Living in a car

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  • Hi everyone, this is my first post here.


    I'm currently prepping my car to live in it full time. My marriage is down the drain and I've decided to fulfill a long time desire to do my own thing and answer to no-one. I might even head into mainland Europe for a bit.


    My car is a small hatchback but is newish (2009) and reliable. I can get the passengers seat almost flat for sleeping and, although it's a squeeze with my stuff, it's better than the living hell that my life had become.


    I've rigged black curtains for the windows which are cut to size and held in place by glued on magnets.


    Toilets and washing will be an issue but I plan to camp by rivers or lakes and use public amenities.


    Does anyone else live in a small car?

  • I would consider selling the car if poss for at least a small van, the LWB transit connect has a slightly larger than 6ft load space which is more than enough for most to lay totally flat, living in a car I feel will become very uncomfortable very quickly, plus you're likely to get moved on in a car as you'll find it very difficult to black out all that glass !

  • I agree with Darrend85, especially as getting a good sleep is important. If you ARE going to use your car - and assuming you are travelling lone -why not take out the back seats entirely . I'd even consider taking out the front passenger seat and having a decent bed on the passenger side of the car doubling as a sitting area in the day. Look up a 'chuck box' on youtube for ideas of a kitchen-in-a-box which you could store secured behind the drivers seat. What sort of car is it, BTW?

  • I'd either get a tent - a two or three man, not too big - and go car-camping... or else I'd sell the car and get a van.


    Either way, I wouldn't want to have just the space of a small hatchback as my only indoor space... unless I was traveling towards a destination.


    If you don't want to go for a van (yet?) by having a tent you can pretend to be a respectable camper :).... if you can afford to pay campsite fees it will get you away and enable you to think and get things in perspective.


    Also with all the shit you have been through then hanging on to the security of a vehicle you know is good is understandable... but I'd add a tent. There are some very inexpensive ones which are amazingly good... sleeping bag, carrymat or two (or better still the skinny inflatable ones...) and it gives you more space, more flexibility. Use the back of the hatchback as your kitchen, just use the tent for sleeping.


    If dough is short you could still do it by camping wild if you get away from over 'civilised' places... (Camping 'wild'.... jeeez. My first experience of paying for a pitch at a campsite had a certain novelty value... rather like the first time I swam in a swimming pool rather than the sea...)

  • Thanks for the replies. These are all things I've considered, I've been thinking about this for months.


    The car is a 2009 Corsa, so it's not big. I do have a roofbox for storage so it would just be me and the essentials in the car itself. I've had it since it was 1 year old so know it inside out and trust it mechanically.


    I do have a two man tent and camping gear so I guess what you're saying makes sense.


    I'm going to have a trial run this weekend to see how I get on sleeping in the car.

  • I car-camped for a bit. I was sleeping in a wee 3-man tent, and the car was the rest of my "van". Spent a lot of time in Scotland like that, especially in the outer-hebrides, working on a croft. When it rained really bad I slept in the car, rest of the time in the tent. I was very happy living that life :hippy:. . . . . . . . . . then the winter came :skull:.

  • I have lived In a small car for a while ( about 3 months) when everything I owned was stolen a couple of years back, it is utter shit. 4 door nissan Almera that was saved from a scrap yard, which must have around the same inside space as a corsa. Lack of space and no where to stretch out and wash when it is raining is a major issue. And this was when I had no possessions, no cooking facilities and a single change of clothes. Even a duvet and a sleeping bag took up most of the boot space.


    I would seriously look at trading your can for even a small van or a minivan if you plan on going full time. Transit van size would be minimum ideal full time vehicle.


    Otherwise using the tent and pretending to be a "normal" camper sounds the best option short term and for the summer, you wont like it in the winter.


    The longer you live mobile the more stuff and space you will find you need.

  • Just to wish you good luck with your new start and to congratulate you on being one of the minority(maybe not on ukh) that will take such a step to find happiness and freedom.
    I lived in the back of a mark3 ford escort for about a year and fully enjoyed it. You can get an assortment of gadgets that you can run off your cigarette lighter that can help make life easier. The one that served me best when living like that was the 12V kettle for heating up water for my wash and shave. You can still live like this and be clean and tidy. Get a garden trowel too,so that if you are in the countryside you can dig a small hole in soft earth easily to bury your poo.


    Welcome to the road :waves:


    Love and light


    fly xx

  • Thanks for the good wishes and advice.


    I'll update this with how my weekend goes, I'm looking forward to it. I know there is a world of difference between doing this for two nights and doing it permanently but it will give me an idea of how comfortable the car is.

  • Good luck man, I lived in my Peugeot 205 for 6 months through winter a couple of years back, it's bloody hard but also quite good fun in a masochistic way. You can often charge things up at libraries if you're a bit stealth and horrible, anonymous pubs like Wetherspoons have hot water in the bogs. Most electrical things will work with an inverter in the car, but were I doing it for the first time I'd buy a van for the extra space and privacy, and failing that, get a tent ;)

  • A lot of people just wander into sports centres for their shower. In my local one you just walk right in as though you were going to meet someone and there are several changing rooms with showers. Take a pound coin for the lockers.
    If you're going to use Wetherspoons type places you need a method of connecting the taps to a small jack for the hot water, then maybe use it in one of the cubicles for your wash.
    There are few things sweeter than feeling clean and refreshed after a sneaky wash!

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • I was up to 4am this morning looking at and reading about van conversions. I went at lunchtime to have a look around a commercial vehicles yard and I'm very tempted by a Transit I've spotted. I need to give this some thought.

  • I was up to 4am this morning looking at and reading about van conversions. I went at lunchtime to have a look around a commercial vehicles yard and I'm very tempted by a Transit I've spotted. I need to give this some thought.


    You'll get addicted to it mate. I started this van lark last summer and these people on this forum keep me addicted! There are loads of posts on here about transits so I'm sure you'll find the type of conversion you want. Plus once you get it there's help at your fingertips, all you have to do is ask :)


    Good luck my friend :)

  • A few weeks ago, while camping in Wiltshire, I had the offer an old Transit, an ex-Royal Navy ambulance, for free!
    "get it out the field mate and it's yours". . . it's been in the field for a few years though :eek: However the chassis is sound and the back box is fibre-glass, got a good engine too. Trouble is I haven't been able to get back down there to see the guy, might go down saturday, coz it sounds like a beauty for doing up. :hippy:

  • A few weeks ago, while camping in Wiltshire, I had the offer an old Transit, an ex-Royal Navy ambulance, for free!
    "get it out the field mate and it's yours". . . it's been in the field for a few years though :eek: However the chassis is sound and the back box is fibre-glass, got a good engine too. Trouble is I haven't been able to get back down there to see the guy, might go down saturday, coz it sounds like a beauty for doing up. :hippy:



    You should definitely investigate it at least. Sounds too good to be true almost. There's plenty of room in those old ambulances as well.

  • I can't get today over me quickly enough.


    I'm starting my two night trial run to see how the car is to sleep in. I'm really looking forward to heading away and not having to come back to the house or answer to anyone for a couple of days. I'm just going to relax, do my own thing and forget about everything.

  • There is a guy started of living in his car but now has a roadside estate of donated tents. Don't know what put him in that situation or how he supports himself but he appears to be thriving. He seems to be the only 'economy' that has grown in the last year, every time we pass, he seems more settled; someone else is talking to him etc. He is near a lot of farms and farms in my experience often need skilled and unskilled labour. However I didn't envy him last winter.

  • Thanks, I hadn't considered baby toilets, good tip.


    Last night went ok. I headed out into the country and parked in a gateway on a quiet road. Once the curtains were in place it was private and comfortable. The roofbox is essential as it keeps clutter out of the car. Condensation is an issue, the temperature dropped during the night and having a window open isn't ideal. I managed about 6 hours sleep in the back seat with a double sleeping bag used as a mattress and in a single three season bag. I also have a large square pillow which was perfect. Not being able to stretch out fully will be a problem as I was a bit stiff this morning.


    Breakfast this morning is beans and coffee thanks to my gas stove.


    So, I need to think about how to reduce condensation. Any ideas?

  • Stop breathing? :)


    Seriously, so long as you are in that confined space and breathing then you're going to get condensation. The only way to lessen it is to leave the windows open.


    Glad to hear your first night went reasonably well - I'm full of admiration for what you're doing.

  • I'd rather be cold than wet and cold so it looks like the windows stay open. I'm already seeing where a van would be an advantage in several ways.


    It would be warmer, I could fit proper ventilation, I world have more privacy, I could cook inside rather than at the roadside, etc. If it rains then the problems are multiplied in a car.


    I can see where this is going already.

  • Hang on Zico, I'm sorry to pry; what luxurious model coupe is the ex living in while you shiver in the corsa. I'm sorry but there is something about this rings so unfair. I know you say it is what you want to do, but my pal said he wanted to move back to Glasgow after his ex forced him to sell the house they stayed in when they separated and his car/van. Yeah he wanted to move to Glasgow, he needed the money the jobs down there pay in his sector to pay his outstanding solicitors bills. I hear from him occasionally and he is miles from all his pals and not happy.
    Every chance he gets he is up with friends and family. Glasgow is where he earns money.


    I'd love to do Europe in a camper.....not sure about a car.


    There are only so many languages that I know 'I have Epilepsy, my medication is...' in and as I discovered when I was over in Murcia not everyone
    does automatically speak English; something my husband discovered too when he was robbed in France; I was trying to explain to a very nice woman at the Airport where Josh believed he had been robbed who was feeding him coffee and croissants (before actually DISCOVERING the robbery, in a park, which he was locked in!) that l'Ecossais pauvre avec le vélo was my husband and I could wire him more money and thank you so much for the coffee and croissants and he is probably just nodding at you because he doesn't speak French or hear very well - in French that ended around Higher that I didn't go in to take.


    The only thing I admire about Nick Clegg is the sheer amount of languages he can speak. The man should have gone into linguistics not politics.