Traveling with your tiny house is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Hurtling down the freeway with a 10,000 lbs tiny house requires vigilance, preparation, and constant adaptation to ensure every trip you take is smoother than the last.
As important it is to ensure everything on the outside of the tiny house is safe and secure for your move, most people neglect to make preparations on the inside of their tiny house until it’s too late. Cabinet doors can swing open, furniture can swerve and break, ceiling fixtures can fall or get unhinged.
So how do you prepare the inside of your tiny home for travel? Using small tools like hinges, locks, and hooks make all the difference. Securing appliances, shelves, and other big furniture with a bungee cord is a great way to keep them from moving.
In this article, we share the common mistakes of rookie movers, as well as some useful tips to make your move as pleasant as possible. Read on to avoid the hassle that comes with traveling with tiny homes.
Your First Tiny House Travel: What to Expect
The first time is always the hardest time. Most tiny homeowners don’t really know how travel-friendly their set-up is until they hit the road and experience a real road trip. Some common mishaps include:
- Appliances that have been dislodged in their position
- Wall fixtures that fall during the move
- Broken plates, cups, mugs, vases, and other brittle objects
- Worn hinges from cabinets/doors from swinging open
- Dented refrigerator door from swinging open
- Scratches on the floor from furniture moving
Every tiny home has a different set-up. If you find that your first preparations weren’t enough to secure the inside of your tiny house, use this as an opportunity to change and improve for your next travel.
It All Starts With the Build
Here’s something most tiny house owners don’t realize until they’re on the road: tiny houses swerve while being transported, even if you’re using the right tow vehicle. It can be terrifying, especially if you’re the one towing your own home, but rest assured this happens more often than you think.
Swerving happens when the tiny house doesn’t have an even distribution of weight. To err on the safe side, most people use a weight distribution hitch that will prevent the entire structure from swaying. But even that isn’t always enough especially for homes that weigh 10,000 lbs or more.
Choose a Travel-Friendly Layout
Creating a tiny house that can withstand transit involves choosing the lightest yet sturdiest materials you can possibly use to keep it road-friendly. But what most people don’t realize is that all that conscientiousness won’t offset swerving if you’re not practicing proper weight distribution for your tiny house on wheels.
A lot of floor plans pack the kitchen, bathroom, and loft onto one half of the tiny house, and the living space on the other side. What this does is create a weight imbalance by putting the majority of the load near the “tongue” of the trailer.
Although popular and space-efficient, this isn’t always the best option for tiny houses on wheels. There are other floor plans that can be appropriated for tiny house travel.
When creating your tiny house floor plan, try and distribute the weight as evenly as you can along the length of the trailer. A good rule of thumb is to split the weight 60/40. 60% of the total tiny house weight (including the weight of the appliances and furniture) at the front of the trailer, and 40% of it towards the back. This way you can prevent the tiny house from swerving uncontrollably by maintaining proper distribution along the trailer.
How to Prepare Your Tiny House for Travel: Helpful Tips
Kitchen and Dining Area
- If you’re using propane appliances, ensure that the gas tank is shut off for the entire duration of the move. Keep electric appliances unplugged
- To prevent appliances from sliding out of position, you can secure them with bungee cords. You can buy ones that already have hooks or just a bungee cord spool that will let you control just how much cord you need
- Install latches on kitchen cabinets to prevent them from swinging open. If you don't want to install something permanent, use reusable child safety locks to keep cabinets and drawers secure
- If your tableware is typically displayed on shelves, take them down and stow them on safety bins. This goes for other breakables like glass, mugs, and other glassware
- Store produce inside the refrigerator or inside storage bins
- Secure an open pantry by tying a bungee cord at the front of the shelf to prevent goods from sliding off
- Attach non-slip pads on the dining table and chairs to prevent them from moving
- Use heavy duty kitchen rails to hold your pots, pans, and other cooking tools. Another nifty way of combining style and safety is by installing magnetic strips that will hold your cooking utensils in place
- Remove toiletries from open shelves and place them inside a bin or storage container
- Check the integrity of your mirror and see that it’s secured to the wall. If you’re using putty or any adhesive material to hold up the mirror, consider taking it down because some roads are so bumpy it might shake the mirror down
- Secure bathroom cabinets with a cabinet latch
- Make sure your bathroom door is locked during the build. If you have a sliding door, simply install a latch on it to keep it closed during travel
- If you have an off-grid water system, empty out your greywater tank before the move. Collect enough water on your freshwater reserves; you never know how long you’ll stay on the road
- Hold TV in place by installing safety straps if it’s on a console, or by mounting it using a lockable wall mount that’s been tried and tested for earthquakes
- Take down pictures, decor, and other breakables from the shelves
- Prevent furniture from scratching your floors by putting non-slip pads under the legs of your sofa, ottoman, and other pieces of furniture. This non-slip feature also keeps them from moving
- Stash furniture on one side of the room. We recommend stashing it on the side with the least amount of fixtures in order to help with the distribution of the weight
- Use bungee cords to secure belongings on book shelves and open storage units. You can also wrap the front with bubble wrap to prevent the items from slipping outside the shelves
- If you have items like stereos, gaming consoles, and projectors, place them on the floor next to the furniture or on storage boxes to prevent these from falling off surfaces
- Apply adhesive putty on small items on the shelf
Bedroom and Closet
- Use non slip hangers to prevent your clothes from slipping off during travel. Better yet, use your cabinet space to hold individual storage boxes where you can fold your clothes neatly inside instead of hanging them
- Secure all belongings like laptops, chargers, and important documents in one storage bin. You never know when you need these during travel so keep them at the ready
- Take down photos and other memorabilia and lay them on your mattress. Place other breakable objects around the loft on your mattress
- If you have a slide-out bed, you can use a heavy-duty swing door guard to prevent it from sliding out while in transit. If you have a Murphy bed, secure the top with a heavy-duty latch to keep it from dropping down
Ready for an Adventure?
Don’t let the stress of towing your tiny house get you down. It might seem crazy at first but it’s all part of the tiny house experience. As long as you follow these helpful tips and stay mindful during your tiny house travel preparations, you’ll have no problem hauling your home to a whole new adventure.
Want to make sure you’re 100% safe on the road? Read our previous post on Road Limits for Tiny Houses on Wheels.
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.