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leila hamaya
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it's raining here so i am geeking out on some tiny house/caravan porn pics =)

i seriously want to build a little caravan like one of these, but i dont see myself getting motivated to do it any time soon...still its been calling me =)

http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2010/05/10/urban-gypsies-wild-wacky-housetrucks-converted-buses/










building a gypsy wagon instructable




http://inhabitat.com/build-a-gypsy-wagon-in-the-woods-all-it-takes-is-ingenuity-elbow-grease-and-mostly-recycled-components/

http://tinyhouselistings.com/tag/gypsy-wagon/

another gypsy wagon building instructable

 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I am probably going to build an old school bus (they sell for basically scrap metal prices, MUCH cheaper than starting with a trailer) but get most of my inside ideas from the vargos. They are just so cool.
 
Rick Howd
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Location: McMinnville Oregon
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I visited the Portland "encampment" this weekend, I was very impressed and other than the RolyPoly I think I could be comfortable in them for a long term solution.

https://tinyhousehotel.com/

The RolyPoly @ 96 sq feet just didn't have enough floor space to have seating/office/dining space. You could either use the kitchen or the table and once the ladder was in place you could use neither. The fit and finish on it was very nice though.

It was nice to be able to pick the brains of two of the builders who were onsite, it gave us a chance to get some separate ideas and hear some of the challenges they went through.
 
leila hamaya
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R Scott wrote:I am probably going to build an old school bus (they sell for basically scrap metal prices, MUCH cheaper than starting with a trailer) but get most of my inside ideas from the vargos. They are just so cool.


i have always wanted to get a short bus, or some kind of box truck. almost bought an old medic van the fire department used to use, it was really cool with a lot of metal cabinets and a metal frame. but i found it really hard to drive (plus a stick shift). same with a big bus, i think i would be intimidated to try to actually drive it around.

but totally i have seen some great stuff done with big buses. here we have some big junkyards, and also theres a few trailer bottoms already around. my landmates also kinda want to do this too, we sometimes rent out space to people and they have also talked about doing some of these for visitors. who knows we might actually get it together and build one or three =)
its something that keeps tugging at the sleeve of my mind, to think about building a really small one, for many years.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Old postal vans are a good option since they are made of aluminum and easier to drill and cut for renovations.

Older trailers that are heavy and obsolete often come available for free. They're a welcome addition to any building site where there is plenty of room.
 
R Scott
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I like school buses because they are built STRONG. Strong enough to roll over and stay together, unlike an RV.

I would love to get a flat nose bus and add a second story so it looked like the caboose from that tinyhousehotel link.

The short flat nose buses actually turn sharper than most pickups. Once you get used to the fact you sit in front of the front wheels (you have to wait until it feels way too late to start the turn)
 
Rick Howd
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Location: McMinnville Oregon
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There's a stacked one in this pic but it's in very poor repair, it uses the top of a VW Bus.

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.2371544,-123.0632919,3a,15y,120.05h,87.31t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1swSFVD4Tyd4eE-uoFIy1hFA!2e0

I was in in 10+ years ago as a Halloween decoration but it definitely needs some work. Max height is 13'-6" from the ground from what I gathered this weekend so that becomes your stack limit.

 
R Scott
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There are more stacked buses running around than you would think. Some even have westfalia popup campers on top!

13-6 is the normal clearance height for federal highways, although there are lower clearances all over the place. My limit is 11 feet or so for a couple places near me, so no double deckers in my future.

 
leila hamaya
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these mountains where i live are pretty hard on vehicles, and its a long way to tow vehicles to any kind of populated area. theres some crazy old bus/van graveyards out here, i know some people with a big old bus graveyard with all the old cool looking buses. if i were so minded i bet i could score an old rig for pretty cheap, but i am not as drawn to the bus idea. plus they need a lot of mechanical help, which is why they ended up sitting in the bus graveyard.

i am not a mechanic at all! and i really like to travel, but truthfully i dont like to drive all that much, especially on crazy mountain roads. in my wandering days i have lived out of several different big vans and such, and getting used to the way they drive was enough of a challenge. my old toyota van was pretty cool, but it was similar where it took a knack to get used to driving it, and you had to get like on top of the steering wheel, but it was small. too small!

i think part of the appeal of the caravan is its a separate unit. if something went wrong mechanically you can get just get a different truck. and i can wrap my mind around actually moving it around, especially if it were a really small one.

question for anyone who is more engineer minded than myself :
how big and sturdy would the base have to be?
what would one be looking for in a base?

i am still flirting with this idea, so i went and checked out the bases and flat trailer bottoms. i am less sure now they are actually suitable, the tires are rather small and i am not sure how tough the base would need to be. anyone willing to share some info on what they think it would take to support the base of a very small caravan? in really simple easy to understand for a person without an engineering oriented brain!!?

or any other info that would help a newbie?

perhaps this is theoretical, but i would like to file the information away in the brain files for someday =)
 
R Scott
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Leila, they are just a design variation somewhere between a DIY camper and a tiny house.

Any flatbed trailer will work, with a weight rating suitable for the size you are going to build. If it were me, I would want at least a 3000 lb trailer mainly because the axles are better and they have brakes. After that, it depends on the size of the caravan and how you build it. That is just adding up the build list and adding a comfort/safety/fudge factor and get a trailer that big.

 
leila hamaya
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i have no idea how to figure out the weight rating, is it actually written on these things? but thanks that is helpful.

i also have no idea how to estimate how much it will weigh, but i am definitely thinking minimalistic, small and light.

maybe i am just underestimating the ones i have access too. the one i was eyeing is much smaller than i thought at first. when i checked it out my brain was saying, i dont know if thats enough. it does seem sturdy enough for what it is though. and i suppose i could find better tires. the mini tires also threw me off, i hadnt checked it out that closely before.

the building part seems pretty easy and straight forward, but the actually attaching it on the bottom part seem the trickiest thing. i am usually more of a wing it person rather than plan it out, but with how weight it can hold and deal with does not seem like a good wing it thing.....to figure it out as i go....

well i will be keeping my eye out for one and maybe look around to see if they actually printed this weight rating on it.
 
R Scott
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Weight rating should be printed on it, it should have a VIN tag somewhere on the tongue--you need that to get it registered and plated. Another way to guess is to look at the tires--multiply the tire rating times 2 or 4 and round down and you should be about right, or someone didn't replace the tires right.

If it is tiny tires, it is probably 2,000 lb or less.

How much it will weigh when done? You can find good guesses if you are building based on a purchased plan. Otherwise, if you plan to the point you have a shopping list (X sheets of ply, Y 2x4's, etc.) you can do the math (you have to be a detail person to do that, though).

There are methods you can borrow from teardrop (ultralight) camper building to get lighter (and cheaper). SIP panel walls and ceiling, etc.
 
William Bronson
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So I have plot near my house which I would love to build a tiny house on. To avoid hassle I want to avoid permitting.
To do that I could maybe keep the size under 200 square feet (not sure if that will work) OR I could build something on wheels(pretty sure that would work).
If I want something bigger than 200 square feet(Or that dodge wont work) and the mobility requirement is just a legal fiction, could I just build on a trailer etc. with little regard to the weight limit?
I am more interested in evading costly/hassling permits than a "tiny house" per say, so I don't much care about moving the house.
Putting the house up on blocks once parked seems like a good idea anyway, and my state doesn't inspect anything else, so I doubt they will inspect a trailer.
Also, the laws about square footage are vague, I can't tell if awnings and porches are included, so dodging the square footage requirement entirely might be a better choice.
 
leila hamaya
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William Bronson wrote: So I have plot near my house which I would love to build a tiny house on. To avoid hassle I want to avoid permitting.
To do that I could maybe keep the size under 200 square feet (not sure if that will work) OR I could build something on wheels(pretty sure that would work).
If I want something bigger than 200 square feet(Or that dodge wont work) and the mobility requirement is just a legal fiction, could I just build on a trailer etc. with little regard to the weight limit?
I am more interested in evading costly/hassling permits than a "tiny house" per say, so I don't much care about moving the house.
Putting the house up on blocks once parked seems like a good idea anyway, and my state doesn't inspect anything else, so I doubt they will inspect a trailer.
Also, the laws about square footage are vague, I can't tell if awnings and porches are included, so dodging the square footage requirement entirely might be a better choice.


yes, i have known a bunch of people who go around and through some loopholes starting with structures that are on wheels. i have seen a number of truck retrofits, old buses, and small trailers, where the people attached side rooms to, and avoided permitting even for the additional structure attached to the mobile unit.

this definitely a way to go to make that work, although its a region by region thing, the laws are different everywhere. as long as your locale allows "mobile" structures and trailers, you should be able to do that. and attach another small structure to it, making a nice "sleeping porch", "workshop", "garage", or even "greenhouse" or solarium....
 
leila hamaya
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If I want something bigger than 200 square feet(Or that dodge wont work) and the mobility requirement is just a legal fiction, could I just build on a trailer etc. with little regard to the weight limit?


i say do both, smaller than 200 square feet AND make it sturdy and flush with the weight limit.

and yes, you put a trailer on blocks, or logs and cement blocks, with maybe some jacks, and blocks for under the wheels too. when parked you dont really want to have all the weight on the wheels, and you do that to level it properly. ideally over some gravel or something sturdy instead of lawn.
 
R Scott
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leila hamaya wrote:
William Bronson wrote: So I have plot near my house which I would love to build a tiny house on. To avoid hassle I want to avoid permitting.
To do that I could maybe keep the size under 200 square feet (not sure if that will work) OR I could build something on wheels(pretty sure that would work).
If I want something bigger than 200 square feet(Or that dodge wont work) and the mobility requirement is just a legal fiction, could I just build on a trailer etc. with little regard to the weight limit?
I am more interested in evading costly/hassling permits than a "tiny house" per say, so I don't much care about moving the house.
Putting the house up on blocks once parked seems like a good idea anyway, and my state doesn't inspect anything else, so I doubt they will inspect a trailer.
Also, the laws about square footage are vague, I can't tell if awnings and porches are included, so dodging the square footage requirement entirely might be a better choice.


yes, i have known a bunch of people who go around and through some loopholes starting with structures that are on wheels. i have seen a number of truck retrofits, old buses, and small trailers, where the people attached side rooms to, and avoided permitting even for the additional structure attached to the mobile unit.

this definitely a way to go to make that work, although its a region by region thing, the laws are different everywhere. as long as your locale allows "mobile" structures and trailers, you should be able to do that. and attach another small structure to it, making a nice "sleeping porch", "workshop", "garage", or even "greenhouse" or solarium....


Yup, that works some places--but not that many anymore. You can get hassled for keeping a "vehicle" parked too long or not allowed to live permanently in a mobile structure or any number of other ways petty tyrants can harass you.

 
leila hamaya
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out here you can still do that, at least in the rural areas, and everywhere i have been on the west coast that has worked for people. california has it set up so no matter what you are doing, if no one complains it is ok.

theres also some stuff written into the building codes locally where if you write a letter saying you are the only one living in it (you are not renting it out and dont have children) and if it falls down you acknowledge its your own damm fault, you can ignore building the code compliance! kinda weird, but i think its cool. i have never heard of anyone using that but i read the sections of the code to check it out.

anywho r scott you were right - the weight rating is 2000 lbs
 
leila hamaya
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different wave, maybe i would rather build something like this :


maybe not exactly that way but that general idea.

with this kind of open design it could be made more lightweight, and canvas/fabric/top tent could be put over it in the off season times with bad weather.

like a mobile yurt =)
wouldnt be suitable for year round living, but would be a nice summer sleeping bed and hang out spot that you could move around.

this is probably closer to the old school caravan, with canvas and fabric covering them?





no where near as colorful but interesting:
 
r ranson
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Some more I stumbled upon...



 
Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly first. Just look at this tiny ad:
Book Review Grid
https://permies.com/wiki/31762/Book-Review-Grid
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