Trailers and Tiny Homes on Wheels for the Chemically Sensitive

Updated Spring 2019

If you fancy a tiny home that is semi-mobile (can be moved around, but ideally not too much), I would go for a small wood or metal structure. I no longer recommend Tiny Green Cabins, Swanson or Tiny Healthy Homes because of the issues I have seen with their production and construction.

Leaf House via
There are no specific tiny home companies I can recommend at this time. However, if you would like to set up a consultation we can go over finding a good builder and how to supervise.

I don't know of one for less than 60K. Budget at least 65K. Look into the experience of the builder, talk to past clients and look at what kind of warranty they offer. See my post on building a mould-free tiny home before proceeding.


Cargo Trailers

Joey, from HealClick, breaks it down to the essentials and delivers a safer trailer for $7000. Here is my post all about cargo trailers. There is a lot more that has to offgas in these simple trailers than you might think. They take about a year to off-gas.

ATC is a mix between a cargo trailer and a high end trailer. They look industrial compared to the Living Vehicle below (made by the same company). They claim to have no wood whatsoever, and similar construction to the old Camplite design. 24" units  had bath, kitchen, eating area, couch that made a queen bed, and extra cabinets. About $55,000 USD

Metal Travel Trailers

My Camplite

I had a Camplite by LivinLite travel trailer made to my specifications and you can find all the details about that here. Though the key thing I look for in a trailer is moisture proof walls and the laminated sandwich insulation. You may still find a used one with sandwich laminated walls, before they changed the wall system. The company is now out of business.
The Safari Condo is another option to consider. "Roof and walls are made of a sandwich-type material with a plastic honeycomb core laminated with Alufiber on one side and aluminum on the other. Alufiber combines the light weight of aluminum with the durability of fiberglass. The only materials used in building the Alto are those on which water has little effect, such as aluminum, alufiber, plastic, Formica and glass. Inside, the furniture consists largely of aluminum and composite materials. Rigid and ultra-light sandwich panels are integrated into the bed cushions, while the entire bed structure is made of aluminum extrusions." They need a fair amount of time to off gas.

Custom Metal Trailer
You could have a small metal trailer custom made in the style of the Camplite or like a tiny home. I have also seen cargo trailer custom made with metal SIPS though that is rare to find. The Weroll is similar to a cargo trailer but is more customized and you may be able to reduce the off-gassing with this option as well as streamline the process of converting it.

Another type of non-toxic trailer is porcelain enamel on steel. This is an extremely tolerable material but it is not cheap. It's very rare to see a porcelain trailer for sale, many of them were made on poor quality RV shells which is a shame. But the interior of these trailers are very tolerable.

High-End Metal Trailers

Airstreams with metal walls can become tolerable fairly fast (for a trailer). I don't hear that they hold up to mould for a long time and I usually hear they are quite leak prone. If you do happen to find one in the sweet spot, offgassed but not yet mouldy, you may get a few years out of it. They do retain thier value well like fiberglass trailers.
A newer company making very tolerable trailers is Living Vehicle. They use closed cell rigid foam insulation sealed with tape and the interior is almost entirely aluminum including the cabinets. The countertops are Corian Quartz. The flooring is vinyl by Armstrong. The cushions are polyurethane which may or may not need to be removed. The price is 150K, in 2020 they are going up to 200k. This is a rare find because of the almost fully alumium interior, no structural wood (no hidden wood in the new models for 2020, and no wood in cabinets, only in the table), 0 VOC countertops and flooring that should be tolerable to many people.

Fiberglass Travel Trailers
Egg campers are made of a fiberglass shells that are very mould resistant and durable. Many sensitive people say that fiberglass takes a year to offgas the VOC styrene but some find it offgasses in a few days.

Casitas use a carpet that is glued on to the walls and floor. At the time of writing, they would not customise one without that element.

Look for fiberglass campers with moulded fiberglass furniture like Oliver trailers. Oliver uses vinyl flooring but they can make you one without the vinyl or cushions which makes it one the best fiberglass option I have found. They also have a good R-value and can be winterised. This is the only fiberglass trailer I know of that does not have wood products in the floor which would make it my top choice.

Happier Camper is another company to check out as they don't use carpet or padding on the walls and the floors are fiberglass. The floors are composed of plastic honeycomb integrated with corrugated cardboard and resin.

Trillium is willing to build without plywood in floors but it was difficult to convince them to leave the padding off the wall.

Ideally, your fiberglass trailer has no padding or carpet on the walls, has fiberglass moulded furniture, no plywood in the subfloors and no vinyl or carpet flooring. I've looked at all the brands of fiberglass trailers currently in production in North America, so contact me if you would like to go into further detail in a consultation.

In Europe the Wigmann is a good fiberglass caravan (as they call trailers there) with the solid fiberglass shell with no seams on the outside, it has polyurethane insulation and a 10 year warranty on water ingress. UK company Freedom Caravans has a fiberglass exterior but is not the same as the molded fiberglass. However, they have a 25 year warranty on water ingress which is very impressive.

In terms of used trailers, moulded fiberglass trailers and aluminum trailers like Camplite are the best bets since the walls are less likely to become mouldy with time. Though fiberglass trailers do tend to have problems with the wood subfloor and if they have carpet on the walls that can go musty as well.

Custom Wooden Teardrop Trailers

Pat's trailer from my post on wooden teardrops
A small teardrop can be made of all wood like this trailer (pictured) that I showcased in this post. The trailer came to 10K in materials, the labour would be about an extra 10K. It has basic wiring, no plumbing and a basic outdoor kitchen.

Vans and Truck Campers
The company Innovative Spaces can build out a cargo van. I don't have direct experience with them.
It is possible to buy a van of this type, strip it out and custom build the interior in the same fashion. Here is my post on the vans.

Conventional RVs

Some mould avoiders have been using conventional RVs and trading them in if they go mouldy. Two companies that some people like are:

Bigfoot - Made of fiberglass, EPS and luan, with vinyl flooring.

Forest River RV Sunseeker Class C. A "Greener" RV company. Sunseeker has 1 piece fiberglass roof, aluminum frame, block foam insulation, no fabric except valances and bedspread, "low VOCs". I really like the roof on this model.

Other Forest River brands are low VOC and slightly better construction than usual.

Coachman is also low VOC, mold avoiders have liked the Freedom Express and Apex Ultra Lite.

Don't expect a traditional rv to last very long in terms of mould. Be prepared to trade that in in one or two years. Many people cannot tolerate the offgassing though this has been improving in the last few years as more models try to go greener. Also keep in mind the depreciation. It's a god idea to see it in person before purchasing, unlike some of the custom trailers.

There are no affiliate links or sponsored content in this post.

Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist with 5 years of experience helping others create healthy homes, including alternative homes, trailers and shelters. I have owned and lived in three trailers, my tiny house on wheels, a custom camplite and a converted cargo trailer.

Did you find this post helpful? If so you can buy me a coffee to support the research behind this blog. Thank you!



Janis said...

I have a LivinLite toyhauler but it does have the styrofoam insulation, and it bothers me if I don't keep the windows open. Ours is a 2010, bought used. We had to rip out the floor insulation because it was held in place by a netting that allowed moisture in. In the past I checked with two trailer companies who were willing to customize cargo vans to Erik's specs, using no caulking. Take a look at my post here:

Corinne said...

I'm not getting the floor insulation but the wall insulation is totally sealed off by the aluminum walls. If there are any spaces, aluminum tape can be used - aluminium fully blocks VOCs. I am wondering if yours doesn't have all alum wall panels or if it the treatment used to colour the walls, or something else that's bothering you. I would love to hear more feedback about it! Thanks!

Anaphylaxing said...

Oh my gosh! Is there a way to contact you? I am wanting to do the same as you in Canada :)

Great blog!!

Corinne said...

Hi, Yes, you can email me at corinne_segura[at]hotmail[dot]com

hah not be blank! said...

look into cork insulation. .. small planet workshop imports it from Europe. Also, cork is gas impermeable. Been thinking if I get a trailer I could use afm glue n just slap it on as many surfaces as seem offensive.

Corinne said...

Hey thanks for the tip! Do you know the link or the brand name of this insulation?
The problem with cork is that a glue is needed...

Cristian D'cruze said...

Wow! Incredible and this is a nice blog with all good pics of the mobile home. I like to move one place to another place for visiting different places. I think it is perfect for me. Is this safe for me? This portable house reflects the talent of the house maker. Can you share the process through which you have made this so that I can make one for me. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and inspirational blog with us.

Corinne said...

Hi, yes upcoming posts will focus on the build of my tiny house/mobile home!

Gwen Miller said...

I love that first trailer you have photographed! It is so darling. It would be so fun to have something like that, that would be easy to pack up and go whenever we wanted to. It's the perfect size for just my husband and I!

Elegant WoodenHomes said...

Great article. Hope I had a good read. Waiting to read more blogs.

Brianna Baker said...

My husband and I are converting an old school bus to be a completely green home for our family of five. We have replaced the fiberglass insulation with alpaca wool, painted metal walls and ceiling with beautiful tongue and groove pine, red oak floors finished with 100% tongue oil, marmoleum (which is a laminate made from flax and other natural materials) for the bathroom, organic cotton hammocks for sleeping, copper kitchen sink, and a wood stove for heat. Www are taking our bus up to the upper peninsula of Michigan to grow our food and live life where the chemically sensitive are free to live, ha ha. If anyone wants any info about chemically safe adhesives and caulks that I've found out to talk chemical free living feel free to email me at

Sarah Smith said...

My husband is really sensitive to chemicals and we are trying to find a good trailer. Thanks for the advice about aluminum travel trailers and how you can customize them to avoid most toxic elements. We'll have to see about getting an aluminum trailer to either sleep in or to help us haul or camping supplies.

Noah Outlaw said...

What kind of tongues are used in the manufacture of "tongue" oil.

Sasha said...

Hi Janice, are you selling your trailer?

Corinne said...

She sold it.

Wild Swan said...

For the beach, we got a car hauler instead of a trailer so we could customize it: removed the walls, which were aluminum covered plywood for dimension strength, replaced with cherry tongue and groove (make sure he is ok with the wood first! Some woods are quite bothersome), replaced the floor with the same, and replaced the luan on the ceiling with stainless steel sheet. We chose not to insulate so we only use it nine months a year - it stays warm with a heater if it's 35f outside. Use a composting toilet.

Sowpath das said...

Nice post

Alice Taylor said...

My friend is also planning on purchasing a mobile home since she saw how cool my modular house is. Actually it was pretty small and neat. I guess it's not vacuuming for hours that convinced her to transfer from a bigger house. One of the things that the guys who build my house advised me is to make sure I have a piece of land that allows these modular homes to be build. I guess in terms of budget, these homes are cheaper than traditional onsite houses. See this resource site if you need to learn more:

Gabriel said...

This is called modern living. A new pollution free era has begun for our teenagers.

Unknown said...

Have you (or has anyone in this thread) found a lightweight, chemical-free futon or sofa bed solution? I cannot tolerate chemicals (I became chemically sensitive after mold poisoning and have to live extremely minimally and can only have things made of materials that I can clean -- leather, metal, wood). They have to be lightweight because I have to move so frequently and start over again -- getting rid of old belongings that have become toxic to me. I'm looking for two things: (1.) a mattress topper that won't off-gas; and (2.) a lightweight/portable sofa bed that can be easily cleaned. I bought a full size mattress from IKEA that I'm not reacting to, but it's too firm and giving me major body pain. The mattress topper has to be returned because it's still off-gassing several months after purchase. I don't currently have a couch, but if I get one, I'd like it to double as a bed (so, a sofa bed I guess). It has to be super light-weight, small, mold-resistant, chemical-free and made of materials that can be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. Any help or advice would be so appreciated.

Caryatid said...

I am thinking to build a tiny house on my property for a friend of mine who is super sensitive. It doesn't need to be mobile and I will build it in place. Can anyone steer me towards materials lists that are most likely to be safe? Can you tell me whether drywall and concrete cause problems for chemically sensitive people?

Thank you. I am totally new to even thinking about this, so any good resources that come to mind, please feel free to send them to me.

Corinne said...

Hi this site serves as that guide. Each post is a category on different materials. I go over drywall and concrete. For more personalised advice I do consulting.

Alicia Marie said...

Hi Corinne, we have an amazing trailer that we bought for our extremely sensitive son but he became more severely disabled
and cannot care for it. We will need to sell it for him. Where do you recommend we look to market it? He never got to even use it. He is in Texas and we are in California and the trailer is with us. Alicia Marie

Corinne said...

Hi Alicia, please post on MCS Tiny House and EI Safe Housing

dharmag said...

I'm interested. Can you give me more details.

Corinne said...

You can email it to me as well if still selling it

Madeline Cole said...

I'm interested if you still have it - lcolee@yahoo.

Pete and Christina said...

What do you recommend for a family of 7? None of these options seem big enough. Thank you!

Corinne said...

The biggest one on this list that I would buy is Living Vehicle.

Sheri said...

I'm in California and would be interested in learning more about your trailer, especially if you haven't sold it yet...thank you! Sheri B. Please email me @

Heidi said...

Has this trailer been sold, or is it still available?

Cort Johnson said...

I have a Van that I would like to add a fiberglass high top to. Can anyone speak to offgassing concerns fron that?

Corinne said...

It totally depends on your level of MCS, from watching People's experience with fiberglass trailers some people move in almost right away and some people need years for it to off gas. It's not uncommon for it to need years.

Unknown said...

Hi, I know your post is over a year old but here's hoping you see this reply! I CANNOT tolerate new furniture, so I shop at furniture stores and ask them if i can buy something new, but take that same model that's been on the floor for a long time. Every store has worked with me on this, because they get a brand new item on their floor, and I get an already off-gassed piece of furniture. It may have a few cosmetic blemishes, but usually the transition into my home is flawless. Hope that helps!

Caryatid said...

For a sofa, I am wondering if you might use an old style horse-hair sofa with wool upholstery. If the wood frame has stayed dry, it might be mold free.

As for toppers, I bought one off Amazon; the egg-crate type. They sell them used on Amazon too, so maybe they will have off-gassed already. The one I bought had a strong odor that really bothered my breathing, but I aired it outdoors for a couple days and it became unscented and OK for me.

Good luck!

Lori Basil Brown said...

I've been privileged to own an Oliver travel trailer, grateful that there is no wood subfloor. However, a serious mold problem developed under the sink where there is a lot of wood (now removed :) Also I was told recently by Oliver that the wall dividing the bathroom from the rest of the interior has plywood in it - sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass. We are not the only owners whose bathroom door frame has allowed water intrusion and caused mold inside the wall.

Corinne said...

Thank you for the info!

Unknown said...

For a mattress topper I got latex. Latex is supposedly chemical free and mold resistant. So far so good and I’ve had them both for about a year now. I got one topper from Sleep On Latex and another from Latex For Less. Memory foam never did off gas enough for me but then I’m extra sensitive to any fumes, chemicals and mold. A tip I learned from ordering one that was too firm is to consider your weight with latex. If you don’t weigh a lot you’ll most likely want a softer one and visa versa. I love latex but there isn’t much give.

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