? That would be very annoying after a while, always having to put a bed away in order to have space to do crafts, play games, eat, etc. Would you be able to run an electrical cord from parents' house (if the camper has lights)?

I wouldn't be worried about space, but more about comfort (in winter) and convenience (for eating, playing etc) over the long term.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowTurtle View Post
Does the camper have a small stove you can use to heat up food or make oatmeal, etc? If it doesn't, it would be hard to stay that long, wouldn't it? Does it have a heater? If it doesn't, parts of the winters would most likely be too cold. Isn't the average winter temperature in Calgary -10C or so? That means half the days are colder! Does it have a water tank or would you have ready access to water (other than in your parents' home) for washing hands, brushing teeth, etc? What's the bed situation like? Do both ends make a bed? Do you have a table that's seperate from that or does the table become the second bed? That would be very annoying after a while, always having to put a bed away in order to have space to do crafts, play games, eat, etc. Would you be able to run an electrical cord from parents' house (if the camper has lights)?

I wouldn't be worried about space, but more about comfort (in winter) and convenience (for eating, playing etc) over the long term.
We don't have the trailer yet, since we'd buy it after selling our house. We would be careful to pick a used one that meets our needs. My brother & his wife work up north in the oil fields and live in a 5th wheel for months at a time. We would look at getting one similar to theirs, I think. It's got a kitchen unit with table & couch in main area. The table turns into a spare bed if needed. There is also a master bedroom with a shower, tiny toilet stall, and queen bed. At the back is a room with bunks. Lots of space! We are camping in it right now, so it's easy to explain. There is a heater but you need to winterize for our winter weather. It gets below 30c at times here but we also get nice warm chinooks to balance things out. I have resources to make sure we properly set the trailer up, and get one we could live in, thankfully, but am wondering the in's & outs, the challenges, or living in one with young children & babies.
post #7 of 14
Last year my husband and I, along with our four kids lived in a trailer for 3 months while my hubby was working in another province. I loved it! It was the time that I remember being the happiest that I've ever been. Life was soo simple. I didn't spend all day long cleaning things, doing laundry, picking up toys, etc. We spent much more time together as a family and became much closer. BUT, I don't know whether I would try it during the winter. I live in Ponoka, so I know how bad our winters can be, and I think I might go stir crazy if I were stuck in a trailer! Our trailer was brand new, 36', and had a separate room in the back as well with a tv and bunks, but when you're in there all the time it can get quite squishy. You just have to weigh the good with the bad, if you're only looking at maybe a year, and it will save you enough money and in the end get you one step closer to your goal, then that makes it easier to sacrifice for a short time and make it work.
post #8 of 14
You also have to think about you and your kids spending this much time with your parents. Even thought you'd technically be living in the trailer, you'd be likely to spend alot more time in their home than you would if you were in a stick house.

If they're the kind who drive you nuts (try to parent your kids, offer the kind of food you'd rather they had in moderation, have the tv on all the time, whatever pushes your buttons), you have to also think about that.
post #9 of 14
Here are several bogs/ sites of families that live in RV's full time:

Delight is a poster here on MDC from time to time;
http://www.happyjanssens.com/


http://www.ecowomb.com/about/

http://ticknortribe.blogspot.com/

http://www.theboxcarkids.net/wordpress/
Living in RV due to unemployment

http://www.cagefreefamily.com/
I think they just moved into a house, but you can read the archives


This family lives on a boat:
http://zachaboard.blogspot.com/


Other resources:
http://familiesontheroad.com/


You can also check out RV forums for a lot more life living insights. I large portion will be older couples whoes families have moved on, but you can still learn from them.
post #10 of 14
Hi!
We have been in our 5th wheel for 2 years this week with our 4 kids.. We are also in Canada.. We spent the first winter travelling down south and had an incredible time! We then bought land and are now building our cob home , we will be in our home by November just in time for our 5th baby to be born. Being together in the 5th wheel has been an amazing experience for our family!! I can not imagine doing it all winter in AB though. We live in BC on the island so have very mild winters. Propane heat is very expensive and not very efficient at all. We were in ours through a month of bad weather, cold, snow etc and blew through about 30$ every 2-3 days in propane!! Ours is built for canadian winters too!
We built a greenhouse over our 5th wheel this winter which was very affordable too and so worth it, we were able to store stuff on shelves in it and also plant earlier in the spring!
I think the biggest issue is accumulating too much stuff which can happen when you are stationary in a 5th wheel. I regularly go through and get rid of stuff because very quickly I feel overwhelmed when it gets to be too much. Can be tricky with 4-5 kids and all the birthdays and Christmas gifts etc!
For us it has been a wonderful family experience, would not trade it for a thing and it made it possible for us to follow our dreams and build our cob home and be able to afford it... We are WAY closer as a family now too. Mind you be prepared we found many other people really have an issue with it and would always ask how we do it etc. I tell them how happy and healthy we and the kids are and how our marriage is way stronger PM me if you want more specific info
Here is our blog too www.canadianfamilyrobinson.com
The last 6 months is all mainly around our cob home building but if you look back there is lots on the RV life too Good luck and have fun!!
post #11 of 14

I am currently living in a 25.5 BH 5th wheel with three boys (ages 11, 8 and 6), my husband, two dogs, a cat and myself. We have been doing it since October. It CAN be done but, it isn't easy at all. There is the lack of space and the kid's feel cooped up easy. Everyone gets on the others nerve at least once a day. We are doing it because my husband got a great job where we are, but there are NO rentals open now. Buying a home isn't an option because that's face it. Anymore you almost have to have GREAT credit to finance. I miss having little things like, privacy. More counter space when cooking, a real toilet or even a shower I could be in for more then 5 min. The furniture in a camper is not comfortable and waking up to back aches every morning because the bed is awful is a nightmare. I am not trying to scare you from your goal. I believe it is a wonderful plan but, I am not going to sugar coat it. It is better to know everything. It will seem OK for the first few months, but after that it will become tough. I wish you all the luck in the world.

post #12 of 14

It sounds like a good thing to me. My concerns would be living so close to parents and whether that would put strain on the relationship... only because we lived with my FIL for a while and I went pretty close to crazy. Also, if you're going to do this for going debt free purposes and watching over your finances (way to go!!) I would suggest living in the trailer longer if it meant you could build a permanent foundation house (even a tiny one) rather than a mobile home. I really have no problem with mobile homes, we have lived in 2 (one right now) but they are hard to sell, are cheaply made and you can end up with a lot of problems that, now that we have lived in MHs and had experience with them, we will never do it again. It seems like it's going to save money in the beggining but can really end up costing. Just my experience on that.

 

On another note, I know someone who lived in a camper with her kiddos and she says she longs to do it again. She says life was much more simple and they had so much less thigns to have to bother with.

 

Good luck!

post #13 of 14

It sounds like fun

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

It turns out that bylaws for their municipality changed and no more subdivisions are allowed, even for family.  We decided to buy in a small town within commuting distance to dh's work and are moving in 2 weeks!  We're downsizing the house & upsizing the yard, for half the price of our current house, so it'll be perfect for us.  Now if only I wasn't in my first trimester with two kids 3yrs & under, and struggling to have the energy to pack....  :P

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