Getting the Trailer
Last Monday we took the single biggest step towards our tiny house to date; we picked up the trailer that will become the foundation of Tiny Roots. We ordered the trailer a month ago and last week got the call that it was ready. We had to wait six whole days for our day off to make the trek over the mountains to Iron Eagle Trailers near Portland, Oregon.
While researching trailer manufactures Iron Eagle stood out way above the rest. They have worked directly with people who have been at the forefront of the tiny house movement, including Dee Williams, to create trailers designed specifically for tiny houses. We met with Rob Mandzij, the tiny house trailer specialist at Iron Eagle. He went over their options with us, explaining the purpose for each modification and giving us recommendations based on our specific desires.
After much deliberation, we decided to go with the PAD-X design. Most trailers have the typical box frame with cross-members spaced every 24 inches or so within the frame that not only act as structural support for the trailer but also support the subfloor of the tiny house. The PAD-X, however, removes all but two of the cross-members which are left for the structural integrity of the trailer. To support the subfloor, a 2 inch flange is welded all the way around the inside of the trailer near the bottom of the frame. The builders then construct boxes out of plywood and 2x6s, then drop the boxes into the trailer with the edges of the box resting on top of the flange. The number of boxes depends on how many heavy, clunky rectangles the builders want to move. As the subfloor will not need to bear significant weight (the weight of the walls will be supported by the trailer frame itself), the flanges provide more than enough strength to support the subfloor. Going with this trailer design will slightly increase the amount of work for us. However, removing the cross-members also removed roughly 700 lbs, which translates into weight we can add to the house itself, and over $700.
On our way to pick up the trailer, we were so excited we couldn’t stop smiling the whole drive over in spite of the rain beating down. By the time we got to Iron Eagle, the rain had stopped, so we didn’t have to learn to hook up the trailer in the rain. Even though the trailer was well below our truck’s haul limit, I was nervous. I had never hauled anything before. When I saw the trailer, my nervousness escalated a little bit–it’s twice as long as our little Ford Ranger.
Fortunately, Rob put my mind at ease with his thorough introduction to the trailer. He gave us an overview of the features, showed us how to hook it up properly, tested all the lights, and even tested the emergency brakes that activate if the trailer should come unhitched while in motion. I pulled out of Iron Eagle’s parking lot much more confident, but still slightly nervous about the several miles of city driving we had to get through before we were finally back on the highway over the mountains. Fortunately the driving went smoothly. It’s not really that difficult if you’re paying attention.
When we got to our house we faced the next challenge: backing up. We are building Tiny Roots in a shop, which required backing the trailer into a very specific place. We both practiced backing up with the trailer, then Travis expertly maneuvered the trailer into the shop like he’d been doing this all his life. Now Tiny Roots is ready for some lumber!
Dimensions: 8.5ft x 24ft
Weight: 1,600 lbs
Axles: 2 @ 5,000 lbs
GVRW: 9995 lbs