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  • Writer's pictureTina Lambert

Family of 5 Learning and Growing Through Tiny Living

Catherine and Ray, along with their three children, Estelle, Evan, and Tyler, are living full-time in a self-renovated 1998 Overlander they have named Bart. Bart is a Stewart and Stevenson 1088 with a CAT engine and an Allison transmission. Since building out their tiny home on wheels, they are relishing family time as well as living a free lifestyle like no other! The couple’s endeavor wasn’t cheap; they spent $80.000 on their build, but they feel it was well spent.

“We’re investing in our family and that’s what’s important!”

This military surplus vehicle has many features, but Ray’s favorite is a built-in tire inflation system that allows him to change the tire pressure for smoother rides on rough terrain. Since the living space in the overlander isn’t that big, they renovated an old box truck into a pull-behind trailer for supplies and a separate bunk area for their older son, as well as crafting two 12x12 slide-outs to extend the internal living space.

Tiny Homes Come in Many Forms

Catherine’s most important feature was having tons of light. They accomplished this beautifully with three skylights, tons of windows, and whitewashing the plywood walls, making it reflect even more light. She loves it!

The kitchen area has a pass-through to the cab, a 24 V fridge that is supplemented by a mini fridge in the trailer, and a 4-burner stove. With these, they can boondock for 7 to 10 days. They have 65 gallons of fresh water with 40 in the trailer for emergencies. Counter space is limited but maximized by storing things in wall-mounted baskets.

The couple built a ‘crayon table’ that folds down into a bed with pantry storage under both seats. The couch converts to the couple’s sleeping area. The closet space is constructed from reclaimed snowboarding wood, old barn wood, and plywood. The innovative kids' bunks have protective wooden side rails for safety and a step built from a drawer.

Large Families Can Thrive on the Road

The large, simple bathroom has a composting toilet and is totally waterproofed and painted. The couple hasn’t installed a shower, as they use the outside shower.

Outside their tiny home, they have 2,600 watts of fold-away solar panels and 600 Ah of battery for powering their rig, as well as a diesel heater that heats the cab, engine, and water. Unfortunately, the gas tank is only 55 gallons. Ray jokes that, “At 5 miles a gallon, we don’t pass any gas stations!

Tiny Living Teaches Many Life Skills

This family took the leap into life on the road, and they haven’t looked back. They share that there are hard days. It’s not all peaches and cream, but they love what they’re doing and the family life that this has allowed them to create. Ray encourages anyone considering this to- “Get out of your comfort zone . . . if it’s building something, dig in. There’s no mistakes, there’s only learning opportunities!”

You can also follow them on Instagram @5tonsofdiscovery

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