Newcomers to the scene eventually find out that building a tiny house is actually the easy part. Finding your traveling home’s new address? Now that’s where the challenge of owning tiny houses come in. And even after you have found a piece of land to park on, there’s the issue of actually parking your tiny house.
So, how do you park a tiny house on wheels? It’s really all in the materials. In this article, we discuss all the materials you need to level and properly park your traveling home with confidence.
Whether you’re staying at RV parks or prefer to park somewhere a little more picturesque, we give you a useful guide that will make tiny house parking a whole lot easier.
Before The Travel: Important Preparations and Things to Consider
1) Is It Legal to Drive Your Tiny House?
Before hauling out your tiny house on wheels (THOW) on your next big adventure, figure out if it’s legal to bring it on the road in the first place. If you live anywhere in the US, flexible road limits make it possible to legally tow THOWs as heavy as 15,000 lbs. Some states will require a special non-commercial license for driving THOWs weighing 10,000 lbs and above.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t have it as easily. For instance, tiny house australia regulations dictate that a THOW has to weigh under 4.5 tons (9,920 lbs) to be towed legally. Europe tiny home owners have an even smaller weight limit to work with. The average towing limit for European roads is 3.5 tons or 7,700 pounds.
Wherever you are in the world, your foremost concern should be to check whether it’s possible to bring your tiny house on the road. Get your tiny home weighed, prepare any permits, and source out tips from local tiny house communities to learn more about legal road limits and requirements.
2) Make Sure It’s Legal to Park There
Finding a parking space for your tiny home can be tricky. Even though the tiny house movement is growing, there still aren’t enough laws addressing tiny house concerns, including where to park.
Your safest bet is to look for RV parks where tiny houses are allowed. Note that not all campgrounds and RV parks allow tiny houses - some require you to have RVIA certification or have utility (greywater, electricity, water) hook-ups before being allowed in.
Your location - rural VS in the city - will also determine how difficult it is to find a parking location. Settling in locations within city limits (like someone’s backyard, within a commercial lot, or your own private property) will be challenging since you’ll be under the radar of city officials, in which case you’ll only be able to live on the land temporarily.
On the other hand, you have an option to rent or buy land in more provincial areas. It’s common practice for tiny house owners to park in a farm, camping grounds, or other similar establishments and pay some rent money in exchange for staying there. Some tiny house owners take on the job as “property keepers” so they get to stay there for free.
3) Prepare Your Tiny House For Take Off
The outside of your travelling house isn’t the only thing you should worry about when hitting the road. Make sure to inspect the inside of your home and keep an eye out for loose drawers, cabinet doors that could swing open, as well as clutter that could fall off the shelves.
In our article Tiny House Travel Prep: Keep The Inside Of Your Tiny Home Safe, we provide tips on how to travel-proof every single part of your tiny house, as well as cheap DIY solutions you could install to make travelling hassle-free.
First time driving your tiny home? Don’t worry. It takes a while before you settle out the kinks. The more you travel, the faster you’ll figure out how to pack (and unpack) your tiny when it’s time to be on the move again.
4) Practice Parking Your Trailer Without The House On
When you’re parking a car, all you really need to do is put it in the right position and turn off the engine; we wish the same were true for tiny homes. In the stickiest of situations, you might encounter low hanging branches, particularly narrow roads, or dead-ends, at which point you’ll be forced to maneuver your tiny home in the craziest situations possible.
Before taking on the job, take out the towing vehicle and trailer out for a spin. Practice twisting and turning, as well as backing up, enough times that you can do it with confidence. It’s good to get some experience driving the trailer before adding five to ten thousand pounds on your back.
5) Consult the Tiny House Community
Tiny house communities are one of the best resources you’ll ever get on all things tiny. Aside from Youtube vloggers and online bloggers, there are everyday homeowners on Reddit and Facebook ready to share experiences about their own tiny houses, and it’s only growing with time.
Whether it’s building pains, tips on finding the right address, or just general tiny house anecdotes, your local community will have a lot to offer when it comes to hands-on tiny knowledge. You can find a state and region-specific list of tiny house communities here.
Still not sure where to park? Ask around your community to learn more about legal parking spaces for tiny houses in your area. My Tiny House Parking is a great directory for finding spaces you can rent for a monthly fee. Try It Tiny is another great site that could connect you with property owners that are willing to rent or share their land for your THOW.
Materials Needed For Tiny House Parking
Before driving away to your brand new adventure, there’s one last thing you need to prepare: the materials for parking. We list down the materials you need below in order to make parking your tiny house easy every single time.
1) Tire Levelers
Before even setting down your jacks, it’s good practice to make sure your tires are on even terrain (and therefore supporting your tiny house weight) before letting the jacks do all the work. It’s a common practice in the RV community and other mobile homes, and one that more tiny homeowners should really pick up on. The folks at Tiny House Basics show exactly why tiny homes should do it too.
Tire leveling can be done by using scraps of wood or manufactured leveling blocks, but our preferred method is by using the Andersen Camper Leveler. It takes the guesswork out of tire leveling and makes the process really intuitive.
In most cases, tire levels won’t be enough to bring your house to your desired height or level, which is where jacks come in.
Most first timers will be partial to scissor jacks because of ease of use and familiarity, but keep in mind that scissor jacks aren’t meant for long-term stability. At the very most, you should only be using your scissor jacks to prepare your THOW for stronger foundation, like a concrete block or jack stands.
While some builders will install scissor jacks on built tiny houses, even they would advise you not to depend on those for long-term use. Scissor jacks don’t have the flexibility to support itself when placed on uneven terrain, nor does it have the structural integrity to keep itself upright under immense weight.
To Weld Or Not to Weld?
Nevertheless, scissor jacks are still a great and accessible option for temporarily supporting your tiny house weight. When attaching it to your trailer, consider having it bolted or completely unattached so you can easily move and replace your jacks whenever it fails.
Best Jacks For Tiny Houses
Scissor jacks aren’t the only thing you can use to level a tiny house. A hydraulic SUV jack is a great, fail-safe solution to supporting your tiny house weight. Bottle jacks, which are a lot stronger than they look (they can lift up to 3-5 tons!) can also be used to temporarily ease your tiny house into a proper level.
Ultimately, jack stands are the best for supporting THOWs. They’re built to support heavy weights under extended periods of time and will keep your house stabilized, no matter what terrain you’re on. Check out our top five jack stands list for the best recommendations.
3) Bubble Level
If you think you can eyeball the leveling job, think again. Bubble levels, which can be bought as “rulers” or installed directly on the side of your tiny house, are useful in making sure your tiny house is leveled.
Why Should You Level Your Tiny House?
Doors sliding on their own, cabinet items falling off, and furniture rolling out of place are all symptoms of an unlevel house. Swaying when walking from one area to another is another sign of instability and improper leveling.
After spending so many hours on designing and building your tiny house, it would be silly to neglect the one thing that will determine how comfortable you are in your parked tiny house. The only way you can do this is to make sure you’ve got the parking and leveling down to a science, and with a bubble level, you’re sure to get it right every single time.
4) Trailer Lock
Tiny house theft is a thing but it’s completely preventable. To make sure you don’t ever have to search for your missing abode, get a hitch lock.
Hitch locks prevent any other ball from being inserted into the receiver, which prevents any other vehicle to tow your trailer while you’re away.
Get the best quality trailer locks to secure your THOW from theft. Look for high quality materials like hardened steel and avoid those that are made from aluminum. When it comes to design, it’s best to get locks with a specifically designed key. Although this product will be a bit more expensive than mass produced locks, you’ll be safer knowing you are the only person in the world that has key access to your trailer.
Parking Your Tiny House On Wheels
Level Your Tires
Before setting down your jacks or unhitching the car from the trailer, make sure your house is leveled on both left and right. Put down the Andersen Camper Levelers and slowly back up until the desired “lift” is achieved. Slide in the wheel chocks to secure the tires once your home is nice and level.
Level the Front and Back
Now that your tiny home is snug and secure, start using the jacks to level your tiny abode at the front and back. Begin by lifting or lowering the tongue jack. Use a bubble level to make sure your home is properly leveled. Use jacks to level the back of the tiny house, then place a concrete block or a permanent jack stand to support the weight.
Place the level on different parts of your home before securing the stabilizers. Make sure you are measuring across the entire length of the trailer to get an accurate reading from the bubble level. Otherwise, you can rely on the bubble level installed on the side of your trailer for level reading.
TINY HOUSE TIP: To make this process a lot faster, we recommend getting an impact wrench instead of manually having to crank up every jack.
Here’s where jack stands really shine: the structure alone prevents movement and acts as a stabilizer when you’re walking to and fro your tiny home. If you’re on an unlevel field, you can either dig a hole around the jack or stabilizer, or simply place your contraption on a concrete deck block to keep it firm and secure. Wobbliness is a sign that you need to add more stabilizers throughout the length of your trailer.
Detach and Secure the Trailer
Leveling your tiny THOW first will lift your trailer, making it easier to detach the trailer from the car. After safely detaching the two, lock your trailer with a reliable hitch lock. Then proceed with the rest of your set-up.
Tiny House Parking Made Easy
We understand that tiny houses aren’t the easiest things to park and drive - which is really part of the charm. But with practice, the right tools, and a solid house that’s built for the road, you can conquer every single adventure and live a free life on the road.
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.