Living with a Roommate in a Small RV

Friday was the two week mark of living in my small RV. There is still got lot of learning ahead of me, but I’ve had enough time now to make some initial observations about living in a small space with a roommate that I thought I’d share.

Now originally, I was hoping to write this up from Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island which is just down the road from where I live in Bluffton. I drove out there, walked to the little park area before the beach, and found myself a nice spot underneath a little shelter with a view of the ocean.

While I started typing, a steady stream of people coming off the beach flowed past me. About ten minutes later I looked to my right away from the beach and saw some pretty ominous clouds coming up over the treeline, uh-oh.

I hightailed it back to the truck and made it just in time before the storm started. When it was done I went back out to the beach with my camera and saw a very rare sight, the rain and washed all of the footprints in the sand away and there wasn’t a soul to be seen. I thought the rain clouds over the ocean made for a pretty video so I took one.

Coligny Beach, SC after storm

So instead I’m typing this from the Casita. The writing up a post at the beach thing will happen though, it’s one of those things I always imagined myself doing when I originally dreamed of what my life would be like when I was a full-timer. Will I do better work at the beach versus anywhere else? Probably not, in fact I’ll probably be much more distracted and the post will take longer to do, but that’s not the point. The point is that I want to and I can, so why not? Anyway, back on topic.

Right now I’m living in the Casita with a roommate (Julie) and her cat. Two adults and one indoor only cat make for a crowded living situation.

Observation number one for living with somebody in such a small space: only one person can be up and about inside the RV at one time. Hazel mentioned this is the comments of another one of my posts and it’s very true. That means that only one person can brush their teeth, get something out of the closet, or cook at any one time. The other person has to be sitting to be out of the way.

We’ve found that sharing my laptop works well in these situations. Whoever isn’t up and doing something is usually on the computer checking e-mail or whatever else needs to be done.

Observation two: The easiest way to increase your living space in a small RV is to use your outdoor space to the fullest. As I type this Julie is out putting up our borrowed screen tent so that we can spend time outdoors without getting eaten alive by South Carolina’s plentiful insect population. Could we continue getting by without this extra space? Yes, we could. But this will make it so much easier. It allows us to have two ‘rooms’ that one person can escape to when we need alone time, which does happen no matter how good of friends you might be.

Observation three: You need to be understanding and forgiving in order to share that small of a space with someone without driving each other nuts. This probably applies to couples as well as roommates. Any problems you have with each other are going to be amplified when there is no place to get away.

If you’re going to be hitting the road with a roommate and not a significant other whom you have already spent a good deal of time with and know well, think carefully about your personalities and living habits and how well they mesh. Go into it with the knowledge that you’ll both have to make compromises, like trading off who gets to sleep on the real bed and who gets the little bench bed.

Tomorrow is Julie’s birthday, but since we both work then we’ll be celebrating it today. In a couple hours we’ll be driving to Savannah to borrow kayaks from one of her co-workers and go kayaking. It’s another one of those things I wanted to do more of.

Are there any other aspects of living in a small RV that you all would like to hear more about? I have some ideas in mind but would love to hear your input. As always comments and questions are welcome, happy Mother’s day, and have a good week all!

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  1. Yalborap on May 17, 2012 at 4:59 am

    very nice article.

    Out of curiosity, did you ever post the process that led to you deciding to go for a Casita instead of one of the other brands? I’m starting to consider a trailer myself, and am somewhat boggled by the many options even just within the fiberglass “egg” archetype…Let alone fifth wheels or straight-up motorhomes and such!

    Sorry if I simply missed the post where the process was detailed.

    • Becky on May 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      Hello Yalborap, welcome to IO! 🙂

      I never did post that information, no. It’s still on my list of content ideas that haven’t made it into a post yet. Here’s a quick run down though:

      Part of it was availability of used units. Some of the fiberglass egg trailers haven’t been manufactured in quite a while and are hard to find, or are now more like collector’s items that would need a lot of maintenance to be livable. Or some are manufactured far away from where I live, so used units are hard to find on the East coast. I know of a woman on the Escapees forum (Trusty2010 I think her handle is?) who travels in a Bigfoot trailer full-time with her dog and son and really loves it. Turns out they’re manufactured in Canada though and finding one down here in the Southeast would be about impossible.

      Price was another factor. I first learned about fiberglass egg trailers from reading a RVing blog called Technomadia ( and Chris and Cherie full-timed in a 17′ Oliver travel trailer for over two years. I looked into the Oliver brand but it was high end and more than I could afford, even used.

      I used and to get an idea of what was out there in my area first, and then researched brands from there. Where I live Casitas and Scamps were the easiest to find, so those were what I looked into most. In the end I decided on a Casita because I liked the way they looked on the inside more, and because I found a couple online communities who raved about them.

      Thanks for posting and good luck in your RV search! If you have more questions feel free to drop me an e-mail sometime.

  2. Doreen on May 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Becky, I really love your blog, very nice to hear how things get done living in a casita with a roommate. I follow as a reg. Thanks for writing and keeping us in the loop.

    • Becky on May 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Hello Doreen. It’s nice hearing that people are benefiting from what I have to say, my writing wouldn’t be worth much if there was no one reading it, so thank you. Are you a RVer or thinking of going RVing?

  3. george on May 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

    LOL….well, I’d have to agree that it must be tight in there with two people. Look at it this way Becky, when Julie moves out, it will seem like you have a mansion all to yourself !

    For sure, I understand and agree regarding keeping things neat. A place for everything and everything in place. And “clean”….I always wipe out the sinks when I finish using them. I keep the windows clean, etc.

    Your video of beach……that will be one of the advantages of full timing, you’ll get to enjoy places like that while everybody else is gone. Gotta love that.

    • Becky on May 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      It was so neat seeing the lightning over the water, of course whenever i tried to get video of the lightning there was none.

      Looking forward to more exploring! I’ve about seen everything there is to see around here as far as parks and beaches go, although I still think it it looks pretty. Haven’t been in SC long enough yet where I lose appreciation for it’s unique kind of beauty.

  4. Brian on May 14, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Enjoyed the video. It made me want to go hiking on the beach. The screen tent is a great addition, I always set up a canopy when we’re camping in Colorado. On weekend trips the awning on the travel trailer works fine. Did you like kayaking? I was out in mine this weekend and got a little sunburned. It’s amazing how close you can get to the fish, birds and other wildlife while paddling, the animals seem to ignore the kayak.

    • Becky on May 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Yes enjoyed the kayaking! Went out on the salt marsh. Didn’t see any turtles, but I think got a good picture of a snowy egret, haven’t had a chance to look at them on a computer screen yet, haha. I put a bunch of sunscreen on and since it was cloudy and drizzling most of the time didn’t get any sun at all.

      Haven’t had a chance to test the screen tent yet, it stormed most of today.

  5. hobopals on May 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I could not live for any length of time with another human (with the exception of my husband) in a small trailer. My pups, okay. I famed for weeks at a time with my two labrador retrievers. No problem, but as you said the great part about camping/traveling is the that you live a good deal of your life outside.

    I will be going over to the coast for two weeks with my one lab, now, and my daughter. The one thing you missed is that in a small space people ABSOLUTELY MUST BE NEAT. Until you live in a small trailer or even an RV, for that matter (and, I’ve had both), one jacket not hung up creates a mess. I’m not OCD, but that will get on another’s nerves more than anything, in my opinion. I was fortunate, my husband was like me. He used something, he put it back where it belonged. When he came in, his jacket was hung up in the closet.

    It’s amazing how much smaller the space gets with just a few things out of place. I imagine that what to watch on TV could become an issue if one or the other doesn’t compromise.

    Here come the most important thing in getting along in any situation. Communication, cooperation, and consideration. Remove any one of those in any situation–marriage, school, work, etc., and there is trouble. Just my take.

    I’ll be interested in reading more of your blogs in the future, Becky, and what other people think. Enjoy your learning experience.
    hobopals recently posted..Missy Graduates with Honors from UGAMy Profile

    • hobopals on May 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      I send too fast which is a bad habit of mine. I was hoping I could delete the first post, but I can’t. So, here come the correction.

      I didn’t “fame”, I camped with my two labs

      Please excuse other grammatical errors. I find when I want to change something and I go back, it’s not like word processing, I make mistakes while changing or trying to correct.

      Again, I’ll be interested in the comments and your future blogs. Traveling with another person would add another dimension to co-habitating.
      hobopals recently posted..Missy Graduates with Honors from UGAMy Profile

    • Becky on May 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Boy isn’t that the truth, it takes very little to make the whole RV look like a mess. That is something I definitely intend to address in the future.

      Dishes need to get done right after eating, all dirty clothes go straight to the hamper, and the floor gets swept twice a day. A lot of our things actually stay out in our vehicles to keep from cluttering up the trailer.

      Julie and I have been friends for a long time and roommates for a good five years before we moved into the RV so we already had a good understanding of each other’s boundries. I think making these boundries crystal clear is essential if you’re going to be living with someone in this small of a space.

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