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Tiny House Trailer Design Q&A

This is a Reader Submitted Q&A — Submit Your Own Here

I was just wondering if there are any tiny house trailers that are designed to a lifetime mileage specification?

Maybe designed for 10,000 lbs load for a maximum of 5000 miles over their lifetime?

Or set up a chart that might show what can be done between 1000 miles and 100,000 miles, and the consumer can judge if that extra expense is worth it.


Image: Tumbleweed

Of course, the rigidity of the final tiny house adds a substantial amount of strength to the final chassis so those calculations will have to be taken into account as well.

That seems to be the way that RV and mobile home chassis are built- it would be a great idea to apply the same concepts to a tiny house build.

I don’t know if you’ve seen tiny house trailer designs that are certified by licensed mechanical engineers. I’m a Mechanical Engineering Tech so that’s why I asked.

This might be a great way to show people just WHAT can be done. You can consider posting this on the blog if you want.

Thanks again,


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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!
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Jake Levi
    November 22, 2013, 11:02 am

    I am looking for an 18′ to 20′ trailer to build on, so far prices are from $2700 to $3400 new, havent found any used ones that will do it. I am looking for a tandem axle, with at least one axle with brakes. Craigs list so far hasnt shown any, but I keep looking, I am in northern MI, about 2 hours north of Saginaw. At the present , these costs for a trailer are almost the budget for the house itself.

    • Ralph Sly
      November 22, 2013, 10:31 pm

      Too bad you weren’t close to Hanna AB, I would give you one that would be perfect if you hauled it past here, Castlegar BC so I could get the things (very few) out of it, plus some tools stored in anther truck at the storage compound. Tandem with electric brakes, new tires last year but you have to knock the park model cabin off of it to build. Any takers, I just want the things stored in it to arrive her.

    • Jake Levi
      November 23, 2013, 11:27 am

      Good luck on it Ralph,

      I came down through there a year ago, coming home from Alaska. I had gone up by Caswell BC and came back down through Alberta. I am in Northern Michigan, that was a lot of miles trip. Once I find the right trailer and get the wagon built I am planning on going out to the Cascades.

      • Ralph Sly
        November 23, 2013, 11:50 am

        Thanks Jake, too bad, I pulled that thing past London Ontario a year + ago, probably not far from you. I only took it because a friend, who owed me money, couldn’t afford to repay and felt bad, I would have forgave the debt and now would rather have than to have this thing and paying storage on it. Love him like a brother and a couple of thousand dollars would not have hurt the relationship of over 60 years but he bartered the trailer off and like a fool I took it to make him feel better. I needed another trailer like a hole in the head. Good luck with your quest. Sounds like a great trip you had and more coming up.

        • Jake Levi
          November 24, 2013, 8:15 am


          I have found several worth looking at on Craigslist and over the next several weeks will be getting around and looking. From bare trailers to older travel trailers. Most quite doable.

          I am for sure an Irish Gypsy, only we say Irish Traveller just to make the distinction, seems I cannot not travel.
          It all works out. I am wanting to get on out to the Cascades and then maybe heading on down to New Mexico in late fall. We shall see what will be. Ultimately I want to build an 18-20′ trailer with a lot of the ideas here in it. And mayhap a Leprechaun or two peeking out around it.

  • Ralph Sly
    November 22, 2013, 10:19 pm

    This should be interesting!

  • John
    November 24, 2013, 8:09 am

    So are there any manufacturers that make water/black tanks that fit between the structural members for these trailers?

  • Rhion
    November 25, 2013, 7:21 am

    I’ll say that I’ve had the privilege of corresponding with Mr Louche, about the fact that I wanted a larger trailer than the basic ones he offered. He was more than willing to work with me on that, and okay, so I’m still in Germany and thus building my tiny house yet, so I’ve not bought the trailer. However, even with the shipping/handling, for the length of trailer I want (28ft) he is definitely where I want to go.

  • jeff
    January 3, 2014, 2:02 am

    I was looking for siding for my tiny trailer/ RV this thing has a toilet shower bed and closet the back opens up to be used as an out door kitchen

    I am currently using ABS sheet for siding ( not the greatest material)
    any sources or ideas?

    • Jake Levi
      January 3, 2014, 10:56 am

      I am going to look at a 23′ RV in 2 weeks, tandem axle, all heavy at 3900lbs. I am looking at it as an 18′ trailer/wagon, with a 3-4′ porch on the rear and similar overhang roof.

      I am planning double walls of tongue in groove pine, vertical on the exterior and horizontal on the interior with tyvek and insulation between. On the Vardoshavura.com forum in the photos section is pic of one by the Thomas’s that had covered over 18,000 miles its first few years, he says he averages just over 5,000 miles a year.

      Yeah, its built to last. That forum has some great photos in the photo section, vardos, Romani for wagons. But also many other from sheep herder wagons to much lighter seasonal canvas top campers.

      I am blending ideas from there with Jay Shaffers and others work. I want mine to reliably travel from Northern MI to AZ and back. Its very doable. A good trailer to build on and then a tight reinforced box built on it.

      • Rhion
        January 3, 2014, 12:07 pm

        I’m interested in the site you mentioned, but Google says Vardoshavura.com doesn’t exist *pouty* Is there a typo possibly?

  • John Cord
    January 22, 2014, 9:05 am

    Has there been any discussion on the design and incorporation of holding tanks for sewage and water. Size and dimensions of tanks? Where are they available for purchase?

    January 24, 2014, 11:35 am

    I was dumb lucky in finding a 20′ travel trailer that had been terminally damaged by a low hanging limb at 35 – 40 MPH. I stopped and inquired about it and was told “if you want it just get it out of here” It was rather complete in what was left of it. RV stool, propane electric fridge, fold down table, black water tank, and lots of small surprises like dual voltage lights and hardware. I even salvaged most of the 12-2 with ground copper romax electrical wire and outlets for my caboose build. I was later able to get a rubber roof off of a 12 wide by 70 foot mobile home that was being razed on site within a block of my house. I just stopped and asked and the contractor was glad to not have to pay the tipping fees at the dump on the added weight. So keeping your eyes open can pay off. I love free !

  • Jessica
    April 28, 2016, 12:08 pm

    I have an old travel trailer that has been at my campsite for over 21 years. Now, I am getting a new one and would like to give away the old one. Where can I post this? The trailer is located in Shohola, PA. My husband thinks it’s a 1987 Skylark. We don’t know the exact year because we purchased our campsite with the trailer so and it has no title. It has been covered (under a roof) for over 21 years. Does anyone want it? and if now can you tell me where I can list it?

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