I have a friend who has made a very nice mobile Tiny House.

The reports I've read on the prices of these make them pretty dear. In many places for zoning reasons they have to still be nominally mobile.

I don't understand what the big draw is over a towed RV

There are some: A tiny house in principle can be both wider and taller than an RV This may make them more efficient to heat, and make better use of space. RVs often are designed for more occasional occupancy even in use. E.g. they sleep 6, but don't have a good place to put the lawn mower.

The width of single wide mobile homes OTOH can be 13 to 16 feet (depending on highway regulations)

So what's the attraction of a purpose built Tiny House?

  • 1
    In part, they're a fad. They're popular because they're popular. There is cultural (and socioeconomic) baggage attached to traditional mobile homes that's not attached to "tiny houses". Sep 28, 2018 at 15:35
  • I am not sure this is a sustainable living question.
    – paparazzo
    Sep 28, 2018 at 20:00

3 Answers 3


There is something to be said for both tiny houses and RVs. This Treehugger blog lists a number of pros for both. In short tiny houses:

... look like a house.

Tiny homes are more weatherproofed.

One can choose the materials and finishes that one wants in a custom-made tiny house.

Customization. Tiny homes come in all shapes, sizes, builds and aesthetics.

On the other hand RVs:

... are more mobile.

Building codes, insurance..... In many places, tiny homes occupy a bit of a grey area - they are often built as workarounds to local codes and regulations, and can be difficult to insure as such

A vintage camper is much cheaper to buy as a fixer-upper

They can blend in

So in the end it's really a matter of personal preference. In my experience eco-minded people are often also progressive and thus are more inclined to select new options. As Jean Paul Calderone rightfully comments RVs have a bit of a old-fashioned image. Tiny houses on the other hand are often promoted as "sustainable living for people who otherwise cannot afford it"

BTW at the bottom of the Treehugger blog you can vote on which you prefer. At the moment:

  • 31% of voters are in favor of tiny houses
  • 30% go for a conventional RVs
  • 18% is for a custom designed, eco-friendly RV and
  • 19% vote for renovated, retrofitted, eco-friendly vintage campers, trailers, etc.
  • 2% other

Travel trailer is probably easier to pull to many different locations and over longer distances than are tiny houses (trailer is usually more streamlined). Travel trailer (especially used) would be a less expensive way to experiment with small-space living and see if you really like it -- so it could be transitional (start with RV then built tiny house). You could also start with a used RV and have the option of stripping it down to build a tiny house in it's place.

  • Welcome to the site! Could you edit your post to better answer the question, what are the advantage of a tiny house vs an RV trailer?
    – LShaver
    Oct 12, 2018 at 18:14

I suppose that a tiny-house is built to a similar size of an RV and has wheels like an RV, so that it can be legally positioned on most any lot. And a tiny-house on a temporary foundation and with wheels, can be a heavier construction than an RV because the tiny-house doesn't really need to be an RV but just appear to be an RV so that it can be legally parked.

Or I have seen many tiny-houses on remote lots built on permanent foundations. It's just one genre of news-reporting that defines tiny-houses like parked RV's. There are programs on cable-TV that feature tiny-houses on permanent foundations.

Now I know of a set of permanent building constructions that are easy to build because the foundation is easy to build. Basically, just stick a piece of 304L in a wet-pour concrete footing and that's the foundation.

These foundations are crawl-space foundations. For instance, a 2" to 2 1/2" diameter 304L round or square tube with 0.120" wall thickness, should be cut to length, have a 304L flat plate welded to the bottom, and have a 304L L-angle welded to the top. Then a floor-joist-end and a stud sit on the L-angle and bolt to it. The floor joist and stud likely sit side-by-side.

Another version uses a 316 wet-pour 4x4 post holder. That's a post holder with two bolt holes on each side and tall sides. Then two rough-sawn 2-by lumber pieces will fit in the post holder. A floor joist and a stud can sit side by side or two studs can sit side-by-side.

The next point is that a ceiling joist can sit on one stud and bolt to the side of another stud. So go back to the foundation point and use two studs at each stud location. Furthermore, a floor joist can easily be set at heights by setting the floor joist on one cut-to-height stud and bolting to the side of another stud. The stud bolted-to can be carried to full stud height while the stud between floor-joist and ceiling joist must be pieced-in and bolted in place. Now these constructions require a bolted blocking using brackets, between stud locations, and up near the ceiling joist.

If the roof rafters are not a part of the ceiling joist in a truss design, then the roof rafters bolt to the sides of the extra-tall studs and sit on a fitted piece between the ceiling joist and rafter.

The whole house bolts together.

Finally, only use 18-8 nuts, bolts, and washers with 304L or with 316L. Otherwise, galvanized, but not zinc-plated, is okay for bolting two lumber pieces together.

  • 1
    This post doesn't seem to answer the question. Why one would one prefer a tiny house over an RV (or vice versa).
    – THelper
    Feb 11, 2019 at 8:04
  • A tiny-house can be built heavier than an RV because it only has to appear to be a parked RV. However, there are some situations of tiny-houses built on a permanent foundations.
    – S Spring
    Feb 11, 2019 at 20:55

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