7 Things You Need to Know Before You Hit the Road with Your Tiny House
By Alexis Stephens, co-founder of www.TinyHouseExpedition.com
A tiny house on wheels is a comfy ticket to adventure, right? With the proper planning, it definitely can be. A common misconception is that all tiny house dwellers are nomads. For most, the wheels mean flexibility. You can move when need or desire arises. Some travel because of their jobs, like travel nurses. Others road trip in search of the ideal new city. There are genuine nomads or semi-nomads, like myself, who frequently travel as a lifestyle choice; think snowbirds or restless explorer types. No matter the reason for a move or full-blown road trip though, safety is essential. In this article we will show you how to tow a tiny house safely.
My partner Christian and I have made 36 states our temporary home over the last three years, racking up 46,000 miles with our tiny house. We have taken our tiny house to the desert, to the coast and up to 8,000 feet above sea level. It hasn’t always been an easy experience though. The most important lessons learned were along the lines of what not to do, like traveling without two spare tires and wheels. After all the ups and downs though, our message is that do-it-yourself tiny house travel can be done safely and enjoyably.
No matter how often you want to move your tiny house, here are seven things you need know before attempting to hit the road.
1. Just because it has wheels doesn’t mean it’s road trip appropriate.
A tiny house on wheels has wanderlust allure. Moving around from place with one’s home in tow really has its advantages. After completing their build, Cody and Randi Hennigan took their 20’ tiny house (under 10,000 lbs) on a six-month road trip before putting down roots in a new state. If however your dream tiny home has a triple axle trailer, it’s not really intended for DIY road-tripping adventures. The @NerdsGoneTiny family hired a professional to move their 42’ tiny house from Texas to Oregon. Large tiny houses are a bear to maneuver and we don’t recommend it for the inexperienced or faint of heart. Also, the bigger and heavier the tiny house, the less available parking and tow vehicle options you’ll find. So, before you build or buy, do some soul searching and ask yourself: how tiny is right for you, and how important is travel?
2. Travel prep begins during the design/build phase.
When designing the layout, be sure to create safe weight distribution of the tiny home and its contents on your trailer. A good rule of thumb is a 60/40 split with 60% of the total weight placed between the center of wheels and front of the trailer (towards the tongue). Also, as much possible, be sure to equalize your weight from the left side to the right on your tiny home. An unbalanced trailer can result in unsafe swerving on the road. Sway bars won’t fix bad distribution!