British Columbia

'I'd rather put the money into myself': University student converts delivery truck into home

Tired of paying rent and living with lots of roommates, fourth year Thompson Rivers University student Chris Marr-Laing decided to move into a delivery truck and make it his home.

The truck is equipped with a full kitchen powered by propane and uses solar panels for electricity

'I'm not trying to be a nuisance of any kind and I think I clean up after myself very well and I just choose not to live in a house,' said Marr-Laing. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Tired of paying rent and living with lots of roommates, fourth year Thompson Rivers University student Chris Marr-Laing decided to move into a delivery truck and make it his home.

The Kamloops resident has been living in the seven metre-long cube truck, with 2.5 metre high ceilings since the summer when he bought it from someone else who used to live in it.

"I'm quite comfortable, it's more of a small home," said Marr-Laing. 

The truck includes a stove with three burners, a small oven, a little fridge, storage, cupboards, and a bed. He uses solar panels to charge his laptop and phone and to power his lights, and propane for the fridge. It has no Wi-Fi.

Marr-Laing said he is comfortable living in the cube truck, with a three-burner stove, a fridge and a bed. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

"I would say generally it's been awesome. It's not very glamorous," he said.

"It's not like it's dark and dingy. It's a pretty functional house, but it definitely inspires me to be outside more than in here because it's so small."

Saving money

Marr-Laing decided to buy the truck as a way to cut costs, he told Daybreak Kamloops'  Jenifer Norwell. 

"More than anything, I'm trying to save money [and] stay away from paying other people's mortgages," he said.

"Much as I like other people, I'd rather put the money into myself."

For the first three years of university he always lived with four or five roommates, and now he gets to live on his own.

Marr-Laing bought the truck from a friend who had already converted it into a home. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

"I won't pretend I spend a lot of time alone in here," he added. Rather, Marr-Laing is often outdoors, and with his friends.

"You can now download Netflix, which is great, but I don't need Wi-Fi."

Marr-Laing estimates that by living in his truck, he saved at least $500 per month during the summer months, and during the winter he only pays for the cost of insurance and $25 per month for propane. 

Over the past few months, he had being paying a few hundred a month to rent a private spot to park on.

"I'd be keen on that again and I've had a few offers on the far side of town," he said.

"I've gotten a lot of support. A lot of people older than me say they wish they had done something like this and a lot of people my age, I think, it's becoming more and more mainstream," he added.

"I'm definitely not someone who is like leaving the street dirty. I'm not trying to be a nuisance of any kind, and I think I clean up after myself very well and I just choose not to live in a house."

Chris Marr-Laing will save thousands of dollars on rent this year while he lives out of his cube van, complete with a small kitchen. 6:26

With files from Jenifer Norwell and Daybreak Kamloops

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