You may not have to fear tiny home discrimination!
Tiny homes are becoming more prevalent across the country. They can be used for camping purposes (or rather glamping) or as a permanent residence. As a traveling home on wheels, one major question comes to mind. Where can I park my tiny home?
Campgrounds sometimes allow tiny houses. When determining where to park, you must consider local and state laws, building codes, and private campground rules. Nevertheless, in many cases, a state or campground that allows RVs will typically allow or consider a tiny home. There are a few things you must bring in order to set up your tiny home and prepare it for a campground stay.
Tiny House Friendly?
Campgrounds, and RV parks specifically, can be popular places to park your trailered home. This is because they usually have designated parking spots that you can reserve ahead of time, utility hook-ups, and offer amenities.
However, it is important to note that not all RV parks or campgrounds will allow tiny homes. Even those that do may have restrictions placed on what you can and cannot do. Among tiny home enthusiasts, RV park or campground discrimination seems to be a hot topic.
This is unfortunate because both destinations have a lot to offer. One top amenity is often the ability to get out into nature. Much like an RV, a tiny house can be parked and then you can feel free to explore the great outdoors. This is preferable to camping on someone’s property or in a driveway.
Additionally, RV parks may offer necessary services. This includes on-site laundry, electrical hook-ups, water hook-ups, and waste dumping. Whether or not you want or need to take part in these amenities depends on the type of tiny home setup you have.
Off-Grid Tiny Homes vs Grid-Tied Tiny Homes
The type of set up you choose should be determined by how hands-on you want to be with the functions of your tiny home (and its occupants).
Going truly off-grid means having a composting toilet, using solar power, and hauling or catching water. It can be incredibly difficult to live off-grid full time. Your home will be very transportable and not tied down, as you can sustain yourself almost anywhere, but for most individuals, this is not very practical.
Having a grid-tied tiny home means using resources that people commonly use to run their households. This includes using a power generator. Your home will still be quite mobile but you will have access to electricity.
Other tiny homes are wired for electricity and feature a plug on the outside in order to hook up to a system. These tiny homes are less self-sustaining than those with their own power generator and fuel source, but can certainly still obtain power at many campgrounds are RV parks.
The next concern is water. Many tiny homes will have either a water storage area or a water catchment and filtration system. The fact is, that tiny homes are, well, tiny. Therefore, you won’t have a lot of space to store water. You will want to make use of any rain that falls or any access to clean water, such as at a campground.
Finally, is waste. Some tiny homes may have traditional flush toilets, and they can be equipped with plumbing. But, this means that you will always need access to a disposal tank or sewage system. At the very least, if you have a holding tank, such as with an RV type toilet, you will need somewhere to frequently empty it.
Other tiny homes may choose composting toilets, incinerating toilets, or dry toilets. All of these options still need to be emptied, just less frequently as they do not use water or plumbing.
As you can see, the features you equip your tiny home with determining how useful RV park and campground amenities and services will be to you.
Tiny House Classification and Legalities
Furthermore, the size of your tiny home and its setup could play a role in its parking, legality, and classification.
Tiny homes are usually either classified as trailers or RVs. Both classifications have their own set of rules. Such as, trailers typically require yearly registration and a fees. RVs are not considered full-time dwellings and therefore living in your tiny home full time could void this designation.
If RV Parks or campgrounds allow RVs then in most cases your tiny home will be allowed, regardless of whether it is classified as a trailer or RV.
What is nice about campgrounds are RV parks is that they occasionally have tiny home communities. They tend to try and group tiny homes in close proximity to one another or within a group of campsites. This can be a great way to meet fellow travelers and experience camaraderie.
Even if there are not other tiny homes, the campground may have occupants who reside there year-round. These people can make great neighbors for your tiny home.
It is important to note that private RV parks or campgrounds tend to be much more accepting of tiny homes and an extended length of stay. State parks, National parks, and other public lands are usually more stringent.
What Do I Need To Do Before Parking A Tiny House In An RV Park?
First, research the area. Find out about state laws, county laws, local laws, and specific park laws. You want to know what your tiny home is classified as and whether or not you have and special licenses, such as if your dwelling is certified by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Once you have determined it to be legal to park at your campground or RV park of choice, then visit the park or at the very least speak to someone who works there.
You want to find out if they have a length of stay requirement. Are they open to permanent residences and more specifically tiny home dwellers? Some more popular destinations may only allow a week to two week stay to accommodate tourists. Alternatively, a few may have long term options or even year-long leases.
If the RV Park doesn’t have a lengthier stay option, see what their move-out policy is. Do they require you to only be gone for a night or a day? If you could move your tiny house and then return it may be a simple solution.
Next, ask about amenities. You don’t want to just know if they have power, water, and sewer, but the fees associated with them. Again, this will be influenced by the type of toilet, plumping, and systems you have incorporated into your Tiny House.
Wifi, cable, and laundry would also be a great bonus, so be sure to inquire about those. Before you leave, ask for a copy of the rules and regulations as well as any pricing.
It may be beneficial to take a test drive of the campground just to see if you would like it. Does it look clean and friendly?
Of course, many of these things may be less important to you if you are only staying for a short while.
How to Park a Tiny Home at a Campground
The first step is to pull in. Find your assigned spot and carefully position your tiny home making sure that you are on the flattest portion of ground available and within reaching distance of the hook-ups if you plan to use them.
Try to make sure that your tiny home is balanced, both left and right. If you need to drive the trailer onto levelers, do so. After you ensure that it is balanced, place your wheel chocks.
Your vehicle can now be safely detached.
Once the lift and support from your tow vehicle are taken away, you may need to level the front and back of your tiny home. This can be done by using your tongue jack to lift or lower until the home is balanced. For extra height consider using woodblocks.
On to stabilization. Lower your scissor jacks and use any pads or supports necessary to keep them in place.
Next, you will have to perform a series of connections if you have them. Connect the greywater, water, and electricity. If there are hookups available, you will connect the water lines to those, if not you will connect them to the appropriate tanks.
For electricity, you can either connect your solar panel, set up your power generator, or connect the power into the appropriate outlet hook up.
Finally, you can complete the setup with the lowering of any outdoor features like decks and awnings. Be sure to lock your trailer in place and stow away gear. Then, you can organize the inside.
As most of your indoor items were probably prepared and stored for travel, you may need to rearrange them and return them to their proper places. Once the setup is complete you can enjoy your new (temporary) home!
What do you need to set up a tiny house at a campground?
You are going to need some tools if you want to set up your tiny house properly at the campsite you park at. These are:
- Camper levelers
- Wheel chocks
- Tongue jack
- Scissor jack
- Tough pads
- Cables (for towing)
- Chains (for towing)
The rest depends on the type of campground you go to and extra materials you may need if your tiny home is lacking proper utilities. These products can be found here.
How do you set up a tiny house when camping?
There are typically about six steps to setting up your tiny house when you get to the campground/RV park you chose. Don’t fret; they are simpler than you might think!
At this point, your tiny house should still be attached to the tow vehicle. Your wheels should be level on both sides at all times, and you need to consider that as you are parking. You should drive onto wheel levelers and then secure them with wheel chocks.
Once the house is level and isn’t going to roll away, you can detach the tow vehicle from it. Take off the chains and cables; be sure to place jacks on the side that is attached first, though, or the house will lower on one side, displacing everything inside.
The jacks that you just used should be level in both the front and back of your tiny house. If the jacks don’t quite reach the lift that you need, you can always set up wooden blocks underneath them to keep the house level.
Carefully lower the jacks. This will keep the house level but not quite so high off the ground anymore.
After your tiny house is stable and ready to be lived in, you need to connect your hookups for water, electricity, and sewage. Most RV parks have these hookups available as long as you pay for them.
First, lock your trailer and pack everything in your tow vehicle away. Then you can unpack all of the loose items that you stored away inside your tiny house!
What are the pros and cons of camping with a tiny house?
As is true of any other thing in the world, there are upsides and downsides to taking your tiny house on the road. Let’s talk about that before you decide to pick up everything and leave.
- You do not have to worry about efficiently packing everything you want and need on your camping trip. Everything is already in the house, and since it’s your primary shelter, there is no need to pack!
- You get all the perks of RV living without buying a separate pricey item in addition to an expensive mortgage. Your tiny home is both an RV and a house.
- You will likely sleep better, as all of your familiar surroundings are still with you. You get to sleep in the same bed, shower in the same shower, and use the restroom where you normally do. Some people find it more difficult to get comfortable without those things; you don’t have that problem.
- When you camp in an RV, you can drive the whole thing there in one vehicle. You can’t drive a tiny house; you have to pull it behind you. This can be an inconvenience for some, especially those who choose to drive cars instead of sturdy trucks. You may have to rent one; those expenses could add up fast.
- Camping in a tiny house can be a lot of fun, but it may get boring as you aren’t really experiencing anything new. Some people find it exciting to sleep in a tent or hammock rather than in the same bed they do every night.
- Not every campsite allows something like a tiny house to park on the premises. You may have a difficult time finding one near the destination you were hoping to get to. You have to either settle or leave your dream of camping in a tiny house behind.
It’s vital that you make an informed decision when it comes to going camping in your tiny house. If the trip is too difficult, expensive, or uncomfortable, you wasted a lot of time and the opportunity for good memories. Nobody wants that! If you weighed the risks and decided to take your house anyway, let’s talk about how you can properly set out on your adventure and how to get it set up when you park it at the campsite of your choosing.
Other things to remember about camping with a tiny house
Although you are pretty much all set for your tiny house camping trip, a little extra knowledge couldn’t hurt! Take a look at some of these tips and be prepared to have tons of fun!
- Lock the doors and windows of your house while traveling. You will occasionally need to make stops, and you never know who could be a little too curious when your back is turned. Doing this also just helps keep everything shut when you are moving.
- If your bed is in a loft, keep in in by attaching cables from end to end. If the entire bed slides off, that could be bad news for the rest of your furniture. Even just a mattress could crush some of your more delicate items.
- Always pack up your kitchenware. Pots and pans can fly off of hooks, and plates/bowls are extremely easy to break. Put plenty of padding in the boxes to make sure that a sliding box doesn’t damage your dinnerware!
- Call ahead of time and understand the rules and rates of the RV park you are traveling to. If you are on a tight budget, you wouldn’t want to end up paying too much for necessities that you mistakenly thought may be included with your stay.
- Relax! This is still your vacation, even if you’re bringing your home along for the ride. As long as your follow simple rules and use caution, everything should be a piece of cake.
Life On the Road
Tiny homes seem to be the latest craze, but in reality, they are not too different than RVs. Thankfully, many campgrounds and RV parks are accepting of these mobile dwellings whether you are staying for a week or a year!