The overwhelm of the tiny house movement is awesome in it's substance and creativity. Sorting yourself out enough to make a decision is the hardest part, in my opinion. I went back and forth between van, bus, house and camper for about 2 months.
My buddy Dave, @LowGravityAscents, just finished his project. He did an amazing job but had a heck of a time finding a good van to start with.
To the right here is one of the coolest conversion I've seen. The bed lifts up to the ceiling when not in use! Photo linked for even moooore photos.
ADORABLE! It would feel like living in a doll house. It's the house I wish I could have built on the empty wooded land by my childhood home, using all the discarded lumber I found. They are fully customizable, can be built on wheels or on a foundation, can be as big or small as you need, and did I mention they are ADORABLE?! I could live in one of these forever. You can build them yourself, or you can purchase one for usually a ton of money.
Even with all that flexibility and freedom and the fact that this was my first choice, I hesitated because I'm not a carpenter and I don't have 30k to spend on a built one. Also they aren't very mobile and you really can't be stealthy. Everyone notices these little things.
Portable! Every dirt bag climber's dream. They can go anywhere, be stealthy, make life super cheap and have the feeling of extreme mobility and adventure. There are plenty of resources online, like SMBCC for example. You also have to be a mechanic. And find other places to shower.
For me, as much as I'd like it, I have a dog. Full timing it in a van would be pretty miserable for her. Plus, I am looking for something long term, and I don't think I could do 4+ years in a van. Maybe a year or so...
The coolest of cool. The one pictured here is my favorite. Nice wood, windows everywhere! They average around 200 sq ft, so they are much more spacious than a van, or even a tiny house. They are mobile, have a 360 view of whatever place you park, and there is potential for a roof top deck or even second story. Downside: again, being a mechanic. The windows, beautiful as they are, are also a big heat loss issue in the winter. You also have to be prepared to tow a small car or you have to drive you home into town every time you have an appointment or need to go grocery shopping.
For me (see? thought process), I don't want to own two cars, or have to tow something in addition to a huge bus.
And we have a winner! Something that satisfies all my requirements: highly mobile, drop and go (no need for two cars), easily blends into camp grounds and alleyways. The downsides I'm choosing to ignore for the moment and write about in another post.
Now for what to choose? Airstreams, clearly. These campers have a classic look that inspires collectors and hipsters alike. They have always been well built, and there are numerous online communities focused on ownership and restoration, making the restoration process much easier. They are low drag on the highways, and big enough for me to feel comfortable in for a while.
Up next, what I looked for in an Airstream, and how I found Marge...