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.