Story 40 | Civil Engineer

Chris Kulish (@kul_kamper)

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Two years ago, Chris Kulish was stuck in Pennsylvania traffic; stuck on the east coast (he'd never ventured anywhere else); stuck in his first real job; stuck in a cubical on the 13th floor of an office building, glued to a computer doing engineering work; stuck in the daily grind of trading time for a paycheck.  Stuck.


Complacency and stability often go hand in hand, and Chris was no different.  Life was good, working for weekend adventures and the occasional vacation.  Content, Chris thought he'd live in Pennsylvania forever.  He drew up plans to build a small log cabin, put a deposit on the logs, and made the terrible mistake of fronting a bunch of money on a private land sale.  After that, Chris learned that the land wasn't surveyed and that he'd have to hire a contractor to build his log house...uh-uh, bad deal, not going to happen.


The pitfall led Kulish and his best friend from college to break out of their comfort zone and take a bucket list trip to Arizona.  They went wild, wild in the West riding motorcycles through the Grand Canyon and going for their first skydives.  

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For Chris, the trip sparked an inner desire to move westward.  A year later, after a trip to Colorado with his then-girlfriend, he knew he had to move west.  However, he struggled to get a bank to approve a loan on vacant land and log cabins. 


"No one would hire me in the West with a Pennsylvania address," says Kulish.  "I realized I had everything I needed to be happy and reach my goal: skills, tools, money to build my own house, and a truck to transport it westward. It just wasn't going to be a 1300 square foot permanent log cabin, but rather a tiny house on wheels."

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After attending the nation's largest annual RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania his design started as nothing more than a sketch on a paper towel at a restaurant.  Chris committed the next year to reform his life, working full-time and building his Kul Kamper after work.  As part of that commitment, he got rid of many things that he rarely ever used.  "I literally was feeling my worries melt away and happiness grew with each thing I got rid of as I knew I was one step closer to having just what I need, and not much more to weigh me down," says Kulish.  The last month of construction was fully devoted to the interior, plumbing and electrical.

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With the outer-shell insulated and water-tight, Chris began adding oak and mahogany plywood to the interior to give it the log cabin feel.  Once he installed marble-countertops, a sink, a fridge, solar panels, a diesel furnace, a shower, and lights his Kul Kamper (go to www.kulkamper.com to see details on the whole build!) truly became a home.

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"If random people ask you for a tour, definitely do so, even if it makes you late, because it might just be the encouragement they need to reform their life."

"If random people ask you for a tour, definitely do so, even if it makes you late, because it might just be the encouragement they need to reform their life."

The day after Chris mounted his Kul-Kamper to his diesel-powered Dodge Ram, he rode his motorcycle to work feeling like any day he would quit his job and move West.  By the time he got to his 13th-floor office cubicle, he realized that he couldn't wait another day.  So he said "goodbye" and "thank you" to his friends and colleagues, escaped his desk job then strolled down the sidewalk like it was the first day of his life.

"Until that day, it was the freshest air I had ever breathed.  Literally, it felt as though I was squatting 315, and just re-racked the barbell.  I had truly reformed my life: escaped the cubical life desk job, had gotten rid of all of my possessions that were not a tool or adventure gear, and now had a functional tiny house capable of highway speeds." 

"Until that day, it was the freshest air I had ever breathed.  Literally, it felt as though I was squatting 315, and just re-racked the barbell.  I had truly reformed my life: escaped the cubical life desk job, had gotten rid of all of my possessions that were not a tool or adventure gear, and now had a functional tiny house capable of highway speeds." 

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Now, after landing in Utah and living in his Kul Kamper for 2 years and 3 months, Chris says it is exactly what he needs for his weekend adventures and mobility in the mountains.  

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"I can stand up in it with plenty of head-room and feel as though I am not compromising ANYTHING at all by residing in a mobile tiny house rather than an apartment.  In fact, I’d say that I would feel as though I would compromise too much by living in a regular house."

"I can stand up in it with plenty of head-room and feel as though I am not compromising ANYTHING at all by residing in a mobile tiny house rather than an apartment.  In fact, I’d say that I would feel as though I would compromise too much by living in a regular house."

"Never park in the same place more than 2 nights in a row, unless its remote." Like this.

"Never park in the same place more than 2 nights in a row, unless its remote." Like this.

Chris has recently earned his professional civil engineering license and spends most of his work time out in the field doing geotechnical exploratory drilling for buildings and roadways.  His dream-job offers him 14 days on and 14 days off.


Chris spends his free time paragliding, rock climbing, base jumping, skydiving, adventure motorcycling, mountain biking, road cycling, doing 3 gun competitions, drone flying, snowboarding, ski touring, slacklining, kiteboarding, mountain boarding, and boxing.  

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He has been back and forth across the US of A twice, crossed the Donner Pass during a blizzard with chains on all 6 drive wheels, gotten stuck in deep sand at Lake Powell, rock crawled in canyons of Moab, barely rolled through the thickest fog and rain in the Smokey mountains, had to stop on a major highway in the desert because he couldn't see the road topped with feet of snow, and transported 16 friends in his tiny house during Independence day at Jackson Hole.

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"In the words of my grandpa, 'Make sure you are enjoying what you’re doing because the time goes by quick,'" says Kulish.

"In the words of my grandpa, 'Make sure you are enjoying what you’re doing because the time goes by quick,'" says Kulish.

And for all of you reading this don't be afraid to reform your life, chase your dreams, take that leap and let go.

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To learn more about how Chris Kulish reformed his life follow him (@kul_kamper)

David Walden