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Bigger Trailers for Bigger Tiny Houses on Wheels

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This morning I opened an e-mail from one of our readers, Mrs Tiny Lady, regarding the possibility of bigger trailers for bigger tiny houses on wheels (in case you might be interested in that). 🙂

In it she included several links to diagrams of larger trailers versus the more usual flat bed trailers we use for building tiny homes. This got me thinking, what if some of you out there wanted or even needed a bigger tiny house than what we normally see? Yesterday I got to show you a custom 30′ tiny house on wheels by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses. But what if you wanted to go even bigger?

Maybe you need more space because of your family, your hobbies, or your work/business. But you still want the mobility of a tiny house and the benefits that go along with them. How about these 18 wheeler tractor trailers? They’re normally meant for big loads, moving tractor trailers, and other heavy duty equipment. What if we were to build a ‘tiny’ house on one of these? It’s a great way to get more space and eliminate the need for lofts while still remaining mobile.

Bigger Trailers for Bigger Tiny Houses On Wheels


Images © Barnhart-Trans.com

barnhart-trans-18-wheeler-big-trailers-for-big-tiny-houses-02 barnhart-trans-18-wheeler-big-trailers-for-big-tiny-houses-03 barnhart-trans-18-wheeler-big-trailers-for-big-tiny-houses-04

Images © Barnhart-Trans.com

Tractor Trailers for Bigger Tiny Houses?


Images © HeavyHaulTrucking.co



Images © HeavyHaulTrucking.co


Just curious, would you consider using a larger tractor trailer like these for your tiny house project?

I’d love to read your thoughts if you’re willing to share them in the comments below. Thanks.

Our big thanks to Chris (MrsTinyLady) for sharing these ideas with us!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 56 comments… add one }
  • December 15, 2014, 10:27 am

    Well the real problem comes down to price, right? You’re talking a seriously overbuilt freight hauler trailer being used to carry a fairly light weight structure – and one that even used, probably will cost more than half as much as the structure put on it. That said, if you REALLY wanted to make a relatively large house AND could get a deal on a used end of life freight trailer, it could make sense. After all, you’ll be using it to move a fraction the weight a freight trailer is rated for.

    Then you have the logistics of moving it – I couldn’t even move this kind of trailer using my F350 Diesel Dually tug that I moved a 35′ fifth wheel around with because there is no clearance for the bed rails of the pickup truck – AND this class of trailer operates using air braking systems. And the empty trailer alone is probably approaching the total vehicle weight capacity of even taht mighty pickup truck. Effectively you’re limited to moving it with medium/heavy duty semi tractor. If you drive one for a living, then its no big deal – but most people don’t have ready and cheap access to such equipment.

    The people for whom this makes sense are probably those who have inside access to freight equipment for both acquiring the trailer and the use of a truck to move it.

    Also only the lightest duty of the trailers shown here is appropriate for a house… even the double drop is way overkill.

  • Susie M
    December 15, 2014, 10:28 am

    Funny you should blog this right now – there are 3 tractor trailer not quite so “flat-beds” sitting in my local Home Depot parking lot – I guess it is one of the easier places to park them and pick them up again. They are huge! I was looking at them from the point of view of building a tiny house – but they are so high off the ground that I discounted them due to the impracticability of even moving a completed “tiny house” to it’s site. They began at my shoulder and got even higher from there – and I’m 5’7″ – doesn’t seem to leave a lot of headroom for building…. very, very solid tho’.

  • Taylor
    December 15, 2014, 12:27 pm

    I just built a tiny house on a 35′ gooseneck trailer, and built a loft over the hitch so the floor plan runs about 40′. IMO, I would not go any bigger than this. There are all sorts of obstacles that you face when go bigger. Bigger truck, camp ground length limitations, weight increases may put into commercial range requiring certification. I am still able to pull mine with the newer Dodge Ram 3500’s because they started using the Aisin transmission, which is cable of towing much heavier loads.

    • Alex
      December 15, 2014, 2:08 pm

      Hey Taylor, I’d love to see your 35′ tiny home. Can you share it with us? E-mail me at alex at tinyhousetalk dot com if you want to 🙂

    • Terry Rosebrock
      February 14, 2016, 9:58 pm

      Taylor, I am or in the process of getting a trailer like yours. I would love to pick your brain on floor plans and other options you chose.


  • Bruce
    December 15, 2014, 1:24 pm

    Cost and deck height are the biggest challenges, and great minds think alike since I have been looking into this. In regard to towing, I do not have a truck and I will need to pay to have my TH (if I ever get/build one) so that point is a bit moot for me (I don’t plan on it ever being a travel trailer) These trailers do open up a ton of options though. Ideally for me I would love a TH to be at least 25′ in length (that is approx a 29′ trailer) topping out with a shed roof for max head room options.

    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 12:50 pm

      Thanks Bruce. I’d consider this too as an option and I wouldn’t really want to move it. I’d like to just leave it on a rural plot of land. And if need be, can hire a trucker to move it (but hopefully never have to).

  • gary pollock
    December 15, 2014, 1:27 pm

    I don’t believe that would be practical at all. The weight of the freight trailer would be way too excessive. It kind of defeats the purpose of tiny house concepts. A thirty is probably even pushing the limits on what is practical to tow, but for full time living in one spot, for sure.

    • Paul
      December 15, 2014, 6:36 pm

      …but if it is going to be full time living in 1 spot, then you might just as well build a house on a foundation. Unless your strategy is to not be an official house and therefore pay no property taxes and not be required to hook up to utilities.

      Where I live, New Zealand, the councils have got around this by writing into their rating law (rates are property taxes here) that any structure that is lived in full time is classified as a residence therefore you need to pay rates (property tax).

      My thoughts about this, if posted, would probably get me permanently banned from this website.

      • Tammy
        May 3, 2017, 3:13 pm

        I think it is more about hedging your bet. If I build a house on a foundation I can never move it. On a trailer, it can be moved if/When circumstances change. I know for a fact that it is not that hard to find a tractor for hire. You can expect to pay about 2.35 per mile so if your not moving monthly it is not that expensive. I would like to find lighter weight trailers in these styles. I love the ultra low profile of the Double Drop Deck and if it was made lighter weight it would be even lower because the beams would be thinner. I think that we need the Custom Trailer builders to look at the style and design of these and apply them to smaller trailers.

  • Anglo
    December 15, 2014, 2:46 pm

    I’ve been following alternate living styles for a while now , including the tiny house movement , and now you’re thinking about the use of big rig flatbeds , welllll , let me give you a pointer or two ( myself not entirely unfamiliar with the concept ) :http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/1076354-living-van-down-river-style.html .
    http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/vehicles-trailers-sale/522324-u-haul-camper-conversion-toterhome.html .
    http://www.athenacoachworks.com/trucks.html .

    I like this thread ‘cause a lil’lady did it all , ( the boys all loved to give advice , you see ) : http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/999810-1989-ih-nav-uhaul-camper-conversion.html .

    Another forum is this one : http://www.truckconversion.net/forums/ , a place that gets into more theory , practicalities ( like the law ).

    These are big rig or or expedition vehicle oriented , but you’ll find some useful nuggets of information , methinks !


    • Alex
      December 15, 2014, 4:52 pm

      Wow, nice, thanks!

  • Karen R
    December 15, 2014, 2:57 pm

    As all the other options, a possibility for some but not for others. I look forward to seeing a home built on one of these trailers!

    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 12:51 pm

      I’d like to see one, too, thanks Karen

  • alice h
    December 15, 2014, 3:30 pm

    For some reason I can picture a very solid log cabin on one those larger trailers. Hornby Island Caravans has made some really nice 10′ wide models using regular trailers with the floor cantilevered over the sides. That’s what I’ll be doing when I build my 10’x16′ or 18′ tiny house. http://www.hornbyislandcaravans.com/ You do lose height so a loft isn’t really feasible but I want a one level place anyway.

  • jim
    December 15, 2014, 3:45 pm

    I don’t think the answer is a bigger trailer for a bigger house. I think engineering slide outs into the design like the rv industry will increase size + livability without increasing trailer length. Weight would increase so the use of lighter materials would need to be factored in.

  • Joyce
    December 15, 2014, 4:43 pm

    I read many of the comments regarding use of tractor trailer nits and I agree with most of them. Weight and the expense of hiring a CDL driver to move them. With advantage of length being the main gain, why not buy a Mobile Home trailer? These trailers still cost you a CDL driver, give you the added length and more—up to 80 feet of length. I have seen some smaller units 50 to 60 feet long with the axles designed for the weight. As you all know mobile homes are not as high as tractor trailer units and you can get the added WIDTH if you want. Need a driver, pilot car and permits? Mobile home movers are out there.

    • zenLoki
      December 15, 2014, 6:19 pm

      thats a great idea Joyce but a mobile home is a not well-insulated and built from products that I have yet to see in a tiny trailer house. I have considered building on top of one of these that has reached its end-of-life. these are generally dismantled and hauled off for scrap. so you may be able to pick one up for not much coin and have a very solid and huge base to build upon.

      • Paul
        December 15, 2014, 6:47 pm

        I took it that Joyce was pointing towards using the trailer part to actually build the (not so) Tiny Home. Ditch the physical structure of the mobile home (caravans in other countries btw) and build a “stick built” structure on the trailer base itself.

        Which, if you think about it isn’t stupid. Just another option. YMMV.

        • Joyce
          December 16, 2014, 7:40 am

          Paul and Billy are correct. My comment is an option for those wanting Wider trailers and some extra length. Double wide trailers can make nice Small Homes by combining the single trailers into widths perhaps 28 ft. or wider. Single wide trailers have been anywhere from 10 to 16 feet wide in various lengths with a common width of 12 to 14 ft. The Tiny House Talk, News, Swoon family speak of homes in all sizes from micro-mini (less than 70 square feet) to however small is small to the individual (which may be 500 to 1200 or so square feet).
          Can you imagine using an 80 ft. mobile home trailer hauling five 12×12 structure shells for use as a community or motel?

  • Leslie Y
    December 15, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Glad you posted this info and question, Alex. I have thought about this option for a TH trailer for some time. I think it’s a viable option for some (many?) people for a number of reasons.

    I would also point out that the Tiny House Movement isn’t just about houses on wheels. In fact, from what I understand, the trend of putting tiny’s on trailers came about mostly because of limitations of building codes in many areas. If the house is on wheels and labelled as a mobile home or RV, then the restrictions on minimum size of single family home do not apply. The wheels actually provide many more options and freedoms to the owner/builder than just the potential for mobility. It’s true, for some people, home mobility is their main reason for building or buying a tiny house on a trailer, but there are likely as many people who just want a tiny house.

    Comments on longer trailers:
    > Used flatbed or drop-deck industrial type trailers come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and varieties that are road-legal.
    > Prices vary, but I have seen many that are $5,000 or less. That is the price range of the newer 20′-28′ tiny house trailers being offered by tiny house builders. Sounds “expensive” to me, and probably others, but not when you look at what tiny houses list for on this site. If you are building your own, you can save so much in other materials thru recycling, upcycling, salvage, clearance and imperfect sales.
    > Additional height of these trailers doesn’t really seem to be an issue. For some, a home that sits above ground may be an advantage or even a necessity (near water). Drop deck trailers give the option of near ground level entrances.
    > The extra length = additional square footage = no need for loft bedroom. I would love to have a little cubby bedroom over the raised end of a drop deck.
    > Hiring a semi to move your whole house actually seems like it would be easier than packing up a household of furniture and belongings to be hauled by a moving truck to another house where you still have to unload and unpack everything.

    These longer, sturdy trailers really appeal to me for creating a “forever” home that I would be happy living in for a LONG time with all the advantages of a tiny home plus the option of mobility.

    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 11:40 am

      Thanks for sharing your great thoughts Leslie!

    • suzanne
      July 16, 2015, 9:44 pm

      I am a woman with a desire for a tiny house.
      I can’t tell you the engineering of what my builder is doing just what I told him were my must-haves.
      We chose a tractor trailer as a base. We got it for $2000. Cash . used…very used!
      The neck portion will overhang a ledge. and serve as a carport so I have covered parking and a place to plug in my car. I will have stairs up the side of my little hill to the deck and entry.
      I had the empty trailer delivered to my property.
      I will have a cleverly dug root cellar/ cold storage under the trailer.
      On wheels I have no zoning issues.
      Nice thing for me will be to swap homes to travel.

      It will have a clever pop top if I ever do have to or want to move it. My roof opens at 45* for more open feeling on the inside with a whole side of windows that fold or lay down flat to close if necessary
      I will be totally off grid
      This whole thing has been a great experience and adventure so far.
      I will be retiring and saving money opposed to retiring and just spending.
      I am very much looking forward to my finished tiny house!

      • Andrea
        October 24, 2015, 10:09 pm

        Suzanne, I would love to see photos of your home! 🙂

      • Kelly
        March 11, 2021, 8:10 pm

        Dear Suzanne,

        Thank you for sharing your comments!

        I am hoping to do similar one day. I know this article was posted years ago and you may not be able to see my reply, but I’m hoping you will. I’d love to see your ideas on the root cellar and pop top. I’m a prepper who doesn’t want to give up my cold storage space when I go tiny so I want someplace to store my canned goods, so a cleverly designed storage sounds great! And, because I have really tall kids (6’5″ is the tallest) a pop top (if I’m thinking what you’re thinking) is going to be necessary for them to fit in the loft without stooping. I’m fine with a 7′ ceiling in my room so that will give the loft above me some extra space, but we’ll need 6’6″ at least upstairs and right there we’re way too high since all trailers start up off the ground. I’m hoping to find something with a really looww road clearance of around 12″, then I won’t need the roof to be raised quite as high. But still, even if only on the landing by the bed, he needs to have the headroom up there.

        Having said that, I want to get the longest, widest, lowest trailer I can find. A basement master bedroom, en suite bathroom access with a claw foot tub and outside views while bathing, stackable washer/dryer, big enough kitchen (I’m quite the cook. No scrimping on size and storage here either) and bar dining, double staircases going up to 2 lofts with a 3rd hideaway loft that will telescope out of one of the existing lofts – just in case all of my 5 kids come home at the same time. And, I have a piano I need to take with me, so I need more width (currently dreaming up 3 slide outs), and weight capacity. Because of the tall kids I want to be able to raise the roof at least 3 extra feet over the lofts when parked. Maybe even a half bath for the kids to use on the opposite end of the master bath. A lil wood burner stove in the living room and I’ll be set.

        I know I have big dreams and some wonder why I’m pondering going tiny at all, but the idea of being able to pick up and go, especially with the current political climate in the country, is very appealing to me. I plan on parking in a campground near a lake not too far from home, but far enough. I yearn for the quiet, peaceful beauty of being in the mountains by that lake; birdwatching, fishing, listening to the creek tumble down the hill, my kids playing on the lake, cookouts on the fire, stargazing, and so much more. I imagine living in my (not so) tiny house being the idealic blessing I’ve waited for for a long time. Because I want my kids to come home and visit, to have space for friends to stay, and plenty of room to entertain, it will be a big girl that’ll probably come in around 44′-46′ long with the window bump outs in the lofts (one of those bump outs will also be on the main floor holding my bathtub with the 3 sided view!), side slides bringing it to 11, maybe even 12′ wide in a place or two, and a pop up roof raise making the loft areas 16/17′ high off of the ground! (it will really depend on the trailer height that we start with). See, not so tiny. But it would be MY portable not-so-tiny in the mountains that I can have moved if need be.

        P. S. In my dream my boys get their CDL licenses and I get me a big truck so I don’t need to hire out to move it. I’ll just call one of my sons. I know, big dreams. And maybe it’s not possible to pop up here and slide out there, but I’ma try it and see how far me and whoever builds my THOW for me can go. Who knows, maybe we’ll start something new for other large families who yearn for tiny living. Anyway, I look forward to seeing your clever designs for a root cellar and pop up! Cheers!

  • Billy
    December 15, 2014, 11:57 pm

    Had a similar idea while working at a truck dealership many years ago – buy a used box trailer for a couple grand and build it into a house. The flatbed thing could work for some, especially if you’re already a truck driver and own or have access to a cab. Could kinda push the definition of what’s a tiny house though.

  • A. Lewis-Thomas
    December 16, 2014, 7:48 am

    Look at 38-45 foot horse trailers that are used and can be stripped down or built to your specs they are usually only 2 feet off the ground. That’s what I’m doing. Everything has to be replaced so no smell if your tearing down and reusing a used one.

  • TJ Houston
    December 17, 2014, 2:41 am

    Funny I’m reading this article now. I’m building a 35 footer. I dismantled a mobile home frame and am starting out with just the I-beam side rails and heavy duty 16″ tires dual axles I pulled out from another trailer I had. I threw one of the mobile home axles under that frame and it is the perfect height to pull around with my riding lawn mower. I’m going to build a chicken coop on it later.
    Anyway, I want to mount the axles on 6′ pieces of 3 or 4 inch heavy angle iron and mount the I-beams to the angle iron. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it a sliding tandem. I have 2- 53′ semi trailers in my yard and I’ve been studying the setup on them. I have an L8000 to pull them and I have to admit that my first inclination was to convert one to a living space. I probably still will, but not for a travel trailer. If people with tiny homes think there’s a parking problem now, I can’t imagine a semi trailer. A 30′ would be ok, but I think a 48′ would be a stretch and a 53′ out of the question unless you were pulling it to some property you owned to live in it. On the road the only place you could park it would be a truck stop or rest area realistically and you would have to stay on major roads.
    I think the tiny home trailers can be made longer as long as there are electric brakes with a break away or hydraulic assist with a battery box with an electric break away.
    I got a 1973 F600 with a grain box on it to pull the 35′. It’s got a 351 Windsor with a high-low 5-speed. I want to enclose the box and go over the cab to have an extra space for tools, generator etc. without cluttering up the tiny home. I am also a wood gasser so fuel won’t be a problem. I’m not going to be fast and will likely have to stay off the interstates, but I will be comfortable. I’ll be retiring in a year or three depending on how things go and I don’t want to be worrying about money.
    I really like your newsletter, keep them coming.

  • Doc
    December 21, 2014, 10:56 am

    I think its an excellent idea. Especially for those that simply need more space. Do remember though that Jay’s homes are the size they are to avoid codes in most communities. They are as a shed exempt from codes in most municipalities due to the low square footage. You get this big, as mentioned, your likely going to need unrestricted land of your own to live on. Then you may avoid the inspections and restrictions. I really like this idea though. Like the size they offer.
    If you built a modern design with a single low slope roof just think of the water catchment as well as solar array you could install! You could power the world! (Nearby)
    With the double drop deck you could build level inside then place mechanicals under, battery bank, store rainwater, grey, black water and much more in the space created below. Like having a basement that moves with you!
    As mentioned above, with this length you don’t have to worry about height as much as others cause you don’t need loft height for sleeping. All on one level here! 🙂
    From what l read, if you are a private hauler, that is: hauling your own unit, you do not need a CDL as the driver. Many states require an endorsement on your license though. I would definitely take some classes too! Its not like pulling your boat.
    This will be a very nice option for some.

  • Christian
    April 17, 2015, 4:24 pm

    I found this thread looking for double wide micro homes.

    I s Joyce’s comments touch on the subject.

    I, after thinking I would build a micro home on a used (torn down) travel trailer chassis, imagined I would put in two sliders (pop outs). This was because I didn’t want to feel closed in.

    As the complexity of slider plans emerged, it just seemed easier all the way around to use a double wide approach vs. The sliders on a single wide, with obvious space improvements without the worry the sliders might leak, not work, etc.

    Then, I saw on Craigslist free Motor Homes were more plentiful than say, travel trailers. At least when I looked this was true in two different state markets, as I was curious about the availability of free Motor Homes where I will be moving to.

    Well, in both markets, each had a free Motor Home. And my mind then concluded obtaining 4 free motor homes would offer the ability to glean out of the four the necessary components: sinks, ovens, fridges, water heaters, furnaces, etc.

    Why 4? Because not only would that more likely yield functioning appliances, but 3 chassis as well. Two of the chassis would become my double wide micro home, and the third would become the mobile PV solar system. The fourth motor home I would live in while building my micro home.

    I figured I could create a means to bolt together the two chassis and the roof line as well.

    I don’t like to feel closed in, so a double wide makes a lot of sense to me.

    My intention is to use steel studs to reduce the weight of wood studs, and conceivably steel rafters as well, covered by aluminum or steel roofing sheets.

    I am currently evaluating the idea of a double wall, for insulating purposes. So, in other words the wall holding up the roof would be 1 foot thick, made of two walls of steel studs.

    The floor plan would be very simple, not only to create openness, but to reduce the weight.

    I will create the floor plan using a house design software and share it here when finished.

    My intention is to confirm my thinking (with more study) that the 12 volt motor home devices will be carried over into the micro home so that no inversion to 120 AC is needed say for lights and certain appliances.

    I read that for a solar system, 12 volt devices are ideal. I would appreciate if someone knowledgeable in the area of amp hours would weigh in on this topic.

    What I understand is because no inversion is needed, there is no loss as no inversion is needed, and in doing inversion there is always a small energy loss.

    Anyway, I am excited about this new home construction, and I plan to salvage as much as possible building materials from Craiglist.org. For instance, wood siding. Also pallets may be used for wood flooring and other purposes. I am aware how annoying it is to take a pallet apart, so that idea remains to be seen.

    Either way, my intention is to do a video of this micro home, showing all the process from securing the free materials and motor homes, to dealing with the frictional confrontations (neighbors, zoning, building permits, etc.).

    Not because I expect confrontations, just that I want to cover ALL the challenges and REWARDS that are involved with micro home construction and living.

    My overall intent is to give an honest glimpse of the micro home reality, cost and outcome.

    Having built two homes before (4000 sq ft stick homes on foundations), the idea of building a double wide micro home is not daunting. And I am sold on the benefits.

    So, like others, I will use the video to inspire me to expect the best outcome, and to show the realities of cost, time and finished product.

    Any suggestions anyone may have are welcome.

    • Pam
      February 14, 2016, 10:46 pm

      Hi, I’m Pam. I would really like to see what you come with. I want to build a Tiny House 10 ft wide in the inside with a loft and 45 feet long. The more I read and research the more confused I get.
      I’m in OH. I know that the hight can’t be over 13 6in. and the length of Tiny House and truck to tow it can’t be longer that 65ft. I understand that 12ft wide is a wide load, but do I understand correctly that as long as I put wide load signs on that I (not cdl licensed) can drive it myself?

      • Tammy
        May 3, 2017, 4:22 pm

        Check with your State and City permit office. I believe that since you are going to have to have a permit to move the 10 ft wide Tiny House you will not be held to the 13″6′. There is still a maximum height but the 13″6′ restriction is if you don’t want to have to get a permit to move it.

    • Pam
      February 14, 2016, 10:55 pm

      Hi, I’m Pam. I would really like to see what you come with. I want to build a Tiny House 10 ft wide in the inside with a loft and 45 feet long. The more I read and research the more confused I get.
      I’m in OH. I know that the hight can’t be over 13 6in. and the length of Tiny House and truck to tow it can’t be longer that 65ft. I understand that 12ft wide is a wide load, but do I understand correctly that as long as I put wide load signs on that I (not CDL licensed) can drive it myself?

  • dena johns
    April 24, 2015, 11:14 pm

    i m looking for a 16 x 40 heavy duty frame trailer to build a loft tiny house trailer

  • Gianni
    May 27, 2015, 10:54 pm

    Hi All,
    Just a word of caution, if planning on a end of life commercial trailer, be careful of rust and check for rigidness of the frame structure. Could be a great idea, just be careful.
    Happy hunting to all.

  • Andy
    June 30, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I am in the middle of a mobile home tear down. It’s not my first time for a demo, but it will be the first time to use the frame for a rebuilt home. You see, over the last year, I have torn down 5 old houses, sold what I could and still have enough material to join the fight against low quality manufactured housing. To get to the point, if you do not have demolition experience or the means to properly dispose of the waste, please do not attempt salvaging a mobile home. A year ago I would have not relayed this cautious angle but I have fallen from presumably secure heights on three occasions, have had nails go through boots countless times, been accosted by wild animals, bitten by spiders, scorpions, and various other brave critters. I’ve been knocked around, cut, burned, feet smashed, and on and on. I’m not saying let theses eyesores rot. I am simply saying BE CAREFUL!!
    Oh and get a respirator.

  • elzet
    September 27, 2015, 7:25 pm

    Be aware of the length from the kingpin to the CENTER of the axle group. This should not exceed 40 foot. And some trailers do not have the ability to slide there axle group. There are trailers out there which have a longer spread for higher weight purposes. But here’s the kicker: in several states it is illegal to drive with a longer spread then 40 foot from kingpin to center axle group, for instead California.
    Due to the fact that I want a garage; since my hobby includes vehicleS! that I want to store dry and not available for all eyes, is my plan to use a 40-48 foot drop deck trailer with dovetail. It will become a sort of toyhauler, but to MY specs and demands/quality. All I hope to learn, if there is someone who already did something like this, so I can learn from it. Also the tiny house it’s first purpose is to use for traveling to find a place where we want to end up. I also want to learn what difficulties there will be for use at campsites etc. We are not planning to use them at first, but I never used big equipment on campsites and expect problems there.
    The lady and I are both experienced class 1 drivers so CDL/driving is not a problem.

  • Earl Ogden
    October 15, 2015, 5:06 pm

    One can drive a Semi tractor with a simple class C if the unit has been titled as a RV. There are a number of sites that talk about converting a Volvo Semi as a RV.

  • Julie Black
    December 5, 2015, 10:55 am

    I was looking into this and came across you article. We own an 18-wheeler and we are a family of 5 (my husband and I and 3 little boys(hence the larger size). Our house is for sale and we want a large amount of land for farming and ranching but can’t yet afford it so with are somewhat in limbo. We wanted to buy smaller acreage and I thought a tiny house would be perfect so that when we do buy larger acreage we can move it with our truck to the next destination. 🙂 I don’t really worry about permits, size, etc. because we live in a rural area and can pretty much get to any location by “going around” any towns. “Why not just buy a trailer house?” Because they are usually cheaply built and fall apart fast. I want something that would stand the test of time until we are ready to build.

    • kayla
      January 16, 2017, 10:57 pm

      I am in the same boat as you, being a family of 5. Have you guys built anything yet?

  • Camilo
    December 28, 2015, 9:46 pm

    I was talking to my girlfriend about this. As a flatbed driver I understand the concern about the walk up height for a standard flatbed trailer, and weight concerns for the heavy haul trailers such as some of the double drop deck and RGN trailers with their various additional dollies and stingers meant to haul well over 100k lbs of freight. But an aluminum step deck trailer has a walk up height of approximately 3ft to the bottom deck which with most tiny homes on trailers seems to be about normal. The hard part is finding an all aluminum trailer that is used and for sale. Ali of companies recycle them for the aluminum and recoup some of the cost of the trailer selling it for scrap after they salvage any of the electrical and air brake system components they can. A new aluminum trailer will be a about $20K+ depending on configuration but may atill be cheaper in the long run instead of a full size RV, Charter Bus conversion or the extreme Semi Tractor conversions out on the road today. It’s still something I’m looking at for myself since I’m always on the move and since I already own the tractor seems like a good idea so I can still keep the tractor on the road making revenue for me and have the mobility of owning a tiny home in case I need to move the business with the eb and flow of the freight industry. Like many have stated it’s not for everyone but, neither is tiny house living.

  • elzet
    December 31, 2015, 5:50 am

    I see aluminium trailers usually arched, just to become straight when they carry a heavy load. I don’t think a tiny house will be “heavy” enough to get the trailer straight. Also aluminium will flex way more then steel. I wouldn’t want that for the long run. But my idea is to get traveling. If you want it not for travel in the first place, why bother, steel is cheaper.

  • Regina Miller
    May 24, 2016, 11:08 am

    I kept waiting for this to come up. The tiny’s are too tiny for some. For a “Granny home”, Granny cannot get up those ladders and steps to a loft. There has to be a bedroom on main floor. So, by the time you get a decent sized kitchen, bathroom and living area, it adds up, especially when it is a max of 8.5 wide so easier to tow if it has to be moved. Still having a loft is good for guests, grandchildren and storage.

  • Nodoubt
    July 25, 2016, 11:24 pm

    well I have thought of building a tiny house on these traylers I would do it with metal studs to lighten it and spray insulation to seal up the house can lights that are less and shorter then the normal one also I need a bath tub to make it the coolest it would need slideouts two or three soler a must and that’s just to start with, I’m Nodoubt.

  • Brian
    July 30, 2016, 8:56 pm

    This article intrigued me since I would like a THOW that is 40+ feet to accommodate myself and two growing boys. A quick search shows 48′ drop deck trailers selling for under $10,000, add in delivery and you’re looking at $11,000 +/-. My only issue: what is the deck height of drop deck trailers? 24″? 28″?

    I definitely like the idea of having built-in “basement ” storage. One of the replies mentioned off-grid grey water, black water, etc. being stored below the floor. I would use the space more as shallow storage for my tools and off season supplies.

    And yes, I would not be traveling with this THOW. I would only move it about 5 times ever so paying for the permits, hauler, and other costs would be worth buying the longer trailer.

    Anyone have pictures of such a THOW?

  • Dee
    August 12, 2016, 7:25 pm

    This is an intrigueing idea to me because my spouse and I are museum exhibit artists, who travel in our work yet have critters. We’re sometimes away from home as long as two years, so it would be wonderful just to take Home with us! A large and seriously strong trailer would hold a tiny home large enough for us to have room to work, cozy spots for our dogs and cats plus space to build two stalls in back a la a toy hauler, but much more sturdy, for our two large, Friesian-cross horses. As we’re getting on in years, it would be so nice to be comfy on the road, and under no financial pressure to keep up two domiciles,

  • Tara
    November 30, 2016, 5:31 am

    FINALLY! I’ve been searching and praying for this type of option for a LONG time. I looked into prefab park models but I hate the prefab feel most of the time. We need a lofted bedroom for when we have a kid (or 2) and we need a nice space in the LR that will comfortable house guests on a queen size sofa bed. Plus, we need a 2nd bath, or at least a half. It’s doable, too. My parents have a 50ft 5th wheel. They have 1.5 baths and a king size bedroom, double sinks in their bathroom. It’s about 400 square feet (but again, we want a custom build.). Ideally we’d like 500-600 but could likely have 450 indoor with a 100sq ft porch. I have this idea in my head of what I want… but cannot find anything out there. We are military and move every 3-4 years. We wouldn’t mind paying to have our home relocated when we PCS. This could be a viable option! Thanks!!

  • Paul
    December 12, 2016, 10:03 am

    Hello to all, I have come across this website looking for ideas about building a house up on top of my 42 ft long drop deck semi Trailor. To start, I farm and am looking to have a house I can move on the property to a different spot as I feel. I wouldn’t be too interested in moving it down the road. I wouldn’t mind making it wider and maybe a bit longer, I have equipment and means to move it where ever I’d like. I also weld and can build a bigger sub frame and extensions, probably have to make stabilizing/leveling legs on the 4 corners. Are there architects that deal with this kind of thing? Thank you!

  • Paul
    December 12, 2016, 10:12 am

    I also have allot of grain bin metal on hand too! Thank you!

  • Amy
    January 3, 2017, 5:29 pm

    My husband has a CDL and has been a truck driver for the last year or so. I started considering tiny houses because while he is on the road, it is just me, my two dogs and three cats and our 1,600 sq ft house seems like a waste of space. We are planning on putting our house on the market and moving to Florida to be near my family and because I have fibromyalgia and have a hard time with the NY winters. I will be giving up my job and starting a new career, but I don’t know how long that will take to get going, so living fairly frugally will be nice. My father is very experienced in carpentry, electric and plumbing, so building the tiny house won’t be a huge problem. I’m interested in something around 40′ so I can have a bedroom on the first floor (dogs sleep in the bed with me so a loft is out of the question for my main sleeping area), a loft for when friends visit/storage, a full-ish sized kitchen and a bathtub I can soak in. After my career takes off and is stable, I’m hoping to purchase or build a regular home and use the tiny house for traveling with my family. My parents live in a fairly rural part of Florida, so the hope is that I can hook up to their well/septic and use solar for electric, but be able to take the TH on the road for trips around the country. What would be an appropriate trailer? My dad also owns a pickup that he uses to haul a fairly decent-sized boat, so moving the TH won’t be a problem for me! Thanks in advance!

    • elzet
      January 4, 2017, 3:11 pm

      how you put it together is usually up to how much money you want tone spend. But if you want to be able to use a pickup truck, you’ll be bound by a gooseneck trailer. Several people have done that and there are real good and interesting reads/blog on the Internet.

  • kayla
    January 16, 2017, 10:51 pm

    Hello, I have been thinking about building on a larger trailer as well. I think the “tiny home” movement has a different definition to everyone. I have a family of 5, being in anything less than 600 sq ft, would have all of us going crazy in the first month of living there. I like the idea of building on a single wide trailer, but using stick built materials for the sturdiness. I know the comment of just building a house on a foundation has been brought up. In our case I would rather invest my money in my home. Have a piece of land that I can sell and be able to move my house with a CDL if ever needed. In our case that seems to be cheaper than buying and selling a house…. IDK I guess the crash of 08′ still has us jittery on financially putting everything into a mortgage, and hoping things stay the same or improve financially, career wise, and health wise. Has anyone done anything like this? If so please message me, I would love to hear about your experience! Also if you have a family and are living tiny I would love to hear from you as well. Trying to do as much research as possible.

    • Natalie
      January 17, 2017, 11:15 am

      That’s a very interesting idea! I hope someone has some experience they can share with you.

  • Tammy
    May 3, 2017, 5:35 pm

    Everyone knows about slide outs. I want a slide up. I want to be able to raise and lower the roof of a tiny house so that you can move it and when you get there you can have full height lofts.
    Has anyone seen anything like this before and where?

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 4, 2017, 4:13 am

      The only thing I’ve seen kind of like this is a pop-up roof, but it was on a more travel-trailer-like design.

  • December 15, 2019, 8:19 pm

    I paint trailers (I am not a salesman)at Holden trailers of Southwest City Missouri. They build custom trailers of all sizes, from small utility trailers to 100 ton custom lowboys, extendables , doubledrops, flatbeds, etc. They could build to fit your needs, unlike many who you have to get what they offer. Air ride suspensions could be used to adjust ride height and curb height.
    I was telling by boss several years ago we should look at the tiny house market. One thing to consider in large trailers is various regulations from state to state requiring expensive permits for overweight, overall length, sideload etc.

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