Mother Earth News – Go Green with Low-Budget Housing

From Mother Earth News article – Go Green with Low-Budget Housing : You may be surprised that I’d rate mobile homes low on the list yet write favorably of camper trailers. The difference is that camper trailers are recreational vehicles and are designed for off-grid use. Of course, some models are more like mobile homes, so you’ll have to be a little careful here, but if you can find one that’s truly intended for camping rather than as a portable retirement home, you’ll do okay.

Many already have solar power installed and are equipped with both 12-volt DC and 110-volt AC power through an inverter. Their water systems are self-contained and have sinks, toilets, and holding tanks. Most also have three-way refrigerators powered by 12-volt DC, 110-volt AC, or propane. If you’re going to use one in cold climates, you’ll need to install an alternate heat source (preferably wood heat). Their furnaces go through a lot of propane trying to keep them warm.

Paladin Press has an excellent book written by M. D. Creedmore titled Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution. He uses a camper trailer for his survival retreat and has some great information. If you’re contemplating this option, read his book.

Note: I don’t live in the travel trailer anymore, after several years, I saved enough money to buy a larger piece of property (5 1/2 acres) and a 14′ x 48′ manufactured home – still only 648 sq.ft. I wanted to stay small to save money on heating and cooling costs – four 100 pound tanks of propane will heat this all winter.

Anyways, I would like to thank Mother Earth News for the shout out…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Still a sound idea. I remember an individual on a forum I used to frequent mentioning his home base. He built a pre-fabricated steel building from a kit, then pulled his travel trailer inside that. He had a few motorcycles and several vehicles inside for safe keeping. He said that even in cold weather, it was pretty cozy.

    Obviously, he lived in the rurals, can’t imagine many city codes would allow that in town (what would the neighbors think ?).

  2. Petticoat Prepper says:

    I bought MD’s books a while back and have to say his are worth the read. I’ve actually been perusing the above lately given I’m not sure where I’m going to re-group after I get through my big D.

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      Oops – yes, forgot to mention, I bought Creekmore’s book from a favorite print magazine (The Backwoodsman), its a really good book. It compliments a pair of similar, the TRAVEL TRAILER HOMESTEADING FOR LESS THAN $5000 and FREEDOM ROAD, the last geared towards full time RVing.

  3. Donna in MN says:

    Good exposure.
    I wouldn’t mind living in a 30 ft camper during the winter if it had a camping wood stove with heating jackets, and was parked so I could externally insulate it. Being as cold as it is up here, it needs more insulation to keep it warm.

    When I maintained primitive campgrounds the last 4 years, I saw solar panels and generators being used for power on them. I saw an extended truck camper with log siding, 8 ft wide, with 6″ walls, and a wood heat/cookstove inside, and it had a sleeping loft–pretty cool and roomy. What people come up with makes the camping world interesting.

  4. Nice of them to give you a shout-out, even if they did spell your name wrong. I guess the important thing is, they provided the correct link to your book.

  5. Kudos on the shout out, MD!

    About how long did u live in the travel trailer? & did u have electric hook up? or solar? or ??

    • RedC,

      Around three years off the grid – it’s all in the book…

      • I think I’ve had it on my kindle but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet b/c we’ve been somewhat settled in our home. But I may be moving in next year or 2 for new job, & living in a travel trailer seems like a viable option.

  6. Good shout out. Books on my shelf! I moved up to a trailer 24 years ago from a cabin with no utilities. Now the insurance is so high I am dropping it. Foremost insurance is the only company that will cover me out in the boonies. Every year the cost goes up. The trailer was under $20,000 in 1991. Now they figure it would take $50,000 to replace it. I do not need a $50,000 roof over my head. If there is a fire here, there will be nothing left by the time firefighters get here. Plan B is a large wooden storage building that is insulated, wired, and plumbed off grid and/or a steel building for less than $15,000. As you can see, function is more important than a house filled with pretty stuff to clean. I have alway much preferred to be outside working (or playing) in dirt. Keep prepping. Seems things are deteriorating faster every day.

    • “function is more important than a house filled with pretty stuff to clean.”
      Ain’t that the truth! Before I went into the hotel biz, I cleaned private homes. I figure that’s why my house isn’t filled with that crap. You call it “pretty stuff”, I call it dust collectors.

      Moved UP from a cabin with no utilities?? That’s my dream home!

  7. yep, it’s not about looks, it’s about survival and adapting, learning.

  8. Chuck Findlay says:

    One problem with camping trailers is that they are made for ocasional use, maybe 3-weeks a year at most. live in them full time and you will find things falling apart on a regular bases. I have a friend living in a Duchman 32 foot trailer and he has went through a lot of repairs. Not that it can’t work, but a handyman type of person has a big advantage. My friend is now looking for an old bus to rebuild so he can make it right and to last as school buses are made to much higher standards then a travel trailer. He wants a clean slate to start from and the bus will give him this.


  9. Chuck Findlay says:

    By the way I have your book, had it for a few years. Good book.


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