Acquiring and preparing a trailer for your future tiny house can be stressful and costly but it’s one of the most important parts of your tiny house if you’re building mobile because it’s your foundation.

For most people the trailer is actually the single most expensive item that you’ll buy for your tiny home. And rightly so, as it’s going to be the foundation, right?

To address this problem and to make things easier for people like us who want to build tiny cabins that are mobile Tumbleweed Houses is now offering trailers specifically designed and built for stick-built tiny houses (on wheels).

Three Trailer Sizes with 4 Options

There are three sizes you can pick from right now which are:

  • 14′ (~$3,900)
  • 18′ (~$4,200)
  • 20′ (~$4,500)
  • 24′ (~$5,800)

tumbleweed trailers for tiny houses 02   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

Then you can also pick four different styles within each size: 

  • No Porch
  • Corner Porch (Left)
  • Corner Porch (Right)
  • Full Porch

Check it out below:

tumbleweed trailers for tiny houses 07   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

 

Pretty cool, right?

Things to Look Out for when buying Used

Side note before you buy a new trailer: Yes, you can save a lot of money by acquiring a used trailer and putting lots of labor into it so it can be ready for up to 10,000 lbs of “house”.

This means your axles have to be in good shape, they must be able to handle that weight and you’ll also want to check your:

  • Tires
  • Springs
  • Flashing
  • Tongue length

Makes sense, doesn’t it? You just want to make sure all the essential parts are in good shape and make the necessary repairs.

Besides that you also want to obviously look at the overall condition of the steel frame.

Since I’m not an expert builder or handyman (I’m good at all that but I’m better with a keyboard and computer)..

So me, personally, I’d rather work, save up and buy one of these and get the project rolling rather than finding used and having to work on it (because that’s not what I’m good at).

So if you’re anything like me in that aspect, you’re probably also glad Tumbleweed’s offering these ready made trailers to build on.

And if you’re a DIY type of person (high five!), then this is how a prepped tiny house trailer should look like after you’re done stripping it down, replacing parts, strengthening it, etc.:

tumbleweed trailers for tiny houses 03   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

=> Order your own Tumbleweed tiny house trailer customized & delivered to you here.

tumbleweed trailers for tiny houses 01   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

tumbleweed trailers for tiny houses 04   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

tumbleweed trailers for tiny houses 05   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

tumbleweed trailers for tiny houses 06   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

=> Order your own Tumbleweed tiny house trailer customized & delivered to you here.

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When you build your tiny house on wheels how do you plan on acquiring a trailer? Will you get a used one? Will you have someone make one according to your specifications/design? Or will you order one from Tumbleweed? And if you found this post helpful “Like” and share using the buttons below. Thanks!

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   Tumbleweed Trailers to Build your Tiny House on

Alex

Alex has been living in small spaces for more than 7 years, he's the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter, and has passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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{ 38 comments }

  • Erik Markus May 24, 2013, 10:05 am

    Wow, a custom trailer !

    They almost look like one could use the metal cross members as the floor joists.
    The metal enclosed bottom is perfect. It will keep out mice, wind, bugs, and hold in insulation in the floor.

    Great !

    Reply Link
    • Rio May 24, 2013, 2:19 pm

      Erik,

      When building a house on our trailer you can build the sub-floor directly onto those metal floor joists. This means that you’ll also gain approx 3″ of interior head-room in your house.

      The metal flashing pan comes standard.

      Reply Link
      • Sherry December 24, 2013, 2:54 pm

        How would you attach the sub-flooring to the metal joist? Are they 16 oc? And what is the length and height of the wheels/wheel wells from the trailer bed? What length measures out from either side of the wheels wells and is it different on the different lengths? What method is used to extend the framing out and over the trailer bed and wheel wells to make an 8′ interior? How high from the ground does the trailer sit? Is a special permit needed to tow a loft height trailer? I thought if the final construction was under and certain size and weight no special permits or drivers license is needed…So would it be legal to tow an 8’6″ width x 24′ long x 13′ or 13.5′ high? I want to build a wheel chair accessible tiny house on wheels, which call for a minimum width of 30″ to get around in so an 8′ interior is crucial.

        Reply Link
        • Bryan Korbel June 21, 2014, 11:40 pm

          to get an actual 8′ clearance inside then add 3 1/2 ” to ea side
          for stud walls, lets say 1/2″ interior wall covering and 3/4″ exterior wall covering gives you a total of 8′ 9-1/2″. this not including your exterior trim may protrude a bit further then you have your roof edge ( to keep water from not dripping directly on exterior walls), you have passed the DOT max allowed for road usage of 8′ 6″ unless you obtain a wide load placard.

          Reply Link
          • Steve Veltkamp November 10, 2014, 1:30 pm

            I’d think if you were only going to have a one-story house, you could get by with using 2×3 instead of 2×4 for the studs – or even go with aluminum walls with strong corner supports, and get your full 8′ interior that way. More of a camper or rv style build rather than traditional stick-built house style build on the walls.

            Link
    • Michael Weber May 24, 2013, 7:41 pm

      great idea! However I couldn’t find nothing about axles, brakes and suspension which are really important. I would appreciate the option of an extended towing bar to accommodate some exterior storage space.
      As Frances said a fold down porch is much more space saving. When you add an RV style awning you can even sit there. Beside that it protects the rear end when on the road.

      Reply Link
  • Pam Watts May 24, 2013, 11:42 am

    This might be a dumb question, but when he builds up the floor forward on the hitch and says that that adds 3.5′–what does that do to the house’s actual dimensions? Would that, say, mean that a 14′ trailer actually had 17.5′ of interior space? Or does it mean that the trailer is only, now, a 10.5′ trailer on the road?

    Reply Link
    • cheryl May 24, 2013, 6:25 pm

      I didn’t see anything about 3.5 feet of extra length? Are you sure you weren’t seeing a reference to the 3.5 inches of extra headroom, because the subfloor can be installed directly to the trailer, with insulation in between those cross beams – instead of building the floor section on top of the trailer deck?

      Reply Link
      • Pam Watts May 24, 2013, 7:54 pm

        Oh! You’re right. That’s what it was. Thanks!

        Reply Link
  • Jerry May 25, 2013, 1:14 am

    A couple of things to keep in mind about these trailers:
    1) If you do plan on building your subfloor into the trailer’s existing structure, be sure to use plenty of expanding foam to seal against invading insects. There’s lots of wiggle room between the welds that hold the flashing to the cross members, which will allow insects and other critters in unless you seal properly with expanding foam.
    2) The actual trailer with is only 6′ 10 3/8″, so you will have to plan on how to extend your sides beyond that to take up as much of the legally allowed 8.5′
    3) Depending upon the state you register it in, the ball hitch may not be sufficient for a load over 5,000lbs.

    Reply Link
    • Abel Zyl Zimmerman May 26, 2013, 12:08 am

      If you are going to seal the ‘floor flashing’ make darn sure you have a vapor barrier inside the insulation. It could pick up a bit of condensation, and then stay wet ( I live in wet Western Washington, and that is what structures like to do).

      There are ball hitches (2 5/16″ + ) that are designed for WELL over 10,000 lbs, depending on the accompanying hitch, vehicle, and equipment. The SAE defines four classes of hitches. Class IV is good for up to 10,000lb trailer weight.

      Reply Link
      • Jerry May 26, 2013, 12:28 am

        Thanks for mentioning the vapor barrier, and for the details about ball hitches!

        Reply Link
      • Erik Markus May 26, 2013, 6:52 am

        If you use ridged, form fitting, expanded foam board insulation, you don’t need a vapor barrier.

        Fibre-glass and other types of insulation that can attract moisture or settle and lose effectiveness, are not recommended.

        Reply Link
        • Matthew Hunt May 26, 2013, 7:40 pm

          Be mindful of open cell vs closed cell foam. Not all foam is created equal, and most aren’t meant to be exposed directly to elemental forces such as moisture, which can literally disintegrate foam structures as it loosens the bonds between cells. Because the foam boards aren’t air tight fits, it’s still ideal to use vapor barriers, in my opinion, because your actual subfloor is exposed in the same channel of environmental influences, and your subfloor is likely to be plywood of some sort, and it most certainly does not appreciate any amount of moisture.

          Reply Link
  • Logan May 26, 2013, 7:25 pm

    Hi Alex,

    Great to hear about this development. :) As a heads up, Kate over a najhaus.com has a wonderful post on her tiny house trailer she designed with the help of Portland Alternative Dwellings: http://najhaus.com/2013/03/05/the-eagle-has-landed-the-trailer-comes-home-to-roost/

    Like us, Kate worked with Dee Williams and Rob from Iron Eagle trailers in Portland to make a custom built tiny house trailer. Rob and Dee have collaborated on building at least 7 tiny house trailers (that I know of) and with each build they have refined features specific to Tiny house construction. The primary feature I noticed that stands apart from the tumbleweed design above are lowering the internal ribs for maximizing the trailer depth for greater insulation and construction space above. The tumbleweed trailers provide vertical “threaded anchor rods” to attach the framing at the flange surface of the trailer where as the PAD/Iron-eagle design offers predrilled and reenforced horizontal anchor bolts below the surface of the trailer flange. Since the height of the house is limited by DOT regulations it seems that the PAD/Iron-eagle design provides extra vertical space. I would also guess that the rib design of the tumbleweed trailers would allow the metal to conduct cold, around the insulation, and directly to the subfloor. Both designs are effective, safe, and likely the best trailers for tiny houses available. I just find it interesting to compare and contrast the strengths of the designs. :) Cheers!

    Reply Link
    • Alex May 26, 2013, 10:18 pm

      Logan thank you so much for all this info. I’d like to do a post based on it this week or next week if you wouldn’t mind helping.

      Reply Link
    • Kate (Naj Haus) May 27, 2013, 11:11 am

      Yes, I went through the same thinking and decided to go with the PAD/Iron Eagle design. I liked that the subfloor frame was set within the trailer bed and bolted horizontally. It seems like that will keep it more secure on the road – inset versus like a cake on top of plate that could slide off. I don’t imagine this is actually a concern in the Tumbleweed design if you have enough bolts, but you do lose the extra height unless you put the subfloor right on the Tumbleweed trailer cross ribs. In addition to the 10 horizontal bolt holes (5 on each side), I will also be attaching the walls vertically via tension ties to the angle iron welded to the side rails of the PAD trailer.

      I am also concerned about the thermal bridging where the metal of the trailer meets the floor (on any trailer plan). I am planning on following Derin William’s (http://www.shelterwisellc.com) example of building the subfloor frame about 1/2″ smaller than where it will drop into the lowered PAD trailer bed, putting closed cell rigid foam board in between the wood frame and the trailer sides and then bolting the whole package together via the horizontal bolts and spacers. This way there is a thermal break on the sides, front and back where the trailer frame meets the floor frame. I am also considering positioning my floor joists so they don’t line up over the metal cross ribs, so that there is a thermal break there. On the PAD/Iron Eagle trailer design, the cross ribs are made of a smaller width of steel to save weight and aren’t a necessary part of supporting the floor joists.

      I’m debating whether to use galvanized metal flashing vs. treated plywood due to the vapor issue, and how to provide an thermal break between where the cross ribs meet the undercarriage. Thoughts?

      The thermal bridging issue may not be an issue depending on where you live and it does seem like both designs provide excellent benefits for tiny houses. Interested in hearing from others on this!

      Reply Link
  • pete June 6, 2013, 12:00 am

    The subfloor is great, but the width is a deal-breaker. Why in heck aren’t these built to easily accommodate the legally allowable 8ft5in width? Surely it wouldn’t cost much more.

    Reply Link
    • Julie October 25, 2013, 12:20 am

      Does anyone know where the wheel fenders are located in the 20 foot design of the TW trailers? Also the exact dimensions? I have looked everywhere on the web. I’ve been planning my TH around approximate locations and I’m ready to pin it down exactly. Example: 10.5 feet aft front edge.

      Reply Link
  • W. Tom Steele December 24, 2013, 5:54 pm

    I think you should offer a 5th wheel type trailer. You know, one with a goose neck. Maybe say 26 or 28 feet long which might encourage shorter roof lines.

    Reply Link
    • Alex Pino December 27, 2013, 1:11 pm

      That’s a good idea. I hope they do so, too. So far, they have no plans that are designed for 5th wheel trailers though. But maybe soon? Thanks!

      Reply Link
  • Darleen May 26, 2014, 9:21 am

    We bought a 20′ tiny house. It was very inexpensive to buy and we got to try out the TH living, something I strongly believe in! What we found (my husband is disabled) is that 24 feet isn’t quite enough length to accommodate his adjustable bed and a place for me to sleep in the same room. We need that extra 4′ length for the beds in the bedroom. A loft would still be nice for company. So, when we buy/build we will be looking for a bit longer that the Tumbleweed trailers :-( I know that many of those in the TH movement are young, but some of us are older, can’t do stairs and still love the homey feel of a real (tiny) house. I would love it if there were more of these being built in the south, especially Florida. I do very much enjoy the TH news letter!!

    Reply Link
    • Alex May 26, 2014, 10:52 am

      Thanks for sharing Darleen, wishing you the best! Alex

      Reply Link
  • Debra May 26, 2014, 11:33 am

    These seem like a great idea, but from what I can tell, the max width you can build without adding floor framing is 6′-11. I would love to see these in a full 8′-6 preframed configuration. If you want to maximize your width, I don’t see how you can get by without reframing the floor in wood which essentially eats up that 3.5″ height savings that would have been afforded by the preframing.

    Reply Link
  • JJ Stanley August 26, 2014, 9:56 pm

    Anyone making these in a 16ft option? Seems like an optimum size. ..less cutting, less work, quicker build.

    Reply Link
  • Elle August 30, 2014, 9:11 pm

    Thanks to those who contributed their honest feedback regarding the TinyHouse “workshops”, bad attitudes etc. A program is only as good as its worst experience. I had my doubts about paying the incongruous asking price for their “workshop” -which I noted is not a workshop at all but a lecture. Then there’s travel, lodging, and food costs. For a lecture? Ridiculous! I don’t think so. Those who offer “hands-on”, and appreciate the business, will get mine.

    Reply Link
  • Megan September 3, 2014, 11:32 pm

    I’m still confused and haven’t found a reason yet, why aren’t they built to the 8.5′ limit? And since they aren’t is there an easy way or instructions to get the trailer and DIY to the limit without compromising the 3″ height saved by getting the Tumbleweed trailer? I’ve had some issues trying to find solutions for this online. Thank you for your time.

    Reply Link
  • mountaingypsy October 12, 2014, 1:15 am

    Alex, I really enjoy your site! Every newsletter brings an even more interesting TH to think about. These options and looks may be harder to decide than a custom house on a lot! ha It just occurred to me, after looking at this section on trailers to buy….is there such a thing as modifying or building a TH on a Class A or Class C frame of an RV?? I realize there are probably reasons that this might not be feasible, but not having to buy an expensive truck to pull the TH, would be nice. Are there co’s that are thinking about this, or ones that could modify an existing RV to have wood in or outside? The metal boxes are just not cozy like these TH’s. thanks!

    Reply Link
  • Dennis October 15, 2014, 3:09 pm

    Thank you for your work and dedication. We own a lake lot that only allows camper trailers. We would like to build a Tiny House but want to make it a little wider (11’6″) as we never plan to actually move it on a county or state road. Do you manufacture a wider trailer or is it. Possible to cantilever between 12-18″ per side or would the wall and roof weight be too much?

    Thank you again for your efforts and for any assistance or information you care to share. Dennis

    Reply Link

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