What are the Different Types of Tiny House Trailers?

What are the Different Types of Tiny House Trailers?

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The trailer of a tiny house is an aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked because this serves as the foundation.

Your tiny house trailer is where your tiny house journey begins.  This is because the trailer serves as the foundation of your tiny house. And, a good foundation is very important in every new venture. 

There are a lot of things that go around when building a tiny house. As unique as each tiny house is, having them built on trailers has become popular throughout the years.

There are actually a few types of tiny house trailers that you can choose from. The choices might be few, but it can surely confuse you most especially when you have no idea about such things. With this in mind, we have created a list of the types of tiny houses trailers and some other things that you need to know before settling into one.

4 Popular Tiny House Trailer Choices

Mobile tiny house. Great for outdoor experiences and wildlife. Lots of mobility and pure adventure. No need for special authorizations, only a decent car to pull this tiny house and off you go.
When choosing a trailer, make sure that you will get what it fitted to the design of your tiny house.

1. The Deck-Between Trailer

The Deck-Between trailer has a flatbed in between the wells of the two wheels. This means that the bed sits a little lower from where the tip of the wheel well reaches. Due to this, the tiny house bed can’t be wider than the space between the two wheels. 

The width of the bed is confined by how far apart the wheel wells can be. With this, the floor of your tiny house will be very limited. 

The advantage of using the deck-between trailer is that it sits nicely to the ground since it is very low. This makes it easier to build a taller tiny house in as much as it makes it possible to build a two-story tiny house.

2. Deck-Over Trailer

As the term implies, the deck over trailer is a trailer type where the bed is placed above the wheel wells. Typically, such trailer types measure around eight feet wide. 

The deck over trailer gives extra space on each side of the tiny house. But, it is too far from the ground which means that a loft is not advisable. This means that the only choice for you is a one-story tiny house.

3. Dove Tail

The dovetail trailer can either have a deck-between trailer or deck-over trailer. What makes a dovetail trailer different from deck-between and deck above trailers is that it has angled towards the ground sections on the rear. 

This feature is usually found on trailers that were once used to move around cars, trucks, or any other vehicles. The benefit of the dovetail section is that loading this trailer is much easier compared to other trailer types. 

On the other side, the dovetail section makes it a little awkward to build a tiny house on the flatbed. But if you still want to pursue this type of trailer, then you will have to apply additional welding in as much as modifying the dovetail before building your tiny house is a must.

4. Gooseneck

This type of tiny house trailer can either be a deck over model or a deck between trailers. It was named after special hitches that it has. Moving around this trailer type requires you to have a pickup truck. 

The head of the pickup truck has a ball hitch. The trailer’s gooseneck then reaches the tailgate of the truck in order to be attached to the installed hitch. 

This type of trailer is well-fitted for the tiny house for a few reasons. First, moving it around is easier due to the pick-up truck. Second, it is light. And lastly, it’s size is real for tiny houses.

Gross Weight Vehicle Rating

Regardless of what trailer type you would like to use as the foundation of your tiny house, knowing what Gross Weight Vehicle Rating or GWVH is very important. 

Basically, the GWVH is how much weight the axles are able to carry. The axles are the parts of the trailer that attach the wheels. It is also known as the weight limit for your specific vehicle which was set by automakers. 

In computing the GWVH of your trailer truck, the base curb weight of the vehicle and the weight of any optional accessories, cargo and passengers are added. To be safer, you should not load your trailer truck more than what it is capable of. 

If you overload your trailer truck then the breaks might not be enough to stop it when needed. The suspension components might not work. It is also possible that break under the added strain which might make the tires generate more heat for it to explode.

GVWR is not the total weight of the trailer. The total weight of the trailer is called gross vehicle weight or GVW. GVWR is constant while GVW is changing. 

To understand further, take a look at this example:

You and your friend are riding the same vehicle. Your friend went out of the vehicle. Since your friend exited the vehicle, the GVW is reduced while the GVWR still remains. 

One thing to always keep in mind when towing your tiny house trailer is that the total weight of the trailer is not a part of the GVW of the vehicle. However, the weight of the part of the trailer that is attached to the trailer hitch known as the tongue weight is part of the GVW of the vehicle. Neither of the two affects the GVWR. 

Trailers have their own GVWR. If you want to find out the GVWR of your vehicle, labels are usually found in the area where the driver’s door latches.  If you can’t find it there, you can look for it on the internet.

Things to Consider

Mobile tiny house. Great for outdoor experiences and wildlife. Lots of mobility and pure adventure.
There are a few things that you have to consider in order to choose the best trailer for your tiny house.

There are a few things that you need to consider when choosing a trailer for your tiny house. First things first, the trailer should have a place where you can place your license plate and brake lights, of course. Otherwise, you will be legally charged for it and you won’t even make it long on national roads. 

So, here are some of the things that you have to consider when buying a trailer:

1. Size of Your Trailer

Ideally, you should already have the design of your tiny house before buying a trailer. However, there are limitations to trailer sizes that you need to know. 

Legally speaking, the maximum width for trailers is 8’6″. Also, in most states, tiny houses are only allowed 13’6 inches off the ground. But in some Western States, they allow as high as 14′. 

The allowable measurement for trailers is 53′. If it goes beyond that, a special permit is needed. 

With that in mind, trailers for tiny houses should not be more than 28′. When choosing the trailers, do not forget to consider the length of your hitch as well. 

2. Hitch

There are five different types of trailer hitches available. But regardless of what type of trailer you end up with, the only hitch that you can use for a tiny house is the Class V trailer. The Class V trailer hitch can max out as much as 17,000 pounds, enough for your tiny house to be moved around. 

Hitches have this so-called tongue weight which refers to its own capacity for weight. In other terms, this is the total weight the hitch can shoulder. Make sure that you consider this factor into your final trailer weight calculations. 

But before you can calculate the final trailer weight, you must know first that too much or too little tongue weight affects the rowing of your tiny house. If you already know the weight of your tiny house, you can simply ask the towing vehicle manufacturer the right amount of the tongue load. 

This means that your ball mount and hitch ball should be rated for Class V too. Thankfully, these are available in almost any auto body store at a very affordable price.

3. Towing Vehicle 

The towing vehicle might not be connected to the trailer at all times but it is needed in order to move around if you want a mobile tiny house. In most cases, a full-sized truck is enough to do the job. 

If not a full-size truck, a large SUV is a good choice too. But if what you have is a gooseneck trailer, then what you will need as a towing vehicle is a pickup truck. 

There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to towing vehicles. This is because the towing vehicle that you will choose has something to do with how heavy your trailer, your tiny house, and your things are.

Here is a guide on how you will choose a towing vehicle for your tiny house. 

a. Light to Medium Duty

Light to medium-duty vehicles refers to either light trucks, minivans, or sedans. These vehicles can handle more or less 3,500 pounds. Honestly speaking, it is almost impossible for a trailer truck, a tiny house, and all your stuff to just weigh 3,500 pounds.

b. Medium to Heavy Duty

Medium to heavy-duty vehicles should handle as much as 5,000 pounds. Usually, these vehicles have two dual axle trailers or one large axle. The problem is, such towing vehicles come in different types. These vehicles could vary when it comes to towing capacity by as much as 3,000 pounds. 

c. Extra Heavy Duty

Extra heavy-duty vehicles refer to commercial vehicles that can tow up to 10,000 pounds. Using an extra heavy-duty towing vehicle will take so much controlling power which you have to find out from the dealer or manufacturer. 

d. Super Heavy Duty

If the total weight of your tiny house and trailer is more than 10,000 pounds, then certainly, you will need this type of vehicle. 

The good thing about towing vehicles is that knowing their capacity is not a guessing game. And, if you can’t afford to buy a towing vehicle at the moment, you can simply hire one as long as you have your own hitch.

4. Cost

An average trailer cost around $3,000. But if you can’t afford the price, you can settle for a used one. You can also modify it if you want. 

Trailers have been long debated because basically, it serves as the foundation of a tiny house. Some people choose to spend more on it while others prefer to allot more to the tiny house itself. 

Ideally, you should know the price of different trailers first before you settle into one. This will help you know what goes within your budget or how much you need to get the trailer that you want. 

5. Tiny House – Specific Trailers 

The popularity of tiny houses gave birth to trailers specifically for them. These trailers ensure heavy-duty steel construction and axles, unlike regular trailers which barely have wood decking. Tiny house-specific trailers have steel beams where the tiny house is secured. 

There are already a few companies that build such trailers. Aside from the better features that these trailers have, they can also be of help to figure out the other aspects of a tiny house that you need to understand.

6. Where to Park

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to trailers and tiny houses is where you are going to park it. The answer lies in the zoning regulations that each state has. Each state has different zoning laws and regulations which makes it very important to find them out before you park. 

Some of the thing you have to look into include:

a. Minimum square footage for tiny houses 

b. Legal parks for RVs

c. Whether you can live temporarily or permanently in an RV or tiny house

f. If the accessory dwelling unit or ADU is allowed or not

Conclusion

Choosing the right trailer for your tiny house is a very important decision. This is because the trailer will serve as the foundation of your tiny house. And, foundations should be strong and made out of high-quality materials to ensure safety. At the end of the day, what you will choose tells how your tiny house will last. 

Related Questions

What size trailer should I use for my tiny house?

The average dimensions for a  tiny house trailer are 20 to 24 feet long, and 90 inches wide. But still, each state has specific rules when it comes to the size of a tiny house trailer that they allow so, check it out first before buying one. 

Do you need a permit to build a tiny house on a trailer?

Yes, most states require a permit to build a tiny house be it on trailer or not. This means that you have to secure a permit first and know existing laws and regulations to be sure that everything is legal. Be careful with this as a different state has different laws, regulations, and requirements for tiny houses. 

How do attach a tiny house to the trailer?

The basic steps when attaching a tiny house trailer are flashing the underside and attaching the subfloor. Flashing the underside means securing the subfloor by installing a metal barrier under. In attaching the subfloor, it is recommended to add a steel flange along the side edges of the trailer to be more secured.

All About Tiny Houses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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