Prepping and the Tiny Home Craze

A so-called tiny home is a dwelling, usually free-standing, of less than 500 square feet (46.5 sq m). These homes often have the shape and appearance of a house, but in a very small form factor. Very small apartments are not usually included in the term tiny home.

A number of TV shows and web site promote the concept of tiny homes. Many are in the range of 200 to 300 square feet, which is significantly smaller than many studio apartments. And according to, the “average” tiny house is only 186 square feet. By comparison, a “single wide” mobile home can be anywhere from 600 to 1330 square feet, and a “double wide” can range from 1067 to 2300 sq ft. [Yes! Communities]. So a “tiny” home is truly deserving of the name.

But how does this trend relate to prepping?

Well, on the one hand, living in a tiny home may be more difficult when the SHTF. Economic problems may cause may people to lose their jobs. If you are spending a lot more time at home, the very small size of the home could be more of a problem. And if, due to economics, you must now work out of your home, a large space would be beneficial.

Right now, tiny home are not inexpensive, especially when considered on a per square foot basis. An economic downturn in housing might cause a tiny home to be suddenly worth much less, or even be nearly impossible to sell.

A larger house is more secure because you can retreat to a place within the home that is further from the exterior walls. A two-story home allows you to retreat up a staircase, and into a locked bedroom. Tiny homes are much less secure. You are never far from multiple exterior walls. And the floor plans are generally very open, so there might not be a room with a locking door, into which you could retreat.

For some reason, many tiny homes are placed on good-sized lots, which would easily accommodate a much larger domicile. So you might have a fair amount of land around the home. More land is perhaps better for security. And of course, it allows for a larger survival garden.

Storage space is extremely limited in a tiny home. So if you are a prepper, you do not have much room for storing food and supplies. This is perhaps the most important limitation of a tiny home, when considered from a prepping point of view. There is no spacious attic or basement, nor much in the way of closet space. You can’t commandeer a spare bedroom for prepping purposes.

On the plus side, you could use a tiny home in a rural location as a second home, and as a place to retreat to if your primary residence is unsafe due to some type of disaster. Some tiny homes are on wheels, and more mobile than many “mobile homes”. So you could also change the location of your tiny survival home. With enough land around it, a tiny rural home could be quite livable in times of necessity. And if you can’t afford an ordinary-sized rural second home, a tiny house might be within your price range.

So as a primary residence, tiny homes are not well-suited for prepping. But as a survival retreat, a tiny home has several advantages, being both affordable and moveable. Something to think about.

– Thoreau

2 Responses to Prepping and the Tiny Home Craze

  1. Good summary of the pros and cons of the tiny house movement. Never really had thought about one as a survival retreat/backup shelter. Definitely a much better use than as a primary residence.

  2. I was trying to figure out the lure of tiny homes.. .I lived on a boat for 4 years and now live in an RV… and it finally hit me.. Tiny home lovers really love the idea of a small portable home, but don’t want the stigma of living in an RV or being thought of as “trailer trash”! If it looks like a traditional house, it must be more like “normal”, right?

    To be honest, if you feel the need to go tiny (and not a bad idea. Less environmental impact, lower utility bills, and easy to move if needed) then go boat or RV… compared to those, current tiny house designs are spartan and have squat for storage…. when we moved off our 42′ boat it took a small U-Haul! Not to mention, you can find decent used ones for a fraction of the cost of a tiny home.