The sound of avalanche bombs wake me up as I lay in the bed of my truck. It’s below freezing and I have very little free space. The thought of getting out of my sleeping bag to put on my cold boots is painful, yet I know the reward will be worth it. I catch first tram, and try not to think about drying out my wet gear in my cold, cramped truck after a full day of shredding. At the time, I remember thinking, “there must be a better way to chase snow.”
After many hours of research, I was able to find a turbo diesel, 4×4, short bus located in New York. The idea to convert a vehicle like this into an adventure-mobile capable of hauling sleds seemed like the answer. A one-way plane ticket preceded a road trip back to Utah in the beast. Before I knew it, I was neck-deep in building what would be my first real home.
According to the U.S Census Bureau, the average cost of a home was over $300,000 in 2014. That same year, Business Insider reported that if you wanted to live in Denver, you’d need to make at least $48,123 per year to support a mortgage. More money means more hours in the office, which means less time spent in the outdoors. I bought my bus for an initial cost of $8,500. After investing about $4,000 in renovations, I own a mobile tiny home for under $13,000.
The limited space is teaching me to get rid of material items that I don’t need–to stick to the basics. The bus has a bathroom with a shower, a kitchen, a dining area that converts into sleeping quarters for four people, and a small wood stove for heating and cooking. For power, I have two solar panels up top and a backup generator stored under the sled deck. BaseCamp makes a compact washing machine that I bring out when the socks get funky, an on-demand hot water shower for scrubbing down, and a two-burner propane cooker that I use.
“After investing about $4,000 in renovations, I own a mobile tiny home for under $13,000.”
However fancy this all may sound, living out of a bus has its pitfalls. For example: it’s not easy to park a 30’ bus with a trailer in a parking lot, let alone leave once you get in. Also, with four guys crashing in it, the 76-square-foot living space can quickly become a Febreze commercial gone wrong. And of course, there’s being “that guy who lives in a bus down by the river”.
On the plus side, I am rent and mortgage-free, and have the ability to go wherever, whenever. It’s dumping in Jackson Hole? See you in 5 hours! Home is where you park it. Living out of a bus, working less, and playing more, can be very rewarding. Much better than being tied down by a mortgage, in my opinion. My back porch view always changes, and trailhead access is that much easier. In the end, if snowboarding doesn’t work out, the bus has a resale value of around $25k! -Brock Butterfield