Thursday, 8 September 2011


We own a very small caravan which we mainly use to tow round busy roads annoying viewers of Top Gear. A secondary use is a base for walking holidays. It’s light and easy to tow with low wind-resistance - economical on the mpg in other words.

A thing I often ponder on when we're away in the van is the amount of living-space we actually need compared to what we've been conditioned to expect for a bricks and mortar house. As I say, our caravan is small, about twelve feet by just under seven feet internally – say 80 square feet. Okay we have an awning for muddy walking-boots and wet clothes if we’ve been caught out in the rain, but in the van we have seating which converts to a double bed, a dining table, cooking facilities, fridge and toilet. We rely on campsite showers for sluicing off.

So we can live quite comfortably in a space less than a tenth of the floor-area at home – probably quite a bit less. Okay we don’t have a washing machine, freezer and shower in the van, but even if we allow for these extras, our house must have way over five times the floor-area of the total caravan living-space of van, awning, car and campsite shower facilities.

Another advantage of the van is how easy it is to heat and how quickly it warms up. A few hundred watts will keep it warm even with snow on the ground.

I’m not suggesting we should all go and live in caravans, but I find it interesting and illuminating to poke around such ideas, uncovering my habits and assumptions. We are able to live for weeks in the van in complete comfort. Desirable living-space is powerfully linked to social status of course, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think out of the box if you’ll excuse the pun. Things could surely be different - maybe even better given a bit of imagination.


Demetrius said...

There could be vacancies in Essex soon, personally I am very tempted. The idea of just being able to move when and where we wanted.

A K Haart said...

D - I met a guy not so long ago who'd sold up, bought a caravan and now lives in Spain, bringing the van to the UK every summer to see the family. He manages with a small, light van and a 4x4.

James Higham said...

I'm wondering if the TARDIS principle is connected to this at all.

A K Haart said...

JH - it must be because we don't feel cramped, although the Daleks haven't turned up yet.