Shipping Container Tiny Homes: A Unique and Sustainable Living Solution

tiny home shipping container

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tiny home shipping container

Living in a shipping container may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a home, but shipping container tiny homes have been gaining popularity in recent years. These compact and eco-friendly living spaces offer a unique solution for those looking to downsize, live a minimalist lifestyle, or simply embrace a more sustainable way of living.

What is a Shipping Container Tiny Home?

A shipping container tiny home is a small living space made from one or more steel shipping containers. While these containers are typically used for transporting goods across the ocean, they can be repurposed into homes or other structures. The idea of using shipping containers for housing may seem unconventional, but it has proven to be a practical and cost-effective solution.

These containers are transformed into cozy and efficient living spaces. They come in standard sizes of 20 feet and 40 feet in length, with a width of 8 feet. The containers are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and rough handling during transportation, making them extremely strong and durable. When properly maintained, they can last for decades, even outlasting traditional framed homes.

Advantages of Shipping Container Tiny Homes

Strength and Durability

One of the biggest advantages of shipping container tiny homes is their strength and durability. These containers are built to withstand the rigors of shipping, making them highly resistant to harsh weather conditions and rough handling. They are designed to be fire-resistant, pest-resistant, and mold-resistant, providing a safe and secure living environment.

Cost Savings

Shipping container tiny homes offer significant cost savings compared to traditional homes. The cost of building a shipping container home can be much lower than constructing a traditional home, as the containers themselves serve as the main structural framework. This eliminates the need for extensive framing and reduces labor and material costs. Additionally, shipping container homes are energy-efficient, which can result in long-term cost savings on heating and cooling.


Choosing a shipping container tiny home is an eco-friendly option that helps reduce waste and carbon footprint. By repurposing used shipping containers, you are giving new life to materials that would otherwise go to waste. This approach also reduces the need for new building materials, helping conserve natural resources. Furthermore, shipping container homes are energy-efficient, requiring less energy to heat and cool, which reduces their overall carbon footprint.


One of the great benefits of shipping container tiny homes is their versatility. They can be customized to meet your specific needs and preferences, accommodating any lifestyle from minimalist to luxurious. These homes can be used as vacation homes, permanent residences, guest houses, home offices, or even short-term rentals. Shipping containers can also be stacked or combined to create larger living spaces or multi-level homes, providing flexibility in design and layout.

Drawbacks of Shipping Container Tiny Homes

While shipping container tiny homes offer many advantages, there are some drawbacks to consider before making a decision. It’s important to have a clear understanding of these limitations to make an informed choice:

Limited Sizes

One of the main limitations of shipping container tiny homes is their limited sizes. Standard shipping containers come in two lengths, 20 feet and 40 feet, with a width of 8 feet. This means that the maximum interior space you can have in a single container is either 160 square feet or 320 square feet. However, creative combinations of containers can be used to increase the living space and create more unique designs.

Insulation Challenges

Insulating a shipping container home is crucial to ensure comfort, but it can be a challenge. Shipping containers are made of metal, which means they are susceptible to extreme temperatures. Proper insulation is necessary to regulate the temperature inside the home and prevent condensation. However, insulating a shipping container can be more expensive than insulating a traditional home due to the need for specialized materials and techniques.

Permitting and Zoning

Obtaining building permits for a shipping container home can be challenging in some areas. Some local governments may not be familiar with the concept of shipping container homes, leading to delays and extra expenses. It is important to research local building codes and regulations before embarking on a shipping container home project to ensure compliance.

Transportation and Mobility

While shipping container homes can be moved if necessary, it can be a complex and costly process. Shipping containers are designed to be transported by semi-trucks, trains, or cargo ships. Moving a shipping container home from one location to another requires specialized equipment and expertise. If mobility is a priority, it may be more practical to consider other types of tiny homes, such as those built on trailers.

Notable Companies Building Shipping Container Tiny Homes

Several companies specialize in building shipping container tiny homes. Here are a few notable ones:


CargoHome is a small, family-owned business based in Waco, Texas, that specializes in transforming shipping containers into elegant and efficient living spaces. They offer a variety of floor plans and custom options to fit various needs and budgets. Their portable tiny homes are perfect for weekend getaways or guest houses. CargoHome also offers rental units available through Airbnb, providing an opportunity to experience living in a shipping container home firsthand.

Backcountry Containers

Backcountry Containers is a nationwide container home provider that creates unique, functional, and modern dwelling structures. Founded by an aeronautical engineer, Backcountry Containers combines 20- and 40-foot containers to build custom container homes that stand the test of time. Their designs maximize the small footprint of the containers and aim to connect residents with the outdoors.

Custom Container Living

Custom Container Living is a company based in Archie, Missouri, that specializes in providing quality shipping container homes. They offer full-time homes, vacation cabins, rentals, and business properties. Most of their floor plans are certified modular homes, which simplifies financing and municipality approvals. Custom Container Living focuses on delivering high-quality craftsmanship and tailoring homes to meet customers’ needs.

Alternative Living Spaces

Alternative Living Spaces, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, builds tiny homes using shipping containers. They offer a variety of models ranging from 160 to 320 square feet, which can be customized to individual needs. Their homes are designed to be energy-efficient and sustainable, making them a great choice for those seeking a smaller environmental footprint.

These companies represent just a fraction of the many builders specializing in shipping container tiny homes. When choosing a company, it is essential to research their reputation, track record, and customer reviews to ensure the quality of their work.

DIY Shipping Container Tiny Homes

For those with a sense of adventure and a knack for DIY projects, building a shipping container tiny home can be a rewarding endeavor. Many individuals have successfully transformed shipping containers into unique and personalized homes. DIY projects allow for full creative control and customization, enabling homeowners to design a space that truly reflects their style and needs.

One notable DIY shipping container tiny home is the haB Shipping Container Tiny Home, built by Tomas Ryan. He documented his DIY adventure, providing valuable insights and inspiration for others interested in embarking on a similar journey. By sharing his experience, Tomas showcases the possibilities of creating a home that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Conclusion: Embrace the Unique and Sustainable Lifestyle

Shipping container tiny homes offer a unique and sustainable living solution for those seeking a simpler and more eco-friendly lifestyle. These homes provide strength, durability, and cost savings compared to traditional homes. Their versatility allows for customization and adaptation to various lifestyles and needs. However, it’s important to consider the limitations of container sizes, insulation challenges, permitting requirements, and transportation logistics.

With the rise of companies specializing in shipping container tiny homes, such as CargoHome, Backcountry Containers, Custom Container Living, and Alternative Living Spaces, there are options available for those who prefer a ready-made solution. For the adventurous souls, DIY projects like the haB Shipping Container Tiny Home offer an opportunity to create a personalized and unique living space.

Embracing a shipping container tiny home means embracing a lifestyle that values sustainability, minimalism, and a connection to the outdoors. It’s a chance to live more consciously, reduce waste, and explore creative solutions for comfortable and efficient living. So, whether you’re dreaming of a vacation getaway, a cozy guest house, or a permanent residence, consider the possibilities of a shipping container tiny home and embark on a new and exciting adventure in sustainable living.