Phase 1, Prototype & Testing:

Here we go:

Aside: Most of this phase I spent windsurfing, only working on the trailer a couple days per week.

Full of crap, just back from N.Y.



Screw that, let’s go sail.

13.1 Determination Pays off

version 0.1 Mid/Late June 2015. Been dreaming of this for years: having my own space! Had no insulation and was just a leaky cargo trailer + my desks and a rough layout of where things could go, but it’s now waterproof! Gran helped me seal it up by holding the ladder while I sealed up obvious holes with RTV. (Get it from your local auto-parts shop. The blue stuff is oil resistant.) Tested it by spraying it down with a garden hose while Gran watched for leaks inside. Bed was sitting on top of a cargo-storage rack some work buddies helped me with in N.Y. and was wrapped in a tarp to prevent mattress from getting dusty. (Or wet from any unexpected leaks!)



Removed container style door locking hardware in favor of more traditional door knobs that can actually be opened from both sides of a door! Don’t want to be trapped if someone locked the door on the outside ya know. Trailer is completely uninhabitable for more than a few hours. Lesson learned: plywood smells bad. (comes from formaldehyde in the glue they use, and it’s actually bad for you.) Electrical is 2 extension cords + a couple of outlet strips. Don’t seem to be popping any breakers and we’re pretty low load. But then on hold while I went to Alaska.

So: on to version 0.2: hook up stereo, (who wants to work without music!?) then paint the inside with some sealing primer to lock the nasty glue in the plywood & cut dust. Voila! Smell goes away! Fabricated a platform over the rear axles for storing various toys underneath, also should improve weight distribution by keeping load over the axles. Intuition suggests plumbing may need to go under platform in some future version. Actually can spend time in the trailer now! And I needed it, spending time in parents basement was getting old.

Version 0.3: Mid July, Dang. It’s hot. The aluminum trailer walls seem to be radiating alot of heat into the trailer. Obviously this would happen yes, but it turns out to be quite nice on a summer night. Did you know most of your food cooks due to the radiant heat in the oven, not the conductive from the air?! Yeah you probably did if you read Reddit or cook alot.  When it’s 105 out, the trailer is about 110, remember no windows yet. About the time the thermometer hit 100 I got the sawzall out and cut a great big roof ‘vent’. Now we’re talking.

Version 0.35: Later July Bought a used furnace blower fan, retrofit to always run and screwed it to a table. Now it blows probably hundreds of CFM of air at me, and out the roof vent. It’s like it’s always blowing 10mph or more haha! Still hot, but the wind makes the heat more bearable. There’s no way this is energy efficient. AC is a must for the final version. roof-hole/vent was completely open to air, covered with plywood + spacers to prevent unwanted critters. Bugs are negligible out here, either the wind or the heat or both, they just aren’t a problem at least through june/july. Lots of windsurfing in late July, wind was great. Started sleeping in trailer.

Version 0.4: Aug: Adventures with work buddy & family conclude, back to home. Still hot. Skylight/roof vent is in wrong place. Air flows through trailer and out top vent, missing me. Oops! Patched old hole, ordered & installed a real vent with a screen. Added a window to look out of and improve airflow. Good thing I’m prototyping or I’d have been cutting away insulation/etc… New vent seems to work well now! Bugs seem to have finally shown up so I rigged up a screen for the front door.


Version 0.41 Early Sept. Living in this thing is getting pretty sweet! Brewed beer with Sister and ya know… this could actually work. Right on. I’m going to do this tiny house thing, might be really fun.


Initial budget, what’s the ROI!? Napkin:

5k trailer

5k supplies & materials.

~16k lost wages (remember taxes)

-8k 2x moves offset (2k per move + 2k labor per move=4k/move)

=26k invested, 18k left to pay off as rent. (10k cash, 16k time)

rent @ $600/month (for comparable amount of space, more like 1200 if in a city, but factor in ~ 600 to pay for some kind of parking so I’m guessing $600 either way)

18k/$600 = 30 months -> 2-3 year payoff, depending on where you live, and how many times you move, and if you have to rent your parking space. Not counting skills gained, or entertainment value, or any revenue it might generate. Let’s do this!