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Quick cabin solution: yurt, tiny home, or travel trailer?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 2
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My husband and I are considering buying property to enjoy as a weekend and holiday getaway for our family.  We are not ready to build a permanent structure for many reasons, cost included, but we would like something comfortable for us and our two small kids so that we can begin enjoying the property right away.  We have been considering yurts, tiny homes, and travel trailers.  I can see positives and negatives to each, but I've learned that it is well worth it to ask advice from someone who already has the experience.  Has anyone been in this situation and made a selection?  How did it work out and did you run into any unexpected issues?  is there anyone out there exploring these options with insights to share?
Thank you so much for any advice (or cautionary tales) before we make a decision.
 
Posts: 117
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Hi~  this is a great topic!  Hopefully you'll get lots of responses and good advice.

Yurts are gorgeous, but they do seem to be quite costly in general, at least the ready-made ones for sale.  Tiny homes are amazing, but building one isn't always cheap.  Hopefully the property in question doesn't have a bunch of restrictions, but it would be best to know up front, otherwise yurts and tiny homes could be out of the question anyway (if you'd need a building permit to not be hassled by the county/state).

Have you ever checked out this channel on YouTube, CheapRVLiving?   [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAj7O3LCDbkIR54hAn6Zz7A[/youtube]   There's a lot to learn about nomadic living and vehicle living.  It seems like there's an option for almost any budget or need.  I'd suggest you watch a few videos to get a sense of what you could do with travel homes or vehicles.  It can be a good (and cheap) way to live for people without much money, or who want to travel, etc.  At least till you have more options or know more fully what you want to do.

I hope you'll find the correct choice for your family!
 
Posts: 31
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
6
solar woodworking
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If it is temporary, travel trailers and yurts are close to the same price  tiny homes are way expensive. The difference is a travel trailer usually has a kitchen, refrigerator bathroom, water heater, cook stove and can have a Private bedroom. just tow it in and your good to go. Yurts need a lot more work to include these items. A travel trailer can be powered by a battery (usually included) or two and a pv panel for a weekend, some even have a built in generator. Do I sound biased? I lived in a cabover camper while developing my property. When I was done with my house I sold the camper for almost the same price. I'm basing cost on a used travel trailer however, new ones can be closer to the price of a tiny home. You will need a powerful truck to tow it or there are services available to tow it for you.

Either way you will need to deal with human waste. A trailer has potable, black and gray water holding tanks that need to be emptied or filled so dump it into a septic system that you'll probably need someday anyway or tow it to a dump station and fill up your potable water tank while your there. A travel trailer is more secure than a yurt if you leave it at the property.

Whatever you decide enjoy your property.
 
steward
Posts: 4512
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Jessica, welcome to permies. We own 11 acres in the mountains of Wyoming and we bought an old travel trailer for our shelter. It has worked out great.
There are about three different pictures of it in my project thread HERE.
 
pollinator
Posts: 683
Location: Central Virginia USA
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I had a motor home that I bought pretty cheap, had everything, generator, stove etc etc.

With two children you may want to keep around a couple tents for times when you want some privacy, but in bad weather everybody can get cozy inside.

set up an awning and catch rainwater, and  a separate 12 volt pump for the rain barrel(s) hooked directly to the inlet on the rv

build on a sun room  with a few 2x4s around the awning and some clear plastic or old windows--whatever is handy.

throw a couple solar panels on the roof.

sawdust (humanure) toilets avoid having to worry about black water, , and send the greywater directly to a garden or mulch pit to soak in.
then just hang out and observe.  Save permanent structures for after you have gotten a good design plan for the land and know how everything fits together.

 
Posts: 47
Location: North Alabama
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Unless you live in an overly severe county you should not need a permit for a yurt unless you turn it into a permanent dwelling. It is rare for a jurisdiction to permit temporary structures. They may however restrict temporary living situations so that there aren't people living in tents on vacant lots in sub-divisions. In the county where I live a yurt is not permit eligible even if it has a concrete slab, permanent plumbing and electrical, because the structure itself is temporary and can be easily taken down and moved.

As a side note, one of our neighbors lives in one of those prebuilt storage buildings. It's about 10' wide and 20 feet long, is delivered on a truck and is leveled at the site as part of the sale/lease agreement.  Again, because it can be moved easily and is not permanently attached to the foundation, no permit is required.
 
Jessica Wertz
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Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for the replies!  They are definitely giving me a lot to think about.

Lori, I agree that yurts are beautiful.  I have been in one and loved the feeling of the space but I'm not sure how warm we would be in it...  I also wonder how long it takes to build the base, although from the sound of it the yurt itself is quite quick to set up.  

I am in British Columbia, Canada and there certainly are rules about what is allowed or not on the property, but I was thinking with either of the options, if there was a problem we could just remove it...(although we would of course prefer not to.)  

Jack, you make a good case for a travel trailer!  It would be easy to move, and we do have a truck.  I have heard stories though about people having trouble with mice, leaks etc. with travel trailers.  And I have been in one or two that smell kinda moldy.  Is this common?  We would buy a used one if we bought a travel trailer - any tips on avoiding a leaky one?

We haven't decided on the property yet, but we are considering some lots that are boat access only but we could barge things over.  If we bought one of those we'd build an outhouse because once we got the RV there we wouldn't be able to bring it back to pump out the black water.  I think we would also build a shed to hold batteries for the solar, electrical controls etc.  I think we'll have plenty to keep us busy!

Miles, what a beautiful place you have!  Thank you for weighing in to me know that the travel trailer worked for you.  That is good to hear.

Thanks again everyone.  I am so glad I found this website.
 
Jack Tassoni
Posts: 31
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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solar woodworking
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Hi Jessica, I had no problems with rodents or mold. But I live in a low humidity area. I'd look for one that was used as a travel trailer and not a guest house or was lived in full time. Look for water damage on the ceiling if you see any walk away. The roofs are notorious for leaking.
Use your nose on the potable, gray water and black water tanks. A lot of things need to be checked. Lights, stove, water pump, water heater, fridge. I got mine from someone with intentions of using it a lot but used maybe 10 times in the 15 years they owned it.

Good luck and enjoy exploring for your new property.
 
Posts: 8
Location: Northern Klamath County, OR
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Yurts are expensive and tiny homes even more so. If you look around you can often find a travel trailer real cheap. They will have all you need to start and you can ad little rooms and extra insulation as you can afford it. I believe this is the best option. be sure to get one with a decent roof then put a secondary roof on or over it and it will be cooler in hot weather and warmer in the winter.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1981
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If you built a garage or shop to live in temporarily , even if done in traditional means,  would have longterm value  vs a yurt or rv.
 
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