Recently we were made aware of a blog of someone who’s in the process of “going tiny” in their van. While our first thought was about Chris Farley’s skit on Saturday Night Live where his character yells, “I LIVE IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!”

Living in a van down by the river

But after that initial amusement we were intrigued by how effectively they were able to live in that way. We were intrigued. The blog featured a young, single man who had converted a panel van into a conversion van / RV-like thing. This brings of several issues of safety to the forefront.

While we’re 100% of going tiny and we love the various forms it takes, we also believe going tiny should be done safely. So we want to talk about the 6 biggest safety issues of going tiny…

  1. Living in Something That’s Not Designed for Habitation – Cars aren’t houses. Vans aren’t either and while a Sprinter van that’s been converted can make a very nice RV, it wasn’t necessarily made for that purpose. the materials, paint, insulation weren’t designed for full-time living and some can contain toxic materials.
  2. Facilities – A car wasn’t designed to be lived in and vital functions like toilets and cooking surfaces can be dangerous when used in confined space. Particularly when these two are used in proximity to each other. It’s unpleasant and unhealthy. Not to mention a car or van may not be properly vented and a build up gas could prove lethal.
  3. Fire Risk – Tiny houses can pose a fire risk. If one catches on fire it may prove difficult to get out. It’s even more dangerous in a vehicle. When cars and trucks and cars catch on fire, they go up in a real hurry! If you’re in one when it ignites you may not be able to get out.
  4. Storage – Storage in a regular tiny house on wheels can be a challenge. Adequate storage in a van or car may prove impossible. This can create a risk because it becomes hard to get out and may be a trip hazard.
  5. Un-secured – Sleeping in a car or van can be unsafe. You can be in plain sight of anyone who happens along. This can make you a target for  crimes of opportunity such as a carjacking. If everything you own is in the vehicle this can create an attractive target as well. Also, sleeping in your car is illegal in many municipalities.
  6. Exhaust – Sleeping or living in a car can be dangerous. If you have any holes in your exhaust, your car can fill with lethal carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas which renders the victim unconscious and they subsequently suffocate in their sleep.

Can living in a vehicle work? Yes, hundreds have done it. But this isn’t necessarily safe or practical. If you do decide to live in a vehicle, an RV or converted school bus may be a better option. Have you tried living in a car or van? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Until next time, keep thinking tiny!