Idaho Sheep Wagons

Kim Vader and his family have lived in Boise, Idaho since the early 1900’s. His ancestors were sheep farmers, his aunt was Basque, and their lives in the high desert have inspired Kim to design and build classic sheep wagons. This style of wagon was originally used by sheep herders who needed a portable place to live while tending their sheep in the high desert and mountains of the Western U.S.

Kim has been a craftsman for over 35 years and builds the wagons from scratch. You can purchase a finished wagon or have a custom sheep wagon built to your specifications. The wagons can be built on running gear that is freeway worthy or they can have original antique wood spoke wheels.

Typically, each wagon will have a bed with a memory foam mattress, a sitting and eating area with storage underneath, an antique wood stove or an electric stove, and a small kitchen area with custom cabinetry. They can also have several 110 electrical outlets and a storage area on the back of the wagon. The wagons are painted in traditional white and green colors and will have the classic canvas roof that is rated to last up to 10 years. The wagons are built with 2×6 Douglas fir and the cabinets and doors are built with 3/4 inch birch, pine and Douglas fir.

These sheep wagons can be used as a tiny house, on a farm or ranch, as a guest house, or an artist’s studio. Idaho Sheep Wagons also offers delivery. The prices range from about $9,000 for a 12 foot wagon to $13,500 for a wagon with original spoke wheels. Currently the company has a wagon for sale for $8,300.

Photos courtesy of Idaho Sheep Wagons


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

20 thoughts on “Idaho Sheep Wagons”

  1. To get the true flavor of actually living in a working sheep wagon, read Laura Bell’s book “Claiming Ground”. Beautifully and honestly written, it will give your temporary stay in a sheep wagon some context that will make you appreciate the lives of people who lived herding sheep in the remote reaches of sheep country (and the few who still do).

  2. I have an old sheep wagon on road wheels that I use for camping and as a guest cottage. I love it. There’s nothing cozier.

  3. This is nice (“Idaho Sheep Wagon”, but I think the “Willow Wagon”, profiled last summer (July 2010?) did the ‘wagon’ thing much more… warmly? I don’t know, this one just seems ‘too’ small, tight, claustrophobic… while the “Willow Wagon” (by Teri Freeman/Ron Dakotah) seemed roomier, more liveable… to each his/her own, I guess. It’s nice to see the ‘booming’ VARIETY in small living this year, though!

    • …I think the “Willow Wagon”, profiled last summer (July 2010?) did the ‘wagon’ thing much more… warmly?

      Well, the Willow Wagon certainly has a lot of… character? But I certainly prefer the clean and organized look of this little wagon. It is kinda plain on the outside, but on the other hand, the Willow Wagon is a little too… I don’t know, kitschy, perhaps.

  4. I’ve gotta disagree with Shea.while the Willow Wagon was very cute and full of character if I was going to live/stay in such a compact space it would have to be neat as a pin with a place for everything (as in the Sheep Wagon) or I’d quickly be overwhelmed by my own disorder! I love that the sheep wagon is so clean and functional and efficient though I’m sure it wouldn’t stay that way for long in my hands!!

  5. The design of these is so innovative, I feel like it looks modern and antique at the same time. Might just have to order one myself, though I’m not sure what I’d be able to use it for here in California! 😉


  6. I absolutely love what appears to be a pull-out drawer that serves as the table. What a great idea! My only wonder is how they make it sturdy enough.

  7. At first I was thinking how cozy and workable the area is. Then I knew it was coming…insulation? I would get cold in those long winter months. yeah I couldn’t do this unless I came for a summer vaca for the experience.


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