One of the biggest considerations when developing your own tiny house is its weight. Applicable to tiny houses on wheels, calculating its total weight is important in order to be able to tow it safely. If you’re hoping to be a new owner of a tiny house, there are many factors that contribute to your home’s weight that you should be aware of. In addition to your belongings, vital elements include the trailer weight and axle weight.
Not sure where to start? Keep reading to know more about how to work out how much your tiny house weights.
The Key Weight Components Of A Tiny House
On average, the dry weight of a tiny house is about 10,000 pounds. However, it all depends on the size or square footage of your tiny house, as it often ranges from 3,000 pounds to as much as 15,000 pounds. The dry weight is the total weight of your house and trailer without furniture, water, or people. As loose furniture is not recommended mid-transport, this weight will include built-in furniture and storage.Check Price on Amazon
In addition to the dry weight, other major technical values to keep track of are:
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR is the total weight that the trailer can safely hold, which includes the weight of the trailer, house, and contents of the house.
- Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). The GCWR is the total weight of the tow vehicle, trailers, tiny house, contents, and people. The Department of Transportation often has rules about the maximum GCWR weight for travelling on roads and highways.
- Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). The GAWR is what your individual axles can carry, which depends on the manufacturer. This value is per axle, which means you’ll have to multiply the rating of one axle by the number of axles you have to figure out your trailer’s capacity.
- Payload Weight Rating. To calculate this, take your total GVWR and subtract it by the trailer weight. The payload weight cannot exceed that value for the trailer to carry your tiny house safely.
- Tongue Weight. The trailer’s tongue is where it connects to your vehicle’s hitch. You should ensure that not too much weight is put on the tongue to maintain a balance, as it can affect its stability to tow. Ideally, the tongue weight should be around 5-10% of the total weight of the trailer.
- Gross Trailer Weight (GTW). This is the weight of the materials your trailer is made from. The heavier your building materials are, the more weight is put on your tiny house. For instance, a tiny house with steel framing can weigh as much as 60-70%less than a wooden tiny house.
What Other Things Affect Your Tiny House Weight?
When you’ve calculated all the essential weights above, there are other things to consider that will add to the total weight of your tiny house. While tiny living encourages a minimalistic lifestyle, it’s understandable that there are still some important belongings that you will still want to take with you. Below are some items that you should take into account:
- Did you know furniture can add another 500 pounds to the weight of your tiny house? Sofas, beds and other key pieces can quickly add on the pounds. When thinking about interior design, it’s best to consider furniture that is on the light side, or ones that can be multifunctional to reduce the weight.
- Solar panels or water tanks. Depending on what type of energy source you’ll use to power your tiny house, renewable energy sources can weight plenty. Solar panels, for instance, can add a couple of hundred pounds to your tiny house. Water tanks weigh around 8.33 pounds per gallon, which can add up if you use up an amount every day.
- Clothes and various items. Living in a tiny home generally allows for very little room for a closet full of clothes or a shelf of books. However, the small number of belongings you have can still affect the total weight. To be really precise in your measurement, you can weigh everything you own. It’s recommended to keep a simple wardrobe if you want to travel light and hassle-free!
How To Tow Your Tiny House
Firstly, make sure to purchase a trailer that’s suitable for your tiny house size, as well as one that is road safe and legal. Next, depending on how often you want to move, is to purchase a tow vehicle. Unless you are only moving once a year, it may be more cost-effective to hire someone to tow your house for you. Otherwise, you can also rent one if buying one is out of your budget range. Renting is also a good option if you have someone else to drive the personal vehicle.
- Do research and ask lots of questions. Prior to purchasing your tow vehicle – if you are going to buy one – take on some thorough research to find the one that suits your needs. Find one that is rated to tow your house, as well as the contents in it. When in doubt about anything, ask your dealer to be sure.
- Consider upgrades. For a comfortable and safer ride, you may want to upgrade your tow vehicle with better brakes, suspension, or transmission. Axles can even be upgraded to handle a particular trailer frame or a heavier house.
- Purchase additional gear. Driving a tow vehicle that’s carrying your very own home can be challenging, especially if you’ve never driven anything of that scale. If this is the case, it may be in your best interest to get FV GPS, backup cameras and sensors, which will make driving much easier.
Apart from designing and building a tiny house, the logistics is just as important. Being able to move your tiny home takes careful planning in measuring and weighing in order to be able to tow it around safely. The type of tow vehicle you choose also varies on your needs, as well as the size, and ultimately the weight, of your tiny home.