One of the trickiest aspects of going tiny is that outdoor gear doesn’t shrink to fit a tiny lifestyle.
You’ve got to think outside the tiny-home box to keep living as large as your adventures.
“We wanted our tiny house on wheels to support our outdoor lifestyle. When we were initially guesstimating how much space we needed to live full time we concluded that a 20- to 22-foot-long trailer would work,” Robert Garlow, 28, told GrindTV.
He blogs about mobile living with his wife Samantha.
“Naturally we bought a 24-foot long trailer and built a gear room adjacent to our living space, dedicating the last 3 feet of our house to the storage of the tools and equipment so important to our happiness,” he continued.
Just like you purge when you make any move in life, you’ll have to take on the task of refining your outdoor gear when you go tiny. It may be easier than you think to let stuff go.
Start by honing in on activities you know you love and prioritize around outdoor pursuits that you’ll have the most access to during your life in a tiny home.
That might mean giving up some gear related to old pipe dreams like learning to rock climb, for example.
Sort the obsolete stuff that you’re only hanging on to for the memory, sell the moderately used equipment that still has resale value and keep what you know you will use the most.
“Our gear room is 24 square feet,” Garlow says. “That may sound small, but that amounts to nearly an eighth of our 204-square foot tiny house. It was a big sacrifice that was totally worth it to have our home function as our own mobile base camp.”
Next up is the fun part: storage solutions. Half the pleasure of a tiny home is seeing how inventive you can get about stashing gear in places where no one will know they exist, or the opposite approach: showcasing pieces like art or integrating gear into functional design.
Bigger items like bikes and snowboards, many of which have slick graphics anyway, can work as wall art, inside or outside of a tiny home.
Consider both vertical and horizontal hanging options as you think about where to place your prettiest gear art.
Some outdoor gear already lends itself to both functionality and the aesthetics of an outdoor life.
Take carabiners, for example. They work beautifully as hangers in a closet or out on display in a corner utilitarian storage unit, with spots for drawers, hangers, shelves and bins.
Brendan Leonard, who has written about stuffing he and his live-in girlfriend’s bikes, skis, 12 backpacks, shoes (cycling, climbing, hiking, approach, running), boots (mountaineering, hiking, ski) and puffy jackets in a sub-500-square-foot apartment, has also gotten creative about what pieces can multitask, what gear is OK left exposed and which items are better hidden away.
Furniture and built-in features in a tiny home need to work double time. A hollow lift-top couch can hide longer items like fishing poles and skis; square ottomans can cache smaller items; high shelving can tuck away seasonal gear or items used less frequently; a bed with dresser drawers can provide daily access to outdoor clothing; and pop-outs on the exterior of tiny homes can work well for stuff that gets real dirty.
If you only need one loft for sleeping, consider the other vaulted area for serious gear storage.
Andrea Tremols, who blogs about the active life in Charleston, South Carolina on thetinylife.com, has six bikes between she and partner Cedric.
Cycling is their passion, but storage is a serious problem. The couple recently expanded their outdoor space by adding an awning for bikes, which they typically tow on the car, to prop up and out of the weather when not in use.
In DYI fashion, they found some used heavyweight vinyl, pounded grommets into it and strung it to hooks on the side of the home.
They noted that in addition to a bike cover, the awning has given them an outdoor space to work or relax, rain or shine.
And Outdoor Research’s ski dream team’s tiny home, which has been showcased by the brand in a video series, uses clever wooden drying rods suspended from the stairs to dry ski socks.
Whatever sport or adventure motivates these outdoor junkies, it seems that going tiny doesn’t have to mean giving up all the gear that goes with the lifestyle.
Getting clever with storage can take you as far and wide as your imagination allows.
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