Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Budget Survival – Survival Trailer

The point of the survival trailer is to live rent and mortgage free allowing you to either save considerable amounts of money, quickly pay down debt or buy a few homesteading acres to eventually settle. One payment and you have a transportable home. You are not tied to a city during an economic collapse because you cannot sell your house or fighting to come up with first month rent, deposit and moving money to get you to a new city. Simply hook your house up and move it wherever there are jobs.

Recently I seriously considered this as a lifestyle change when I happened across a twenty five foot Holiday Rambler Deluxe Travel Trailer. The old boy only wanted twelve hundred dollars for the fine example of early 1970’s luxury camping accommodations. He said it was missing the refrigerator and toilet but other than that it was in excellent shape. My cabin does not have a toilet or refrigerator either so that was not a great concern. He exaggerated slightly about the shape but I will get to that in a minute.

What necessities did this home on wheels need to make it livable for me. To be honest not a lot, most of the change would need to be reduction and simplification on my part, which must happen anyway. It needed a lot of windows to combat claustrophobia, an air conditioner to keep the dogs cool on warm days and storage enough for at least a years worth of food (fifteen five gallon buckets). It easily met all of my requirements.

The inside would need considerable work, carpet replaced, bedroom redesigned with more under bed storage for buckets, biblical cleaning but otherwise the lay out was good and it was doable. Best of all you could do it while staying in the trailer and it would not cost a huge amount.

Two close people could live in this trailer. It would be very cramped but with two rooms at least you could get away from each other. If you had children I would not recommend it. Yes the couch would make out into a bed but that is a lot of bodies inside a two hundred square foot metal box. Additionally I think one person could possibly get by inside a cab over truck camper. These can be picked up for a few hundred dollars. I have two little dogs and a partner so the cab over option would not work.

The Holiday Rambler was a giant heavy thing. You can pick up these behemoths for next to nothing on Craigs List or eBay when you can find them. With gas so expensive it is not economically sound to tow them here and there for vacations but they are ideal for long term stay. Remember you need to have a vehicle that can pull the monsters.

For an information technology contractor like myself it would be ideal. When a job is up or you are bored, just unplug the house, roll up the awning, hitch it up and go. You are only limited by water obstacles. Even living at the cabin it would be helpful to have a home on wheels if I needed to work a few months out of the year.

I drove past a KOA campground on the way back into town this weekend. I noticed at least forty trailers on the grounds. Most of them had skirting to the ground and looked like long duration say units…in other words survival trailers. Out of curiosity I called the campground and a month stay is four hundred and thirty five. Amenities include wireless internet, 30 amp power, restroom/shower facilities, laundry, heated pool, hot tub, kennel and an exercise room.

KOA would be on the high end. I’m not sure what lot rent would run at a mobile home park but probably between two and three hundred. Parking behind a friends place or squatting on someone’s land would be free although with squatting you would have no power without solar panels.

My happy camper salesman did embellish the condition of the Holiday Rambler a bit. Not only were the refrigerator and toilet missing but also the heating and water systems. It had obviously been used as a survival trailer before, it was wired for phone service and the power outlets were connected to the outside directly with an extension cord. Also he did not have a title for the camper and I am pretty sure it was used as a meth lab due to the odd ventilation fans. But hey, no deal is perfect.

I had to pass on this one but will be keeping my eyes open. If you want to read more on Survival Trailer living check out Bison Survival Blog.

7 comments:

theotherryan said...

Keep in mind that a trailer is not mobile without a truck to tow it. Otherwise it is a good idea for those who need to work in different places or such.

oldman in the boonies said...

that baby is made out of Steel not aluminum just in case someone is wondering why it is so heavy. My dad had one of these and tried to pull it with a 1975 Pontiac Station wagon with a 455 in it. He wrecker the car and blew the engine up. If you find one get a diesel 1 ton pickup to pull it with...

Future Farmer said...

Bigbear,

It looks like some gems can be found out there. Would you be available for hire to bring one into the valley at some point in the future ?

Anonymous said...

I was just looking at a 1975 Dodge RV thing today. Great shape, 3000 bucks. Wish I could swing it, would be great for camping and road tripping.

Alpine Acres said...

BigBear, My parents are putting their RV up for sale sometime this year so if you're looking for all the comforts of home and a drivable-self contained 34 footer I think it is, let me know.

I drove it back from Texas and it was like a 747 on a bike path!

Take care,
MT

fallout11 said...

Oldman in the boonies already covered what I was going to, these old travel trailers are built like the automobiles of the day, landgoing dreadnoughts. Old (1960's & 70's) Winnebagos are much the same, too.
On the plus side, that is why it's even still around, the newer fiberglass and aluminum models fall apart in just a few years.

Locally, we have a mon & pop operated campground similar to the KOA's (even has a pool), it is full year-round with full-time retirees and similar. A different way of living, to be sure.

Oblio13 said...

Do a Google search for "Hexayurt". Interesting low-cost shelters made from insulation board.