Your Questions Answered: Trailer Talk

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Tiny House Trailer from Iron Eagle.  Photo via: Kate Goodnight of Najhaus.com

Tiny House Trailer from Iron Eagle. Photo via: Kate Goodnight of Najhaus.com

At PAD, we get a lot of questions about trailers – the foundation of a little house.  Whether you’re planning to buy a new or used trailer, consider the following.  The first time you pull your tiny house out of the driveway, you’ll be glad you did!

  • Depending on its size, your little house will likely weigh between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds.  We typically recommend that you get a tandem axle utility trailer with axles that can handle 3,500 lbs each, or 7,000 lbs overall.

  • The trailer is typically 8½-feet wide if you measure to the outside of the fenders over the wheels.  The top deck sits about two feet off the ground, and the overall length varies (usually between 10 and 22-feet).

  • To be street-legal, the trailer needs lights, brakes and a license plate. It will be registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles using the Certificate of Manufacture that should come with the trailer.

  • You should be able to haul an empty trailer with a light-weight truck, but once your trailer is fully loaded with your cute little house, you’ll need a macho, two-ton truck to pull it.  The truck will need to have a tow package that at least includes the connection for lights and brakes.

  • The tires need to be rated to handle the load, they can’t just be average car tires.  Remember, your little house could weigh between two and three tons!

For more information about configuring the trailer so the little house can be easily bolted to it, check out our book Go House Go.  Kate Goodnight, a PAD workshop graduate, also recently wrote this great blog post about picking up her trailer in Portland from Iron Eagle Trailers.  It’s an awesome read and includes all sorts of helpful information about weight distribution and taking the big plunge into trailer ownership.

If you have really specific questions you don’t see covered, or if all these details are making your head spin, consider taking our 2-day Tiny House Design Workshop. The workshop covers tiny house design from top to bottom, talks trailer specifics in-depth, and lets participants just like you ask our experts exactly what they want to know.

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