Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trailer trash survival

Adventures with a $200 Trailer

After buying a small piece of land for $420 I was anxious to get some kind of shelter on it so that I could at least stay there a couple days a week if not live there full time. The first idea I had was to buy a tent from Wally-World, but a tent is not a permanent shelter and it would be a real hassle setting it up and taking it down every week. I scrapped the whole tent idea pretty quick and started looking at other more “permanent” solutions.

I considered buying the materials from Home Depot for a small “Unabomber” cabin. But after a trip to said establishment I realized that the price tag was too high for someone in my income bracket. Plus the time and trouble of building something on site was not an attractive prospect. I needed something quick, simple, and cheap!

That’s when I came up with the idea of buying a cheap travel trailer, pulling it out to my land and setting up my zombie hideout. I say that’s when I came up with the idea but in reality the idea is nothing new and it certainly didn’t originate with me. James Dakin has been blogging about this for years on the “Bison survival blog”. M. D. Creekmoore over at “The” did this and there’s even a book about it called “Travel trailer homesteading for under $5000”.

After looking through the local paper for campers and RV’s that were in my price range and not finding anything I turned to Craigslist. They have a section for RV’s but I didn’t really expect to find anything that I could afford. I don’t have a lot of money so $1000 was the upper limit on what I was willing to pay.

To my wonderful surprise however there were numerous RV’s that met my criteria. Motor homes, pop ups, fifth wheels, and bumper pulls. I checked the postings daily while I waited for my tax refund to arrive in the mail and over the course of a couple months counted more than fifty RV’s for less than a thousand bucks!

Most were fixer uppers or “dear hunter specials” as they called them but even so I couldn’t believe how many there were. While waiting for the check to arrive I missed out on some really sweet deals. One day however I came across an ad for a 30 foot bumper pull and it was only $200! “Holy crap”, I thought, as the hair on the back of my neck stood up, “this sounds too good to be true!

I called the guy up expecting it to be gone already but to my surprise he still had it. My refund check had still not arrived but luckily I had a couple hundred bucks in my pocket so I went to look at the trailer and to be honest I almost passed it by. The trailer was full of all kinds of junk and the dude selling it didn’t want to deal with all the crap so he was selling it cheap. He owned an RV park and the previous owner of the trailer just disappeared one day never to be heard from again. Perhaps the zombies got him or maybe he joined some weird new age religious cult and dropped off the map. Sorry about his luck but at least I found something I could afford.

I forked over my $200 and officially became a member of the “trailer trash” set. It’s a really exclusive club but since my trailer was full of all kinds of trash already I felt like I was a member in high standing-despite the fact I’m not into Nasscar or “professional” wrestling.

The owner of the RV Park told me I could take as much time as I needed to move it since I did not have a truck. It had already been there for over a year since the zombies got the previous owner so a couple more months wouldn’t hurt.

The first thing I did was to go through all the junk inside and get rid of most of it. I have a friend who has this homemade trailer he built himself. He took an old car dolly he picked up somewhere for a hundred bucks and built a flat-bed trailer with old lumber he had lying around. You should see this thing it’s really ugly but it gets the job done. It’s not really balanced right though so if you’re going too fast with the thing it starts to swerve all over the road. It’s really not safe but I wanted to get rid of most of the crap in the RV before I pulled it out to camp 420.

Anyway we started going through all the junk and at first I thought this guy must have been a prepper because there had to be at least a years’ worth of food in it and it was stashed all over the place. But if he was into prepping and survival how could he have let the zombies get him so easily?  Oh well.

It took several trips but we managed to get rid of all the useless crap. Most of the food was seriously out of date so my buddy took all the canned veggies home to feed his rabbits and they're still eating on it months later. Some of the crap we burned and some of it we took to the scrap yard. I had to rent a U-Haul to pull the thing out to my place but eventually I got it there in one piece. It’s really a hunk of junk but at least it’s my hunk of junk and I own it free and clear along with the dirt it’s parked on. Now bring on the zombies!


  1. Are you sure you can park the trailer there? There are all sorts of rules (many places, not everywhere) about who can live where, and in what.

    The lack of septic/water in a "living space" can also be problematic.

  2. Yup that works, better than sleeping on the dirt. Something to work with. I would check the roof for leaks first, address any problems you might have there.

    I live in a fifth wheel up here in Canada, parked beside my shop where I work. Hooked to power and water, but can go offgrid if I choose. Problem here is the cold winters.

  3. Yeah I can park the trailer there. There are people living full time in RVs out in the same area. It's in the country and there are no zoning issues to deal with. Water and septic are an issue though. I don't live there yet it's just a "weekend retreat". My goal is to live out there however so I'll have to figure all that out. but for now It's mostly a non issue since I'm only out there one or two days a week.

  4. Coal, I checked the roof for leaks-stayed out there during a really heavy down poor. happy to say it only had two small leaks. easy to fix.

    As for the cold, I like cold weather better than the heat but I don't know if I could handle winters in Canada. take care