With the crisis in our country and the growth in the tiny house movement, there are many who are looking for a way to decrease their environmental impact and have the ability to be off-grid capable so they can pack up their tiny house and move freely without the need to be hooked up.
While tiny home enthusiasts are some of the most well-researched home buyers on the market today, some fall short when it comes to the necessities for boondocking with their tiny house. So here are the top five myths for off grid tiny house living and what you need to know.
Photography: Kent Griswold
All My Energy Can Come from Solar
When you are traveling with your house, it is a good rule of thumb to always carry backups. This means that if you want to be off grid capable, you need to consider investing in the extra cost for DC appliances so you can have the ability to use propane. Another good tip is to carry a small generator that will run the necessity items in your home should you not have enough solar power generated to run what you need.
All I Need is Rainwater and Fire
We’d love to say that a woodstove and rainwater catchment system are all you need to get by boondocking with your tiny, but you have to be rational. It doesn’t always rain and, unless you are parked, you may not always have access to good firewood. This can pose a problem as well if you plan to haul your tiny often. Wood and water are both very heavy so you shouldn’t plan to carry that much excess on your ride.
You also need to consider the extra cost that comes from adding a filtration and flow system to rainwater catchment. The woodstove comes with the consideration that its degree of heat output cannot be readily controlled so in such a small space it can overheat more quickly.
Solar is Better Than Electricity
Solar is a fantastic option but the batteries as well as the panels themselves are very heavy and are incorporated into a fairly complex system. If you plan to get all or even most of the energy for your tiny home from solar, you need to learn solar tracking. Mounting rooftop panels can be tricky since the space is limited and it becomes difficult to access the panels to remove debris or snow or check for repairs.
Toilets, Tanks, and TP
When it comes to tiny living, toilets are the topic of much talk. You want to do your research in this arena to ensure that you pick the best option for your family. Considering a composting toilet is a great option for off grid tiny living. However, you must think about your ability to dump human waste. Many cities do not allow it and most farms and other locations with composts will allow food composting but not waste. This can pose a problem when you need to empty your tank.
No Combo Washer/Dryer Necessary
The weight alone from a combo washer-dryer unit is enough to have some tiny home builders cut it out. However, it is important to note how you plan to wash and dry your clothes while you are boondocking. Washing your garments with a hand crank washing machine is a simple solution for weight reduction, water use reduction, as well as not requiring electricity. However, it is crucial to consider the weather patterns wherever you plan to park since wet weather, cold weather, and humid climates can make line drying your clothes almost impossible.
Off-grid tiny house living is successfully done all across the globe, every day and we most certainly encourage our home buyers to consider some of these options to be prepared should the need to boondock arise. However, we always seek to educate our followers so they are well-researched and prepared for anything the road has to offer in their tiny adventures.
Brynn Burger lives tiny, loves big, and laughs always. Writing with honest hilarity and violent vulnerability about parenting, adulting, downsizing, living tiny, and raising an extreme child is her attempt to escape the painful isolation that comes from a life of hiding to instead connect with people who are raw and real. Check her out at www.themamaontherocks.com.