Is a Shepherd’s Hut Technically One of the Oldest RVs?

Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Jess

Shepherd’s huts, also known as gypsy wagons or vardos, have a long history and have become increasingly popular in recent times.

While they do not have the same amenities and technology as modern mobile homes, the concept of portable and self-contained living space is the same.

Whether you think of them as a piece of history or a contemporary solution to alternative living, shepherd’s huts offer a unique and attractive option for those seeking a mobile and self-sufficient lifestyle.

So is a shepherd’s hut one of the oldest mobile homes? Let’s find out!

What is a shepherd’s hut?

A shepherd’s hut is a small, portable hut or dwelling. As the name suggests, they were originally used by shepherds in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.

Shepherds brought the huts to remote areas and used them for shelter and living while they tended their flocks. Modern shepherds’ huts, however, are much more luxurious than those the shepherds had centuries ago.

About shepherd huts

Shepherds’ huts have a long history, dating back many centuries. Originally, shepherds’ huts served as a simple shelter and a place to rest and sleep. They often had a stove and other essential supplies.

In the mid-20th century, their use declined as sheepherding was no longer as necessary. In recent years, however, shepherd’s huts have come back into fashion.

Like Tiny Homes in the United States, their compact size, mobility, and rustic charm make them a popular choice for people who want to maintain a minimalist lifestyle. They are now commonly used as vacation homes, guest houses, and studios.

Do shepherd huts have toilets and showers?

With many people choosing to live small, it’s no wonder shepherd’s huts are becoming increasingly popular. While the original cabins may not have had toilets or showers, many modern cabins do.

There are several options from manufacturers that include flush toilets in their cabins. Whether you buy a cabin for yourself or rent it for a relaxing weekend, modern cabins are great for a short-term stay.

Advantages of a shepherd’s hut

Scrolling through social media and seeing posts featuring shepherd’s huts, it’s easy to see why people like them. Let’s take a look at a handful of benefits of these unique accommodations.

Affordable housing for full-time workers.

When it comes to affordable housing, a shepherd’s hut is one of the best options.

A fully equipped shepherd’s cabin can cost around $40,000. It has a double bed, storage space, a wood-burning stove, a shower room, a kitchenette, a sink, a small refrigerator and a work area.

It’s not big enough for a family, but you could easily live in it. Do you have to get used to a regular apartment? Absolutely. But it’s no different from those who travel with a caravan or motor home.

Promoting a minimalist lifestyle

Many people want to buck society’s trend toward consumerism and choose a minimalist lifestyle instead. The Shepherd’s Hut makes it easy to live with less because you don’t have room for extras.

As Marie Kondo has preached for years, you need to examine what things bring you joy and weed out the rest. In a society where it’s common to rent storage units because you have so much stuff, the minimalist lifestyle can be liberating.

Getting rid of unnecessary things in your life can be a powerful experience.


The great thing about shepherd huts is that they are portable. They come with cast iron wheels, so you can set them up on your property or in a new home if you decide to sell.

They are not as easy to move as American mobile homes, but their design makes it possible to move them when needed.

A green shepherd hut outdoors


Many shepherd hut manufacturers offer a high level of customization. Customers often have the option to change the materials used and the design.

In addition, you can easily do DIY renovations. You can design your tiny house to fit your unique style and personality. Whether that means using certain types of wood, furnishings, or color schemes, the possibilities are endless.

Please note: Are motorhomes bad for the environment? Click on the link to learn more!

Versatile use

Shepherd’s huts have been incredibly versatile from the beginning. Due to their relatively small size, they can be easily maneuvered into a variety of corners.

You may be surprised at where you can park your tiny house. They are one of the most versatile tiny houses you can find.

And you have virtually endless ways to use them. They’re perfect for short-term guests, as an extra workspace for remote work, or as a full-time residence. How you use them is entirely up to you!

Disadvantages of a shepherd’s hut

While there are many things to love about these unique dwellings, there are also some drawbacks. Before you go too far, you should look into the negative aspects so you don’t regret the purchase.

Minimal space

A shepherd’s hut is the definition of a tiny house. While their size can vary, almost all are smaller than 200 square feet. Even if you plan to spend most of your time alone in the cabin, living in a tiny can be a big challenge.

A minimalist lifestyle requires a high level of organization and careful selection of the items you want to fit in your space.

These can feel spacious when you’re shopping or walking through. However, it can feel like the walls are closing in on you once you start adding your possessions.

If you plan to make the house your full-time residence, you may find yourself stuck inside for several days due to the weather. If you are not careful, this can become a very difficult mind game.

Many lack insulation

Because of their small size and inexpensive construction, similar to mobile homes, many shepherd’s huts lack insulation. This can make it difficult to control the climate during cooler and hotter temperatures.

Depending on where you live, this can make for an uncomfortable experience and make it difficult to enjoy.

Even if you love the look and feel of a shepherd’s hut, local authorities may not agree. Similar to mobile homes, the laws for residential use can get tricky.

In some jurisdictions, these cabins are classified as second homes, which may require a permit from the building inspector. It’s best to find out about local codes and regulations before you buy. Otherwise, you could make a costly financial mistake.

An old shepherd's hut

Continuous maintenance

If you want your shepherd’s hut to last for years, you need to maintain it regularly. That means regularly cleaning and painting the exterior, maintaining the roof to prevent leaks, checking the electrical and plumbing systems, and inspecting the flooring and windows.

Owners who properly maintain their homes can use them for decades. However, putting off or neglecting maintenance can drastically shorten the life of your unit. If you’re not careful, it can break after just a few years.

Remember: What in the world is a house truck? Would you ever consider buying one?

Is a shepherd’s cottage worth it?

A shepherd’s hut is an ideal place to switch off and get away from the world, or just to live a little life. You can design the space to look and feel like the kind of place you can relax in.

Plus, you can put it almost anywhere to enjoy the view and sounds of nature. What’s not to love about it?

Overall, we think a shepherd’s hut can be a good purchase for many reasons. What do you think of these old mobile homes?

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