The Good and the Bad About Camper Living

by Ragtimelil

There are folks who love living in an RV or camper. I can’t say I’m totally in love with it. There are good and bad things about it.

I lost my house a couple of years ago and managed to buy a 25-foot camper. I’ve lived in smaller campers before and it was really cramped. I could essentially stand up, sit or lie down. This one is old and has its problems but, by comparison, is a mansion. I can actually walk around a bit in it. Still, it has its down side. I’m pretty content for the time being. I have a safe place for me and my two dogs to live while I try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

On the Road

Many people love to travel. They have comfortable campers and like to hit the road. They can stay in parks and enjoy the natural beauty of the country. They can visit places that they could never afford to see if they had to pay for lodging. They can visit friends and relatives without needing a place to stay. They can go wherever they like whenever they like.

Small and Cheap

Others like the smallness of it. They love the idea of paring back to the essentials and traveling light. It is liberating to get down to just what you need instead of trying to maintain too many toys. You won’t need a riding lawn mower, or a houseful of furniture or two cars and a garage full of stuff. There is a movement now to promote living in tiny houses. A camper certainly qualifies

Living costs can be significantly cheaper. There is no mortgage if the camper is paid for like mine is. The only thing you might have to pay for is a camping site. I pay by the month and it is extremely cheap. I do pay for my own electricity but it has never even reached $50 a month. And I have to provide my own propane for cooking, but a tank last for several months.

Of course if you’re traveling, you can boondock - that is staying somewhere for free but usually without hookups or any amenities. While I was moving, I spent most nights in a WalMart parking lot. It was free and felt pretty safe but it wasn’t the most scenic place to stay.  I was going from one part of the country to another and wasn’t traveling for pleasure. There are other places that are well off the beaten path where you can park for a night or for a period of time. The trade off with traveling is that you would be spending money on gas.

The Bad


Weaving ClassloomThe downside is the smallness of it. While it is liberating to get rid of stuff, I’m a weaver, teacher and craft person. I have no room to set up my looms and work and teach. I don’t want to get rid of my tools so I store them or cram them in the corners where I can. There's no room to actually use any of it.



Home Sweet Home

Border Collile

I don’t really like to travel all that much. I would rather be at home with my dogs and work in the yard. I can’t put up a fence here so the dogs don’t have a yard. I have to walk them down the street to find a place where I can throw toys for them until they’re tired out. Otherwise, they have to be tied out or in the camper.



Home is Where the Food Is

I love to garden. I can’t plant anything in the ground here. I can put things in pots and set them outside. Still, there’s a limit to what you can grow in a pot in a small space. I’m doing the best that I can.

pygora goats

I really would love to have a self-sufficient homestead. That was my goal when I did have my own house. I had chickens for eggs and meat. I had a large garden and was learning how to store food.

I had goats for fleece and milk and cheese and sheep for wool for weaving and knitting. I can’t do any of that here. I don't even have enough room to store more than a week's worth of food at one time.

Too Close for Comfort


I’m an introvert and prefer solitude. I don’t mind having people around a bit. I like having neighbors I can visit and talk to once in a while, but I get uncomfortable if I go to bed and I can hear someone next door coughing.




For the Time Being

parkI have to remind myself that this lifestyle isn’t forever. I am trying my best to earn some money so I can someday buy a little bit of land or even rent a little cottage. While this isn’t the best place I’ve ever lived, it’s not the worst either. In the meantime, I can work on being more self sufficient. I would like to get some solar panels and see how much I can reduce the electric bill. I can grow more in pots. I still have to walk the dogs, but that isn’t so bad for me either.

Camper Living
Some things you might want to know about living in a camper

Fleeing New England
My journey alone from New England to Texas

Ragtime Alley
My Blog About My Camper Life

Glamping and gifts for Campers
Some great gifts for campers

Updated: 01/28/2013, Ragtimelil
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Ragtimelil on 03/03/2013

Goodness, I'm blushing.
But I have to say, I didn't have many choices about some of the things I did (and still do.) We do what we have to sometimes.

georgettejohn on 03/02/2013

I have the utmost respect and admiration for you. You are an amazing woman and not only area you a talented author, you are a survivor...overcoming some hard times that most people would crumble beneath. You've made the best of the moment and are an inspiration. I hope that only good things come your way in the months ahead. To me, you sound extremely rich in character and as far as I am concerned that is of far greater value then the things some other people hold sacred.

Ragtimelil on 09/23/2012

Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm thinking things will get better. It just needs a little time.

sheilamarie on 09/23/2012

Ragtimelil, I know it's not ideal for you, but you are still teaching us all with your articles. I hope some day you will have space again to set up your loom and to keep a few chickens, goats, and sheep.
I don't know what it is like in Texas, but around here sometimes people rent a small space or work with a community college to teach crafts such as the ones you write about. Maybe there's a senior center or even a community room at the RV camp where you can set up your loom and leave it for a few weeks while you teach a class. Lot of people would love to learn some of your skills.
You've probably already thought of these things, but I'm just reminding you what valuable skills you have, and I for one would love to learn from you in the flesh.

Ragtimelil on 09/23/2012

Thank you for your kind words! And thanks for commenting.

AngelaJohnson on 09/23/2012

You're making the best of your situation. I'm glad things are working out now and feel positive you'll find your own little homestead soon. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Ragtimelil on 09/22/2012

Thank you and ou're very welcome. It is a cheap way to live - better than being homeless.

Ragtimelil on 09/22/2012

Well, thank you very much!

Mike_W on 09/22/2012

What an interesting article. I'm sure a lot of people who have a big house and mortgage would love a break from the bills and to be able pack up and move whenever they want a change of scenery. And like you say, people living in campers wish for the option to lay down some roots, figuratively but also literally by planting a garden.
Where I'm from, in New Zealand, campers are almost 100% used for holidays, so the camper living phenomenon here in the States has been interesting to see. Thanks for sharing this insight.

BrendaReeves on 09/22/2012

Great article Lil. I'm going to take a look at your blog.

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