Today we're going to discuss Skirting for your Tiny House RV. Stay tuned forfuturearticles on: fresh water practices, greywater practices, and additional insulation tricks for cold weather climates.
What is "Skirting" and Why is it Recommended?
Skirting is insulating material tucked around the bottom of your trailer, reducing the amount of cold air flowing under your trailer, therefore protecting exposed utilities and increasing heat efficiency. Even though the Tumbleweed trailer allows for 3 1/2 inches of insulation in the floor, trailer skirting is still recommended in extremely cold climates. It's a great way to reduce your heat bills!
Engineered Canvas / Fabric / Concrete Panels: There are many companies out there that make custom RV skirts. Advantages: Proven efficiency, snug fit, low maintenance and often covered by warranty. Disadvantages: Can be expensive.
Rigid Foam: A DIY option. Purchase rigid foam boards from your local hardware store, cut to size, and secure around your trailer using tape.
Plywood sheets: Plywood sheets (cut to size) can be used in areas which do not consistently experience freezing temperatures, but still wish to improve heat efficiency in their Tiny House RV. Recommended in Pacific Northwest or windy locations.
Snow: Free option, if you live in an area with a large amount of snow. Pile snow around your trailer. Dig out your vents / water systems. This option will require consistent observation and maintenance.
My Tiny House RV Skirt Plan
My Tiny House RV is wintering in the Colorado mountains this year. It's October and we are already experiencing freezing temperatures and the occasional snowfall (see above photo). We are planning on skirting our trailer with snow, as there will be plenty and it's free! Another advantage of a snow skirt is that we don't have to transport it, if we decide to move. I'll let you know how it goes later in the season. Wish us luck!
How will you prepare your Tiny House RV for winter?
Tiny space design can be challenging. At some point during your build, you may feel overwhelmed. Take this anxious feeling as a signal that it's time to take a break. Visit a museum, go for a hike or watch a classic movie. Inspiration can come from the place you least expect it.
"I'm not like most designers, who have to set sail on an exotic getaway to get inspired. Most of the time, it's on my walk to work, or sitting in the subway and seeing something random or out of context."
Tiny House Giant Journey in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado
We traveled for an entire year in our customized Tumbleweed Cypress on an adventure we dubbed "Tiny House Giant Journey." We towed our tiny abode over 22,000 miles while visiting 34 US states and 5 Canadian provinces. We visited mountains, oceans, deserts and enchanted forests, and parked our tiny at campgrounds, breweries, farms, Wal-mart parking lots, rest stops and, sometimes, out in the middle of nowhere!
After a year of travel, we are currently relaxing in Colorado for the next 4-6 months. When I look back on the past year, I'm in awe of all the beautiful (and somewhat extreme) locations we visited on our Tiny House Giant Journey. I think we'll have to plan another trip next year!
TOP FIVE "TINY HOUSE GIANT JOURNEY" DESTINATIONS:
1). The Arctic Circle
We towed our tiny 200 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska, on the bumpy Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle. The midnight sun didn't set over Tiny House Giant Journey that evening, as we spent one night in the Arctic before heading back south. I couldn't help but wonder: Has a Tiny House RV ever been to this circle of latitude before? I like to think we were the first!
For more on our Tiny House Giant Journey to the Arctic Circle, click here.
2). Florida Keys
While the Arctic Circle was the most northern latitude we visited on our Giant Journey, the most southern was achieved by driving the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys. While towing our Tiny House RV along this picturesque highway, which connects the key islands, we were completely surrounded by aqua-colored waters on both sides.
For more on our Tiny House Giant Journey to the Florida Keys, click here.
3). Badwater Basin (282 feet below sea level)
Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park actually rests 282 feet BELOW sea level! This was the deepest Tiny House Giant Journey has ever been, and currently we are parked at our highest elevation: 11,158 feet, in the Rocky Mountains. That's a big difference!
For more on our Tiny House Giant Journey to Death Valley National Park, click here.
4). Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
Eastern Canada blew us away with brilliant fall colors, mouth-watering lobster and delicious maple syrup. We fell in love with the lighthouses while visiting Nova Scotia, especially the iconic lighthouse located at Peggy's Cove just 40 miles south of Halifax.
For more on our Tiny House Giant Journey to Nova Scotia, click here.
5). New York, NY
Navigating the streets of New York City with our Tiny House RV was the most challenging maneuvering we encountered on our year long road trip (and that's including the time we squeezed out of a narrow Los Angeles driveway and carefully maneuvered the twisty and steep backroads of the Smoky Mountains). Surprisingly, NYC locals weren't phased by our tiny rolling cabin, and we're used to a lot of rubbernecking. I guess they've seen it all!
For more on our Tiny House Giant Journey to New York City, click here.
Are you concerned about maintaining your culinary passions in a Tiny House RV? Well, don't worry! Cooking in a tiny kitchen is the same as cooking in a large kitchen - you just need the right tools!
Tumbleweed offers full range and four burner stove tops (propane or electric) in all of their Tiny House RV designs. For more information on Tumbleweed kitchen options, click here. We've also written an informative article listing the Top Refrigerators of Tiny House RVs.
5 Tips When Designing a Tiny Kitchen for BIG Meals:
1). Go BIG on Your Counter Space. When designing a tiny kitchen that will be used for cooking BIG meals, make sure to allocate plenty of counter space for food prep. Folding countertops can provide additional space that can disappear when not in use. Remember that counter space is multi-functional, and can be used as a dinning space, work space or for organizing groceries.
2). Purchase Space-Saving Kitchen Tools. Purchase space-saving kitchen tools, such as multi-tools, that are storable. For example, this set of nesting bowls comes with up to nine pieces, but takes up the same amount of space as one large mixing bowl. Research other space-saving and multi-functional kitchen gadgets that will allow you to declutter your tiny kitchen without sacrificing essential tools for cooking big meals.
3). Go Compact with Appliances. If you're unable to combine appliances, try finding compact alternatives. Purchase a compact microwave instead of the regular or industrial size. After all, this appliance is not called a micro-wave to consume you're entire kitchen! Choose a compact rice maker, compact blender, compact coffee maker, etc. Check out this website for a full list of compact appliances.
4). Go Big on Your Kitchen Sink. Many tiny kitchen owners choose to install a small sink to save counter space, but if you're an avid chef, a small sink is not practical. Instead choose a large, deep sink (or double sink) and purchase a cutting board sink cover to expand your counter space. Install a retractable faucet so that you can clean dishes with more flexibility and fill pots with ease.
5). Choose Your BIG Meals with Your Tiny Kitchen in Mind. Challenge yourself and your culinary abilities by cooking BIG meals in a simple way. Create your own recipe book specifically geared towards your tiny kitchen. Check out Martha Stewart's "One Pot Cookbook" for ideas. Oh, and purchase the kindle version cookbook (space saver)!
Art Cormier has followed a winding path from police officer to rock wall gym owner to Tumbleweed workshop presenter and Tiny House RV educator. We first discovered Art after he posted a series of YouTube videos explaining his Tiny House RV construction using SIPs (structurally insulated panels).
Art completed his Tiny House RV in 2012 and is now parked in Lafayette, Louisiana. He is an avid climber, taking a month off every year to climb Yosemite. He's even been featured on David Letterman for his "stupid human trick" of traversing a chair.
You can watch the full tour of Art’s tiny here (and be sure to watch until the end for a surprise)
Art's Great Room with a Convertible Couch
A few facts about Art’s Tiny House RV:
117 square feet
Built on an 18 foot trailer
SIP (structurally insulated panel) construction which is extremely efficient and offers a high R-value
How can a tiny kitchen be so minimal yet so innovative? Art’s kitchen features a chest refrigerator - cleverly hidden under a cutting board. His countertops, sink and backsplash are made from one custom piece of stainless steel. Art keeps his shelving and storage to a minimum stating: “If you build it, you will fill it.”
Art’s Tiny Bathroom
A handmade Shoji-style door slides away to reveal Art’s tiny bathroom. The shoji door is lightweight, beautiful and allows for privacy while letting natural light shine through. The bathroom features a Nature’s Head composting toilet and a 32” x 32” fiberglass shower stall.
Art's Shoji-style Sliding Bathroom Door
Heating and Cooling
In Lafayette Louisiana, air conditioning is a necessity. Art’s Tiny House RV is equipped with a compact window unit air conditioner (he’s not even sure they make them that small anymore). In the winter, he heats his tiny with a plug-in space heater.
Art claims that in the dead of the winter (in Louisiana it gets down to the mid-20s), he pays less than $1 a day to heat his home. When you only have 117 square feet with a high R-value, and you’re located in the south, that’s enough!
If you want to read more about heating options for tiny spaces, click here. For off-grid heaters, click here.