What It’s Really Like Living in a Casita Travel Trailer

First off: Yes, I am still getting the teardrop and I can’t wait to have it! But, as I’ve been saying since the original announcement, it won’t be ready until this fall.

So in the meantime, I’m continuing to enjoy my Casita and today I have an answer to a question I get asked often: what is it really like to live in one? Having lived in mine since April of 2012, and having traveled in it full-time since September of 2012, I’d say I’m pretty well qualified to answer this question. But as with all things RVing, what’s true for me is not true for everyone, so if you’re in the throes of deciding which RV will be best for you, I suggest doing some further reading.

Truthfully, it feels strange to write about this at all, because for me living in a Casita is just so easy.

Being of the mindset that less is more, I have no problems with storage space in Cas, everything I own fits between him and my truck quite readily, aside from a few things that don’t travel well (like a painting my grandpa made) that I store at my parent’s house.

In fact I’ve never lacked for space at all when traveling solo, even living space. I make a point these days to follow the good weather, so I use my outdoor living space at the places I camp to good advantage, and even on days without hiking adventures I usually take a walk to avoid that antsy feeling that can crop up from being sedentary too long. In the places I camp, prolonged rain just isn’t a thing.

I lived in Cas on two separate occasions with my best friend (four months that first summer I owned him, and again late 2014 and early 2015 for an epic road trip), and that did get hard for me as a Casita is basically one big room with no privacy. You’d have to be very close to anyone you traveled with to make it work long-term – most people who full-time in Casitas and other small trailers of that size are singles. Not to say that it can’t be done as a couple, it just requires a very close and understanding relationship.

What about amenities?

The shower is a pain. It’s small and cramped, and the 6-gallon water heater is not enough for what I would consider a “real” shower with how thick my hair is. Plus, my Casita has the smaller fresh-water tank. So, I simply don’t use it. I stay in campgrounds and parks that have a shower I can use, and when I’m boondocking (which is most of the time right now) I use wet wipes and sponge-bathe to keep clean enough in between visits to town.

The toilet however, is great. It might gross you out a little to talk about this (get use to it, it’s a part of RVing), but on a Casita the black tank is directly below the toilet which is super handy, because then you always know how full it’s getting. No worrying about if those fancy tank sensors some RVs have are working properly (they so often don’t), and guessing how much time you have left before it’s time to go dump. One quick peek down the hole when flushing, and you know. It also makes it easy to check that when you dump, things are emptying properly.

The fridge is also great. The 17′ deluxe models come with a 4.6 cubic foot fridge, which is surprisingly large for a camper of this size. That size is great for full-time living and stocking up for long trips without access to a grocery store, but it can make it a pain to change the fridge if it dies in an older model, where the fridge is literally too big to fit out the door in one piece.

Let’s see, what else. My older Casita comes with an apartment window style A/C mounted in the front which is super effective in a space this size. The stove is adequate, two burners but really unless you’re using small pots and pans only one can be used at a time. The flip-out stove cover that was added after market offers a nice bit of extra counter space… not that I’m really a cook. I love how many windows the Casita has, it just makes the space feel so much bigger and more open.

Upkeep? Towing?

Maintenance and upkeep. Casitas are pretty simple without a lot of bells and whistles, and there’s little maintenance that needs to be done to keep them in good shape which is a huge plus in my book as someone who doesn’t like playing handywoman. The fridge and A/C should be serviced occasionally, the anode rod in the water heater should be checked twice a year or so (maybe more depending on the water composition of the places you camp), the wheel bearings should be replaced every so many miles (differs depending on who you ask, I go with about 20,000 miles). Best of all – not having seams means there are fewer entry points for water to get in, and even a leak does develop around a window or rivet, there’s no wood in the ceiling or walls to rot. This is why they last so long.

Casitas are also easy to tow. They’re pretty lightweight, not very wide, and come with electric breaks. With a max weight of 3,500 lbs they’re towable by a wide variety of vehicles. (Always check your tow vehicle’s Owners Manual to see what it’s capable of towing!) The hardest part of my travel days is not the towing so much as the preparing to move and unpacking once I arrive at my next destination.

Overall, a positive experience

I really don’t know what else to say. Six years of living in my Casita and I’m still happy with the decision 28-year-old-me made. There’s no such thing as the perfect RV, but Casitas make good little homes for people who can handle their small size. I’ll be moving on to a teardrop later this year because I’m ready to explore other styles of travel, but I do not regret the time I’ve had in my Casita and I still recommend them and other molded fiberglass trailers as a solid choice for full-timers on a budget who want something small, simple, and easy.

Want to learn more about my Casita? Visit the About Page for more info and links to several Casita posts I’ve written over the years, as well as a video walkthrough of Cas.

Interested in purchasing Cas once I’ve switched to the teardrop? I’m waiting to put him up for sale until I hear from Hiker Trailer the date that my teardrop will be ready, it wouldn’t do for me to sell too early and be homeless! I can say that as I’ll be picking up my teardrop in Denver Colorado, that’s likely where I’ll be selling Cas from. I’ll make an announcement here and on my YT channel when it’s time, to give everyone a fair chance.

* * *

To those of you in the US, happy 4th of July!

You probably haven’t noticed much of a change on your end, but IO has been moved to a higher quality, faster hosting company! For a while yesterday (Tuesday) evening readers were reporting security errors as I was moving the hosting over and getting security measures set up again, but now everything should be good, so if anyone is still seeing security messages, please let me know so I can look into it!

All the big images on this new site meant that my old budget hosting option wasn’t loading pages as fast and it was time for an upgrade. It’ll take me a while to get all the optimization work done, but I’m confident that this will lead to a faster and better experience for you once it’s all keyed in.

And on a related note, I’m aware that the form to subscribe to the IO e-mail list has been down for about two weeks, and I’m working to get it back up. There’s always gotta be something. 😉 Onward and upward!

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Becky

Forget about what the world tells you your life should be like. At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and go full-time RVing before retirement. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

17 Comments

  1. TC Cobb on July 5, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Becky, like the simplicity of your life and travels, I am single and have the same outlook. You probably talked about it, but what has driven the switch to the teardrop? What are the features of that new set up that drew you to it?

    I’ve been thinking about a Tacoma with a small slide in truck camper as about the lowest cost, most reliable rig I could possibly get. Probably would not be full time, just lots of extended trips. Trips could be for months at a time.

    Did you look at a cargo van conversion like Bob at Cheap RV? I like what he does too. Great to not have to tow anything & have a decent daily driver all in one. The thing about so many trailers, class b, class c, etc… – is that have a lot of stuff I don’t need the clutters things up. And you pay such a premium for it all.

    • Becky on July 5, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Here you go TC, here’s the post where I talk about why I decided on a teardrop: https://interstellarorchard.com/2017/11/14/for-love-of-the-challenge-happy-birthday-io/, and here’s the one where I talk about my teardrop build: https://interstellarorchard.com/2017/11/17/teardrop-build-reveal-and-patreon-info/

      Truck campers are just as valid as any other option for extended travel, so if it feels right to you I say go for it. And yes, I thought through all the options before making both my past and present rig purchases. I really love having a separate driving vehicle from a home, which is why I stick with a trailer.

      • TC Cobb on July 7, 2018 at 1:21 pm

        Thanks Becky I read though both posts and all the comments. That teardrop you ordered looks like a cool rig! Roughly $10k out the door is a pretty good price to get a full time living space. Sounds like a summary of you main reasons were lower gas prices, simpler less maintenance trailer, and easier to get to remote camping sites.

        I think a benefit of your TD set up VS.. my thoughts of getting a Tacoma with a small light weight slide in truck camper, is you have all the storage in the back of your pick up bed with the canopy. Whereas with a truck camper over my pickup bed I will not have that space. Curious, how may miles do you have on your pick up truck? How has the maintenance and repair costs been going on that?

        Thank you so much for the links and the posts. You have turned me on to these teardrops!

  2. Mary Patten on July 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Great post, honest and down to earth. I really enjoy your writing. Look forward to seeing photos of the tear drop and how that compares to the Cas. Cheers!

    • Becky on July 5, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Mary, glad you’re enjoying IO!

  3. Bob Froom on July 5, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Hi
    I continue to enjoy both your posts & videos so thank you for them. I’ve tried watching as many as I can in chronological order, but as there are so many (which is a good thing) I have ended up jumping around a bit. I’m just wondering if in your many travels you have ever run into any other RV celebrities such as yourself? Obviously, it’s a big country out there, but I’m curious as to whether you’ve ever crossed paths and shared notes with ‘We’re The Russos,’ ‘Slim Potatohead,’ ‘Nomadic Fanatic,’ ETC.

    • Becky on July 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Yep, I’ve met other bloggers and YouTubers, although being an introvert and enjoying my alone time I don’t go seeking others out. Going to Quartzsite in January is a great place to meet other RVers, as so many of us are concentrated in the desert southwest in the winter where the weather is warmer.

  4. Steve on July 5, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Great writeup about the Casita. I’ve looked into those for the past few years and came close to buying a used one that had been refurbished locally here in the Midwest. As I sat inside on a very hot July day talking to the owner and the one that did the work, it did feel cramped for two people but perfect for one. My two bloodhounds an a basset probably equated to one other person so I passed on a great deal. They will definitely be considered in the future when the number of dogs decreases with time. Yet, when you start writing about your TearDrop, that might change my thought process on trailers. BTW, your site loaded instantly on my iMac this morning.

    • Becky on July 5, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      Good to hear Steve. I know a lady who full-times with two dogs in a Casita, but they’re small dogs, so I understand where you’re coming from!

  5. GK Lott on July 5, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Nice description of Casita life. Look forward to details of your teardrop experience when you are living more outdoors.

  6. Norm H. on July 5, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Thanks for the update. My DW and I are thinking about getting a newer version (Casita) for weekends with the grandkids and their parents (they already have a trailer) and trips of a few weeks duration so we appreciate your review.
    I recall early on you had to replace some rivets. Has your replacement work held up over time, and did you ever have to replace any more? How about cupboards holding together, staying mounted tightly, etc.?
    Thanks for all the info you share! Like the new platform as well as the new I.O. look, too.

    • Becky on July 5, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      You’re welcome Norm. Yes, my replacement work on the rivet I redid shortly after purchasing has held up, and I’ve only had one other leak where a snap cap busted and a little other water got it, all I had to do on that one was replace the cap. All the other rivets have held up well and things are staying in place. I do drive very slow on washboard roads, I think that’s where a lot of folks have problems with broken rivets.

  7. MARILYN DENNISON on July 5, 2018 at 5:20 am

    This is a more responsive platform. Great article.

  8. Suzi on July 4, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Hi Becky. Nice post, although I enjoy ALL your posts! As I type, we (hubs and I and our kitty) are on a fun road trip to pick up our new Liberty Deluxe this coming Monday. Yes. True. We’ve waited almost 2 years for this day to come. We left Vancouver, WA on June 28th, camping our way across (7total) states to pick up our new Casita. We have a large, gutted, off road cargo van as a tow, and have all our possessions in it, as we plan to F/T in our Casita once we get it. We’ve been tenting it, so far, except for 2 rooms for a real meal, shower, and air conditioned bed. Luxuries when it’s hot and you are living out of a van, and sleeping in a tent in July! I think we were pretty brave! Especially with a cat!

    Once we pick up our Casita, no more tents or motels! (Hopefully). It hasn’t been bad, don’t get me wrong. We love tent camping. But we are looking forward to our little tiny cocoon where the bed is always made and ready, and the stove is already set up, and we have a pot to pee in. Haha!
    As for tiny? Yup! We’ll definitely have a learning curve. But like you said, the whole out-of-doors is our living room!

    I’ve enjoyed following your journey! If you want to see what we are up to we have 2 IG accounts; “rooniecat.travels”, and “suzicruzer”. Thanks for your fabulous blog and great photos! 🙂

    Suzi and crew

    • Becky on July 5, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Congrats Suzi! You and your husband must be very excited. Casitas are great little trailers and I hope you enjoy yours as much as I’ve enjoyed mine. Sounds like you’ve already been on quite an adventure just getting down to Texas to pick it up, glad you didn’t melt in the heat. 😉

      You’re welcome and I’m glad you’re enjoying IO! Safe travels and happy trails.

  9. Tim Waterhouse on July 4, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for your posts. My girlfriend and I spent 2 months in our 35 Ft class a with our dog and it was fine. Also seemed like we were a week or 2 ahead of you this summer on some of the places you visited. So the posts were fantastic that you made. Looking forward to when you get your teardrop to see how you adapt to smaller and the kitchen being outside.

    • Becky on July 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      You’re welcome Tim, thanks for following along! I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip up the west coast as much as I have, what a beautiful part of the country. Although, I do say that about pretty much every part of the country, I’ll admit. 😉

      The teardrop will be a huge change for sure! I’m looking forward to sharing that adventure with you.

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