Welcome to Our
Life in a Small Cave

Updated February, 2003

Environment at Jojoba in February Alice rests on the road

Our cave at base camp -- On the Road

Eons ago, one of my ancesters lost most of his hair. Not the red curly hair on his head that he passed along in his genes to me, but the long beautiful body hair that covered all the other Orangapanzees and that took so much time to comb and curl.

Maybe he spent too much time in the heat like the Chihuahua dogs from down south, where only the hairless ones survived, he of no hair being the fittest. Maybe it was a virus, the remnants of which still plague my sons who are losing their hair as a sure sign of their approaching(?) middle age. Maybe his Mother Eve, sitting under some tree in Africa, simply went ape-$#!+ (Orangapanzee for dreamy-eyed) over that semi-hairless hulk who became the father of my ancestor, much to the dismay of the other hairy brutes who had been courting her.

Whatever the cause, when the weather turned cold, my ancestor found he needed some place to keep warm. Tree-tops were okay for a warm steamy night, but when the winds blew in from the glaciers, holes in the sides of the hills became prime real estate. Thus my ancestor lead the human race into their great love affair with caves.

Eventually, most of the natural caves across the land were occupied. Besides, some places where Orangapanzees wanted to live had no natural caves (how many caves can you find in Palm Springs). So another of my ancestors -- one of the first geniuses of our species -- built his own cave. It may have looked like a pile of sticks, but it worked! Soon, others copied and improved, until today almost every human on earth has his or her own personal cave in which to abide. Only today, we call them houses or apartments or condos or such.

Then a much later another ancestor of mine got mightily tired of the scenery and his neighbors. He put wheels on his cave, hitched it to a buffalo wandering by, and became the first RVer. Now, if you believe that, I have a bridge out east of Quartzsite I'd like to show you.

Whatever, I've decided to put down some electrons to tell my descendants of some things I have learned about cave-dwelling in recent years.

(Pardon my dust. At this time much of this section is still -- Under Construction --)

What Is A Small Cave?   What Is A Small Cave? Exercising my puragative as a descendant of the ape who invented caves, I arbitrarily say that a dwelling of 400 square feet or less qualifies as being small. Anything else is big. My home cave measures 324 square feet, my traveling cave is only 224. Modern caves have water, power, waste disposal, rain shelter, a view, climate, neighbors, and communications. Some primitive caves come only with a view. Some small caves like mine have wheels.
Why Live In a Small
    Cave?   Why Live In a Small Cave? Some people have no choice but to live in a small cave. Others opt for small to simplify their life, to find something more economical, less hassle, close at hand, easy to clean, ensure there's not enough room for siblings or kids, or simply because if it's small they can move it.
What are the costs?   What are the costs? There is the initial cost of the cave itself, a place to put it, maintenance, power, water, sewer, garbage, telephone, TV, Internet. Then there are the costs of living in that environment. I cannot give complete answers, but I can share our experiences on what the costs may be.
What to do with stuff   What Do You Do With "Stuff "in a Small Cave? Interestingly, the major concern of people considering a small cave is what to do with their "stuff." Some throw "stuff" away or give it to their kids. Others cannot part with that rare "couch stuff" purchased at the flea market twenty-two years ago. There's always storage.
What About Food in
    a Small Cave?  
What About Food in a Small Cave?
The second major concern is food: what and how to cook, where to get the ingredients, healthy diets, the best refrigerators, additional storage, planning ahead, cooking alternatives. A frequent question around our cave is "where do we eat tonight?"
How Do You Power a
    Small Cave?  
How Do You Power a Small Cave?
With a large dwelling you are almost always at the mercy of your local power company. But when you reduce the size of your home your power requirements go down and it is sometimes easier to locate power. There are batteries systems, shore power, solar, inverters, generators, etc to consider.
21st Century Communications   Do Small Caves Work With 21st Century Technology? One of the most significant aspects of Small Cave Living is that often it is at the leading edge in computing, TV, telephone, radio, Internet, cellphone, and snail mail alternatives. However, there is a societal conspiracy against bestowing these inventions on those without "fixed homes."
What Do You Wear   What Do You Wear in a Small Cave? People who live in caves usually wear much the same as those who live in mansions. It just tends to be less expensive and a lot less of it around to occupy space. You worry about getting shoes from Walmart, washing once a week, and having a nifty collection of tourist tee-shirts.
Do You Feel Safe   Do You Feel Safe in a Cave? Safety is both real and subjective. You may be perfectly safe but if you do not feel safe, it doesn't matter. You need to consider things like weather, intruders, fire, earthquakes, and floods. In addition, there are hazards specific to small places, especially caves that move.
Social Lives  
Do Small Caves Lead To Small Social Lives?
No! Many of the better small caves reside in social communities -- places like Sun City, mobile home parks, RV Resorts, and SKP parks. Here you will find games, potlucks, food, trips together. At times it can seem like a hotbed from Peyton Place, if you know what I mean.
Health in a Small Cave  
How Healthy Is A Small Cave?
Health is the same in a small cave as in a mansion. It depends upon your lifestyle. But for those who move their caves from place to place, there are special concerns about medicines, health insurance, medicare, domicile, prescriptions.
What About Pets   What About Pets in a Small Cave? Pets live in a small caves, too. Some people live with very large pets in small caves -- their option. We find that small is easier. You still have the problems of protection, feeding, litter, and vets. Elephants and snakes present special problems.
Caves on Wheels  
What Special Considerations Do Movable Caves Have?
If you opt for a small cave that can be moved, you have a choice of travel trailer, 5th-wheel trailer, or motorhome. You start to think about toweds, routes, slides, camps, amenities, the price of fuel, and whether to spend the night at Walmart or the Elks.
Choosing a Small Cave  
Recommendations For Choosing A Small Cave.
Being an opinionated cuss, I took the time to make a check list of those things I think are most important for living in a small cave, especially if it moves. Maybe you, too, want to consider adopting a simpler, economical lifestyle, moving to better locations, and staying healthy.

In this day and age one is often judged by the size of one's cave. But there is no need for everyone to think the same way.

A pair of our very dear friends have literally built themselves a cave. It is a magnificant 7,500 square foot edifice made of "rammed earth" and buried into the side of a mountain above Truckee, California. It is a most beautiful place with an expansive view of the Pacific Crest Trail. It is their dream house.

My wife and I, on the other hand, have a cave on wheels, a 34-foot long fifth wheel trailer. With its three slides extended our living space amounts to about 324 square feet. This is our dream house.

Both couples are both right!