ArkPak Power Pack Review

by Kent Griswold on February 25th, 2014. 11 Comments

by Kent Griswold

I recently received an ArkPak to test and review. The ArkPak is a power pack which can be used for a small back up generator or is great for camping, etc. off the grid.

A lot of power packs you see these days come sealed so you can’t change the battery when it is at the end of its life. The ArkPak comes without a battery and you can choose which type to put in and replace as needed.

arkpak and accessories

The ArkPak is the only power pack with a built in charger. It will also take a battery up to 130 amp hours or group 31+ for the longest output time. It works with both 12V and 110V power so that you can run just about anything you need to while out in the woods.

Assembly was fairly easy, the ArkPak has a plastic container that opens and you install your battery. Once the battery is in the enclosure, simply sinch it in with the velcro strap and attach the cables. Make sure you put them in correctly. ArkPak has a great installation manuel so be sure and follow it. Once the battery is connected you turn it system on and answer a couple of questions as to what type of battery you have and the amps so it will charge correctly and not hurt your battery.

connecting battery cables

My battery needed charging so I used the enclosed 110V adapter and charged it. It gives you a graphic that tells you the percentage of charge and lets you know when the battery is completely charged.

battery being charged and readout

As an option you can purchase an adapter to charge your ArkPak in your car when you are on the road. Here you see it hooked up in my Mini Cooper and charging. This would be great when you are on your way to your campsite or moving from one place to another.

12 volt car charger

You can also charge your ArkPak using solar panels and I will do a test with this option in the near future.

The ArkPak allows you run appliances on 110V power, up to 150 watts. It has a built in 150W inverter so if you try to run something that is larger it will alert you and shut the inverter off. This should be fine for running your computer, a small TV, and most lights. I hooked up my Ryobi drill charger and it worked great. Also my laptop worked fine, so I can recharge it while out an about or with a power outage at home.

charging drill

charging computer

The ArkPak also has 12V capabilities and that is where it can really shine. It can give you days of 12V power with a full battery charge.

12 volt power

The ArkPak also has a built in USB charger so you can charge your mobile phone, tablets, etc.

The ArkPak is quite affordable if you compare it to other power packs on the market. With my marine battery installed it weighed in at 48 pounds. With a larger battery I understand it can weigh up to around 70 pounds. So you are not going to want to haul this too far. The plastic latch has me a little concerned, but all in all it seems fairly sturdy for being a plastic enclosure.

This would work great as a supplemental power system in a tiny house or remote cabin. Click here to learn more about it.

Following is a video showing how it works in the outdoors.

February 25th, 2014and filed in Construction Articles
Tags: ArkPak, battery, Off-Grid, power pack
11 Comments

Alicia Harris’s Tiny House

by Christina Nellemann on January 27th, 2014. 19 Comments

The Columbia Missourian recently ran a story about university student Alicia Harris and the tiny house she built with her father, Paul. The 180-square foot house was built for only $22,000 over the course of two months and Alicia lived in it while interning in Amarillo, Texas last summer.

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Her tiny home was built on a 7 1/2 foot-by-18-foot flatbed trailer and contains a small kitchen, bathroom with a shower, a loft bedroom and living space with a full closet. The minimalist interior is full of wood accents. The trailer is currently parked in an RV park in Columbia, Missouri while she finishes school. Alicia shares the tiny space with her large Great Dane, Roscoe.

Alicia’s house was based on a blueprint from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and her desire to be mobile and not tied down to high housing costs was the catalyst for this type of home. She also appreciates the low utility costs.

“A perfect example: My first month’s electricity bill was $4, and the second one was $10,” she told the Missourian, “and that was living in Texas in the middle of summer.”

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Photos by the Columbia Missourian

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Taliesin West Miner’s Shelter

by Christina Nellemann on December 16th, 2013. 18 Comments

Most architecture students don’t have to build their graduate project first in order to be able to live and study. However, at Taliesen West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter office and now an architectural school, students have to sleep outside in the desert in either a tent or in a shelter of their own design. Student David Frazee fashioned his desert shelter after an old miner’s shack — with a few more amenities.

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David based his tiny shelter from some architectural ruins found on the school’s site. The concrete pad it sits on and the old chimney were used as a base for the tiny house. The shelter is held at two feet above the desert surface by two steel posts and one of the original concrete walls. The shelter is covered with rusted steel panels that are attached to metal channels , which hold the panels three inches off of the wall. The air space allows for hot air to vent away from the structure. The home is also paneled with redwood sheets and shaded by a tall Palo Verde tree. The steel and wood were selected for their aging qualities and durability in the desert sun.

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The interior walls are a combination of plaster and birch plywood. The shelter’s operable windows allow gentle, desert breezes to flow over the bed. This student shelter does not contain a bathroom, shower or kitchen. Some existing blocks found on the site were used to level out the ground of the existing concrete pad, creating a wonderful sitting area for some nighttime viewing of the stars, the outdoor fireplace and probably more than a few textbooks.

David Frazee currently works with the Broken Arrow Workshop. A collective of Taliesin graduates who are dedicated to continue the legacy of Taliesin, by living through design.

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Photos by Archinect

Warming Huts

by Christina Nellemann on December 2nd, 2013. 16 Comments

For anyone who enjoys winter outdoor sports like ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating, the tiny warming hut is a blessing in cold and snowy weather. Used all over the world, warming huts are small structures that can be both temporary or permanent and usually contain a place to hang up wet gear, seating and sometimes a wonderful wood stove or fireplace where you can warm your freezing fingers. Warming huts are also a great place to break out a small stove to heat up some food or a cup of hot chocolate.

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Over the past few years, warming huts have bloomed into an interesting architecture. Innovative designs have popped up near frozen lakes, near cross-country trails and in the middle of mountainous forests for use by snowbound travelers on their way to a cabin or campsite. Many of these huts utilize passive solar design, raised platforms, creative heating elements and unusual materials. Continue Reading »