7 Not So Fabulous Things About Living In An Oilfield Camper



As promised, here is the second part of my post series on the great and not so great things about living in a camper in the oilfield. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being able to be here with Jacob and as I mentioned in my previous post there are some really awesome things about living this lifestyle. However, I must admit, there are a few things that are less than ideal. Obviously, they are not deal breakers or I would not be here, but perhaps if you are thinking of embarking on your own camper living adventure, they are things you might want to consider.

Privacy Does Not Exist– Want to live in a camper? The first thing you will need to do is to hang your privacy at the door. For some folks this is easy, for those of us introverts (as Jacob and I both are) who need alone time, this can be a challenge. Thankfully, we are able to work out our schedules so that we can find at least a little bit of alone time. For the most part. Even if it means locking ourselves in the bathroom.

Your Neighbors Are Right On Top Of You– Privacy inside the camper is at a premium, but privacy outside the camper is non-existent. Since most people spend a great deal of time outside the camper this makes many of your activities less private than even an apartment, where you have walls. And speaking of walls, camper walls can be thin. You will hear your neighbor’s conversations when they are outside. And they will hear yours. So, be mindful of what you say.

Your Neighbors May Not Be The Most Savory of Characters-Most of this post is meant to be taken in a light-hearted manner. However, I want you to take this item seriously.

For the most part your neighbors will be good, upstanding people. They might work hard and party harder, but they will likely be trustworthy and respectable. These folks are the majority. There are, unfortunately, some shady characters around here.

I used to think that as long as a person kept themselves out of the shady dealings, which I’m sure you’ve heard sometimes happen in this area, that they would not be affected by them. I thought that because we live in what we’ve affectionately dubbed The Camper Suburbs that we were insulated from these things. I was naïve. There are some scary folks out here and they are into some scary things. Don’t make my mistake and think it won’t affect you. I hope it doesn’t, but if it should, be prepared.

There Is A Fine Layer of Dust on Everything– I’m not sure if this is true for all camper lots, but the two we’ve lived in have been comprised of either granite and sand or scoria. When it rains, it’s muddy. When it’s dry, it’s dusty. This dust or mud gets on everything. Thankfully, as mentioned in my previous post, campers are pretty easy to clean, so it’s mostly manageable. However, after the eleventy hundredth time in a day that you’ve swept the floor, because the dog, kid or man have tracked in mud or dust, it can get a bit tedious.

Learning How Camper Systems Work– I’m pretty handy around the house. Even when Jacob was home I was the family plumber, electrician and general handy woman. Camper systems are a whole ‘nother can of worms. I’m still doing battle with the sewer line, the air conditioner works only some of the time and with winter coming on we are trying to figure out the logistics of skirting this thing. It’s been a new experience with a steep learning curve. I’m still working it all out. I’m sure I will have it all figured out right about the time we have to move the camper again.

Finding Room For Things Is A Challenge– Living in a camper can sometimes feel like playing a giant real-life game of Tetris. Space is limited and trying to figure out where to stash the accoutrements of three people and a dog can be a challenge. I’ve nearly managed to get all the closets and storage spaces in order with the help of lots of plastic bins, but there are still a couple spots that bedevil me. I’m not sure I’ll ever figure out how to arrange the broom/coat/luggage closet into something more orderly.

Extremely Limited Dining Options– I must admit that, coming from a foodie city, I’m rather spoiled when it comes to dining options. Out here our options are pretty limited and there is no such thing as fast food. However, this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With such limited options I’ve managed to lose weight and I am eating healthier than ever because I have to be meticulous with meal plans and cooking. If I don’t plan ahead and make sure we have what we need, then we don’t eat.

While I wouldn’t trade it for the world, living in a oilfield camper certainly does present some rather unique challenges. Now, I want to know, what challenges have you faced when it comes to camper living? Leave me a comment and tell me all about them!

About chelsea

Chelsea is mama to 4 year old Will and partner to her oilfield man and best friend of 16 years, Jacob. She splits her time between the family’s camper in the North Dakota Oil Patch and a small urban homestead in Kentucky. Chelsea writes about the family’s camper adventures at www.talesofanoilfieldgypsy.blogspot.com. She is a batik artist and loves teaching others about the art of batik at www.beautyofbatik.com. She can also be found working on her other sites www.chelseaniehaus.com and www.urbanagricultureinfo.com. In her moments of spare time she enjoys knitting, sewing and gardening.


  1. Lony Burtlow-Summerlin says:

    I feel your pain! My best advice for skirting would be what we did. We bought 2×2 wood, made frames that fit under the trailer and covered the outside with some plywood sheeting. We stapled fiberglass insulation to the insides and then put them together under the RV. I gave it a couple of coats of house paint and we had no issues at all with freezing. Even our neighbor with his fancy “I don’t have to skirt it” Artic Fox came over to get water for coffee because his water lines were froze solid. 🙂 Good luck.

    • Chelsea Niehaus says:

      Aweseome! Thanks for the advice! Did you guys put heaters underneath it or just the skirting? I’m starting to get antsy about skirting because we may be moving soon and I don’t want to be setting up camp somewhere new in the middle of the freezing cold!

  2. Danielle Mills Succop says:

    Oh and the skirting that they provide is easily removed and put back in place. If I had time I would purchase the material and put it on myself. It is so easily done!

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