10 Ugly Truths About Full Time RV Living

As most of you know, our lives took a turn for the smaller a year and a half ago. We left our apartments, drove halfway across the country and moved into our new home: an RV. From that point on, we’ve been full time RV living, and nineteen feet of less-than luxurious living space has been all ours.

To see this blog post in video-format, watch below! It’s way more entertaining than reading it!

But we aren’t alone in this downsizing movement. RVs are becoming popular again, and YouTube is flooded with people living and working right from their mobile homes.

However, many of these YouTubers tend to gloss over some of the big negatives of living in a home the size of most people’s back porches.

Do you want to know the truth about what it means to live in an RV? We aren’t holding anything back, so read on to learn what we think are the ten biggest challenges of living together in a tiny space.

1. Every bit of space needs to have multiple purposes.

Throughout our RV we have one table, and it has to work for a ton of different purposes, which means that coffee and laptops and groceries are usually on the table at the same time, among other random items, which gets old fast.

In other words, our office is our kitchen table, dining room table, where we relax, is our kitchen, and is our flat space where we put everything that doesn’t have an obvious home.

Every day that passes where we haven’t fried a computer by spilling coffee on it is certainly a success worth celebrating.

Part of the reason our table is so cluttered is the fact that we both make an income online… so office equipment is a must.

full time rv jobs

2. Minimal natural light.

Our RV is extremely dark, even in the middle of the day. Not only does it contain tiny windows, but we also keep it in an rv garage to protect it from bad weather conditions.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a really big challenge in our lives (we don’t actually have this… but you know how it is), and we had to buy extra high-quality lights just to make ourselves feel alive! The good news is these lights don’t take much power (we’re off grid and rely on solar power, so power isn’t always in abundance) so we can keep them on without guilt.

3. Cooking is a challenge.

Minimal counter top space means that meals need to be simple because there just isn’t room to make anything else. For that reason, we are big fans of the one pot meals!

We spend a lot of time foraging for wild food and doing food-related projects such as canning… so it’s really challenging not have a space to work.

cooking in an rv

4. Scant storage space.

Our closet is about two feet wide- and we have to share it between us. Worst of all, Jesse’s bulky menswear takes up over 75% of that closet space! It’s not a girl’s dream come true, I can tell you that.

I really don’t have much space to store my winter wardrobe! Clothing items end up all over the trailer when they’re not in use.


5. Sleep interruptions.

If you find yourself restless and awake in the middle of the night you’re kind of out of luck, as there isn’t enough space in an RV to hang out respectfully while someone else is resting.

Sometimes one of us will take a trip into town to try to get to work some work done, but that puts us at the mercy of outside internet service, which tends to be unreliable.

6. No privacy!

Get ready for your partner to know about all your daily habits…even in the bathroom. I think we can all use our imaginations here.

7. No place to put all our possessions.

No basement, no large closets and no real garage space means we often are limited in where we can store our homestead tools.

Though it’s tempting to build extra outbuildings to store critical belongings, we are waiting until we have our house setup so that we only have to do the hard work of laying a foundation once rather than a different time for each building.

We do have a tiny cabin attached to the end of our RV garage which gives us some extra storage space, but this was primarily built to keep our RV warm in winter… not for space to put our things.

full time rv living off grid

8. All that dirt.

The amount of filth we track in his incredible, especially since it gets concentrated in such a tiny space. This means we usually sweep our RV twice a day.

We also use a wall mounted shot vac to keep our floors clean when we have our generator running.

shop vac wall mount

9. General wear and tear.

Things in RVs aren’t necessarily designed for 24/7 use and tend to be fragile and expensive to replace.

After one year of living we are finding ourselves fixing tons of things throughout the RV, from fans to our water systems and even the seat cushions underneath our table!

full time rving blogs

10. Messy charging station.

We already have no space to live, but we still have to keep the laptops charged, camera batteries, cell phones and other electrical accessories. We have a swamp of cords under our kitchen table which wouldn’t normally be a huge deal, but it really encroaches on our already tiny space!


Full Time RV Living Blogs & Resources

Now… we aren’t full time RV living like most people – we are completely stationary and have no intentions of touring around the United States in our RV! That said, if that’s what you ARE interested, here are some quality blogs, YouTube channels and Facebook groups of folks that are doing such thing… hopefully they’ll be a great additional source of inspiration to you!

So…why do we do the full time RV living thing?

If you're thinking of living in an RV or tiny house full-time, you must read this article!!Why go through the inconvenience of living in an RV for years at a time?

First and foremost, living in an RV is our way of turning our dreams into reality. We are willing to make short term sacrifices in our life in order to live the life we want to live in the future.

Our journey of building an off grid home is about us striving to live a life away from debt in order to achieve freedom in the future.

Living in an affordable RV opens lots of doors for us, and in our minds it is a tool to help us get to where we want to be someday; debt free on our own property and free to live how we want.

These ten challenges might be annoying, but we both think the inconvenience is well worth it.

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.




  2. Sherry mack says

    Where did you get your lights and bulbs. They look really bright. We have full timed for many years. It would be nice to find good lights. We have problems with covers melting or sockets going bad.

    • Derrick says

      You could use LED’s from amazon or ebay, but I have used 12 volt led STRIPS that I wire right into my 12v light sockets. I sometimes uses a 50 watt 12 volt windshield heater to keeps my hands from freezing. I have used black tar on my roof and COMPLETELY stopped the leaking,don’t know why folks are having more leaking problems after that..probably doing it wrong. If you have to snake a 120 volt cord outside your RV to run a window a/c or heater..cut the cord as short as possible. It draws less. Buy brand new breakers, I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be in the middle of a meal and have flip the breaker every 5 seconds because it’s 120 degrees outside and I just want a cool 98 inside the RV. It sounds trashy, but I bought a roll of that textured windshield sun-blocker and cut it to fit my windows,thereby blocking a crap-ton of sunlight and heat from entering my poor RV. I use bricks and the outriggers to further stabilize the trailer,because outriggers alone will NOT make all RVs stable. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR ANODE AND HEATING ELEMENT HOLY CRAP! it sucks when you jump in the shower and out comes liquid ice. yeah we all have propane…but propane is for cooking…and maybe the furnace once in a while. If you have to live in an RV, don’t be afraid to REMOVE furniture from it! I removed a pullout couch, kitchen table and the useless cabinets inside my bedroom(don’t know what they were thinking with that curved wall and I was always hitting my head on the cabinets). I removed the stock microwave and put a toaster oven in there. Let me tell you, you can cook damn near anything in that oven. Microwaves suck…especially when you have limited amps available, but you can stick that oven on 180 and cook a damn pizza all the way in about 10 minutes. ALWAYS defrost your fridge and freezer once a month! I actually have a small dorm fridge tucked into a corner that has come in quite handy.

    • IvanhoeMagnifico says

      All the bulbs in the rv have LED equivalents which you will find at most auto parts stores (I use O’Reilly) which use less power, are cooler and while a little expensive, last longer and are really much brighter. Fixtures with built-in LED’s (no bulb to change) can be found on line and usually have reflectors built in for even more light.

  3. says

    Ya’ll are killing me with these videos! Each one gets funnier and funnier! Super great info for people who might be dreaming about RV living! We have friends who lived in an RV with their 3 kids! Talk about space issues! Pretty sure they stuck to warm climate areas so they could utilize the outdoors! Here’s to warmer weather…and a house someday soon!

  4. grandma judy says

    I think it is great that young people are doing this.
    I also fallow “off grid with doug and stacey”

    He is funny and she has alot of good advice on food and nutrition.

    I am a wanna be of living off grid.
    I have raised 5 sons,and paid for two farms and have brought our twin sons in with us when we built a new barn housing 150 plus dairy cattle .Gardening and raising cattle and kids is time consuming and must be home every am and pm unless you can find some one to do the chores. That is one reason I would like to go off grid.. a little simpler life. I am sure our Grandchildren wouldn’t mind and I think it would do them all good to do the simpler way of life. (all 10 of them, ranging from 20yrs to 2 months)
    I was raised on a farm with not much but we didn’t mind. We were warm, clothed,sometimes used, and not hungry. I don”t think it is a bad thing to not have much money… it teaches us a better way of life, and how to treat others. ( I’m 62) take your time and get it the way you want it… but if you find that it just wasn’t quite what you thought… change it. It is a real good thing you both are on the same page!! I am still learning…I guess that doesn’t ever stop. I will keep following you. One thing Doug and Stacey have that you don”t and I just got is a “sun oven”..
    I live in MN and today is sunny so I am trying it for the very first time even tho it is Jan.
    I do believe having a wood cook stove would be something you would love. An outside stove with a covering to can in the summer would be nice.
    Remember to boil the bones of chicken and beef with a little vinegar to bring out the best, the chicken feet have great collegen.. bone broth is great for you. Kombucha is also for the immune system and easy to make. Make all the food you can.. it is very satisfying and better for you and tastes better. get a book and homemade medicine and try the young living essential oils.. The woods is full of medicine. Let me know if I have helped or hindered or can help in the future.
    Good weather to you as I know that you are probably getting another storm again. Judy

  5. Anita says

    Boy, do I know just what you are talking about, been there done that! We did just what you two are doing in Alaska. We bought property, cleared an area for driveway and cabin, then built the shell of the cabin – all while living in a 21 ft RV over a 2 yr period. But life threw us a curve, and we became full time caretakers of my in-laws….in Oregon. When we started over again, we knew what floor plan to look for. The 2nd RV was 36 ft with a 12 ft slide-out and a separate bedroom with a folding door, big difference. As we bought it 2nd hand, it needed a little work. Yes, the cushions and mattress upgrade is a must for full-time living. And again….life threw a curve. I am in Nevada now with the 2nd RV and have not given up on the dream completely. Still looking for the right piece of land to accomplish the goal. I so enjoy watching your videos and reading your posts about your progress. Brings back good memories of better times, thank you.

  6. Aleta says

    I so enjoy your videos. Thank you for telling the truth about small space living. Some can do it! I, for one, am not one of those.

    You are very good at finding what works well for both of you. As you said “respect” certainly is the key.

    Thanks for ending your video with the lovely drone footage of your view.

    I can watch your videos all day!

    And thank you for all that you are doing and willing to share.


  7. Carl says

    I am soo glad I stumbled upon your podcasts and blog. I love seeing how you are accomplishing your goals, and your funny positive attitudes when there are pitfalls. Keep up the great work!

  8. Cory says

    I have owned a few RVs so far and would love to have another for full time use. The problem is I live and work in a very large city. There are very few places where I could park it and be close to work without having a long commute. I do hope one day I will be able to do the same things you guys are doing. I will be following your blog and I enjoy watching your videos. Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to watching the next one!

  9. Gareth Bath says

    Dear Jesse & Alyssa,

    If you want to regain your floor space perhaps you should add a project to your list … a ‘charging station’. Find a ‘power-strip’ which can be mounted on a wall, usually with 2 screws and find a little wall space. ;o) ha ha! Perhaps above shoulder height alongside your seating area. Mount the power-strip and then make some small shelves or use ‘cup hooks’ to ‘hang’ your electronic devices from. Coil up your cables and use Velcro ‘cable ties’ to secure them neatly out of the way.

    Here is an example for rechargeable power tool batteries and chargers from Ron Paulk … https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLB1ATCukiUGRvPV8R7E95T6JC82ohouY_&v=p2oYOIVn-5c … Alyssa, don’t show Jesse this yet you will just give him ideas ‘above his station’ ;o)!

    Yours Aye


  10. says

    Im an accidental RV resident, the house I was doing up burned down and its taking ages to repair, so I bought a bus and will be converting it!!! It will be static like yours!

    • ci says

      Hi, love your site about your off grid journey. The two of you are very entertaining and insightful. Can’t wait to see what’s to come. Just curious. You had 2 cats and now seem to only have 1. Maybe I missed that one or maybe it wasn’t mentioned. They Are a good addition to your videos.

  11. Marie says

    I went on your site today for some inspiration and ideas. I feel like you two are taking the words right out of my mouth, I have said so many of the things I read here. I love that you are so honest and up front about everything. I’m planning on selling my home and buying a cabin with a few acres but when I search for information on living a simple life the lists i find are just things anybody could tell you, and I find myself saying “well “duh” thats obvious.” This is when I found homesteading sites with folks living off grid.
    I’m a christian and the more I learn about and from God the more I realize we aren’t supposed to be living so that we can work. I feel like a prisoner in my home because the utilities control my ability to enjoy my home and then I feel like a prisoner at work because if I want those bills paid I have to work those 12hr shifts. So I appreciate your information on finding your land and your list of needs…. I’ve considered an RV for a temporary place between the selling and buying time after seeing it on your site.
    Have you considered a folding table ? and you can buy those vacuum storage bags even at walmart I haven’t tried them but if they work like the commercial they look like they’d be handy.

  12. Tara Devine says

    My fiance and I LOVE your channel, and identify with you guys a lot. Many of our decisions are different than yours but due to different circumstances (our skills, our work, our location/weather, our priorities.) We are about 1 year behind you on our journey. Many of our decisions are also quite similar. We see your thought process and your attitude and think you have all the ingredients for success.

    We really think you guys are very thoughtful about both your off-grid life and your videos/blog/etc…we identify with a lot of your struggles and appreciate your candor/perspective. And you are waaaay nice to some of the knucklehead know-it-alls sitting in their traditional apartments or surburban homes.

    And, btw, for those who do not like your recent videos, I strongly disagree. I am really enjoying your new Debt-Free Home series as well as your other recent videos. Keep ’em coming!

  13. Rob says

    When I was growing up my parents bought a vacant piece of property and a house trailer. The first year we had to park the trailer on a friend’s farm, so quite literally I can say I grew up in a barn yard! The cows and horses would come and look in the windows and watch us eat and we had to be careful to not get manure on our boots when playing outside.

    Eventually they got permits to put the trailer on the property and that summer my father dug a basement with a backhoe and my mother and him poured a foundation by hand and laid cement blocks while my sister and I 4 and 8 years old, did our best to help. It took a couple of years before we could finally move out of the trailer, but even then we were only able to live in 1/2 the house! I think all told my sister and I had to share a room for 2-3 years in the trailer and 2 more years in the house until we had bed rooms that were built for us! Our original room was the laundry room and the room my parents have now as a dining room used to be their master bedroom!

    When my own kids complain about their “chores” I think back to the fact we heated with wood for most of my childhood so stacking wood, throwing it down a shoot to the basement and later chopping it were just part of my own chores.

    Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and videos as it reminds me of growing up in a house that was always under construction and parents that were always digging something or hammering something. Keep up the amazing work!

  14. Pam says

    I’m recently widowed, May 2017. This idea has been tugging at me for years! Do you see women traveling alone? Everyone has told me, don’t make any big decisions for a year. He didn’t leave me with extreme wealth, but I’m really thinking this would be good for me right now. I am 58, not very active, but I need to come out of this with some new perspective and zest for a more natural peace. What is your view on this idea?

  15. total_loss says

    Your 10 ugly truth’s are for me and my wife, without much merit. We have been living in a 26 foot RV for the last year. Granted, if I knew then, what I know now, we would have done things a little differently, like getting a 5th wheel with a bump out. Other than that, we have no regrets. So I will break down the 10 “truth’s” from our perspective.

    1. You are correct, space is at a premium, but it is doable. Just have less stuff, or have a separate storage building.
    2. I don’t need or want much natural light, unless we are on our own land, which, I would still have blinds down. But then I love dark, rainy days.
    3. Cooking can be a challenge, but I don’t consider it an ugly truth. Get creative with space.
    4. Storage space. Again, we only have what we need.
    5. Sleep interruptions, can happen anywhere, not just in an RV, unless, again, your have your own land in the desert far from anyone. This one has no merit. Even if you own a house, if you live in town, there’s noise.
    6. My wife and I have no secrets, we do everything together, …..everything.
    7. Less is more, again, no merit. Or have a storage building.
    8. No merit, Dirt happens, house, rv, car, deal with it.
    9. On this one, you are correct, they aren’t designed to be lived in. But that’s OK, we can fix things, just like in a house….where stuff also breaks.
    10. Again, that mess could also be in a house, mess … yes it is. But maybe you could design a neater way of doing it.

  16. Gregg says

    I get it. I grew up with my parents RVing all over, went in the military and traveled all over and got out and bought a small 16′ toy hauler, that lasted a year (do to the cramped style of it). we then bought a 27′ toy hauler and full timed in it for 5 years (still cramped with no slide outs)before deciding to take the leap. We now live Full time in a 36 1/2′ RV with 4 slide outs. it has a nice size bedroom w/ king size bed and washer and dryer, nice size bathroom with shower, big kitchen and dining area (which I re-modeled) and a big front living room with two fold out sofas and a complete entertainment system which I upgraded. did I mention that it’s a 5th wheel? any how, we have no problem that can’t be fixed at a lot cheaper price than a house and sleeping arrangements, she gets the bedroom and I get the sofa when snoring, which i might add is NOW very comfortable with the extra 4″ thick full length padding I added. we have a house on wheels 3 heaters, 3 AC units, wine cooler, ice maker, washer / dryer, 3 TV’s and so much more. I have added a lot of this to make life comfortable . I just wanted to say that RV living does not have to be a nightmare. It is what you want to make of it. It looks like you have decided NOT to make it a permanent life style like us and just use it as a means to get by while you build your dream home. that’s great too. however, I would change the title of your segment to “OUR 10 ugly truths of fulltime RVing in a small RV.” or something more related to the size of your RV. because when you get into the bigger RV’s your 10 ugly truths don’t really apply. except one item, GENERAL WEAR AND TEAR. I totally agree that the furniture is not made as durable as it should be. but then again things in or on a house wear out also. and that stuff will cost you a lot more than on a 5th wheel or TT Type Trailers. motor coach’s are different. depending on what breaks, they can get very expensive. I have one small question, when your house is built and you are settled in will you take your trailer out and go camping?

  17. Rich says

    1. Get rid of the cat.
    2. Move to a warm place.
    3. Get p/t jobs to get out. This involves turning off computer.
    4. Go to gyms and get and stay in shape.

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