The downside of living in a 200 sqft Airstream

50 thoughts on “The downside of living in a 200 sqft Airstream”

  1. Thanks for the honest review! I can believe that it would be a little hard to find the space necessary for everything. Sure, it helps you not keep as much stuff, but I’m sure it can be hard to find proper space for the things that are important enough for you to keep.

    Is the campground your living in a full-time residency one? Or are a lot of the people coming and going?

    1. Hey Thias – the campground isn’t necessarily designed around full-time residency, no. Though there are some people here who spend many months at this campground, most people come and go – especially the weekenders. Actually, I am finding that the people we see here the closer that we get to summer, the better the likelihood that they are full-time RVers. Otherwise, why stay in a campground when the temperatures are nearing the 100 degree mark? πŸ™‚

    1. This campground is fairly quiet. There is an event center that holds events occasionally on Saturday night, and that you’ll be able to hear. But other than that, it’s pretty darn quiet, especially this time of year. It will get noisier during the winter when there aren’t any vacancies, though. That’s when *everybody* wants to be in the southwest!

  2. Thanks for the post! It is good to hear the cons. I have a couple questions I just thought of though. First, how is security for the Airstream? Do you feel it locks up pretty safely?

    Secondly, even though it doesn’t sound like a very “shitty job”, are there other facilities you could use nearby rather than yours? Weird question, but that’s probably what I would prefer if I moved out of sticks & bricks

    The Green Swan.

    1. This thing locks up incredibly securely. It honestly reminds me of an aircraft fuselage. The door is incredibly secure. You could break the windows just like anywhere else, but they’d be more difficult to actually get into because they are so high off the ground. Yup, all in all, we feel this rig is very secure.

      Regarding your second question, yeah, this particular campground does have facilities that can be used by anyone here, to include sinks, toilets and showers. I haven’t used one of the public toilets, but I will occasionally use the shower, especially after taking a dip in the pool. πŸ™‚

  3. Your downsides don’t seem bad at all! I’m going to have to strategically hide your posts about your Airstream from my girlfriend somehow, so she doesn’t get second thoughts about our plans to go on long trips in an old Volkswagen bus. The Airstream has many more perks!

    1. Thanks EM – yeah, all in all, they aren’t too bad. I’ve already gotten used to most of them, actually. πŸ™‚

      Hey, that Volkswagon bus has some advantages, too – lower cost of ownership for one, probably easier to drive and you can get places where we just can’t in a rig as large as ours. As long as your VW is dependable, there’s nothing wrong with that plan. Truth be told we might do something similar in the future and drive down the coast of Mexico.

  4. Interesting. I’m sure you’ll bump your heads less as your brain starts to better memorize the space. The storage comments remind me of a conversation my wife and I always have. I like to stock up on things that are on sale, but she always says “Don’t buy more than we need now. It’s called a ‘store’ because they ‘store’ things for you!”

    1. That’s very true, actually – my subliminal mind is finally beginning to instinctively “duck” when I need to and just generally being aware of what’s right above me. I’ve hit my head a few times, but it’s getting less and less the longer that we live here. πŸ™‚

    1. Ha! I’d occasionally use the sniff test before we moved into the Airstream, but most of the time I just threw used clothes into the hamper. Bad habit, but fixed now! πŸ™‚

      1. I totally agree! Anything that isn’t smelly gets reworn in our house — even though we have laundry in our house, it’s water and energy we don’t need to use, money we don’t need to spend, plus a shorter life for our clothes. Not gross at all. πŸ™‚

        Thanks for this rundown! I’d love to see a follow-up to this after you guys hit the road and have the experience of moving from place to place more often. I know you’ve talked about doing more wild camping, where there’s no handy sewer drain, so I’m curious how that will go! πŸ˜€

        1. Honestly, we are looking forward to getting out there and figuring all this out as well. It’s true that boon docking is very, very different than a full hookup campsite with practically all the amenities. The easily availability of laundry facilities, for example, is an awesome perk of staying here, and I already know that’s probably going to be a pain the ass once we start full-time traveling. But, it’s another one of those things that we will just get used to and build into our lifestyle. I hope. πŸ™‚

  5. I was curious how things were going, I was surprised that General “clutter” was not on the list – any flat spot in our kitchen gets covered with something – you must have done a great job diwnsizing/ organizing

    1. Hey Apathy! Keeping up with clutter is utterly important! We have established a place for pretty much everything and we stick to that pretty well and keep clutter down. I admit that my “desk” (which is the nook) can get a little cluttered, but other than that, as long as you keep up with it, clutter isn’t a big deal. πŸ™‚

    1. It’s true, Kalie – just one of those things that you get used to. I am almost completely “over it” now and instinctively move my head when I am working in the kitchen so I don’t hit my head. I’m sure I’ll hit it again (and again, and again), but the frequency is getting less and less! πŸ˜‰

  6. I just keep thinking of Rusty in “Christmas Vacation” hosing his sewage straight into the street sewer while in his underwear. πŸ™‚ Classic!
    I was wondering about headroom, and even the “office space”. I had a big carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet compression issue flare up when I was super busy and working nights at home from a less than ideal setup. It took a couple of months of PT to get that knocked out, but it was surprising how quickly it came about. Good luck getting settled in and it still sounds better than the previous setup for sure.

    1. Hey Mr. SSC – I think you mean Cousin Eddie who was emptying his sewage. Yeah, love that movie – watch it every year. πŸ™‚

      And yeah, I am still super glad that we made this move. It’s allowing us to get into a routine well before we actually start traveling full-time, which will definitely help us to feel as comfortable and confident as possible once the time finally comes. Soon!

  7. Thanks for the straight dope on RV living, alway appreciated reading your articles. Here’s some outside the box thinking while reading and going through your picture. How about instead of having napkins, wipes…you can get a rag for cleaning/drying then you wash it as needed. Instead of going to Costco and buy 6 roll and take up precious storage space? Or have one of those toilet with streaming water for cleaning – toro (might be expensive to install, but a pleasure to use). Anyway, enjoy.

    1. Most welcome, Don! Yeah, we have considered the rag solution as well and may very well go that route. The only downside is the water it will take to wash the rag, but we’ll be taking trips to a laundromat anyway, so we’d be able to throw those rags into the wash easily enough. Regarding the toilet, we will probably switch out our system to a composting toilet in the near future. πŸ™‚

  8. It doesn’t sound bad at all! Of the things you mentioned, the lack of laundry facilities would be my biggest concern. It’s great to toss in a load of wash, wait 20 minutes, toss it in the dryer and refill the washer with the next load of wash. I guess we have more laundry for the five of us than you do with 2 of you, but it would be a headache to spend a couple hours in a laundromat once per week.

    When we travel and rent Airbnb apartments, we usually get places with washer and dryer for the convenience.

    Oh, and that queen size bed would bother me too. I’m very used to the expansive real estate offered by our kind size bed. Sleeping in queens or even doubles is like living in the third world (first world problems indeed!). πŸ˜‰

    1. Hey Justin – yeah, all in all it’s really not that bad. But like you, I definitely prefer king sized beds, but we are getting used to the smaller queen pretty well. It takes some time, but nothing that we can’t handle.

  9. Thanks for the look inside what it’s like to live in the Airstream.

    My grandparents actually lived in an Airstream for many years. Actually, in your part of the world. They spent winters in Phoenix and summers up in the AZ mountains (Lakeside).

    When we would visit, it didn’t feel overly cramped or small. I think it’s more our parents’ generation that started us down the path of buying big houses with more space than we need.

    It’s nice to see you embracing a more sensible approach.

    1. Thanks Financial Slacker. I think you’re right, it was the previous generation who helped get the ball rolling, but our present generation definitely grabbed it and ran, upping the ante each step of the way to bigger and bigger houses. I personally think that eventually this will come full circle and the big home fad will primarily be a thing of the past…might take some time, though! πŸ™‚

  10. Being under five feet tall, I am made for airstream living! I would get sick of lifting the bed to access the storage space though. Sound like, all told, you haven’t found to many dislikes!

    1. Yeah, so far at least, we really haven’t found that many dislikes. Yes, it’s a small space, but that’s something that you quickly get used to. We were walking through some showroom motorhomes over the weekend and I literally said, while walking through one of them, “What would we do with all this space?”

  11. This is an interesting way to see contiguous land. Almost makes me wish I or my girlfriend was more comfortable with driving. Still grateful to live in a place where we don’t need to drive, but our movement is then limited.

    1. Yeah, you definitely need to be okay with driving to make this lifestyle work. Luckily, we are…especially when we get to see some of the most beautiful places this country has to offer. Soon! πŸ™‚

  12. First, I love this: Copyleft 2016 Β· Β· Wait, what the heck is Copyleft?

    Second, yeah those items don’t seem to bad in the grand scheme of things, what parts are you guys hanging out by?

    I can see the storage being annoying and then bring happiness into the picture, I say this after cleaning up a little storage area that I wonder why we keep….Oh yeah so we can have a place to keep stuff, ughh

    The workspace will be an upgrade down the road but I understand the need for some comfort. I still need to write about it but we stayed in a tiny house just recently, we should compare notes one day with a post.

    1. Hehe, thanks Even Steven. Yeah, so far it’s been great living in the Airstream. Storage is low, but then again, it helps us to NOT acquire a bunch of stuff, too, which is nice. Interested in hearing your experience in the tiny house! πŸ™‚

  13. Interesting update, Steve. Thanks for the honest update.

    No living arrangement is perfect, I suppose. Cleaning our 3,800 sq foot house is a huge chore, so at times 200 sq feet sounds pretty inviting!

    Life is full of adventures! Even if you don’t live in the Airstream as long as planned, I’m sure it’s creating great memories!


    1. Thanks for the comment, John. True, nothing will ever be perfect. And wow…yeah, a 3800 square foot house must take forever to clean. Big difference from what we’re living in for sure. But hey, I bet you don’t bang your head against your cabinets in the kitchen, either! πŸ˜‰

  14. Appreciate the honest review Steve. Hope your head is okay. πŸ™‚ Already renovating the new home? sounds like your old home. πŸ™‚ Going from 1600 sqft to 200 sqft is a major change. I sure it will take a few months to fully adjust. If this is the worst of the transition so far, sounds like you settled in no time.

    1. Thanks Brian – head is doing okay. πŸ™‚

      We aren’t actually renovating yet, but we are discussing what we’d like to do to this place. The difference is we’ll be switching things up in our new place NOW for us to enjoy rather than later for the next dweller. So, we get to enjoy the renovations rather than somebody else!

  15. Thanks for the continued insight into Airstream living! While I’m not sure I could ever talk Mrs. HackNow into moving into an RV of any sort, it is fun to consider and hear the pluses and minuses. We have some family who live in their Airstream during each summer to escape the Texas heat. They always hook up at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. That sounds like a possible solution that would make both of us happy!

    Here’s my question, and you’ve probably covered this before, what do you use for wifi?

    Again, thanks for the insight!

    1. Hey there!

      We don’t use Wifi at the moment, and it is notoriously inconsistent and unreliable at campgrounds. Instead, we have an unlimited 4G data plan through Verizon that we use for our Internet. Thus, so long as we have Verizon signal, we’ll have at least some Internet. If we don’t have Internet at our campsite, we may go into the nearest down every once in a while to login and check on things. Using coffee shop Wifi connections will probably be in our future too – especially if Verizon signal is weak. πŸ™‚

  16. My wife and I lived in a 36′ 5th wheel for 4 years. When we eventually sold the trailer, we used the cash to buy our first home.

    I loved this post, although the airstream is quite a bit smaller than our Holiday Rambler, I was reminded of how much I ‘loved’ hitting my forehead on cabinets, scratching around for storage and dealing with endless humidity.

    I used to drain the black tank into the blue portable tanks, load it into the truck and take it down to the dump station. I once had a hose explode with 3-4 people watching. It was the shits…

    1. Sounds like you guys had a great time, Mike! πŸ™‚

      Yeah, humidity is no bueno. That’s why we will be spending the majority of our time out west. Our composting toilet removes the need to store waste water as well. We do have gray water storage, of course, but we use the black tank as well, more than doubling our capacity to store used sink and shower water.

      Haven’t yet had any explosions around here, but hey, our new lifestyle is still very young. πŸ™‚

  17. Great article. I don’t have an Airstream, but I thought I’d let you know I have an 18 foot camper then I have added a real washing machine to. My newest addition is a real dishwasher. I don’t fulltime in it but my husband and I and two dogs do live in it for 2 to 3 months at a time. Anyway, I thought I’d let you know it is possible to put a washing machine and a dryer and, I bet you! I have managed to fit the dishwasher in, but I think the dryer is going to have to sit under the awning outside LOL I have reached critical mass.

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