Starting over & towing West an off-grid, wood clad tiny home


Kim Harmsen crossed the country by RV when she was married, but now single she built herself a tiny home on wheels, hitched it to her truck and departed Minnesota to find a new home state (or states). It took her three years to build, but her tiny mobile home provides a security, particularly from extreme Midwestern weather, she never felt while traveling in an RV.

She started with an Iron Eagle trailer (with a drop pan for tiny home builders) and built an insulated, all-wood, off-grid home for herself and her rescue dog Mazie. With appliances powered by her photovoltaics and ample food and water, she can live for weeks on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management oversees millions of acres of wilderness areas where camping is free and legal). We bumped into her at a rest stop at the edge of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


35 replies
  1. Jonathan Hansen
    Jonathan Hansen says:

    I wish her the best of luck. I’m kind of concerned for her. Her self build is very high profile, and will be a sail in high winds. I certainly wouldn’t tow it in anything like the Santa Ana winds we get out her in So. Cal. Every year they tip over tractor trailers.

  2. Josie's Journey
    Josie's Journey says:

    I love that you just bumped into her & now we all get to meet her. So happy that she's doing what she wants. She's right – fear is what keeps people from breaking out of the box. She's an inspiration!

  3. Chinoodin 47
    Chinoodin 47 says:

    Great on the road catch. I’ve been to that ND stop…great view, great little house on wheels…and Minnesota you betcha. Love the bigger stove, fridge, hot water on demand, solar powered. Obviously it needs a BFT to pull it.

  4. ItzAn Opinion
    ItzAn Opinion says:

    My only concern is the front of the tiny house behind the truck and how flat it is..must really lower her MPH vs a more rounder front cap you'd find on more traditional 5th wheels…

    overall though…I LOVE this!

    I'd rather have a bigger truck to use for pulling, but that's just me! 🙂

  5. gloria
    gloria says:

    11: 43 sooo true…one day hope can do…but will have to carry self protection gears like guns pepper sprays bear sprays etc. that's another issue.

  6. Carol Hewett
    Carol Hewett says:

    A lovely lady with a classic designed tiny house which for better or worse reveals just how tiny these structures really are. No camera tricks here. I was taken aback by the realism. The walls were surprisngly dark but are probably very cozy looking at night with a little fire. Sorry, I wasn't inspired by this. Instead it made me think twice as to whether this lifestyle was for me. Thank you both for your integrity.

  7. Stephen Powdexter
    Stephen Powdexter says:

    It's extremely well designed for a do-it-yourselfer but … ,the reality of tiny homes is you have supplies stashed everywhere and in the open. As a trailer you can see that the wheels have nowhere to go for bumps and the front is flat and non-aerodynamic. There are no slide-outs to make it more spacious.

  8. GreatBigRanz
    GreatBigRanz says:

    Lets see. Gas, food, insurance, the truck and the tiny house is probably paid off so she doesn't have to spend TOO much, but we are still talking at least a thousand dollars a month, what kind of Social Security is she working on?


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