Thus begins the journey of getting the tiny little trailer ready for the road. Or at least ready for our version of the road. Waterproofing, installing solar and a/c, putting together all of the bits of things that we need in order to call it a home.
However, first things first. The first thing is that my little Rav4 can’t quite haul the trailer (which we still haven’t named). Weight-wise it can, but only just barely. And it doesn’t have the right hookups (the trailer is a 7-pin circular trailer connector and the Rav4 has a 4-pin flat connector; yes, there are adapters, but shhhh…) or any of that jazz. So first we’re doing some truck shopping. Not gonna lie, I’ve always wanted a truck. *Squee!*
I should also mention my other car, so dubbed Baby Car because it’s the size of a t-rex skull. It’s a bright orange Scion IQ. It’s seriously the most fun car I’ve ever driven. It drives like a Mario Kart, turns on a dime, and is generally just adorable. Plus, it makes it possible to strike up a conversation at basically every gas station and stop light. However, I don’t think it’s quite up to the task of hauling our tiny little trailer.
I admit, I am not a fan of car shopping. I get overwhelmed going to the mall for longer than 10 minutes, so puttering through endless car lots being nearly tackled by every used car salesman within a 100 foot radius is not my idea of a good time. So we’ve been strategically cruising through the car lots when they’re not open in order to peruse in peace. It’s been a relatively successful tactic thus far. Basically, it meant that I could gather a list of trucks that I liked, research all of their specs, read all the forums and narrow down my options.
To haul what is essentially a 1200 lb utility trailer, you don’t actually need that much power. And Nik had been advocating for a little Ford Ranger or a Toyota Tacoma. Both of which are adorable and about the same size as a normal compact SUV. The Tacoma can haul up to 3500 and the Ranger up to 3100 – both of which would be plenty for our little trailer. However, I am from the Midwest and we like overkill; especially when it comes to trucks. And I really don’t think it’s going to be a bad thing to have excess power when we tow through literally every mountain range on this continent. Not only that, but this is Tiny Little Trailer V1.0 – we have every intention of upgrading (i.e.: building our own microhouse) within the next year or so, and there is no way I will want to buy a new truck when we max out the towing capacity of a little Ranger or Tacoma.
The guy that we bought the trailer from had some good advice for us in looking for a cross-country truck: look for a V8 with as close to 6L as possible, make sure it has four wheel drive, make sure to test the four wheel drive when you’re buying, make sure it doesn’t have too much rust, make sure the breaks don’t grab, check the hitch, if you’re looking at Dodge then look for something post ’08 because the earlier ones rust harder, and in his opinion: Ford is A++ and Chevy is A+.
Note that those are all American trucks. I love my Toyota, alas, it looks like I’m back to American made.
Thus, I created a short list. Keep in mind this is based on my available choices in the area in the appropriate price range for us that were actually in good condition without too much rust – not necessarily all of the best possible trucks that you could possibly use for this. What I ended up narrowing our truck choices down to were the following:
- Ford F150 V8 4.6L with a 6.5 foot bed
- Ford F250 V8 6L with an 8 foot bed
- GMC 2500 5.8L with an 8 foot bed
Of course, the bigger you go the more your fuel economy suffers. With as much driving as we intend to do, that’s really a major consideration. The other major considerations were (in no particular order):
- Bed Size: Our teardrop, unlike many teardrops, does not have a full back hatch area. So in order to be able to really survive, we’re going to need some space in the trailer for a big cooler, in addition to whatever pots and pans or tools or excess supplies we might need to bring. We also have every intention of bringing our bicycles for strategic mobility when we’re parked somewhere and don’t want to detach in order to putter around town.
- Cab Size: This is because I like to have the option of putting extra stuff (like a small cooler and, at some point, my dog) in the cab with me. Also, it’s nice to be able to fit a couple more passengers when the need strikes.
- Fuel Economy: As I said, many, many, many miles of driving and gas really isn’t getting any cheaper.
- Overall Size: The bigger the truck, the more of a giant headache to park in urban areas.
- Driving Comfort: Did I mention many, many, many miles of driving?
- Hauling Capacity: As I said, we’re going to be upgrading at some point, so taking into consideration the eventual weight of a microhouse is kind of important.
What did we decide? The Ford F150. It’s pretty, it’s quiet, and it’s smooth (like buttah’). Also it’ll be slightly less of a pain to park. It’ll haul up to 5000 lbs which, of course, is less than the 10,000 lbs that the other two can haul, but with that kind of a weight restriction it’ll force us to really build a *micro* house and not go too far overboard with our design and build.
So, we have a truck!
Alrighty then! Onward!