Dirtbag Dwellings: Making a Home in the Egg

Last summer, we left our home and jobs in Chicago to follow every climber’s dream: live and work from the road.

In the run-up to our departure, we considered many vehicles before choosing a small fiberglass trailer—known as an “egg”—as our road/life companion. After a year of travel, we’re still happy with our choice. We love that we can drop our home in one spot—for days or months at a time—and then use the truck to run errands, go climbing, or venture out alone.

The trailer runs on a mix of propane and sunshine, and inside we have everything we need to eat, sleep, work, and relax. It floats easily down the highway at 70mph and is small enough to maneuver into any typical parking space

The egg is functional, inexpensive (with great resale value), and a lot of fun. Considering one for yourself? Here are some details about our setup:

Setup overview


2002 Scamp 16’ Travel Trailer. Layout #6 with side dinette. Learn more at scamptrailers.com.

Scamp trailer revamp

Purchase price

$9,000 used from private party via rvtrader.com.

Scamp trailer

The interior of the Scamp, before renovations.


Done over one week with a budget of $550, we:

  • Replaced carpet with vinyl flooring
  • Painted cabinets white and installed chrome pulls and hinges
  • Replaced sink fixture
  • Sewed new linen curtains
  • Installed mirror and new table top
  • Added 3” memory foam topper to bed
  • Re-packed wheel bearings (had done at a shop)

Revamping the Scamp trailer

Revamping the Scamp trailer

Revamping the Scamp trailer

Renovating the Scamp trailer


Overall length 16’; Interior length 13’; Overall height 7’10”; Interior height 6’3”.

Note: The interior height is our biggest complaint about the Scamp—the ceiling is a little low for people who are 5’10 or taller.


2,500 lbs. fully loaded (about 2,000 lbs. empty)

The Scamp before renovations
The Scamp after renovations

Towing vehicle

2003 Toyota 4Runner V8

Note: You can pull the 16’ Scamp with most small trucks (Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, etc.) or full-size SUVs (Nissan Xterra, Ford Explorer, or Toyota 4Runner). You can pull the smaller 13’ Scamp with most wagons and crossovers (Honda CRV, Toyota Highlander, Subaru Outback, Ford Escape, etc.). We used to pull the trailer with a 2005 Nissan Xterra V6 and never had a problem. The V8 4Runner is nice, but not necessary. Check your manual for the towing capacity of your vehicle.


GoalZero Boulder 90W panel installed on the roof; two portable Nomad 20W foldable panels; two Yeti 400 generators; on-board 12 volt battery. The whole system is chained together. The 12 volt system that came standard with the trailer runs the lights and fan, the Yeti’s are used for charging computers and devices.

Get more details about our solar set up here.  


Scamp trailer post-revamp


Propane-powered 4.6 cubic foot refrigerator; three-speed roof fan; roof mount air conditioner/heater (we can only run this when the trailer is plugged into a 30amp power outlet—can NOT run off solar generators); 10 foot awning; screen door; gas hot water heater; 12 volt water pump; 12 gallon fresh-water tank; two-burner propane stove; electric brakes.

Life in the Scamp trailer

Coffee in the Scamp trailer

Life in the Scamp trailer

Andy and Jess enjoying life with the Scamp trailer.

Formerly based in Chicago, Jess and Andy Wickstrom are currently traveling the nation with their non-profit project, DesignEgg. Initially funded with Kickstarter, DesignEgg grants Creative Service Awards to artists, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations working across the country. Over the last year, the Wickstroms have traveled over 15,000 miles—living and working out of their 16-foot RV—and delivered over $25,000 in design and photography services to 18 successful applicants. Their work has been recognized by the University of Kansas where they will be delivering a lecture this fall on their model for community-funded design. Learn more at designegg.org.

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