On-Wheels Is The New Off-Grid: A Guide To Tiny Houses

With the cost of utilities on the rise and the desire to live as off-grid as possible on the minds of many, tiny houses on the wheels are rapidly becoming the dream of many people trying to live a minimalist lifestyle.

There are many issues that accompany this path; you have to be willing to live with less and to live in less space.

The upsides are enormous though. You can nearly eliminate all utility costs, you greatly diminish your environmental footprint and you can take your house with you wherever you go, if you so choose.

You can also build a tiny house for very little cash, comparatively, if you watch your pennies and are willing to recycle or repurpose materials.

Now, without further ado, we’d love to share some tiny houses that we’ve found and were impressed with.

The Little Green House on Wheels

This house was built by a girl named Sarah who lives in Manassas, VA along with her father in order to complete her Master of Science in Environmental Science. It’s a cute little house with an upstairs loft and modern appliances.

Sarah used reclaimed products where she could but opted to go with eco-friendly roofing, siding and lumber in order to make the house more environmentally friendly. She doesn’t list a square footage but it sits on a dual-axle trailer and comes with a solar panel.

The design is utilitarian yet attractive. She’s selling it to repay the loan that she obtained to build it.

Little Green House on Wheels

Source: Little Green House on Wheels

The Tiny Tea House

This tiny house was built by Oregon Cottage Company for a client who wanted lots of wood and the appearance of space. It has black walnut accents and knotty pine walls along with skylights to let in as much natural light as possible. The client will live in it full-time and wanted it to remind her of her home in Japan so they installed tatini sleeping mats and a Japanese soaking tub.

The toilet is composting and the water heater uses gas on demand. The house costs $35K and is 8.5 feet wide and 20 feet long. The extra loft is 6’10”x8’x3’3”.

Tiny Tea House

Source: Tiny Tea House

Redwood Tiny House

This tiny house built by Molecule Tiny Homes is 335 square feet and is full of natural wood and tile. It has a beautiful loft and a modern kitchen. It has 2 bedrooms and is in Felton, California. The price tag on the house is $75K but the place is absolutely gorgeous. It has redwood siding, maple cabinetry and birch paneling. It’s completely mobile and solar panels can be added to make off-grid living entirely possible.

Redwood tiny houseSource: Redwood Tiny House

Hot Tub Tiny House

This house was designed and built by a company in Warwickshire, England and was built with the new “Glamping” community in mind.

It has an outdoor, gas-heated hot tub and a wood-burning stove inside. It’s paneled in wood and has a tiny yet modern kitchen. It has the feel of a cabin in the woods without the mice and spiders. It has a master sleeping loft and a second bedroom downstairs. Square footage isn’t listed but it’s 16 feet long and fits on a trailer, so I’d guess it’s about 8 feet wide.

Hot tub tiny house

Source: Hot Tub Tiny House

Skyline Tiny House

This house is only 160 square feet but was one of my favorites because it has that old-time cabin feel. It has rough-cut lumber walls and cedar siding. The lighting has the look of gas lamps and the interior makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1800’s. It’s located in Portland, Oregon and was built by Eric Bohne. He sold it for $30k and it has one bedroom and one bath.

Gorgeous if you like the wild west look.

Skyline tiny house

Source: Skyline Tiny House

Fully Furnished New Tiny Home

This cute little house has blue siding and is 160 square feet. It’s fully mobile and is priced at $33k. The inside actually looks like a little house and doesn’t have that camping feel to it. It has a washer and dryer, a full kitchen and a combined living/dining area. The table folds up so that you have more room if you need the “living room”. It has one sleeping loft and is located in Delta, British Columbia.

Fully Furnished New Tiny Home

Source: Fully Furnished Tiny New Home

Small Rustic Cabin on Wheels

Looking at this 198 square foot cabin takes you back to the wild west. It actually looks kind of like a miniature barn with a tin roof and wooden siding. The inside is totally modern, though it manages to keep the cabin feel by using a combination of dark and light wood walls, counters and accents. It’s priced at $25k and has one bedroom and a bathroom in addition to the kitchen and living area.

Small Rustic Cabin on Wheels

Source: Small Rustic Cabin on Wheels

Frank’s DIY Micro Cabin on Wheels

This is a great example of a DIY tiny house. It took Frank about two months to build it. He’s a traveling carpenter and needed a home that he could take with him so that he didn’t have to stay in hotels. He didn’t use any chemically-treated material and used local sustainable materials to build it.

It’s built almost entirely from wood and cost him about $10k, $2500 of which was the trailer and another $1800 on really nice windows that he said he “spoiled himself with.”

It doesn’t have a bathroom and doesn’t list the square footage but I’d guess it to be right around 80 square feet. Don’t hold me to that, though!

Frank’s DIY Micro Cabin on Wheels

Source: Frank’s DIY Micro Cabin

Gifford’s Tiny House Superhero

This house was built by former litigation paralegal B.A. Norrgard. She wanted to simplify her life and live more purposefully so she attended Four Lights Tiny House Workshop and bought herself a house plan. She started building and finished it about 5 months later. She now works with Jay Shafer of Four Lights!

The house has a bamboo farm sink and an induction burner for cooking. There’s a hidden pantry and a wet bath with a composting toilet made from a bucket. The house is made almost completely from wood and has a sleeping loft and a skylight and stained glass window that opens. The house does have electricity and hot and cold water, with 27.5 gallon fresh and grey water tanks.

She has a video that tells all about the help that she received building it and also about some seminars that she attended to help her learn how to do it. It cost her $26k but she has some custom work and didn’t use entirely reclaimed materials so you could do it cheaper if you’d prefer.

Gifford’s Tiny House Superhero

Source: BAs DIY Gifford Tiny House Superhero

Stealth Tiny House

Bill Southworth wasn’t happy with his traveling accommodations that he had to use when traveling with his Rottweiler so he built himself an 80 square foot stealth tiny house from a cargo trailer. He decided to do this because he didn’t like the look, quality and inefficiency of modern travel trailers.

Outside it looks like a standard cargo trailer but inside, it’s a modern, well-built, efficient home. It’s completely sustainable and dog-friendly and is complete with a kitchenette and wet bath. Very cool!

Stealth Tiny House

Source: Cargo Trailer Stealth Tiny House

Simple, Affordable Tiny House

If you’re looking for an affordable tiny house that looks like a miniature log cabin, then this is the house for you! It’s priced at $3500 and is 96 square feet. It’s currently located in Raleigh, NC but is fully mobile and can be taken anywhere. It sits on a dual axle log cabin trailer and has one bedroom. He built it out of landscape timbers and it’s wired for electricity. It also has a small fridge and is cute and utilitarian inside.

Simple, Affordable Tiny House

Source: Simple Affordable Tiny House for Sale

Mica Clear Tiny House

This tiny house has 172 usable square feet, including a sleeping loft. It has a decidedly industrial look to the outside of it but the inside looks like a real, honest to goodness house. It has drywall and real doors and has a wood-burning stove and full kitchen. This is probably the most “house” looking tiny house that I’ve seen and reminds me a bit of an apartment that I stayed in in college, but nicer!

It has traditional RV hookups and you can choose options that include propane tanks and full bathrooms. The toilet is composting. You can buy the plans for $759 or buy the house for $66k.

Mica Clear Tiny House

Source: Mica Clear Tiny House

Marsha’s Tiny House and Solar Setup 

This house puts the “tiny” in tiny house. At only 60 square feet, it includes a loft bedroom and an alcohol stovetop. She uses tiny solar panels to power the house and a propane heater so it requires very little electricity. She used every inch of space wisely and the house is actually very functional despite the size.

She offers some great advice on wiring the house, too.

Marsha’s Tiny House and Solar Setup

Source: Marsha’s Tiny House with Solar Setup

The Flying Tortoise: An Off the Grid Bus on Steroids

When Keith bought his 1977 Bedford Bus in 2007, he did so with the intention of living off the grid. It’s taken him 21 years but his experience with living on boats taught him a lot about how to live minimally. The bus has 131 square feet of living space and is built with careful thought and a ton of creativity.

It’s fully equipped and is actually quite pretty in a utilitarian sort of way.

The Flying Tortoise: An Off the Grid Bus on Steroids

Source: The Flying Tortoise Bus on Steroids

The Mehl Family’s Tiny Home

This home was built using a truck box trailer that you’d see being pulled by semis. With lots of hard work and togetherness, they pulled it together into a home to be proud of! If they decide to have children down the road, the house can be arranged so that extra bedrooms are a possibility. This is a fine example of what you can do with a ton of creativity and hard work!

The Mehl Family’s Tiny Home

Source: The Mehl Family Tiny House

A Funky Makeover for a Maine Bus

Will Winkelman, a builder in Portland, ME, was asked to turn a bus into a combination transportation vehicle for group gatherings, guest bedroom and travel trailer for forays into the wilderness with maximum flexibility and that’s exactly what he did! The trailer comes with plumbing, power and a fun, funky interior that offers good times and comfort no matter what the client is using it for!

He started by restoring a 1959 Chevrolet Viking bus, then let his creativity take over. The client wanted a “funky, hippy, Moroccan vibe” so he used lots of wood, animal prints, beads, paisleys and dangles. The interior has soft, welcoming lighting and has plenty of sleeping and living space.

A Funky Makeover for a Maine Bus

Source: A Funky Makeover for a Maine Bus

Logan’s House Bus

This home was built using an old school bus. They added wood trusses for the roof and turned the interior into a living space that is utilitarian and didn’t cost a fortune. If you’re looking for simplicity without all the fancy trimmings, this is a good project to get some ideas from.

Logan’s House Bus

Source: Logan’s House Bus

Welsh Couple Transforms Clunky Buses into Beautiful Cabins

Typically, if somebody tells you that they live in a van or a bus, that means that they’ve hit some hard times. One look at what this Welsh couple does and you’ll change your mind on that stereotype forever. Bill and Becky Goddard founded Rustic Campers and start with run-down old vehicles and transform them into absolutely gorgeous, even luxurious, homes with the feel of an upscale cabin using locally sourced wood.

Welsh Couple Transforms Clunky Buses into Beautiful Cabins

Source: Welsh Couple Transforms Buses to Cabins

John Mitchell’s House Truck Dream

OK, so this is a design that you won’t see too often, though it’s a fabulous idea. John Mitchell saw this home built on the back of an old truck and snapped a picture. His imagination went wild from there and he is now dreaming up his own plans for something similar.

Just looking at the picture makes my imagination run wild, too!

John Mitchell’s House Truck Dream

Source: House on a Truck

Tiny House in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

One look at this house reminds me of a tiny church, or perhaps a miniature version of a row house that you’d find in Boston or New York. It’s quaint and utilitarian but pretty. It almost looks like a dollhouse and is on a trailer so it’s completely portable.

If I were to venture a guess, I’d say it’s about 100 square feet, though that may be a bit of a stretch. Though this is only a picture, it’s a great way to get some ideas for what you’d like your tiny house to look like. And you can design the inside however you’d like!

Tiny House in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Seource: Tiny Red House in Norway

As we’ve learned throughout this article, building your own tiny house is limited only by your imagination. As preppers, we have that can-do attitude that makes building anything possible because we know that if we apply ourselves, we can learn to do anything.

Tiny houses are a great way to combine modern conveniences with sustainability and off-grid living and I hope to have my own someday.

If you have any pictures or even plans or stories that you’d like to share with us about tiny houses, PLEASE do so in the comments section below. Links are great, too! We can all learn from each other on this one!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • Great article, Theresa!

    Minimalist lifestyles are becoming a growing trend, especially as baby boomers get to social ‘bug out’ ages and find they don’t really need those three and four bedrooms anymore because their children are all grown and gone and they are now also on a minimalist budget as well, LOL!

    The transition is really not very difficult either. When you seriously consider it, how much of a 4,500 square foot sprawling ranch or three level mini-mansion do you ever Really use? I did some work for an elderly couple who forgot where their electric panel was in their humongous basement because they never went down there anymore! In Years! They only really lived in three rooms of their house. The large kitchen and their master bedroom which had a couch and T.V. area with connecting bathroom.

    If these small homes appeal to you there are a couple caveats with these that people should consider before you just go out and buy one.

    First, the prices. Currently–like everything else in the world –they are gouging the prices just because They Can. With standard housing property requiring god-like FICO scores and your entire life savings for a down payment, these Tiny Gem Homes are easier to buy because they still fall into the ‘travel trailer’ category if they have permanent built in roadable wheels.

    But they are still way too expensive for people on a budget compared to what you can pick up a decent used 20 or so foot travel trailor for with comparable utility and square footage.

    Secondly, the ‘all seeing Eye’ of the greedy G doesn’t like these things to much when it comes to real estate taxes, fees, etc. Many municipalities–even in rural areas where codes are not that strict, are now mandating (or making their own corrupt profit laws) that a minimum square footage be required for a permanently situated structure in the form of manufactured or mobile home residence. Usually a minimum of 1,000. square feet, otherwise it is illegal to continuously ‘reside’ in, and can only be kept on your ‘private’ property as a travel or storage trailer not to be used for residence.

    AND, if you don’t have another code compliant dwelling on your lot then you can only have it on your land for recreational purposes but not permanent residency. In my State there’s a period of use which starts from April to December which is ‘allowed’ for camping, etc. but during the winter it cannot be used as such. It seems to be an ‘unenforceable’ law because who is going to stop someone if they want to go up to their tiny mobile home in February to light a warm fire and watch the snowflakes fall? Especially in a Castle Doctrine state where it is very stupid to trespass on someone’s land.

    But anyway, it pays to know your codes with these things just so you can figure out how to get around them.

    Other than that, these are pretty cool, And actually very comfortable once you get used to them! They are All you need, and nothing you don’t!

  • Goes to show that there are great imaginations out there. I loved the one about the buses. What a great way to bug out if needed, way better than a backpack. You could easily survive in many different climates and change locations if needed. Will have to look into this further for just a traveling adventure. Stay prepared my friends!

  • Cute houses. But I think I would rather buy a 32ft travel trailer with all the options for half the price. I guess I just don’t get “tiny houses”.

  • Having one of these for a bug out vehicle is a good idea, but how can I store gas in a 50 gallon container for a long period of time, say 6 months or even a year or more?

    • John, The top brand escapes me at the moment but there are several gas preservation additives sold in any auto parts stores and probably Walmart as well which keep the gas ‘fresh’ for at least a year or more. Don’t forget to siphon or pump or pour from the top as fuel condensation moisture build up over time especially if it is standing still and depending upon the ambient atmospheric conditions the water can be considerable and it settles to the bottom of your container.

  • These homes are fantastic creations. I am pleased to have more ideas for my arsenal!

  • I’ve already started on my Tiny House. The progress is a bit slow because of some health issues, but I expect to be done with it by Labor Day. It will be 8′ wide by 15′ long, and a bit on the light side, and no loft. My plan is to have it totally off-grid – I’m tired of being figuratively raped by the power company every month, as I’m on a fixed income.
    Since I live alone, I don’t need a big house, and my pets are small. I just let them out on the floor to play for a few hours per day.

  • Cute, but where are you going to park it when the SHTF??? I suggest buying yourself a lot somewhere ahead of time to park it on. Don’t count on using a “shady little spot under the trees”.

  • Not enough room for my ham radio gear.

  • I’m planning a mobile tiny home. I want to know how people secure all their stuff when they are driving around. How do you keep you stuff from falling over, breaking etc. I can’t find anything online that a dresses this issue. Thanks