Tiny House vs. RV

Tiny House vs RV

Tiny houses are trendy and adorable.  Television shows parade their affordability and the convenience of living tiny for singles, couples, and families.  That is what lead my husband and I to explore the concept two years ago, when rents were high and the housing market was questionable.  We wanted freedom from the financial obligation and rigidness of a mortgage or rent.  Our research lead us to several conclusions about tiny houses and ultimately, the decision to live in a recreational vehicle (RV) instead.

While tiny houses are built on wheels, they are not meant to travel frequently.  The purpose of building a house on a trailer is to avoid zoning and permitting requirements (sometimes taxes too).  RV’s are designed for the road with lightweight materials and traffic laws in mind.  Some states even require a special permit to transport a tiny house, not to mention a substantial vehicle with the power to pull a tiny house.

RV’s are subject to regulations and tiny houses are not.  For this reason, many campgrounds, national parks and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) do not allow tiny houses to park overnight.  It is also challenging to insure a custom built tiny house because of the lack of regulations.

Tiny houses do not have holding tanks for black, grey or fresh water as RV’s do.  That means they must be connected to a water source and sewer in order for the plumbing to be fully functional.  RV’s afford the opportunity for boondocking or camping without being hooked up to water and sewer making the location possibilities endless.  However, emptying the holding tanks from a RV can be smelly and messy.

The same is true for electric.  A tiny house must be plugged in to an electric source.  RV’s often have generators on board capable of running electricity for the lights, air conditioner, television, etc.

Many RV’s are larger than tiny houses when comparing square footage to include RV slide-outs.  RV’s also have more storage capability, inside and out, and better use of space overall.  More people can be accommodated in the average RV which have couches and tables that convert into beds.

Tiny houses have better insulation than RV’s.  Insulation keeps sounds out and makes it easier to control the temperature inside.  RV’s are more prone to shaking when it is windy or people are walking around in the rig.

RV’s are vehicles by definition.  They depreciate quickly like vehicles.  Tiny houses tend to hold their value or even increase in value as houses do.

If you are looking to live small with minimal travel, a tiny house might be perfect for you.  It can be custom built to meet your unique style and needs at an affordable cost.  Purchase or rent a plot of land in your location of choice, and you’re all set.  If you would prefer to travel frequently, perhaps to visit the national parks and truly experience the beauty of America, an RV is the better choice.

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3 comments on “Tiny House vs. RV

  1. We went through the same decision process 2 years ago. Since I move for work every 3 months we could not guarantee being able to find a spot for a tiny home. With our fifth wheel RV, we simply call any local campground and make a reservation. It also allows us to take side trips while on work assignments.

  2. One downside of an RV that I did not see considered is that they are not designed to be lived in full-time. I’ve heard formaldehyde levels are much higher than a home built out of standard home building materials.

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