Towing a 1-ton tiny-home behind a truck is not for the faint of heart, especially if you’re just getting started in the tiny-house movement. Even little maneuvers like backing up or pulling into a gas station isn’t exactly a walk in the park and requires a bit of practice, so today we wanted to pull in an expert to give us a perspective on the do’s and don’t of towing a tiny-home. Our expert? Stan Tabor, owner of Top Dogz Towing Service in Charlotte, NC and fellow tiny-house dweller who up-stakes every year for six months with his wife and dog to hit the open road.
“We’ve been doing it now for 10 years and look forward to it after a week of getting back.” says Stan, “I’ve a great self-sustaining business with good managers, so we can afford to take the sabbatical, if you will.”
We sat down with Stan to talk about his travels, and more specifically, tips and tricks for the beginning tiny house owners in terms of towing their rig on the open road.
FW: “Hi Stan, so you and your wife Marcy have owned your tiny-home for 10 years now. What made you want to get involved in the RV type lifestyle.”
ST: “To be honest, I find it hard discerning between tiny-homes and RVs, and my parent were big into RVing when I was coming up with my brother. It was just something we did every year for 3 weeks at a time. I think we hit most every National Park, and probably most States Parks by the time I got to college. I guess you could say it’s in my blood”.
FW: “Can you describe your tiny-home”
ST: “We own a 8′ X 30′ Mitchcraft custom built model on a Trailer made base. Great layout with separate bathroom and kitchen. I know I said 8′ X 30′, but it seems way bigger inside.”
FW: “What advice can you give to those newbie tiny house owns that are a bit timid about towing a tiny-home?”
ST: “I’ve got three things that I can think of right off the back. First is: Take it slow. With just about everything. Whether it’s backing into a campsite, driving on the freeway or checking your towing rig.”
FW: “Can you expand on that.”
ST: “Sure. For example on the freeway: take your time changing lanes, and don’t go over the speed limit. In fact, try to stay at least 5 miles under the speed limit at all times. I’m able to accomplish this by leaving earlier than expected and leaving plenty of time to travel to our next location. And I am never, EVER in a hurry. I look at this like an extended vacation, so I never want to feel rushed.”
“For hitch inspection, I have a protocol I go through every time that mirrors many of the things that we teach our guys in the towing industry. Even though this is an articulated rig, and towing rigs are fixed, there still many parallels between the two.
FW: “What would be an example of the protocol you use?”
ST: “The first thing I do is make sure that everything on the inside of the Tiny Home is secured. Next I make sure that all doors, windows and steps are pulled back and locked in. Then I check the hitch, starting with the lockpin, the ball lock pin and safety chains and the e-brake connection. I then check the tire pressure on all tires on the truck and tiny-house including the spares. Finally I check the brakes and turn signal.”
“Once I’ve gone through it, my wife goes through the same process again.”
FW: “So you and your wife have some redundancy built in to your process.”
ST: “Being in the towing business for over a decade, I strongly believe in redundancy for any safety checks. And my wife and I work as a great team. Frankly I’m not sure how you would drive a tiny home without a second person that you trust.”
FW: “That’s great. Well thanks for your time and expertise!”
ST: “Appreciate it. Thanks for the interview.”