Cost of Towing a Tiny House RV

We travel full time with our Tiny House RV and so far we've gone 15,000 miles in eight months. I don't know of any other Tiny House RV that travels as much as we do, so we've had to figure out a lot of logistics on the road. Below I've outlined my monthly expenses in hopes that it is helpful for my fellow travel bugs! 

If you're looking for explanations on towing specifications and requirements, click here.

Our wet Tiny House RV - we assume the house weighs more after a rain!

MY MONTHLY EXPENSES ON THE ROAD

GAS: $726

Our Tiny House RV weighs 10,100 pounds when fully loaded. We tow with a Ford F-250 Diesel 4x4 and get between 8-10 mpg. We put 2,070 miles per month on our truck. That number includes ALL driving, not just towing. 

MAINTENANCE ON TRUCK: $294*

*This number has been divided by the eight and a half months we've been on the road to calculate our average monthly expenses. Total truck maintenance is $2,499

This number is SUPER high! We had to replace a few parts in our truck, including the FICM, the alternator and two batteries. I can't say whether this is due to towing or not, because the 2006 Ford F-250s are known for these problems. Sigh.. that's life I guess. Hopefully this number will start to go down. 

MAINTENANCE ON TRAILER: $55* 

*This number has been divided by the eight and a half months we've been on the road to calculate our average monthly expenses. Total trailer maintenance is $467.50

We had a regular 10,000 bearing inspection (they were good). We had to replace our tongue jack because we crashed the Tiny House RV on our maiden voyage... Full explanation here. We also had to replace our chimney cap a few times due to damage from low tree branches.

TRUCK INSURANCE: $95 

We are insured through State Farm. We have liability coverage on our "tow load." 

TRUCK PAYMENT: $0

Our truck is paid off. Yippee!

TINY HOUSE RV PAYMENT: $0

Our Tiny House RV is paid off. Yippee!

MOBILE INTERNET: $130

We use Verizon wireless as our provider because they have the fastest data service. We've been relatively happy with the service, but it's expensive. Due to our web related jobs, we need at least 30 gigabytes a month. This isn't even enough for us to stream movies, we always run out! Obviously if you do not need 30 GB (or the internet at all) this number is irrelevant. Campgrounds sometimes have WIFI available, but it's almost always terribly slow. 

CAMPGROUND FEES: $238

We park in campgrounds on average 9 nights a month. The rest of the time we park on private property, offered by some of the most gracious people in the world (our followers and other Tiny House RV enthusiasts). That helps A LOT! Campground fees can average between $10 - $60 a night. We are a member of Passport America, which offers a 50% discount on thousands of campgrounds all over North America. 

PROPANE: $12

We use propane for our cooktop, water heater and sometimes to power our refrigerator. 

WATER / ELECTRIC: $0

We fill up our water tank in campgrounds or from our parking hosts. So far we haven't had to pay for water or power (of which we use very little), aside from our campground fees. 

TRASH: $0

We carry our trash and dispose of it responsibly in campgrounds.

TOTAL AVERAGE MONTHLY EXPENSES FOR TOWING & TINY LIFESTYLE  = $1550

This total number is for two people and while it might seem high, it's less than just our apartment rent payment in Los Angeles! We could save a lot of money by traveling less and canceling our internet, but that's not the lifestyle we want at this time. We also hope our truck maintenance costs will go down now that we've fixed everything. You might notice that we did not include food expenses, cell phones expenses, student loans, etc. That is because those expenses would be the same on or off the road, tiny or big. 

QUESTIONS?? I'll do my best to answer them. 

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting an open house. Follow their informative blog. 
 
   

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — May 19, 2015

Filed under: Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House Giant Journey   Tiny House RV   Tow   Tow Capacity   Towing   Travel  

Tiny Interior Showcase

Creating a functional interior is challenging. Creating a functional interior in less than 200 square feet, is MIND-BOGGLING!! Do you know what makes a Tumbleweed unique? The owner! Browse through a few tiny interiors below to see the creativity and individuality of each space. 

Ariel's "Fy Nyth" Interior

Ariel's interior design on her Tumbleweed Cypress 24 is clean and inviting. Her transforming couch and table are great examples of multi-purpose furniture and really work to expand the space! Ariel brought nature (and a pop of color) into her tiny space with live plants. Her dark curtains add depth to her tiny interior, and her wrap around book shelf?? Books are beautiful, why hide them?

Click here for more interior shots of "Fy Nyth"  

Ella's "Little Yellow" Interior 

Ella's modified Cypress -18 has a whimsical theme with its curved window trim, live edge countertop and floral accents. Wainscoting with a natural top cap adds complexity to her walls. Ella chose to paint her wall panels white, while leaving the ceiling natural, creating separation. Ella's round kitchen sink is unique and beautiful, and she believes it's more functional than a rectangular sink because her dishes are round. 

Click here for more interior shots of "Little Yellow" 

Art's Tiny Sip House Interior

Art's modified Tumbleweed Elm -18 interior is the sleek and earthy. The knotty paneling, reclaimed flooring and clean window trim combine to create a woodsy aesthetic. A reclaimed stained glass window (with a depiction of a crawfish) acts as a centerpiece for Louisiana Tiny House RV. LED lights with hand cut Shoji paper diffuse the interior light to a soft glow. Other highlights include a custom steel kitchen countertop and a collapsible futon couch. 

Click here for more photos of Art's "Tiny SIP House"

Brittany's "Bayside Bungalow" Interior 

Brittany's modified Cypress -18 is simple and sophisticated. "I wanted more of a cottage feel, rather than a cabin," she explains. Brittany had spent some time in France prior to decorating her tiny house, and she fell in love with the cottages along the French countryside. Her glass front door expands her space and lets in a lot of natural light. She also incorporated wicker accents, such as baskets and wicker chairs. A fold down table acts as a desk and a dinning area. 

The "Bayside Bungalow" is available as a vacation rental in Olympia, Washington. More interior photos and information here.  

Jenna & Guillaume's "Tiny House Giant Journey" Interior

This is my Tiny House RV interior, a modified Cypress - 20. I painted my walls because I felt that the pine panels clashed with my reclaimed accents, alligator juniper counters and maple floors. The white walls really open up the space, but they also protect my panels from moisture and warping. I chose bold patterns for my curtains, accent pillows and cushions. I mixed metals: copper, brass and steel. My interior design theme was a combination of "French Country" and "Rustic." A stainless steel wood stove acts as a centerpiece for my tiny space. There's nothing better than a tiny fireplace in a tiny space!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

It's okay to be inspired by others! I loved Ella's live edge counter, Brittany's glass door and Art's dark floors. You can see their influence in my interior design, but I also made the space unique with some of my own ideas. For example, the thing I'm most proud of in my interior design, is the wood detail around my round window. Guillaume spent hours routing out a stump for our window trim, and we also created a "sunburst" effect with some spare pieces of reclaimed wood. It wasn't easy, but the finished product was worth the effort. 

Click here for more photos of "Tiny House Giant Journey"

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HOW WOULD YOU DESIGN YOUR TINY HOUSE RV INTERIOR?

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting an open house. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey here.
 
  

 

Tumbleweed is the First Green Certified Tiny House RV

 

 

"I'm personally drawn to Tumbleweed's core philosophy that 'Less is Green.' Yet, we wanted to take it a step farther and examine the materials we use. So when Green Certification became available for Tiny House RVs we decided we wanted to be the first to lead the way. "

- Steve Weissmann, President of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes

What does “GREEN CERTIFIED” mean?

TRA is a leader in the field of systems-built engineering, certification and inspection services. They offer a “green certification” for RVs, which requires an evaluation of a manufacturer’s facility, practices and procedure. Tumbleweed passed inspection for all criteria, including: resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency and indoor air quality.

The bottom line: We’ve always built our Tiny House RVs to be eco-friendly and now we’re officially certified!

Why does being “GREEN CERTIFIED” matter?

At Tumbleweed, we care about the environmental impact of our facility and our products. Building small isn’t enough, we want to ensure that our Tiny House RVs are built smart and efficient as well.

Just a few examples of our ongoing efforts to be green:

  • We plant a tree for each registered Tiny House RV built at our facility
  • We recycle unused construction materials off-site
  • Our Tiny House RVs are insulated with a high R-value, reducing the need to use utilities
  • Low flow water fixtures come standard in our Tiny House RVs
  • Rapidly renewable resources such as cork and bamboo are used for major components in our Tiny House RVs
  • And much more!

"The tiny house movement has always encompassed an environmentally conscious lifestyle with a smaller carbon foot through reduced building materials and maintenance needs, along with lower energy usage. We purposely went through the process of a third-party engineering review and analysis and are proud to have achieved Green RV Certification for our customers seeking a certified environmental lifestyle."

Ross Beck, Operations Manager at Tumbleweed Homes

*To find out more about Certified Green RVs, explore here.

Written by Jenna Spesard — May 12, 2015

Filed under: Certified Green   Eco Friendly   Green Building   Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House RV  

5 Creative Staircase Ideas for Tiny House RVs

Creative contemporary staircase design. Photo credit: Archi Expo

A few months ago, we posted an article that asked: LADDER vs. STAIRCASE, which would you choose for your Tiny House RV? The overwhelming opinion was that a staircase was preferred, but only if it didn't overwhelm the living space. It sounds like we need to get creative!

Below you'll find FIVE SPACE SAVING STAIRCASE IDEAS to get your inventive juices flowing.

1). Japanese Tansu Steps

Tansu Step Cabinet. Image credit: Pinterest

Japanese Tansu Steps are available for purchase, but if you're looking to save some cash, try building them yourself. Start from scratch or modify an existing bookshelf. Stack and secure wood storage boxes or antique crates (such as Tiny House Giant Journey did in the video below). 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub3RUyHUiEw

2). Tiny Spiral Staircase

Molly & Zack's Tiny Ski Lodge on Wheels. Photo Credit: Mark Fisher

In a tiny space, an average-sized spiral staircase will dominate the great room. So if you're interested in this aesthetic for your Tiny House RV, you'll have to get creative and think tinier. Molly and Zack's tiny spiral staircase design (above) was featured on the TV show Tiny House Nation. Francis Camosse used this same design in his Tiny House RV (below). 

Photo credit: Telegram.com

3). Alternating Tread Staircase

Photo credit: Tiny House Living 

This form of climbing might take some getting used to (ask any sailor), but it's a great space saver. After a few climbs, you'll start to remember: right, left, right, left. Muscle memory will have you ascending and descending with ease.

Photo credit: Stylish Eve

4). Folding Staircase

Photo credit: Loft Centre Products 

Wouldn't it be nice to retract or fold away your staircase when not in use? Perhaps the above example is a bit steep (almost a ladder), but with the right handrail it could work! For a bit of whimsy, enjoy the innovative "Disappearing Staircase" design below. In what other ways could we fold away our stairs?

Disappearing Staircase. Photo credit: Apartment Therapy 

5). Repurposed Staircase

Could you repurpose these stairs? Photocredit: Mental Floss

Remember the stairs from your childhood playground or bunkbed? Could you find a similar set that could be repurposed for your Tiny House RV? Maybe you could snag a set of steps from a dilapidated sailboat or manipulate a set of "pet steps?" Check your local resale shop, garage sales, estate sales and craigslist. Keep searching! Who knows, you might find the perfect set of stairs for free!

Pet steps.  Photo credit: Trend Hunter

Learn how to make the above staircase from a set of IKEA storage shelves, click here

YOUR TURN! Share your creative staircase ideas below!

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting an open house. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey here.
 
  

Written by Jenna Spesard — April 30, 2015

Filed under: Alternating   Folding   Reclaimed   Staircase   Stairs   Tansu   Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House Nation   Tiny House RV  

Jeff & Megan's Tiny House RV

Recently we held a workshop in Las Vegas and decided to check in with Jeff and Megan's Tumbleweed Linden build, called "Room To Spare Tiny House." Last summer, when we delivered their trailer, you might remember their difficulty maneuvering into their backyard build site. The retaining wall collapsed and the couple ended up maneuvering the trailer by hand. It worked!

Almost six months of construction, Jeff and Megan's build is nearing the halfway mark. "We originally thought it would take us about this long to finish the entire Tiny House RV," Jeff admitted. Currently they are sheathing and wrapping their Tiny House RV with Tyvek 

"Sometimes you can plan and plan and plan, but at a certain point, you need to just start building," Jeff shared. "At a certain point there is value in getting two pieces of wood attached to each other, instead of standing around and talking about it all day!"

For visual reference, above is a complete Tumbleweed Linden. Jeff and Megan have slightly modified the design to suit their needs and personal preferences. Notice, their door is located on the side rather than centered.

Megan Standing on her Sheathed Rear Roof

The couple was recently featured on the local news. Watch the video below to see the interior "Room to Spare" and learn about the growing interest in Tiny House RVs in Las Vegas! 

FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

The big question still hovers over Jeff and Megan's exit strategy (literally). How are they going to get their custom RV out of that backyard when it's fully built? 

"We don’t think there’s any way we’re going back out the way we came in," Jeff and Megan explained that they have two options: 1). PUT IN A GATE THROUGH THE BACK WALL OF THE YARD AND EXIT THROUGH THE NEIGHBOR'S YARD, or 2). HIRE A CRANE. 

The crane option might seem a little extreme, but the couple has quoted both options and the pricing is similar! So, why not crane it? It'll make for an amazing story, not to mention an incredible photo opportunity. 

Rain Tarp Protecting "Room to Spare Tiny House" from the Elements

Jeff and Megan's Three Pieces of Advice for Other DIYers:

1).  Invest in a good tarp (unless you’re lucky enough to have a covered build site)

2).  Know your exit strategy – or at least be aware of the challenges before you start!

3).  Trust yourself. Anyone can do this, with a little training and help.

We'll be sure to check back in with Jeff and Megan periodically, but in the meantime, follow "Room to Spare Tiny House" on their websitefacebook and Instagram.

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*All photos provided by Room to Spare Tiny House

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — April 14, 2015

Filed under: Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House RV  

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