Here we go again.. every so often I hear or see the same comment: ‘It’s the same as a caravan, isn’t it? Nothing new about it.’ Sometimes it is just a misunderstanding, sometimes it is out of spite, I think. Let’s get to the bottom of it and shed some light on the issue: what’s the difference between a caravan and a Tiny House?
The definition of a caravan, according to the Dutch dictionary ‘Dikke van Dale’ is:
vacation mobile home, hooked up to a car
Other definitions are: trailer with the purpose of camping, vacation home on wheels behind a car, trailer behind a car designed to spent the night in temporarily. In English the definition is different, but for the Dutch a caravan is a recreational vehicle.
The keyword here is: recreation. Campers, caravans, they are built with the purpose of spending time in temporarily. A Tiny House is built and destined as a permanent dwelling unit, lived in fulltime, year round (holidays exempted). A Tiny House is therefore more sturdy, durable and has better insulation than a caravan and in a much larger measure has the functionality, character and feel of a house. Even though on some occasions it was built on wheels. Those wheels are an option that is often utilised due to the fact that permanent plots are not yet or hardly available, as Jan-Willem explained very well in this blog on Tiny House Nederland (it’s in Dutch I’m afraid, sorry).
Of course you can re-build a camper or caravan to repurpose it as a dwelling unit for permanent use, and you can live in it just fine. A Tiny House however is built with that purpose in mind from the start. Besides that, the Tiny House lifestyle is a big factor in defining what Tiny Houses really are. Simple living, with a smaller footprint, being content with having enough, putting the focus on experiences and relationships instead of collecting wealth and possessions, living in connection to each other and nature, spending less money on housing so you can spend more time following your heart.
And isn’t that what it’s all about, creating a home that enables you to live your life the way you want to? If you still don’t understand, I invite you to come visit me on one of my open house days. When you have spent some time in an actual Tiny House, you will really get the difference and will see: this is not a caravan.