Six Month Review: Living in a Hiker Trailer

The last weekend in June is the first official Hiker Trailer Rally, which takes place near Eleven Mile State Park in Colorado. I arrive on Thursday the 27th to help hold the boondocking spot with Todd and Joe, the event organizers. It’s a beautiful place, with tall Ponderosa Pines and stands of Aspen.

The end of June also marks another big milestone, six months of living in my Hiker Trailer. (I’ve called Tribble home since September 22nd when I started sleeping in it, but the three months I was in Costa Rica don’t count.)

On Friday, I ride with Todd to nearby Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, which I hadn’t even heard of before this. The historic two-story homestead owned by a single mother and her four children is pretty neat…

But the fossilized tree stumps are amazing. I’ve been to Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona and none of the fossilized trees there are as impressive in my opinion. Here it’s only the stumps that remain, but they’re amazingly intact and very large. Long, long ago, big sequoia trees (think giant sequoia and redwood trees from California) grew over much of what is now the US back when the climate was cooler and wetter. At this location, an ancient mud flow covered the trunks of the trees and preserved them while the tops rotted away.

Back at camp, more Hiker folks have trickled in. Camp chairs spring up around the common area and conversation flows freely. The weather is the typical mountain summer weather that I know and love, mornings are mostly clear and warm quickly, but then clouds build in the afternoon and scattered thunderstorms roll through and temps cool down.

Photo credit: Mark Farmer

I don’t think I’m the only Hiker owner that lives in my tiny trailer, but I’m the only one at this event that does so.

The usual nomad logistical questions make their appearance, what I do for money, and how I get my mail. And of course, how I like living in my Hiker and how exactly I make it work. I’ve written a lot of how-to posts at this point about living in a teardrop trailer (linked below), so lets move right on to my thoughts on how I’m liking the lifestyle in general and the Hiker Trailer in particular.

Tiny Trailer living, like all types of RVing, vehicle/vandwelling, and other forms of nomadism, has it’s pluses and minuses.

Since I lived in a larger trailer before, that’s what I’m able to compare it to.

Positives:

  • Easier to tow (lighter, more nimble, fits in more places)
  • Safer to take on marginal dirt roads (can get to more remote locations)
  • Quicker/easier to hitch and unhitch (no special hitch needed for my tow vehicle)
  • No need to worry about camping in freezing temperatures (mine doesn’t have any plumbing)
  • Less worry about things breaking, less maintenance (it’s very simple, there’s little to break)

Negatives:

  • Less space (particularly sad on rainy days)
  • Fewer amenities (external kitchen and bathroom)
  • Potentially longer setup and takedown (putting together the external kitchen and living space… although I’ve intentionally kept mine simple to avoid this)
  • Less all inclusive (need to provide your own stove, your own bathroom, your own chairs, etc.)
  • Less storage (can’t carry a lot of stuff)

Cooking outdoors: a positive when it’s nice out, a negative in the rain

This list isn’t exhaustive and naturally is skewed by my own preferences and outlook. I decided to downsize from my Casita trailer because I wanted to try seeing how small and simple I could go, and I chose to view the negatives as challenges to find solutions for (hence all the how-to articles), instead of obstacles in the way of my happiness. I made overcoming those challenges part of my happiness.

So, am I happy living in a 5×8 box that is too short to stand up in? Yes, I am. Six months in, I’m loving how easy travel days are with this setup, how cozy my living space is, and how simple life is with only the essentials. I have no regrets about downsizing and I’m enjoying this current chapter of my nomadic journey.

My outdoor living room includes a hammock when possible

Speaking of chapters, a lot of people have asked if I miss the Casita. I’ll always cherish the memories I made in Cas and look back on him with fondness, but I do not miss him in the sense that I’d want him back. To me, life is like a story. Stories shouldn’t stand still, they get boring if the plot doesn’t keep moving along. Those six years in Cas were a great chapter in the story of my life, but I’d gotten everything I’d wanted to out of the experience of living in a Casita, and life was getting stagnant and kind of boring.

I don’t know how long the Hiker Trailer chapter will be. I’m guessing I’ll have gotten everything I want to out of teardrop living before six years are up, but who knows. All I can say is I have no intention of switching rigs at this point, and am looking forward to exploring more of what I can do in this particular living situation!

And as for the Hiker Trailer specifically, so far so good. Tribble is holding up very well so far to full-time living, the only issues to date have been squeaky door hinges (fixable with lithium grease), and that the lock on the front mounted tool box is warping (which isn’t really Hiker Trailer’s fault).

The oldest Hiker Trailer prototypes are five years old now, so it’ll be interesting to see how well these little campers stand the test of time. I’m a member of the Hiker Trailer Owners Facebook group, and overall, everyone seems satisfied with their purchase. Every now and then someone posts about a problem, but none of those problems have been severe and customer service appears to be quite good. Rob and Wes and their respective teams in Denver and Indianapolis build a solid product, and I can say from experience that Rob really cares about his customers and is passionate about what he does.

On Saturday, Rob and his wife join the rally in progress. We are up to 14 rigs now, which isn’t a problem given how large this camping area is, there’s plenty of room for people to spread out. Later in the day, we have a campfire and potluck dinner, with the main course (smoked bbq pork) provided by Hiker Trailer. It’s a fun and delicious evening.

The next morning it’s time to move on towards Yellowstone, but it was great getting to meet more of the Hiker community in person. I’ve made some new friends, and gotten more ideas for ways to improve on making Tribble the best little home it can be for this current point in my story!

Photo credit: Todd Keener

Update 7/15: I’m going to be out of signal range again for a few days, will respond to more comments when I get back from the boonies!

Teardrop Trailer Living series:

Looking for more information on small RV living? Check out my book, Solo Full-time RVing On A Budget!

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

12 Comments

  1. Trent Muncher on July 27, 2019 at 2:20 am

    I have thought about getting a hiker trailer, if I ever get in a position to. I like the simplicity of them like you. So I am interested in reading and watching your experience as a full-timer in a hiker. I will more than likely not be full-time though, but who knows. I think I have decided on the brand if I have the choice.
    If you do not mind if I make a suggestion, you might want to check out The Wobbly Otter YouTube channel for some suggestions and modifications to the hiker. They put a padding down in theirs that looks like it would really help out with the knees when having to spend any amount of time moving about on the floor, and they said it also helped with the insulation of the floor.
    I am wishing you lots of luck, and I hope you find all you are looking for out of your life. Sorry about this reply being so long.



    • Becky on July 29, 2019 at 11:09 am

      Glad you found this post helpful Trent, and whatever rig you decide to get, I wish you luck and happy adventures!



  2. Norm H. on July 25, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    I like your concept of “life chapters” with regard to your rigs. My DW and I have found that to be true from a tent trailer to Class A and C, and now, our Casita which is just right for two retired part-timers. Enjoy life with Tribble, here and now. Happy Trails.



    • Becky on July 29, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Norm and I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I guess it’s natural that a writer I would choose to look at my life as a series of chapters, haha. Hope you continue enjoying your Casita, journey well!



  3. Darren Elrod on July 17, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    I agree also with Pamela ! Love the new hair style! Glad you are enjoying the small camper,, I envy you and your positive attitude about living small. We are still in our 37 foot trailer and sometimes it seems small. Glad you are back in the states and excited to hear more as your journey continues!!!



    • Becky on July 29, 2019 at 11:06 am

      Thanks Darren. Perspective is such a funny thing, 37 feet seems so huge to me, haha. But being single vs. a couple makes a big difference! And my positive attitude doesn’t always come easy. It’s something a person has to work at to maintain. But it’s very worth the effort. https://interstellarorchard.com/2012/02/13/ingredients-for-a-meaningful-life/



  4. Ava on July 16, 2019 at 6:39 am

    I love reading your stories and your perspective on things. Last year I purchased a 28-foot trailer (I was looking for 25 feet but this was a bargain I couldn’t refuse). I had no problem downsizing my stuff but I just don’t know if I could live in a much smaller space. At my age, I like my comfort! Like you said – pluses and minuses. I do sometimes envy the awesome remote places smaller rigs can go.
    Ava recently posted..Tips for Young at Heart, Active, Senior TravelersMy Profile



    • Becky on July 29, 2019 at 10:58 am

      I’m glad you’re enjoying IO Ava, thanks for following along! You can always downsize to something smaller than 28 feet sometime in the future if you decide the benefit of being able to go more remote places is worth it. In the meantime, I’m glad that size is working well for you. 🙂



  5. Holly on July 15, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    I am curious, of all the people who attended the rally were most of them single people traveling alone or was it is a mix of couples and singles?



    • Becky on July 15, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      More couples than singles actually, and just as many families as singles.



  6. Pamela Campbell on July 14, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Hey, Becky – I love your new hairstyle! I’m so pleased you like your Hiker. I miss boondocking, but for now, I’m in Lubbock TX.
    Happy Travels.



    • Becky on July 15, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks Pamela! I’m not one to care so much what my hair looks like, but it sure is fast cleaning in the shower! I hope you can get back on the road soon. 🙂



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