Jenna & Guillaume traveled around the United States and Canada for one year in their modified Tumbleweed Cypress. Along their journey they sought out and met other Tiny House RVers, took photos of their rigs and interviewed them about their lifestyles. Now they are putting their collection together as a calendar for charity.
All proceeds from this calendar will be donated to charities that provide tiny shelters for the homeless. These four homeless shelters will receive equal portions of the donation:
22 year old Miranda Aisling is currently building a modified Tumbleweed Cypresson the front lawn of The Umbrella Community Arts Center in Concord, Massachusetts. After graduating from college with a Master's degree, Miranda decided to start her own business. "Miranda's Hearth" will be the first community art hotel where everything in the rooms is handmade by local artists.
Miranda's Tumbleweed will be the FIRST Art Hotel!
"By exhibiting the full creative process of building and filling (a Tiny House RV), we will draw attention to the creative fields of architecture, woodworking, pottery, quilting, interior design, and weaving, to name a few."
- Miranda Aisling
Miranda kicked off construction in June of this year, and things were going well, until she ended up in the emergency room with pneumonia. Working full time AND building a Tiny House RV can be exhausting. "It was a good lesson in pacing," Miranda told us, "but it (the illness) affected my motivation and optimism."
It took Miranda almost a month to recover, but she's back to work (this time at a reasonable pace). Her Tiny House RV is on schedule to finish in June 2016.
"The hardest part (of building a Tiny House RV) is not what you don't know, it's the amount you don't know and figuring out how to keep up with that volume."
- Miranda Aisling
Miranda's Advice for Other Tiny House RV Builders:
Plan out as much of your build as possible before you put in the first nail. Once you're building, there is very little mental space left to plan the next step.
Find a sidekick who will be there no matter what; find a group of people who will show up when they can.
Don't be a perfectionist. Appreciate the character of your home and the story in every board.
We'll be checking back in with Miranda as her Tumbleweed nears completion. Miranda has also been hired to host several of our Tumbleweed Workshops. If you signed up for one in 2016, you might meet her!
You have two options for getting fresh water to your Tiny House RV in cold climates. 1). Fill your internal water tank, or 2). Heat/insulate your fresh water hookup.
Option 1: Fill Your Internal Water Tank
If you are interested in being off-grid, you've probably already planned on having an internal fresh water tank for your Tiny House RV. I'm referring to the tank as "internal" because it's a good idea to store fresh water inside the insulated part of your Tumbleweed so that it doesn't freeze in cold climates.
To fill your fresh water tank, you'll use the water inlet located on the exterior of your Tiny House RV. To run fresh water to the inlet, you have two options: 1). Potable Water Hose, or if you do not have access to a spigot, 2). Fresh Water Jugs.
As long as there isn't any still water left inside your potable water hose, it should not freeze when stored. That being said, it's a good idea to store your hose in a warm, dry area (such as under your RV skirt in a closed container). Take it out when it's time to fill your tank.
Fy Nyth's water jug & hose system. She transports water in from a nearby well.
If you do not have access to a fresh water spigot, you'll need bring water to your Tiny House RV from an external source using a few water jugs. You will then physically pour fresh water through the water inlet into your tank.
The main advantage to filling your fresh water tank is that you save money, electricity and you can be off-grid. The disadvantage is that it requires you to physically fill the tank (which can be a chore in cold weather).
Option 2: Heat/Insulate Your Fresh Water Hookup
If you are parked in an area where city water is available, you can bypass your fresh water tank and directly hookup to a water spigot. This means your fresh water hose will be constantly exposed to cold weather elements, so you'll need to protect it (and the spigot) from freezing.
Purchase a heated drinking water hose. This hose will require constant electricity and will replace your normal potable water hose. Next, it's a good idea to insulate your spigot by wrapping it with foam insulation. You can also wrap your heated hose around your spigot to ensure it doesn't freeze.
The main advantage to heating and insulating your fresh water hookup is that you won't ever need to fill your tank or use your water pump (pressure will come from the city water). The disadvantage is that a heated hose can be expensive, will require electricity, and you will have to store/transport it during the warmer months.
Which method will you choose for your Tiny House RV?
Did you know that there are now THREE different Tumbleweed trailer designs? It doesn't matter if you're building a classic Tumbleweed Elm, a modern Mica or a custom design of your own, Tumbleweed has the right trailer for you!
The Original Utility Trailer
The Tumbleweed Utility Trailer design now comes in four lengths: 18’, 20’, 24’, and 26,’ and is the perfect trailer for a Tiny House RV design with a loft, such as the Linden, Elm and Cypress, because it maximizes interior height.
The Utility Trailer floor framing allows for insulation, saving you an extra 3 1/3" of headroom! With 5,200 lb axels the utility trailer is outfitted with two axels for trailer lengths of 18' and 20,' and three axels for lengths of 24' and 26.'
By building between the wheel wells, the Utility Trailer design allows for exterior eaves that will extend to the maximum legal width of 8'6." Eaves are gorgeous aesthetically, but they also protect your siding from rain and snow damage.
The Deck Over Trailer
The Deck Over Trailer is the ideal trailer for single-story Tiny House RV designs, like the Tumbleweed Mica. The Deck Over has maximized trailer width by building over the wheel wells. This trailer comes in three lengths of 20', 24' and 26,' all outfitted with two 7,000 lb axels.
*Eaves are not recommended for Tiny House RVs built on the Deck Over trailer because the trailer is already at the maximum legal width of 8'6."
NEW!!! Interested in building lower AND wider? The Low-Wider trailer maximizes interior space (height and width) in your Tiny House RV by building around the wheel wells. This trailer comes in lengths of 18', 20’, 24’, and 26,’ all outfitted with two 7,000 lb axels.
The Low-Wider trailer is a good fit for custom Tiny House RV designs, as there aren't any Tumbleweed designs for this trailer (yet).
*Eaves are not recommended for Tiny House RVs built on the Low-Wider trailer because the trailer is already at the maximum legal width of 8'6."
Why I Chose the Tumbleweed Trailer
Whenever someone asks me what are the most important pieces to "splurge on" when building your own Tiny House RV, I always say: "Your trailer, windows and roof." When I built my Tiny House RV, I had zero building experience and renovating an old trailer requires welding - something I was not prepared to do. By purchasing one of the first Tumbleweed trailers, I saved myself hundreds of work hours and I knew I was getting a quality product.
Other reasons why I recommend purchasing a manufactured Tiny House RV trailer -
By purchasing a Tumbleweed Trailer, I felt safe towing my house over 22,000 miles. I knew the heavy duty 5,000 lb axels and radial tires were able to withstand the load, and they did.
Tumbleweed trailers are tested to be perfectly balanced for Tiny House RV designs.
Brakes, lights and flashing are included and designed specifically for Tiny House RVs.
If you want more information on delivery, pricing and specs for any of these trailers, click here to download your free study plans.
Can You Rely On Solar Power For Your Tiny House RV?
The short answer is - YES, but you'll need to determine which solar system will work for you. Do this by calculating: 1) Your energy needs, 2) Your expected sun hours based on your geographical location, and 3) The optimal weight and size of your system
First, try using a solar calculator to determine your current electrical usage. You can also calculate your energy needs using this appliance chart. Next consider energy efficient or alternative powered appliances for your Tiny House RV to reduce your electrical usage and the overall size of your solar system.
Can you use an energy-star refrigerator or a propane refrigerator?
Can you switch your lights to LEDs?
Can you heat your space with a wood or propane stove?
Can you heat your water with propane?
Can you cook with propane instead of electricity?
Do you need a blender? A coffee machine? A microwave? A washer / dryer? A big TV?
If you plan on traveling with your Tiny House RV, it may be difficult (or impossible) to determine your average sun hours. You may want to purchase a larger solar system or reduce your electrical need. If you are caught in bad weather on your trip, and your solar system can not keep up, you can rely on campgrounds for an electrical outlet. You may also want to carry backup power - such as a gas generator.
Solar panels, batteries and inverters are usually heavy and bulky. This is an important consideration when determining the preferred system for your Tiny House RV. If you do NOT plan on moving your Tiny House RV, you can build an external shell for your batteries. You can then park your Tiny House RV in an ideal sun exposure location and mount solar panels to your roof, or mount your panels on a swivel rack that can turn for optimal sun exposure.
If you intend on traveling with your Tiny House RV, you will need to take care when considering the weight and storage of your solar system. I'm going to speak from my personal experience, as I travel with my solar powered Tumbleweed Cypress.
My Portable Solar System
I use the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator with four solar panels (two 100 watt panels and two 90 watt panels). I have one panel mounted to each side of my Tumbleweed for transport and the other two are stored in the bed of my truck. The panels in my truck charge my Yeti Solar Generator as we travel down the road.
You can see one of my panels mounted to the side of my Tiny House Rv in the above photo. The mount is also a hinge, and I add telescopic legs to prop the panel for ideal sunshine
I do not suggest mounting solar panels to the roof of your Tiny House RV if you intend on traveling, for two reasons: 1). You may not always park in an area with optimal sunshine. Having my panels separate and portable allows me to position and clean them easily. 2). Damage may occur from low hanging branches to panels mounted to your roof.
What I Love About the Yeti Solar Generator:
- It's an all-in-one system. The inverter, batteries and charge controller are combined to create a "solar generator." *Note: the Yeti generator cannot generate power without solar panels.
- It's extremely portable. It's on wheels! We store it in the cab of our truck when we are on the road.
- I can recharge it from a regular outlet if there is no sun.
- It weighs only 103 lbs. That may sound like a lot, but lead-acid batteries are heavy.
- It powers almost everything in my Tiny House RV. The Yeti can keep my computers, phones, and cameras charged, as well as my LED lights and water pump powered forever, as long as I have sunshine. It's a small system - only 1250 watt hrs, so I cannot use my hair dryer nor my space heater. I use alternative appliances to lower my electrical need: propane water heater, propane stove top, propane refrigerator, and a wood stove heater.