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Tiny House on Wheels Survives Hurricane Irma’s 100 MPH Winds in Miami

I wanted to show you this hurricane resistant tiny house on wheels that recently survived Hurricane Irma’s 100 MPH winds in Miami, Florida with no damage. It’s a Traveler XL model from ESCAPE. The house was not even strapped down or connected to anything on the ground (yikes)! What do you think?

Traveler XL Tiny House on Wheels Survives Hurricane Irma in Miami, FL


So people ask us frequently, “What happens if a Hurricane hits one of our units?”  I’m sure other companies are asked the same thing.

Now we know.  We had 3 units in Florida when Irma hit…one in Homestead, one in Orlando and one right on the water in Miami.  Orlando is fine, Homestead is fine.

Attached is the first picture back from the owner in Miami.  Wind speeds were 100 mph, the stucco house on the property was damaged, trees down everywhere (see in the background), water came up…our unit did not have a scratch, no leaks, no water issues, no problems, 100% OK.  Feel free to share if you like.

Learn more about ESCAPE’s tiny houses (and the Traveler XL model) here.

Our big thanks to Dan for sharing!

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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!

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Jenn
    September 15, 2017, 1:09 pm

    That’s awesome! Glad everyone’s ok.

  • dora stiegelmar
    September 15, 2017, 2:12 pm

    I want to put one on my property in florida, but my husband refuses to do this. He has gone through some models with me and was surprised how good they were, but he just doesn’t want to put one on our property. Its not that we couldn’t afford ( because they are so affordable) one, he just won’t budge!!

  • James D.
    September 15, 2017, 2:25 pm

    Being very heavy does have its advantages and structures built to be hurricane resistant will usually fare well through most storms.

    However, location and placement also plays a factor… These are hardly the first Tiny Houses to have survived a hurricane, there are a few that have been through the last 4-5 that have hit Florida.

    Being placed where there are wind breaks, just surrounding structures and trees can significantly reduce wind intensities…

    The direction of the prevailing winds also matters as Tiny Houses are most at risk from winds hitting against the wide sides where they have the most surface area to press against but are far harder to push over with winds hitting the smaller profile sides.

    Leading to the other reason why placement is important as certain formations like buildings can form wind tunnels that can intensify winds locally and if facing the wrong direction can increase risk rather than lower it…

    Then there’s the probability of dealing with projectiles, which surrounding structures can act as a buffer, layer of protection. But structures built to be hurricane resistant can usually survive multiple strikes from say a 2×4 traveling at over 70 MPH without breaching any of the walls.

    While preparation before a storm can allow the removal of most materials that may pose a risk from the immediate area around the house…

    And finally, placement matters when considering the risk of flooding from the storm… Short of building the house to float, flooding is the hardest thing to avoid unless you’re in an area that is high enough to avoid any serious flooding but areas that is prone to flooding can’t always be avoided…

    Not all storms are equal as well, so while these fared well it is till recommended to tie down the structure to a solid foundation… Especially, if in area that may also have to deal with Tornadoes.

    But, if still in doubt and have a good size budget to work with then there are ways to build that are even stronger than what this company uses… Along with options like fold up decks that double as storm shutters when folded up and can basically armor up the house for the storm… Among other precautions you can take…

    • Claude
      September 15, 2017, 2:50 pm

      Very informative, thank you!

  • jerry
    September 15, 2017, 2:46 pm

    My 2 144sq’ THs came through the eye just east of Tampa without a problem. In fact I felt so safe and since the power was out, I just went to sleep, woke up, walked out into the I found out later was the eye, then went back to bed.
    My solar survived and was switching to 12vdc when the power came back on, one of the few in Florida where 75%!!! lost power and 20% still don’t have it 5 days later.

    • Kal
      September 15, 2017, 3:54 pm

      Yet Florida doesn’t really allow solar!?! Thousands without power, what a damn bureaucratic shame. All those people should sue their local government…

      • James D.
        September 16, 2017, 9:10 pm

        Actually, Florida has the Solar Rights Act…

        “Florida law forbids any entity—including homeowner associations—from prohibiting the installation of solar or other renewable energy devices on Florida buildings. An association may require approval of a system installation, and may establish restrictions for installations. However, any such restrictions must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and applied in a uniform manner for all association members. Also, any restrictions must not have the effect of impairing the performance, or increasing the cost, of a solar system.

        In particular, a homeowner association may not prevent the installation of solar collectors on the roof of a home. The association may determine where on the roof the collectors may be installed, so long as the collectors face within 45 degrees of due south.

        Finally, any requirement(s) that a system be screened from view by trees, fences, ground mounting racks, or a remote roof location that is hidden from the street, will generally violate the statute.”

        So problem is more costs and people’s attitudes toward solar as many are still more concerned about protecting their property values…

        While, though Solar has gotten a lot more affordable in the last 15 years it’s still expensive compared to other energy sources and won’t get competitive until after 2021 by some estimates.

        There’s also Solar Thermal, which is already cheap but similarly people’s attitudes are preventing its wide adoption even though it would significantly reduce our heating needs and reduce our carbon foot print…

        But options like Tesla’s solar roof tiles that can leave the roof looking like a regular roof may provide options that people may start accepting… Along with stealth placement of such things…

        Like you can add a car port or pergola that’s actually set up for solar and serves double duty as shade…

        If you have a metal roof, options like solar thermal could be integrated into the roof and have no outward appearance to tip off the neighbors… Regular solar could also be integrated for a triple benefit…

        Things like vertical-axis wind turbines can be disguised as spinning art fixtures but are really providing electrical power…

        There’s upcoming options like there’s a special paint being developed that will use sunlight and water molecules in the air to extract hydrogen and use it as a fuel cell to generate electrical power…

        If you have a hybrid car, it’s actually possible to hook it up to your house and use it as a backup generator… Primarily running off the batteries and recharging the batteries as they get low, a full tank can last the house more than a week or two and is far more efficient than a simple generator set up…

        Keep in mind, people tend to not worry about things that may happen later… Florida also went through a 12 year gap between the usual serious storms they used to get and Irma is unfortunately a wake up call for those who have grown complacent…

        Unfortunately, it often takes a disaster/tragedy before people start to take action for things that could otherwise have been prevented or at least mitigated to be less serious…

        It doesn’t help that being a prepper is often considered fringe, nutty, and negative…

        But there’s at least some people who were prepared like that Ty Tabata I mentioned in my other post that has solar on his tiny house.

        It’s just unfortunately, not enough people were prepared to prevent a lot of suffering but hopefully things will start changing and people will start seriously considering what could happen… at least for awhile…

  • mike
    September 15, 2017, 4:48 pm

    Happy for you, however, James D is correct – not all storms are the sane. Other factors apply such as you location to the eye, wind gusts, actual elevation compared to sea level among others.

    I’ve lived in South Florida all my life and have been through many hurricanes. In 2005 Hurricane Jeanne took the roof off my townhouse, yet didn’t damage the townhouse that was attached to mine or any of my close neighbors.

    I don’t like being a downer, but I don’t want someone reading of your good fortune to get the feeling that your thow is hurricane proof, the vast majority of buildings are not.

    I am really happy for your good fortune.

  • jerry
    September 15, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Just watching TV News showing the Key West destruction of a trailer park they were all wiped out rolled, blown apart except for a Tiny House still standing tall with little damage, none I could see.

  • James D.
    September 16, 2017, 2:46 am

    Looks someone in Naples, Florida got a short vid of their Tiny House during the storm…

    “Tiny House vs. Hurricane Irma”


    And the description indicates it came through unharmed…

    Another posted on Facebook, a Ty Tabata, who owns a THOW built by Incredible Tiny Homes, also posted that his made it through without a scratch and since he equipped it with solar he also has power while the rest of his area does not… Though, water level got close but he had it just high enough to avoid the flooding… It was boarded up and he anchored it at 4 points, so it had some extra protection…

    Come to think of it, I haven’t heard of a Tiny House being destroyed in the last 8 or so years that didn’t deal with fire, wasn’t well built structure to begin with, or was still being built and thus not a complete structure, or got hit by something really big like a falling tree… Though, some have sustained enough damage to require patch work after hurricane Matthews…

    Plus some Tiny Houses, especially those places on flatbed trucks, have been around since the 70’s, and the Jay Shaffer types have been around since about 2002… So there appears to be a pretty good track record and goes to show how tough something well built can be even if left on wheels instead of a slab foundation…

    While jerry’s comment about the trailer park in Key West is noteworthy not only because it shows how significant the difference is in how RV’s are built compared to Tiny Houses but also because Key West was reported as one of the areas that was spared the worst of the storm…

    Here’s apparently another example from Taveneir Florida’s mobile home park…


    • keepyourpower
      September 18, 2017, 8:58 pm

      Many moons ago, I worked for MOHOCO financial. All mobile homes had to have tie downs. I figure that is a great idea, if you do not plan to move often. I hope to do that.

    • um…No.
      December 13, 2017, 3:44 am

      It’s simple, state the category of the storm, the wind speed and the duration in the area where the tiny house was located. Hurricane Irma has its reputation because it was a category 5 at landfall in the Caribbean with the eye passing within 10 miles of occupied area for hours. It was no where near that strength when it hit mainland Florida. Basing judgement on the last 8 years of storms is misleading because the past 8 hurricane seasons have no impact on what comes this year or next year. This year there were at least 4 hurricanes rated category 4 or greater. It only takes one storm that tracks across your path and there is no definite schedule. Can a tiny house withstand a category 5 hurricane? If they can be towed, they can be pushed. You can google what happened to loaded 40′ containers which were structurally intact, heavy, but not bolted to the ground during hurricane Irma or hurricane Maria, both category 5. Logic indicates a wooden structure on a trailer with a near flat roof would not manage a full strength hurricane Irma for winds or impact resistance. But the answer is to test a model tiny house and have it properly rated by the county. It’s not about replacing the house, or the property inside it. It’s about making sure people are safe, and not taking unnecessary risks when they’re given notice of a storm they only assume their tiny house can handle safely.

  • September 16, 2017, 8:53 am

    I followed (from Italy), the news about the trajectory and intensity of the hurricane Irma, I was apprehensive, but then….fortunately not very “devastating” as in this case. But the fright is terrible.

  • James D.
    September 17, 2017, 11:11 am

    Just curious, why was my first post here in this topic deleted?

    • James D.
      September 17, 2017, 5:37 pm

      Oh, never mind, it was being moderated for some reason but it’s back now…

  • keepyourpower
    September 18, 2017, 4:58 am

    One of Incredible Tiny Homes THOWs, also, survived Irma with no problems!

    • James D.
      September 18, 2017, 8:08 pm

      Yes, that was Ty Tabata’s house… He was doubly lucky as he has solar and thus hasn’t had to worry about power…

      Probably still has to worry about clean water and getting food, but at least he has a working fridge and can run anything he needs.

      Options Incredible Tiny Homes are going to start offering pretty soon on newer builds include water recycling system and solar, which would make them even more ideal to handle these sorts of situations as you can go a whole year on a tank of water, even in the middle of a desert, and always have power, enough to even run the mini-split for most of the day…

      Pretty much the first builders to offer that level of off-grid capability… Hopefully, others will start offering a wider range of options as well… Even if you don’t plan on dealing with a natural disaster like this, it’s good to have options for where you may choose to live, as it’ll open more affordable options and let people live in places they may not otherwise be able to…

      • keepyourpower
        September 18, 2017, 8:54 pm

        Are you going to the ITH Jamboree, at the end of October? I am, if I do not have to leave Charleston, because of a hurricane, beforehand.
        They are giving away a tiny house, to any ticket holder, who is there, when they pick one ticket.

        I should call tomorrow, and see if they have a tiny home to rent, for the weekend. But, problem is, I have to sleep, on the main floor. I believe the one with the Murphy bed is already taken. If I win, and it has a loft for a bedroom, I will sell it, and have him build me one, with a Murphy bed, on the main floor. I am disabled.

        I want the off grid, so I can rent a $200 a month lot, in his new community. Love his ideas! Problem right now, the off grid, without the house, is $11,700. Saving right now. And when ready to sell my condo, should have enough.

        • James D.
          September 18, 2017, 10:02 pm

          No, wish I could go but have too many obligations right now but I wish you luck in winning that house.

          Btw, can always consider one of those multi-function Murphy beds… They have versions that turn into a couch, or a desk, and even a combination of the three complete with self leveling book shelf so you can leave things on it all the time.

          Or a trundle bed that sticks halfway out to function as a couch and just pull all the way out to use as bed…

          Though, you may prefer a permanent bedroom and have a bed with storage instead as it can get tiresome always switching things around and it still costs too much to have it automated… While the bed storage keeps it useful…

          Their off-grid community looks like a pretty good deal and once they have more affiliates in other states then you can be free to move between them and not be limited to just one state…

          He’s also looking into possibly providing additional services to make things easier like have someone who will visit each new owner during the first year to make sure everything is okay and fix anything that may need tuning up… as well as in the off-grid community he may have someone who will offer services like taking care of the composting toilets and cleaning stations that should prevent anyone from ever needing to handle the interior of the toilets.

          There are other builders also getting into opening communities but nothing as well planned out as he’s starting to have, at least so far and he’s barely broken ground so far on it…

          They’re even going to do a Tiny House build up in Canada and one in Hawaii later… If he keeps that up I might have to go work for him ;-p

          Though, surprising there’s still so few people aware of the company yet…

          Media seems to focus only on those given/used for the homeless and there’s like nothing on the Tiny Houses that survived the hurricane… Apparently six toed cats rated higher…

          Like there was barely any mention on all the flooded sewers in Florida and how that spewed all over the streets and into people’s homes… There’s going to be a lot of people who are going to need more than a temporary fix, and so few even know what options are available…

          Let’s hope the upcoming storms stay out to sea or at least miss that state this time…

  • um...No.
    December 13, 2017, 3:16 am

    It would be FAR more informative to identify the category of storm and windspeed of hurricane Irma when it hit the actual location of the tiny house. I’m sorry but Irma was a big deal because of its Category 5+ status when it made landfall in the Caribbean. When Irma hit Florida, particularly areas after the Keys, it was much weaker. How strong were the actual winds in the area? How long did they last? There is a tremendous difference in being near the eye of category 5 hurricane or being near the edge of a category 1. Which explains why some islands were devastated by the hurricane and others were not. The storm could have the same name and record of destruction, but hit your area when and/or where it is significantly weaker and less destructive. The implication that a tiny house can stand up to an Irma category storm without the details, is grossly misleading. There are many ways to test and certify building materials for windspeed and impact resistance. If tiny houses want to claim hurricane resistance, they should very clearly state their ratings for a specific hurricane category.

    • James D.
      July 26, 2018, 8:28 pm

      Well, Irma was a category 4 when it hit land in Florida… Plus, many of these Tiny Houses have been in Florida long enough to have been through multiple storms now… So there is a growing track record…

      While this doesn’t apply to all, there are in fact some who have rated walls of the SIPs, MIPs, and steel framed THOWs and thus officially are rated to handle over 200 MPH winds, which means as long as you anchor them properly then best built THOWs could withstand even a category 5… barring flooding or having a tree fall on them of course…

      Really, while not all tiny houses are built to the same standards, they are generally going to be designed so they can be towed along highways at over 60 MPH, which is like experiencing a hurricane and earthquake at the same time and for up to more than several hours at a time and we are talking about structures that typically weigh more than a few tons…

      Some are especially well built to handle the stresses of having things like tiles, drywall, etc. without being damaged every time it is moved and there are examples of people who have moved their homes over 25,000 and even over 40,000 miles…

      There’s even an example of a Tiny House that had a tire blow out that then quickly escalated to all 4 tires while passing a semi trailer truck on the highway on the fast lane… It careened all over the road before crashing into a ditch but aside from the damage to the tow hitch jack and smashed windows the house remained intact, all the doors even opened and closed just fine, and after the tires were replaced it continued on its journey and got the windows and jack replaced and that was an all wood constructed THOW that was a budget built…

      There’s also the fact many follow the recommend building practices for Florida building code for roof strength, etc.

      This is not to say Tiny Houses are storm proof or that none will ever be damaged by a hurricane… But they’re hardly built to be fragile either and most people are building them to be used as a home they intend to last and not just fall apart on them…

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