Over the years we have participated in many conversations with fellow truck campers about the concept and appeal of tiny homes. Eventually someone always says, “What’s the appeal of a tiny home? Truck campers have all the amenities they have, and are more practical, portable and versatile. I don’t get it”.
The answer, I believe, is three things; perception, design, and aesthetic.
First, the public doesn’t perceive truck campers (or any RV type) as house equivalents. Folks would never look at their house and say, “It’s a big RV”. Nor do they look at an camper or RV and say, “It’s a tiny house”. In the mind’s eye of consumers, RVs and houses are apples and oranges.
Second, where RVs are laid out with RV design sensibilities, tiny homes are laid out with residential design sensibilities. This is a bit abstract, but there’s a very clear difference in the way RVs and residences are laid out and designed. Where tiny home designers might read Dwell Magazine or Architectural Digest for design inspiration, RV designers tend to study other RVs.
Third, RVs are generally behind the times in terms of interior design. In stark contrast, tiny homes are often cutting edge in modern design. This may be the most obvious difference, at first blush.
Between the RV versus house perception, the RV versus house layout and design sensibilities, and the stark contrast in RV interiors versus modern tiny homes, it’s no wonder the public perception is night and day between RVs and tiny homes.
Enter the 2019 Rugged Mountain Granite 11RL. The layout sensibility is 100-percent old school RV. The interior design is 100-percent modern tiny home. Never before has there been a more interesting challenge to the truck camper versus tiny home debate.
We took this opportunity to ask a big question. This week’s Question of the Week was, “Can a truck camper be a tiny home?”
When we published this question on Tuesday, I said to Angela, “Readers might take this question in several different directions.” Well, they did, and we learn a lot from the way readers understood and answered.
“Yes, a truck camper can be a tiny home. A tiny home with more experience and versatility. Truck campers have weight limitations, but they’re purposeful. Both are open to adventures and discoveries. Take your pick.” – Serge Ducharme, 2006 GMC 3500, 2001 Lance 930
“Absolutely! With the amount of storage our camper has it lives like a tiny home. That is in an 8’11” camper. We are amazed at how little you can get by with, and feel like you’re living large!” – Brad Lyon, 2015 Ram 3500, 2012 Chalet 85RS
“Actually, we are using our Bigfoot as a home while our new house is being built. But, a truck camper cannot be a tiny home. Tiny homes are a fad while truck campers are here to stay. Truck campers are built to specifications and regulations while tiny homes are not. I love my Bigfoot, but would not own a tiny home.” – Kathy Moore, 2016 Ford F350, 2005 Bigfoot 25c9.4SB
Editor’s Note: Some tiny homes, including Rugged Mountain RV’s parent company, Tiny Idahomes, are built to RVIA specifications and meet all associated regulations.
“It depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.. A truck camper is not a tiny home. While the definition of tiny home is unclear, and consequently un-coded, by implication and practice, it is a residential, and thereby, permanent dwelling. An RV is a temporary dwelling as defined by the codes that govern its certification. Decor does not define a product.” – William Durkee II, 2005 Tundra, Shell
“I am retired at 77 years old and I am now traveling solo around the USA in a roomy Northern Lite 9-6 Q SE camper. Life is great. I have a shower, toilet, sink, stove, refrigerator, kitchen table and bed. They are only a few steps apart. I can clean the entire living area in 20 minutes once a week.
I even have a portable washing machine and spin dryer combination that easily stores in the closet space. I have a laptop, television, and radio at my finger tips.
I removed the Ram 3500’s rear seat and replaced it with a raised platform to support four large storage containers; two are for extra food and two are for off road motorcycle riding gear and motorcycle maintenance needs. Plus, I have three 7-gallon drinking water containers. Under the platform is an 18-inch tall space for lots of easy to reach extra stuff. I love this tiny home – sans yard work.” – Gaston Belanger, 2017 Ram 3500, 2017 Northern Lite 9-6 Q SE
Editor’s Note: Sounds like heaven, Gaston! Love it.
“I think a tiny home is more like a travel trailer. They have wheels under them. They look more residential. Thus, they look more like a park model. On the other hand, ever since the creation of truck campers people have been living in them full-time. So yes, a truck camper is a tiny house.” – Lloyd Thomure, 2000 GMC Sierra 2500, 1994 Lance Squire 8000
“Yes, a truck camper can be a tiny home, and many people are using them as such. Look on YouTube at all the people that are full-time in truck campers and other RVs. That’s my plan for the future!” – Ken McGill, 1989 Ford F-250, 1986 Real Lite 12-foot