Here's a list of the most common questions we hear when we tell people we're going tiny. Do you have others? Leave them in the comments below! We will try to respond, or create a follow up post to address them.
1. How tiny is your tiny house?
Our little house will be 8' wide by 20' long. The main floor will be approximately 140 square feet, and the sleeping loft will add another ~60 square feet. The total height of the structure must be 13'-6" or less, to meet road requirements. This means that the height of the main floor under the sleeping loft will be limited to 6'-6", while the loft space will be about 4' at its highest point. This allows for the height of the trailer and the structural components of the roof while still keeping the roof at 13'-6".
2. Where are you most excited to visit?
This is a tough one! If you visit our travel page, you will see that we have big plans. We are trying to see as much as we possibly can in 6 months. That being said, I think both of us are the most excited to visit Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, and Banff National Parks. We've never really been to this part of the country and the more research we do and pictures we see, the more we just cannot wait. Plus, the national parks provide many excellent off-grid camping locations, which we are super excited about!
3. What kind of hookups will you have for water, electricity, etc?
Our tiny house will have regular RV hookups for power and water. This will provide us fresh tap water and 120V power for outlets and appliances. The majority of our large appliances (water heater and stove) will run off propane, so we will also carry two 20-pound propane tanks with us. This means that we can easily connect to any RV spot in a campground, or to an extension cord and garden hose in a friend's driveway (if you have a driveway you want to offer, shoot us a message on our contact page!). We will also have fully contained electric and water systems so that we can do some off-grid camping, with no hookups. These systems will include a fresh water tank and pump, grey water tank, solar panels, batteries, and a charger/inverter. We are only planning to have these system supply us off-grid for a few days at a time. So, during this time, we will pack light and keep our food in a cooler, rather than the fridge. We can use our propane stove top, but not our convection counter top oven. So life will be just slightly more primitive.
4. How do you dispose of your waste?
The conversation about tiny houses inevitably always ends up with us talking about toilets. That's just a part of life, I suppose. Our tiny house will have NO black water, meaning we won't need to connect to a sewer system. Instead, we will have a composting toilet. This clever device has two waste containers, one for liquids, and one for solids. The solid waste container is churned after each use with some peat moss to encourage composting and is emptied every few weeks. The liquid waste container will get emptied every few days. We also want to keep a larger compost bin in the back of our truck, for other biodegradable food waste. All other water leaving our house (from our two sinks and our shower) will be grey water, and we intend to use all biodegradable cleaning products so that this can be safely disposed of pretty much anywhere. We will keep a small, portable grey water tank with us, so we can collect it all and dispose of it wherever makes sense.
5. What will you use to pull that thing?
As we mentioned previously, we bought a truck... a big truck.
Yes, we traded in our all-electric Nissan Leaf for a Ford F-250 Lariat with a 6.0L diesel engine. This big-ole truck can pull up to 12,500 lbs. However, we are hoping that when the house is fully loaded, it will weigh around 8,000-10,000 lbs. One of the main considerations when shopping for our truck was gas vs. diesel. We decided on the latter due to a few main advantages. Diesel trucks are usually more fuel efficient. This might be arguable when considering the current price of gasoline, but generally speaking it holds true. Diesel truck engines are also known for their longevity when properly maintained. This was important given how many miles we intend to put on this truck. Lastly, diesels are usually better suited for hauling large loads. Because of the high compression ratio necessary to ignite diesel fuel, the engine can generate more torque and power at a lower RPM.
6. What will you do with your dogs?
We have two dogs and neither of them are small. Otis is a 6 year old Akita mix (mutt) who weighs 120 lbs. He's a big slobbery mess who loves to be near you.
Colbie is an 8 year old Blue Heeler mix (also a mutt) and she weighs 50 lbs. I think she's part Corgi because of her pointy ears and stubby little legs.
They're both weird, quirky, sweet dogs that we couldn't imagine leaving behind. So, it was an easy decision, we'll bring them with us! The house may be crowded, but the lifestyle in general is great for dogs. Imagine all the walks they'll get to go on, all the people they'll meet, and all the great open land they'll get to roam! Each campground will provide new smells, new sounds, and new sights. To make things easier for us, we are definitely putting a topper on our truck. This will give them their own space on the car rides where they can lay down and we don't have to worry about them scratching up or slobbering on our seats.
Another topic we get asked about a lot is downsizing. Yes, we sold our house. We sold nearly everything in our house, too. This was a big undertaking so we'll cover all that in a later post...