Do you live in a trailer park? What's it like?

There’s a deep, ingrained stereotype in our society that trailer parks are the last refuge of the poor, the redneck, and the scoundrel; littered with weeds, rusting trailers, and junked cars; and attracting tornadoes from as far away as neighboring states. It is, after all, where the slur “trailer trash” originates. But is it really accurate?

Dopers that reside in a ‘trailer park’, or ‘mobile home community’, or whatever they’re known as, I ask you: how much truth is there to the picture I’ve just painted? I’m curious, because it’s something I’ve never experienced, nor have I ever known anyone who lived in one.

This seemed like more of an IMHO than a GQ, so I’m posting it here. Thanks in advance for shining light on my ignorance…

There are many kinds of mobile home parks. In my experience here in a relatively economically depressed area, most mobile parks are well maintained, with covenants requiring newer homes, well cared for landscaping.

Not to say there aren’t some parks like you describe, but if they are well managed, there are no more problems than any residential area.

I manage two parks, though I don’t live in one. {I like my privacy too much} Both are well managed, tenants are screened, just like any of my residential tenants.

They are not for everyone, although apparently lots of folks like them.

I am sure you are correct about there being deep seated bias against parks but it is a shame. I know none of my tenants would like to be called trailer trash or consider themselves so. They take as much pride in their homes and yards as the typical person.

Not only that, but most of them have reason to be proud in that they own their homes outright…something not a lot of folks can brag about.

I lived in one for a year and it was cool. I liked the trailer because you can have these things rolled in with almost any combination of design inside, fully furnished, for half the price of a house, from single wide to double, from one bedroom to 4. New trailers (mobile homes, thank you!), smell good, but you have to get used to ‘bouncing’ a little when you walk and thin walls (1 inch thick) inside and out and clumping. The floors are thin, so you clump even through carpet.

One I visited had a real fireplace, and since it was winter, drizzly and gray and damn cold, I was instantly pleased when I saw and felt it! I was delivering goods, and after all day in the truck, these folks place was warm, toasty, cheerful and smelled very faintly of burning Oak. I wanted to curl up on the thick run in front of the hearth and snooze for an hour or so, but figured they might get upset.

Trailers are cool and the image comes from junky parks, full of small, portable trailers, of all types where beer guzzling guys hang out in dirty T-shirts, hot chicks prowl in poverty and in heat, fights break out and 4 people live in an aluminum home designed for two while shirtless, shoeless kids of around 7 or 8 run around screaming and playing and ugly old men and women gather at the laundry, drinking beers, bitching and lanky, hairy guys look like they’ll stab you for a pot roast in your 'fridge.

A friend of mine lived in a slightly better place and an argument down the street resulted in a .38 caliber bullet entering his spare room wall, going through the room door and exiting the back wall to imbed itself in the neighbors hallway. He had a slight problem with that.

Other places have rules and are bastions of neatness and pleasantry, but the walls are still thin. Those such places are fine to live in though, especially with the availability of different designs incorporated in the trailers. My beef is only because the trailers can easily be flattened in a major storm and can burn up remarkably fast because the makers decline to put in the heavy amount of fire proofing that they can and because the things are just not able to be built affordable if they build them stronger. You need to actually tie them into the ground with metal straps built into the walls.

I know a lot of people who bought land out of State, cannot afford to build on it, so they sank a well, poured a cement pad and bought a used or new trailer to place on it and have happily used it as a summer or winter home for years so far. Some use them as getaways, hunting lodges, ‘secret solitude’ spots or even rentals.

Basically, in a State that pretty well has the market cornered on mobile home parks for the retired, I figure they’re cool. The bad image started in the 50s and 60s and stuck and I still know of several parks where people live in used, battered trailers because that’s the cheapest home they can find. One guy I know lives in one old park because of the excitement, the activity, the quickly changing neighbors, the available and often interested ‘pussy’ (he moved in with a new looking, 5 year old trailer and he works, so he’s the local ‘rich folk’) and the interesting and calming night life plus, when he sits on his porch in the dark, he hears people talking, TVs playing, people walking, smells 10 different meals being cooked, pot smoke in the breeze, along with the familiar scent of spilled beer, cigarette smoke and cheap perfume.

He likes it all and when bored, he moves his entire house cheaply to the next place.

My mobile home park is very nice. Almost all of the homes around here are in excellent shape. People maintain their lawns well, there is no trash strewn about, and we have (mostly) good people living around here. We also have a neighborhood pool that Mrs. Rastahomie visits almost daily.

We have very strict covenants about lawn maintenance, keeping your home in good condition, etc. Older homes are allowed, but they have to be meticulously maintained; in fact, some neighbors down the road are putting new siding on theirs as I type this.

There are some parks in the area that fit the stereotype, though. They have lower rents and thus attract lower-rent people.

I’ll have to differ with MAX on construction. Any home built today and most since 1984 are built using much of the same construction as residential homes. 6" walls are the norm along with sheet rock interiors, architectural roofs, sturdy 3/4" flooring, vinyl windows…in general quality materials. Many of them are built to Super Good Sense qualifications for electicity savings. All in all, far different than many homes built in the 50’s and 60’s.

When you think of all the mobiles still surviving from the 50’s and 60’s, and according to many, improperly maintained, you have to think the original builders were doing something right.

Never lived in one, but had a few high school friends who’d lived in one all their lives, and my sister lived in one in college.

The ones in trailer parks vary with the management. If the parks are well-maintained and the owners crack down on lawless behavior, they can provide a pretty nice environment. I know some that provide a play area for kids and even have a pool. Trailers are cheap to buy, but lot rent can be awfully steep.

For all the cracks about trailers, I think they’re pretty well-designed given what they manage to squeeze into a limited and awkward space. My sister’s trailer had a good-sized living room, a large master bedroom, and a decent eat-in kitchen. They even had space for a laundry area. The other two bedrooms were small, but in general I was surprised by the space.

I used to live in a trailer. The only serious structuaral problems was with the floors. They were made out of saw dust held toggether by water-soluble glue. If you spilled a bucket of water and only dried the carpet, the next day you would have a 1 foot deep sag in the floor. Hopefully they use plywood now.

I don’t live a trailer, it’s more like a van. As far as it’s location, well lets just say I frequent the shores of the Mississippi. Good huntin thar.

I have lived in a trailer twice and in a trailer park once. I found the trailer park most definitely a community - a neighborhood, if you will. It was more of a neighborhood than most house communities that I have lived in. I am not sure why that is. The people watch out for one another more, seem to trade cooking secrets more, help one another more, visit one another more. Perhaps it is the limited access on and off the property, perhaps it is the preceived disrespect “outsiders” have of trailer park residents. I don’t know, but it is definitely there.


Being curious about the thickness of the trailer walls, I hopped on down to the mobile home display at a local major mobile home park and examined the open model. The walls are still, on the exterior, around an inch thick, maybe two. The interior walls are thick where there is a door opening, but just barely bigger than the door. I slammed a door and the wall shook. In the small bedroom, I hit a wall and a picture fell off of the other side.

The place has better insulation, but the size of the unit required would cool down my home and much of my neighbors, My twenty-two rifle would fire a regular round from outside through the entire living room, kitchenette and dining area without slowing much unless it struck a support or person along the way. Notes say the place is treated with fire proof materials and fire retardant. There were 4 mounted personal fire extinguishers in the place, which is fine with me because in my bedroom alone, I have two.

The flooring seemed firmer, but still ‘clompable,’ and is of a water resistant composite, sprayed with a sealer, the underside protected by an applied plastic sheet and insulation. The place has more internal supports and outside, had a steel band tie down spaced every 8 feet. The porch had ‘snap-in’ windows consisting of panels of smoked plastic sheeting to cut down on light and wind.

All cabinets and fixed furniture were made of lightweight, thin, but sturdy composite wood backed or braced by pine stripping. The bathroom taps were shiny, chrome plastic, with the water fittings beneath being plastic, EZ-attach pipe and vinyl fittings. The master bath was the same. The kitchen had metal fittings but EZ-attach stuff underneath.

I figured that, undisturbed, I could pry open the outside aluminum doors in about 2 minutes with a small crowbar. The trailer skirt was thin, painted aluminum. The deck was pressure treated wood, stained Oak and sealed with maybe two coats of over the counter sealer. It was not based on cement footings, but the support posts were just sunk into the ground with a mixture of saccrete and soil. The obligatory cement pad was to code and strong, along with the pad for the drive way and parking cover. The storage shed under the drive way was aluminum, painted, uninsulated, screwed together and looked nice but was feeble.

You probably could cave in the door with one kick.

All in all, I found the place attractive, desirable, livable and would have no problem selecting one for a summer home or hideaway. Here, I would probably live in one, because of the low potential for tornados, floods, severe cold or major hurricanes. I would have problems trying to sit in it while something like Andrew blew past, but not in my current home, in which I sat while Andrew blew past. (Old Hurricane House of CB structure.)

Still, the place could last decades with constant care but it would take some care to make it last over 20 years with as little cost or degradation as a regular house.


I made the unfortunate choice of moving into a trailer park over five years ago. I am sure they are not all like this but I can assure you the stereotypes are completely accurate. There are many unemployed people on Social Security Disability who do not work-men included. Extended families live together often and it is common to have mixed race families with single mothers on welfare. There is alot of alcoholism and drug abuse. I hate to walk down the street because I feel like I am in an insane asylum. The wardrobe of choice for young women is often skintight jeans or shorts with a tank top with alot of belly fat and “school bus driver” arms. Get the picture. There are alot of honest working class people too. I see the lack of education and cultural famine. I know of one "couple who don’t have a working toilet and shower but have money to buy Steele Reserve and cigarettes. I want to move so bad. It really affects me emotionally.

Another thing about living in my trailer park-one could be screaming for help while being beaten and no one would call the cops or get involved. On my street people are such losers. I could die and no one would know until they evicted my trailer and found my body. I was assalted physically and ran out screaming and no one helped me. The office sent me an eviction notice and told me if I ever did that again I would definitely be evicted. Since then I have kicked out my former roommate. It is a usual occurance to see police cars in the park, especially on weekends.

You seem fixated on this topic as well as being fixated on race, based on your few other posts.

Also, you are responding to a thread and posters that are almost 15 years old. This is surely some sort of record. Are you actively trying to revive 15-year-old threads for a legitimate reason?
And also, do you ever plan on responding to your original posts, or are you just vomiting out random thoughts with no curiosity about feedback?

(bolding mine)

Umm, what?

There’s a current trailer park thread. Maybe sandysue44 was searching for it.

Closing this one as it’s over ten years old.