Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Moving a Tiny House

After one year of living the tiny life in Charleston, South Carolina, we get ready to venture north with our tiny house. Over the holidays Cedric applied for a new position at his job, Vermont Bicycle Tours. He was a trip leader here in the South but has now been promoted and so we are moving to Vermont in the middle of February! We’ve never moved La casitaCasita further than 15 miles so we have quite a challenge ahead of us, especially with winter in full swing in Vermont. Above all else we want the house to come with us but we’ve made two concessions:

1. If a snowstorm hits too soon before we leave we won’t move the house.

2. If the winds prove too blustery we won’t move the house.

Hoping that the weather holds out on us we are taking the following steps to traveling with  La Casita.

1. Towing Vehicle: This is already proving expensive. Moving a tiny house  is not going to be cheap. We have to cover 1,200 miles in a long weekend and most trucks are round-trip rentals only. The cheapest rental we’ve found is $550 not including at least another $500 in fuel. It will have to be a 4×4 and we’d prefer diesel. We’re also looking in to buying a truck and possibly reselling it up in Vermont. As a rural state we figure there is plenty of need for a truck but if it isn’t diesel and it has too many miles, this idea could backfire on us. We’re definitely leaning toward buying at this point seeing as we don’t want to have to bring a rental back down south. A truck could really prove useful up north and we’ve talked about possibly keeping it if we find the right one.

2. Trailer Preparation: La Casita sits on a 6’x16′ dual axle trailer and is pretty easy to tow, even for me, who has little to nopainted-trailer experience in towing anything. We are going to have to replace the tires, another $500, in order to tow it safely. Besides tires, we need to double check our lights, brakes and bearings to make sure everything is in working order. We have to look for chains for the rear axle and the truck as well.

3. Packing up La Casita: For the most part, we don’t have much to pack since it’s already mobile! The kitchen will have to be boxed up to prevent any glassware from breaking and our artwork will need to come down off the walls but other than that the house is set. It will probably require the least amount of work in all the going-ons. We’ll also use it to transport our bikes and Cedric’s tools and anything else that may not fit in the car.

These are the preliminary stages to our planning but it’s going to happen fast as we near next Friday, February 1st which is our current departure date. Cedric does not start til the 19th so we have plenty of time to settle in to our new lives.  For whatever reason, if we can not move the house, we have had a few people ask about renting it in our absence. We will certainly consider this option if it comes to that but we’d rather be able to take our home with us since that was the intent of building it on a trailer. Hopefully, lady luck keeps the winter weather at bay and we’ll find ourselves living the tiny life in Vermont in a couple of weeks!

Your Turn!

  • Any advice or suggestions from the tiny life community on towing a tiny house?

 

 

23 Comments
  1. No suggestion, but a question. How do you change a tire on a tiny house that is already built?? In the process of planning for mine, something I have never thought of. Good luck with the move!!

    • You can pick up a bottle jack for cheap. I got a 6 ton jack for $35 new at Northern Tools. Just be careful when you lift it up and you can get the tire off pretty easy. You may need to use blocks to get more height because the springs need to extend all the way before the tire comes loose from the ground.

  2. Drop weight.
    if it can be replaced for the same cost up north sell it off and buy at your destination. Painters tape on windows. Properly stow and secure anything that shifts.
    Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4U7isvtCHA
    inspect all fittings at each stop,safety chain included.
    have fun on the journey.

  3. I am hoping that you will video record your moving adventure to post later. Good luck with the move and the new job.

  4. I live about 3 hours south of Lake Champlain, near Albany, NY & its freezing up here. Literally 10 below with the windchill, 25 to 35 below in the Adirondack Mt.s No worries, it rarely gets this cold, maybe a week out of every winter. Going up to 30 on Monday so dress & plan accordingly.

    Do you have AAA? Good idea to sign up for it. You could also look into local junkyards for some rims for your trailer & put the old tires on it as a spare, just in case.

    Check out VT craigslist for trucks that are for sale to see hows your would sell. http://burlington.craigslist.org

    Also a good one to bookmark
    http://www.511ny.org/mapview.aspx?showWTA=true

    http://vtransmaps.vermont.gov/VTrans511/511live.htm

    Good Luck & welcome to the Nor’east :)

    • Hiya Devlin! Thanks for the report. We’ve been keeping a close tab on the weather. We do have AAA and we have been checking craigslist for truck sales in Vermont. Thanks for the other links and the well wishes! I look forward to our migration north!

  5. Andrea, i live in central new york state or “Up state” as we say. Today it’s -10 below because of the cold snap. As a kid WAAAAAAY back in the ’50’s my mom,dad, my brother and i lived in and moved an 8 x40′ mobile home many times in one year, dad drove a flat head V6 ford truck. mom would fill up the cupboards with a pillows over the dishes, one over the glasses,making sure the cupboard was full and no sliding around, put the pot’s and pan’s in the oven, used masking tape to hold all doors and oven door shut, no tape on the windows. And off we’d go. moved to florida, then to southern florida, dad looking for work, then three times around NY state till we finally landed. then we stayed for the next 17 years in one spot. nothing ever broke & we had hot meals at night when we stopped for the night in a rest area. If your truck has snow tires i don’t think you’ll really need chains, If vermont is like NY, the road crews really, REALLY,know how to plow the roads and they are usually clear. Now having said that, if it’s snowing like a blizzard when you come up, park in a rest stop and wait out the storm. They usually only last a day or two and when you see plows coming into the rest stop ask the crew how the roads are and when it would be ok to continue on. It’s been my dad’s experience driving trucks for over 50 years that that’s what all truckers do and my dad made it to 78 years before passing in 87′. and thats when old timer’s didn’t have all the ice and snow equipment to use that they do now. Just drive slow—let the “idots go around you, you’ll see them off the road a few miles up from where they passed you, in a ditch. That’s how it’s been all of my 64 years living in “snow” country. good luck and don’t let people’s talk scare you. Just “do it” as old timers said when i was a kid.

  6. Well, having just moved our tiny house here are my most immediate thoughts.

    1) Triple check your lights making sure you have basic running lights as well.
    2) Get a truckers map and make sure that all bridges and overpasses on your route are tall enough for your house.
    3) Check your brakes more than once under different temps if possible.
    4) Carry two spare tires.
    5) You may want to buy a car jack (6,000 lb. rated) to jack the house if you have to (for tires, etc).
    6) Just like you would in a hurricane, cover your windows with something like thing plywood or even just luon for road debris. (We got hit once by a rock and our plywood worked perfectly)
    7) Make a dry run of 15 miles or more at variable speeds.
    8) BREATHE!
    9) Make sure your interior is taped down, strapped down, or otherwise wrapped on the floor. Things do and will shift.
    10) Don’t exceed 55 mph and stay in the right lane when possible.
    11) When checking the wind multiple the number by 3 cause that is what it will feel like when towing. If the wind is 5mph you will feel like it is 15mph.
    12) BREATHE!

    I hope that helps some and we’ll be happy to answer any specific questions you have as the move gets closer.

    • Wow thanks so much for the information! This checklist is incredibly helpful. It’s good to hear from folks who’ve made it happen successfully. I’ll certainly contact you with any specifics we think up.

  7. Oh and i forgot to tell you buy snowmobile boots for warmth and good traction and thermal underware for under a good heavy (wool) coat and pants, and yes flannel shirts for outdoor warmth. we all dress for the weather and not much for how it looks. when it -10 or -25 below who cares how the heck it looks. and good thick hat too.

    • Thanks so much Hunter! All of your advice is priceless! I’ll definitely pack accordingly. I’ve been completely at a loss when it comes to what I should buy but now I have a better idea what I need. I have thermals and good hats but definitely need better boots and coats. I’ve lived in the South my entire life and have never lived anywhere where it drops into the negatives! I’m in for quite an adjustment. Any advice on what I should do for our puppy Asher? He’s a corgi so he’s got a good coat but I know his paws and muzzle are going to need protection.

  8. Not sure what you mean by “most trucks are one way rental”– I have moved many times, 2000 or so miles and always one way. Once pulling a car on their car hauler. Assume their hitch would work for you- check it out. U-Haul sometimes cheapest but always a pain to deal with. For me- Penske beats them all. Good, newer and better condition trucks. Check insurance conditions and rental company for whether your use is ok – obviously. With a rental truck you would then have additional space for bikes, etc. Good luck.

    • Hello Jim! Thanks for the advice! What I meant is that pick-up trucks are round trip. I don’t trust any of the U-haul rentals in our area. We rented through U-haul before and I’m amazed it made it the 10 miles we had to tow. All their trucks were in horrible condition. We don’t really need additional space since everything fits in the house but I’ll check with Penske. We are definitely leaning towards buying a truck and reselling but if it doesn’t work out this is helpful advice we’ll fall back on. Thanks again!

  9. Could you rent the moving truck [van or full size truck version] as one way and towing your trailer. They do have the hitch. The moving truck would give you more wind protection while travel down the road instead of regular full size truck.

  10. I wish you well. Vermont is beautiful, as is upstate, NY. I live near the border of VT, close to Bennington. I hope you like it up here!
    You will be glad to have such small cubic footage to heat. :)

  11. my comment keeps not getting posted maybe because I was adding some links into it. So I’ll try it without. Have you considered a hauler such as ushipDOTcom? Lots of folks with vintage trailers use them. You put in your info, several haulers bid on your job. I know they also move big RVs for snow birds that don’t want to drive down to Florida and Arizona. I got a fairly reasonable bid for a trailer for $400 from Oregon to the Bay Area. Might be worth investigating. Have your house hauled by a pro while you take a leisurely amtrak ride to your new state.

  12. I’m not sure about cost, but I know that a 14′ UHaul is rated to tow 10,000 lbs and they typically have one way rentals.

  13. Two things I remember from moving that I almost forgot.

    Take the blades off any ceiling fans you may have or take them down completely. They will rock during transport and may cause damage. Also, don’t forget to secure the top of the toilet tank if its removable.

  14. Great advice here. I agree with all of Andrew’s tips, especially the “breathe” advice. Those telephone pole wires look high until you drive your tiny house under them! We never had anything bad happen but man was I nervous! :) The only advice I received in addition to Andrew’s advice was to check the tightness of the lug nuts on the trailer wheel rims at the first couple rest areas to ensure no loosening.

    Good luck! :^)

  15. All the advice above has been good. I lived in VT for the last 5 years and recently moved back to NY. My 2 cents

    #1 if the weather is so bad you need chains you should not be towing a house down the road. I’ve never owned them and never seen the need too. (exception: depending on where you plan to park your house you may need chains to pull in through the mud if you wait till thing thaw)

    #2 If you say the cheapest rental is $550 plus $500 in fuel you could double that and still not find a reliable diesel truck up here for $2100. Please if you have good mostly rust free late 80s ford with less than 150k bring it up I’ll buy it from you.

  16. I hadn’t realized there was so much to consider when moving a tiny house like that. There are some very instructive tips here, I like everything the anotherkindofdrew has to say. You should write an instructional manual and sell it on Ebay!

  17. Some good advice, plenty that would pass you by when getting ready for that stressful move. You guys should collaborate and publish something, best seller all day. And JohnB – forgetting that toilet… damn I nearly did!

  18. Some great advice, plenty that would pass you by when getting ready for that stressful move. You guys should collaborate and publish something, best seller all day everyday. I’d go for Kindle though. And JohnB – forgetting that toilet… damn I nearly did!

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