Where can you park a Tiny House RV? There are many different ways to answer this question, but the simple answer is that you can park your tiny abode wherever it is legal to park a regular RV. Laws differ regarding RVs in every county, so you'll need to research your preferred parking location.
If you plan on traveling with your Tiny House RV, you will have the opportunity to park in campgrounds, National Parks, State Parks, overnight parking lots, rest stops, etc. Always read signage to make sure that "RV overnight parking" is allowed before setting up your Tiny House RV. If you are visiting a friend or family member in a county that allows RV parking, you might be parking on private land or in a residential driveway. There are many options out there, just ask any RVer!
You can design your Tiny House RV for "off-grid" or "on-grid" parking. Your future parking location may depend on your choice of utilities. It's a good idea to plan ahead and determine how flexible you'd like to be with parking and utility maintenance.
Ask yourself: Will I always have access to water and electricity? If you'd prefer to have off-grid electricity, you might consider designing your Tiny House RV with propane appliances to limit your electrical needs. If water will not always be available, you'll need to estimate how large of a fresh water tank you will need. The same goes for your grey water and black water tanks.
Ask yourself: How hands on do I want to be with my utilities? Being off-grid might mean emptying your compost toilet, rotating your solar panels and filling your fresh water tank every week. If this does not appeal to you, perhaps a parking spot with full connections is more suitable to your needs.
Watch this video for a full explanation of parking and setting up a Tiny House RV, whether you are off-grid or on-grid:
If you are interested in the products used in this video, here are details (in order of appearance):
If you’re a Tiny House RV lover, then you have probably seen pictures of Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow during one of your internet searches (I know we did). In fact, we took some inspiration from Brittany’s style and her house is one of the major reasons we painted our walls. Watch our full tour of the Bayside Bungalow:
It’s hard to imagine a petite woman like Brittany building a Tumbleweed Cypress all on her own, but the more I meet the women in this movement, the more I believe women can accomplish anything.
I like to say Guillaume built 60% of our Tiny House RV and I built 40%, but I might be exaggerating my contribution just a tad. I learned a lot from our build, but there is no way I could have done it without Guillaume's help and patience. I simply don't have the mental or physical strength to complete a project that large. I would have lost my mind! By the end of the year, I was using a table saw with ease (when we began I wouldn’t go near it). When we started on the interior, I was finally pulling my weight. I insulated the walls. I put up paneling. I did the trim work. I finished the counters and built the cabinets. And, of course, I decorated. If I had to do it again, and I was all on my own, I would purchase a barn raiser.
When I stepped inside Brittany's Bayside Bungalow, I marveled at the immaculate craftsmanship. I was already impressed that she was able to build a Tiny House RV on her own, but this structure was pristine! After further conversation, I realized Brittany completed the Bayside Bungalow without the resources we had during our build, that she had to repurpose an old trailer because Tumbleweed was not yet making Tiny House RV Trailers, and, finally, that she did it in HALF of the time it took us!
There’s no doubt, Brittany’s construction of the Bayside Bungalow was an act of pilgrimage for the movement. Today thousands of DIYers are building their own Tiny House RVs all over the country, and I think the pioneers (like Brittany) deserve some credit for the sudden popularity.
*Brittany has now opened her Tiny House RV as a vacation rental. If you're considering building tiny, I suggest trying the Bayside Bungalow out for a weekend.
"A year ago I read You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel," Lora told us in a recent interview. "I loved the idea of simplicity and aligning my space and money with my values and goals." Lora then toured a Tiny House RV at Tumbleweed's Colorado Springs location and discussed with a builder how to create her ideal custom Tiny House RV. "I chose Tumbleweed because I loved their floor plans and their interior design," Lora explained. "Their homes are top quality."
Tumbleweed offers plans, trailers and barn raisers (half-built homes that you can finish yourself), but Lora chose to have Tumbleweed build the entire Tiny House RV for her. "Although I loved the idea of building my own, it didn’t fit in with my goals, timeline or ability level!" She admitted.
Eight months ago, Lora received her Tiny House RV, which is currently parked in an RV park in Georgia.
"I’ve become more conscious of how I spend my time and money, which has helped me really change my life in some pretty exciting ways (like starting my own business)." - Lora
What are Lora's two favorite spots in her new Tiny House RV? "The nook is the perfect spot to snuggle up with a good book or to relax with an episode of my favorite show after work," Lora answered. "And the first time I climbed into bed, it was like having the cool treehouse I always wanted as a little kid!"
"My tiny home just feels like me.It’s very organized and functional, with lots of storage for the things I love in my life (like my books!).One of the best things about a small space, is that every detail reflects who you are because it’s all more intentional." - Lora
Lora's blog, The Tiny House Teacher, offers advice and tips to other tiny enthusiasts as well as some informative content on the movement. Be sure to check it out.
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
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.
*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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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 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.
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.
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.
Jenna 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.