I’m fascinated by the idea of small homes. My parents always had large houses and condos, and Clara and I now live in a studio that would have fit in my bedroom growing up in Singapore. There’s something about making super efficient use of space, having just a few treasured possessions, and taking advantage of lower power costs, rent, and maintenance.

I also love watching small home engineering videos, such as people living in a converted shipping container out in the tundra somewhere. But now I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of looking at camper vans and mobile homes; nothing I’d buy personally, but I love seeing the design process and the owners get excited building their dream rigs. Is that the right word, rigs?

Play Exceptional Engineering | Offroad Caravan Monsters | Free Documentary

This episode of Exceptional Engineering followed teams in Germany building two very different camper vans: a brand new one for a prince in Qatar, and the other from a reconditioned 1980s German firetruck. One of the engineers on the latter explained why they use thirty-year old engines:

Although it’s nearly thirty years old, this beauty runs like it did on the first day. No matter where I am; in China, in the Balkans, or Africa; this truck is no stranger. You can get it repaired everywhere. That’s not the case with the new trucks which contain a lot of electronics […] that doesn’t apply to the old models, they always work. And if something snaps, a blacksmith will repair it and off you go again.

I could appreciate the Qatari prince’s gigantic setup from an engineering perspective, but I’d go for this cozy home on the reconditioned firetruck:

Interior of the camper section of the firetruck, showing the bedding area, couches, table, and the edge of the kitchen.