Could a tiny house be the answer to your bug out dilemma? VIDEO

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bug out location tiny houseI doubt there is a prepper topic more popular than “bugging out”. Search the term on Google and you’ll end up with nearly 2 million results! Add “bug out bags“, “bug out vehicle” and “bug out location” to the mix and you’ll be overwhelmed with information — reading material for a lifetime.

It’s relatively simple to come up with items for a bug out bag and a bug out vehicle could be an old Ford pick up truck you pick up for a couple thousand dollars. The priciest bug out item, by far, is a bug out location, that is, if you want something more secure and sturdy than a tent or a lean-to.

This is where a “tiny house” might fit in with your plans for bugging out.

When I first heard of tiny houses, I knew it wasn’t for me. Not so much because of the small size but because those espousing the beauty of tiny houses were hipsters, cool singles with no messy kids or the need for a home office. Yes, they looked mighty cool sitting on their tiny porch in front of their tiny house, but as any mom will tell you, put 4 or 5 people in 200 square feet for more than an hour or two, and someone won’t be walking out alive.

I couldn’t get the idea of a tiny house out of my head, though. I even started following a couple of tiny house Pinterest boards and was intrigued enough to check out a few online floor plans — and that’s when it hit me. A tiny house could be the perfect answer for the biggest bugging out dilemma of all, and that is, “Where do we bug out to?”

What the heck is a tiny house?

In order to be considered an official “tiny house”, a dwelling should be less than 400 square feet. Considering that the average master bedroom in a typical home runs right around 300 square feet, a tiny house is stinkin’ tiny!

Only about 1% of all real estate transactions involve tiny homes, so it’s not like this is a huge and growing trend. Rather, it’s a housing option that fills specific needs for certain people.

Advantages of a tiny house

For the purpose as a bug out location, a tiny house has many advantages. In fact, I’ve almost convinced my husband to buy a few acres and begin building a tiny house on it — first, one for us and then one for each of our kids!

Tiny houses are an affordable option because fewer square feet obviously requires less expense for building materials and labor. Now, some of these tiny houses are virtual works of art made of expensive woods, with beautiful, intricate detail work, but a bug out location only needs to be secure and sturdy. The smaller size also allows for a quick build, and no need for advanced construction skills. In fact, this college student built his own tiny house in response to his frustration to high college housing costs.

As a very small shelter, not a whole lot of land is needed. Even on a rather small lot, say 1/2 an acre, a tiny house leaves a good deal of land available for a very large garden, chickens, beehives, and an outbuilding or a second tiny house. Half an acre is very budget-friendly in a world of survival experts who recommend many times more than that.

In fact, with the money saved, maybe you can afford more easily to buy a tract of land in a prime location or spend the money saved on fencing, which is quite expensive, or farming equipment, or a second tiny home right next door!

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Once you’ve built your first tiny home, it will be easier to build a second, and then a third. Why might you want multiple tiny houses?

  • A bug out location for your grown children and grandkids
  • A separate home office
  • Use as a guest house
  • Storage
  • Homeschool classroom

In fact, a large family (or survival) group could easily build a survival community without the need for a large amount of land. Having close relatives and friends nearby is a huge advantage. If we ever do build our own tiny house, you can bet that we have 2 more planned — one for each kid![aweber-form]

A few more advantages to consider:

  • Blueprints can be found online. Some are free, others are fairly inexpensive.
  • Tiny house designs are well-planned and make good use of every square foot.
  • It’s likely you’ll be able to build your tiny house using cash — no need for a loan or mortgage.
  • A tiny house could come in handy for families in danger of losing their home. 400 square feet is way better than a homeless shelter or living out of your car.
  • Some building materials can be found for free or are very inexpensive. Check to see if a Habitat for Humanity ReStore is located near you.
  • A well-insulated tiny house will be inexpensive and easy to keep warm or cool.
  • A tiny house would be easy to conceal in a wooded area.
  • These can be built indoors (a large garage, outbuilding, or even a storage unit), completely or in part, and then transported to your property.
  • Each house can be upgraded over time and as needed, with a porch, an additional room, improved fixtures, etc.
  • Depending on where the tiny house is located, you can utilize the outdoors for laundry, cooking, and entertainment. Build a patio, add a barbecue, a fire pit, etc.!
  • Far less maintenance, easy to keep clean as long as you resist the urge to keep only the items you absolutely need. Less time spent cleaning means more time available for all kinds of homesteading activities, online work, developing a home based business, etc.
  • Once built and situated on land, your tiny house becomes an inexpensive getaway on weekends and vacations.

It’s not the answer for everyone

This past summer, my family spent a week in a tiny house. At just around 500 square feet, it was plenty tiny for 2 adults and 2 adult-sized teenagers! We were fortunate that it overlooked a beautiful, lonely beach, but we were actually in the house only to sleep, cook, and to use the shower/toilet.

We spent hours outside on the small porch or down at the beach. I felt that the very small single room that housed a kitchen sink, tiny oven, tiny refrigerator, and virtually no counter space was designed for preparing only a quick meal like a sandwich or to heat up some soup. The fire pit outside was far more practical for cooking something in a cast iron pot.

This tiny beach house had a few windows but, overall, the house was dark and even during the day we needed to use the overhead light. This particular house had no storage at all, other than a single shelf above the toilet and one small cabinet in the kitchen. For sure, much better use could have been made of the space available.

Fortunately for us, the weather was beautiful and there was no need to stay cooped up inside the tiny house all day and night. That would not be true in colder weather or in parts of the country that experience a lot of rain and snow. In that case, I’m not so sure our family would have been on speaking terms after a week!

A tiny house may be perfect for one person, perhaps two, but humans need some privacy, some alone time, and that’s hard to come by in a couple hundred square feet. One woman wrote about staying in a cute tiny house with her mother and pointed out that when it came time to use the restroom, the entire tiny house was the restroom!

There’s also the consideration for a few basics of living:

  • Cooking — What type of stove/oven will you use and how will it be powered?
  • Sanitation — Planning to use an outhouse or outdoor shower is all fine and good when the weather cooperates, but what about at night? During the winter?
  • Adding babies, toddlers, young kids to the mix can turn a much larger home with every creature comfort into total chaos. Imagine what it could do to 200 square feet!
  • How will pets fit into your tiny house plans? In extreme weather conditions, how will your farm animals survive?
  • Security issues — Tiny houses have been known to be stolen! Yes, the entire house! Consider how  you will keep that from happening and the steps you’ll take to make your home and property as secure as possible.
  • Noise! — If you’re alone, you won’t have to listen to the chatter of other people but add just one more person and some bad weather, and not being able to have silence might drive you nuts.
  • Most tiny house designs have just a single room with no separate spaces designated for sleeping, eating, studying, etc. This makes it difficult to stay organized.

And then, there is the ever-present government, at various levels, with zoning regulations and building codes. Even on your own land, you may not be allowed to park, or build, your tiny house.

You may very well love the concept of a tiny house as a bug out location or for something more permanent, but make sure you and everyone in the family has realistic expectations.

A few design tips for your tiny house

Lack of privacy is a concern, so consider adding a room divider and a tiny, separated toilet/shower area.

Counter tops that are hinged to the wall can be lowered when a workspace is needed and than raised back up to create more floor space.

Be creative with furnishings and choose those that provide storage space. Have strict rules about adding more stuff. When your home is 300 square feet, it won’t take much to turn a tiny house into a hoarder’s paradise.

A tiny house doesn’t necessarily need a foundation unless you plan on keeping it one spot permanently. Many tiny house owners keep their homes on a trailer with wheels, ready to move it somewhere else when the mood strikes. In fact, for some, a tiny house on wheels has become their alternative to an RV.

For energy, add solar panels, use propane tanks, or possibly connect the house’s small electric system to a windmill or even a generator powered by natural gas. More importantly, plan on living a lifestyle that requires little or no reliance on electricity, especially the power grid.

A composting toilet and an outside well will provide your tiny house with the basics for sanitation. It won’t make for an easy lifestyle but for a bug out location, especially in the midst of a major crisis, hauling in a few gallons of water per day will seem like a small inconvenience.

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Continue to apply common sense. Have one or two fire extinguishers in the tiny house and ask your insurance agent about coverage for the contents of your house. The house itself is unlikely to qualify for coverage, but that could depend on your insurance company and state regulations.

So, could a tiny house be the answer to your bug out dilemma?

A tiny house will provide an inexpensive shelter, far more secure than a tent. It can be built inexpensively, placed just about anywhere, and is portable, depending on its size.

Compared with the far less practical bug out location recommended on most all survival sites, this is one you can actually afford to build, own, and maintain. A tiny house isn’t the answer for everyone, but for some, it will be a perfect fit.

VIDEO: A few more thoughts…

More resources for you

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7 thoughts on “Could a tiny house be the answer to your bug out dilemma? VIDEO”

  1. Uh, camp trailer? You can buy a gently used one for less that most “tiny houses” and the designs have been honed through years of actual usage. They maximize storage and employ clever double-duty furnishings. A major advantage is you hook it up to the truck and take off. The ULTIMATE BOB!!

    1. I would consider a camper/trailer way more room even with an average size. On own land, renting on someone land, campers have way more storage and everything is on one level. They have come along way since the 60’s on design, and some retailers do sell good used ones. Ideal for singles young and old.

  2. “Tiny houses” may seem cool, and may be an option for people in urban environments (ironically, the plaqce where they are often not allowed….) who don’t spend much time ion the home- but for practical rural living or “bug-out” conditions, where life revolves around the home, and you need a decent supply of tools and equipmenjt and supplies to carry on any semblance of civilized life, a tiny house is not the way to go. Neiother are multiple tiny houses- in which things like heating and plumbing and outside walls must be duplicated many times over, instead of being contained in one building.

    I fibd the idea of tiny houses very romantic and interesting…but as someone who lives a nearly off-the-grid rural lifestyle, I conclude that they are totally inappropriate for rural/survival/off-the-grid living. Would have loved one when I lived in NYCF- but of course, they are illegal there…the tyrants have to keep the tax base up, you know….

    People who are thinking of “bugging out” need to get out there NOW and live the lifestyle, because all these articles I read on the subject prove that most people who want to stay in the cities until the last possible moment, will be totally unprepared for the realities of real self-sufficient living- and the time it takes to establish a homestead……

  3. I’ve been following the tiny house movement for years now – very intriguing. There is a tiny home show on cable that I’ve watched; lots of good ideas. I would go the “used travel trailer” route, due to cost. For the same cost as a tiny home, I could buy a used 30′ travel trailer plus a shed/Morton-type building to park it in. If kept inside a building, there will be credible deniability for you to deal with gov telling you that you can’t “camp” on your land (if they can’t drive by and see you, will they know when you are there?). Also, inside a building you have opportunities to store prepping supplies, food, etc. securely because the whole building can be locked up. On the south end of the building I would have a greenhouse (nicely bright), and a paved “sitting area” and a “kitchen area” with more countertops suitable for large-scale canning and cooking. I use my trailer space for getting away from everyone as well as sleeping mostly – most of my time is spent outside the trailer. If my kids lose their homes, they would be welcome to also purchase a trailer and park it inside the building out of the sun, rain and wind.

  4. Stealth Spaniel

    Love this idea! The whole way to make it work is to do what clever people in those tiny NYC apartments do! Everything is multi functional, multi purpose, and modular. An RV/trailer would work also but anything on wheels could be hauled off. To keep the “authorities” out of your business, you could build into a hillside and keep it looking like a storage shed. It might be possible to expand into the hillside with no one the wiser.The most important thing with a bug out location, is to make it look like anything but. Tree cover is a good option but your solar will need to be on wheels to take sun advantage. Your bug out property should ideally look slightly unkempt with an old shed left over.

  5. Hi Survival Mom love your site. I was researching this topic for off grid living. I live in Seattle and recently to help the homeless the city put up tiny home neighborhoods 20 homes on one housing lot! For interior appliance/space savings ideas people should check into RV or sailboats. Heck you could probably buy one for parts and use the appliances in a tiny home. If you can’t build one I was looking at those premade storage sheds from the big box home improvement stores. They come in large sizes include windows & lofts they just need to be retrofitted with insulation, wiring, etc.

  6. Awesome article. I am currently getting ready to buy the land I live on. There is a mobile home there and I am having it removed as a part of the contract/deal that I am making with my landlord. I am buying it as an owner finance and its about 1/4-1/3 acre. I am already planning how I’m going to do things on this property.

    I currently have two sheds on it that I will be utilizing for different things over time. One of them will be storage for my things to put into my own house that I plan to build in the next couple of years. The other shed will be set up as a laundry room for my washer and dryer as well as a couple of bigger items that wont fit in the smaller shed. I’m looking to buy a travel trailer to live in until I can build.

    I have water and a ceptic tank on the property which is one thing that i am happy for. The only thing I will eventually have to worry about is that its municiple water, however, that being said, there is a lake about a 7 min walk from me. Which also means fish. YAY!!

    I do have neighbors, but we have a very country atmosphere where I am. The only bad thing about it is that its less than 2 hours from a major city. That is the real downfall for me but its what I can afford at this time. I will be able to have the property paid off in less than 3 years though and that is a wonderful thing.

    The place I work offers up a FREE Storm Shelter to their employees, and once i buy the place, I will be taking advantage of that. I am looking into smaller buildings to use to build a small house for me and my daughter. it wont be a Tiny House, as to their standards, however it will be smaller than what most folks would like. I will keep the Laundry room shed for just that. I have enough land to also put in a small orchard and a large garden, chickens and if I’m lucky some goats for milk and cheese.

    I have been planning for years and now I am finally going to be able to have what I want for my home.

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