Sometimes people opt to travel around with a tiny house attached to the back of their vehicle, as this provides a sense of home while living the coveted nomadic life. The only problem with a tiny house is now you have to figure out where to park it when you’re not on the move. Well, I did some research to figure out the answer to that very question.
Where can you park your tiny house? Tiny houses can be parked anywhere an RV can be parked. By definition, a mobile tiny house is an RV, so it would make sense that it would be allowed to be parked where RVs are allowed to park. Of course, RV laws change county by county, so just make sure you are familiar with the rules in each new place you stop.
So now that you have selected a place to park your tiny house, how do you do it? I’m going to go in depth about how exactly to take your tiny house off of your vehicle, how to safely set it up, and the differences between setting up off-grid and setting up on the grid.
Disconnect Your Tiny House From Your Truck
An RV, tiny house, and trailer are all in roughly the same boat when it comes to transportation. Now that I think about it, boats fit into that category too. I totally did not mean to make that pun, it just sort of came out that way.
These sorts of things are attached to the back of a truck by means of a trailer hitch. There are a few wire connections that link the brake lights, hazards, and blinkers of the tiny house with those of the truck. In addition, there are two chains that cradle the hitch, set up as a safety measure in case the hitch fails.
Those three things- the hitch, the connections, and the chains- are all you have to worry about when you disconnect your tiny house.
Before you start disconnecting everything, you need to make sure that your house is level. You’re not going to have a pleasant stay if your apples keep rolling down your counter and your kids keep falling out of bed.
You can use something as simple as 2X4 blocks to add some height to the proper side of your house if you need to. There are also professional Anderson Levelers that you can buy.
Every mobile tiny house should already come equipped with corner jacks. You will want to use these to stabilize your house, but you can also set them at different heights if you still need to finalize the level of your house. In addition to the corner jacks, place wheel chucks at the back end of your tires to prevent your home from rolling away.
Attach bubble levels to the exterior of your home at opposite ends of your tiny house. This will make things a whole lot easier when you’re trying to figure out if your home is level or not.
Once your house is level and stable, now you can disconnect the hitch, lights, and chains. When you disconnect the wires that link the lights, loop those wires back and plug them into themselves so they don’t drain the battery.
The hitch can stay on your truck, but I’ve noticed that hitches seem to have it out for knees and shins, so you might want to just remove it to spare yourself the bruises. Because you will run into it. No matter how careful you are, it’s going to happen, I promise.
On Grid vs. Off Grid
If you are connecting on the grid, that just means that you are parking in a place that has water, power, and a way to get rid of waste. Off-grid just means you’re going to have to take care of that all yourself.
So, on grid first. There is an external power outlet on your tiny house that you can plug into you. Run a cord from your tiny house to whatever power source you are drawing from. This can be your friend’s house or the RV ground’s power source.
Connect a hose for your black and grey water. Some RV parks have a dumping site, but no place that you can constantly stay connected to. If that’s the case, just monitor your grey and black water tanks and make sure they don’t overflow. Dispose of your waste responsibly and in a timely manner.
For drinking water, it is best to buy a hose specifically meant for running drinking water. You can find one on Amazon here. If you have a hose meant for drinking water, you can ensure that you are getting the cleanest water for drinking and cooking.
So, now you have power, water, and a way to get rid of waste. On the grid is definitely more convenient. Off-grid is a little more common, especially if you’re not parking in an RV park.
If you’re parking off-grid, you’re not going to have power, water, or a way to get rid of waste.
There are lots of small generators that you can buy to hook into your tiny house for the situations where you won’t have a power connection. The generators can charge from the car battery. So when you’re traveling, you’ll be replenishing the power. Just make sure you don’t run it to the ground in between.
You can also buy solar panels and solar generators if you want to go the green route.
For disposing of gray and black water, you’re going to need to get separate tanks for each. Run sewer hoses from your tiny house into each tank. Watch the level on these tanks and empty them in the appropriate place. This will often require you to travel to an RV park or a truck stop with dumping stations.
There are self-composting toilets that will take care of your black water for you. Since 90% of the waste going into the toilet is just water, the toilet evaporates it back into the air. The rest of it gets composted and turned into natural fertilizer. You can dump this fertilizer on the side of the road if you want, or you can start a garden.
When it comes to water, there’s not a whole lot you can do off-
If you can run a hose into a body of water, there are a few things you need to consider before you just start drinking from a lake.
Moving bodies of water are your best option, as they are the cleanest. And typically, the bigger and faster they are, the better. So I would suggest a river over a stream. However, if you are parking in cow country, you might just want to forgo the river. Cows tend to poop in
If you’re going to be drawing water from a river, it is important that you get a filter.
Never drink unfiltered water from a river. River water can carry all sorts of diseases.
When you’re parked, you’re going to have to secure your tiny house so it can’t leave without your permission. Lock your hitch to prevent anybody else from connecting up to it and towing your home away.
If you have any loose items, try to stow as many of them as possible inside your truck or tiny house. Besides the danger of them being stolen, there is the danger that some items pose to curious critters. You don’t know how many squirrels I’ve seen tangled up in beach chairs.
When you’re not parked and driving, there is a little bit more securing you’re going to need to do. Roads are bumpy and rocky. Make sure that the windows of your tiny house have shutters that you can close during drives to protect the glass from flying rocks.
Secure any moving parts inside your tiny house. Things like drawers and cabinet doors like to swing open when you’re in motion. You can use bungee cords and brackets to keep things closed. Add lips to all of your shelves as an extra precaution.
I would recommend storing heavy dishes like pots and pans somewhere they don’t have the opportunity to fly around. Many people will keep cookware in their sink while their driving, and I’ve found this to be pretty effective.
Any other loose items need to be stowed away or packed up. Things you might not even think about, like shower heads, have the potential to shift violently about and damage the interior of your tiny house.
Well, that’s just about everything you might need to know about how to park your tiny house, how to set up, and what things to keep in mind when driving around. Happy traveling! And remember, in wanderlust we trust!
How much does a tiny house cost? A 150 square foot tiny house will cost about $40,000. That averages out to be about $266 per square foot. Even though they are more expensive per square foot, tiny houses end up being much cheaper than full-size houses.
How well do tiny houses travel? Tiny houses are not as mobile as trailers, RVs or campers. They are heavier, less aerodynamic, and have a harder time fitting into places. However, they are more weather proof, durable, customizable, and are a better fit for permanent living.