Portable Solar Camping

We spent most of last week camping at Big Bear Lake in Southern California. We were celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday and also my folks 60th wedding anniversary that actually happened back in June. Also it was the first time in a couple of years that all of us were able to get together. My two brothers and my sister and all our kids and their spouses. It was lots of fun. My uncle and his wife live down the road from where we camped so we did go to their home as well.

My wife and I also celebrated our 32nd anniversary on this trip so that was fun also.

80 watt solar panel

This was my first chance to use the Zamp Solar 80 Watt panel that I featured back a few months ago in a post in a test based at our home. I am happy to tell you that it kept up with our usage of electricity. Though we really just used the power for the water pump for the kitchen and toilet and lights at night I was happy to find out that the 80 watt solar panel could easily keep up with that type of use. Each day I would connect the panel and within two or three hours it would top off my battery. It is exciting to use the sun in this way. I did not have to turn the generator on once during our four day camping trip.

To learn more about this panel visit my previous post called the 80 Watt Zamp Solar Portable Charging System.

The Family

The Family

Janelle and I

Janelle and I

 

Taliesin West Miner’s Shelter

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

NOMAD Micro Home

This stylish and energy efficient 10×10 foot micro home from NOMAD in British Columbia comes as a flat-pack micro cottage that can be assembled in just a few days. The NOMAD can also be customized to include a wet bath and appliances or no bathroom or appliances at all if you want to save some money. No matter what you choose, this cottage will still run you under $30,000.

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The micro home was designed and developed by Ian Lorne Kent who has been designing family and commercial developments for more than 35 years. His dream with the NOMAD was to create an efficient and cozy home with a minimal impact on space and the environment. He also wanted it to feel open and airy with the use of large windows. The NOMAD Live version includes a kitchen with a propane stove, fridge and sink next to a small living area and a bathroom. His innovative staircase curves around the kitchen and leads to a loft bed and closet area that floats above the main room. The NOMAD Space includes the same space but without a bathroom or appliances. The Live is $28,000 and the Space is $25,000 and both versions are designed to be on-or off-grid.

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Both electrical (12V) and plumbing systems come with the delivered materials. The entire structure is built with metal structural insulated panels with an R-12 rating and a roof and floor with an R-24 rating. The exterior is galvanized metal siding and the interior walls are pre-finished metal panels. Add-ons include stair drawers for extra storage, a surrounding deck, a sliding sun shade and solar power, gray water and rain water collection systems. The NOMAD can be shipped worldwide and can be assembled or disassembled by two people with some handyman skills.

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Photos by NOMAD Micro Home