Vehicles (129)

Rolling Homes Adventure Jeep

Rolling Homes, by Lloyd Kahn, focuses on do-it-yourself vehicles crafted by people searching for something more. Of the 75 folks featured in the book, 29 are full-time residents in their rigs, whether they live in vans, trucks, sedans, trailers, or buses. The book contains practical information, solutions, and stories. It doesn’t describe van life or the lifestyle or feature nomads; instead, it describes the creation or building of homes on wheels. 

picture of jeep with camper from rolling homes book

The excellent cover image is of Erik J. Howes’s Adventure Jeep. Erik has said, “This little adventure-mobile is constantly evolving, as I do with it.” He was previously a mechanic at a Jeep dealership, working more than 40 hours a week. Over 10 years ago, Erik discovered rock-climbing, bought his Jeep, and planned to travel for a few months. Realizing that mechanic work wasn’t for him, Erik eventually sold his tools and started a new life.

Adventure Jeep’s Evolution

The 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0L is a 5-speed manual with 195,000 miles and a leaky fold-down canvas top.Since the first road trip, Erik has remodeled almost the entire project, using salvaged materials, scraps from an old farmhouse for the metal roof and frame, and used chimney pipes for the flashing. Every year, the cedar shakes get cleaned by a power washer, along with some repairs and upgrades.

picture from inside jeep camper

  • Insulation: 2″ rigid foam board and spray foam
  • Heater: Webasto Air Top 2000 gasoline heater
  • Electricity: Goal Zero Yeti 400 battery-powered portage power station
  • Bed: Salvaged Styrofoam, scrap yoga mats, and army surplus blankets
  • Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket

Erik’s Advice

Be sure not to limit yourself by what you imagine converting a vehicle will look like. Be creative but realistic about your capabilities, and make sure you make a sturdy rig. It will be a rough ride with unexpected complications that will be scary or uncomfortable. It will take time, energy, and sacrifice. Be sure to breathe through it and take breaks when flustered.

If he could do it all over again, he would start with a bigger vehicle than the 20-square-foot rig that is only 1 inch longer than himself. 

Be sure to check out Erik’s trolley project at

More Homes on Wheelstwo book covers, rolling homes and tiny homes on the move

If you loved Rolling Homes: Shelter on Wheels by Lloyd Kahn (2022), check out his other book, Tiny Homes on the Move: Wheels and Water (2014). This book features some 90 homes—including vans, trucks, buses, trailers, sailboats, houseboats, and a tugboat—and almost half are lived in full-time. The book is a continuation from Tiny Homes: Simple Shelterwhich was a hit that showcased many homes on wheels or water. That success led Lloyd to gather nomadic living stories from the 21st century, along with some 1,100 photographs, in the book Tiny Homes on the Move. If you enjoy reading about unconventional housing, these titles are for you!

Shelter is more than a roof overhead.

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Sarah and Matt Parks' Adventure Rig

Sarah and Matt Parks lived in a 1978 VW Westfalia before they decided to build a new rig using a newer Chevy van as a platform. What are the benefits of using a newer platform? Easier to heat during winter, more storage, less maintenance. Sarah and Matt along with their new rig will be featured in our upcoming book, aptly called Hit the Road Jack due out towards the end of the year.

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Affordable Off-Grid Tiny Home Built with Recycled Picket Fence Palings

This incredible tiny house has been built for a remarkable price. Builder Jesse has taken a whole bunch of salvaged materials (mostly lots of old fence palings) and constructed a fully featured and whimsically beautiful tiny home all for less that $20,000.

While a tiny house may be small, there’s nothing tiny about the amount of labour that goes into constructing one. If you’re choosing to use reclaimed or salvaged materials that work load is dramatically increased as there is a lot of labour involved in reconditioning old materials and preparing them for a new project. If you’re willing to put in the work though, you can construct an affordable and beautiful home for a remarkably low figure.

Jesse’s home sits on an amazing property where he lives and works full time as a tiny house builder. While his boss was away on holiday and there was a break of work in the shop, Jessie turned his attention to constructing his own home on wheels. Ever resourceful, he had managed to find a whole bunch of old windows which he salvaged and designed his tiny house around. Except for the framing, old fence palings which he saved from landfill and thus got for free were used for both interior and exterior cladding as well as much of the cabinetry in the house…

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Yogan Carpenter’s Ladybug Truck

Yogan, a highly creative French carpenter, has been in our last three books. Here is his latest creation, about which he wrote:

This is a 2002 Mercedes 311cdi Sprinter double-cabin (7 seats) truck with a hydraulic bed lift. I call it Le Benne-Benz. I wanted the 7-seater because we live in collective and it’s cool to go to festivals in only one vehicle! All the stuff (tent, mattress, etc.) is in the truck and there’s only one driver! It’s also good for a hot tub and a good stage for a concert!

I travel a lot, so I had to make a place to sleep and live during my travels. The idea to make a removable cell came to me because I like to sleep under the stars, and sunbathe nude, so the open roof was mandatory!

For the shell, I made 10 arches in laminated poplar wood (9mm × 8 layers) and I glued 2 layers (2 × 6mm) of poplar plywood for the shell.

I have a big lifting frame in the forest where I suspend it, and it’s possible to sleep inside while it’s suspended (off the truck) like a big swing seat!

I travel with “Sucette,” my cat, and under my bed I have space to put my paraglider, my longboard, my accordions, and a lot of Cabanophiles books to sell during my travels.

This structure cost me less than 300 Euros!

I can level the bed with the hydraulic lift, which means I can find a lot more good camping spots! 50° max!

To use a van with a camper shell is a good way to be “unruly” because now in France its illegal to make your own rolling home. With this technique you can be so creative! I like to be unruly in this world; we need to be creative and have fun!

I will put Le Benne-Benz in my next book Cabanophiles II, in 2 years!

Note: Yogan published a book about his travels called Cabinophiles (for which I wrote the intro). It’s in French, but he’s translating it into English.

Here is more info on his Mercedes:

Finally, here is Yogan and his pal Menthe visiting Shelter two years ago:

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Tiny House Built to Escape Wildfires

In 2017, wildfires swept through Ojai, California causing a tremendous amount of destruction. Ryan watched as the eerie glow on the horizon turned into a wall of flames racing towards his parked tiny house. It was about 4am when he hitched up his home to his truck and managed to move it to safety moments before the property was engulfed in flames. Thankfully, his tiny home was safe but the property it was parked on was completely torched, the property owners tragically loosing their home.

It was that event which prompted him to build a second tiny house. Firstly, he wanted to build cheaper, so he didn’t have quite as much capital invested in his home on wheels and secondly so that it could be smaller, easier to find a parking space for and even more simple to move should the fires ever sweep through the area again…

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SunRay Kelley’s New Tiny Home on Wheels For Sale

From SunRay’s website:

This 20′ vardo is off-grid ready. Solar panels run a high-efficiency solar refrigerator and 12-volt lighting. The wood-fired heater heats 14 gallons of hot water while it heats your home. A propane stove and oven additionally warm this tiny home when you make tea or bake.

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Jay Shafer's $5,000 Tiny Home

Jay Shafer is the Godfather of the modern tiny house movement. I say the modern movement, because for the vast majority of human history, we have lived in small, simple shelters. It was almost 20 years ago that Jay designed and built his first 90-square-foot (8m²) tiny house on wheels and that moment sparked the very beginning of the tiny house movement and a trend towards reclaiming the human right to affordable simple shelter.

The affordability factor is a big one. In recent years, we have watched the average price of a tiny house on wheels creep up as the movement grows, more builders get involved and the spec of tiny homes ever increases. It’s not uncommon for a tiny house on wheels to now cost over $100,000 (US) – still a relatively tiny price tag compared to the cost of a “normal” house in some areas, however still a price too far out of reach for many.

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Handcrafted Heirloom Tiny House

When constructing a tiny house on wheels, we are presented with a unique opportunity to add materials and fittings which we may not be able to afford were we constructing a larger home. Reducing the size of a home also means reducing the amount of materials which are required to build it and therefore gives us an opportunity to use higher quality, longer-lasting materials. Putting hardwood floors down in a 5-bedroom family home would be an extreme cost, but when you’re only placing them in a tiny house on wheels, then all of a sudden that becomes achievable. When Alex and Emmie, a young couple from Ojai, California decided to build their tiny house, they chose to truly craft it as an heirloom, utilising high-quality, sustainably sourced materials to build their home in a way that it would stand the test of time, and be a treasure which they could pass down to future generations.

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Paul and Melissa’s Homemade Vardo

For maximum space versatility, the shelves and seats can be folded up and fastened out-of-the-way, and the massive drawers and cupboards under the bed provide ample storage. We have no running water or electricity, but plenty of comfort and convenience with the propane cooktop, large bay window, and skylight that lets us see the stars at night.

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