Kottage RV Shipping Container Home

For anyone who can’t decide on a park model home or a shipping container home, Kottage RV of Canada has combined the two into one compact hybrid made of solid steel—with all the comforts of a park model. Kottage RV offers these fully customizable units for several functions including remote living and working, temporary offices, clinical and institutional uses and as workshops and recreational buildings.

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The individual units range from 160 square feet to 538 square feet and include slideouts like a traditional RV or park model home. They also include solid steel walls and exterior and 2 inch spray foam (R14) in the walls, roof and floor. The doors are solid metal and the windows are argon filled vinyl frame. Exterior features include a Corten steel roof and various color choices, interior features include an 8’6″ ceiling, custom cabinetry, vinyl flooring, electric fridge, gas stove and microwave and a standard size tub and shower as well as a toilet. Each model is built with recycled materials and green building procedures and can be off-grid if necessary.

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Kottage RV offers a 15-year warranty and a 5-year “no leak” warranty, and the homes are rated for four seasons and are fully winterized with all plumbing lines located inside the unit. They can also be renovated when necessary. The one-bedroom model costs around $60,000 and a three bedroom unit is closer to $90,000, but each unit is built to order and delivered to your property.

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Photos by Kottage RV

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Stealth Camping and The Art of Tiny House Ninjas

Living in an RV, on the road, full-time, makes you completely aware of the costs associated with the nomadic lifestyle. Besides the cost of the rig itself you also incur the costs of “everyday life” (healthcare, food, clothing, etc), the cost of travel (gas, lodging, rent/lease), and the cost of entertainment should you choose. It can be mind boggling to say the least. That is why I spend quite a bit of free time thinking about how to decrease those expenses while not decreasing opportunity. It seems that a section of people including bicyclists, hikers, RVers, and a few others, have also pondered – but with great success – a way to “stealth” camp and come out the other side.

Motorcycles beach campingphoto courtesy of Hasselmann

I have only become acutely aware of stealth camping in the last few months via “boondocking” or the art of staying in a recreational vehicle in a remote location, without connections to water, power, or sewer services. It is every bit a form of tiny house living but to a most extreme measure. Your house is anywhere you choose it to be. Boondocking is only one form of stealth camping and it seems that for every passion there is a form of stealth camping to match.

BICYCLE

Stealth camping on bike (also referred to as guerrilla camping or free camping) refers to the practice of finding a quiet spot away from people if possible where one camps for the night making leaving behind no trace that they were ever there. And while it may in some way be about saving money by not paying for a campsite it seems more about experiencing the open road to the fullest; at least to this group. It is about pulling over on the road, ducking into the brush, unsaddling your bike, and stretching out your road weary legs. It is a seemingly simple task but it also requires the ride to be observant (you don’t want to camp on private property, a heavily traveled roadway, or in the middle of an airplane runway), cautious, and prepared. In fact, most bicyclists who practice stealth camping recommend you carry with you the following to make your camping more enjoyable:

  • Food
  • Identification Cards
  • Foil emergency blanket
  • Baby wipes (and disposal bags) for quick sanitation
  • Change of underclothing
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Sleeping Bag
  • and A LOT more!

Bike Camper

Allan E. Stokell’s fully loaded camping bike in front of Caerphilly Castle in Wales.

There is quite a bit of information available online regarding bicycle stealth camping. For a robust list of tips visit the Bicycle Touring Pro.

HIKING

In my estimation stealth camping seems most advantageous for hikers. For instance, on the very popular Appalachian Trail there are shelters and overnight dwellings available at multiple spots along the entire hike. However, the distance from one to another may be exceptionally short or alarmingly long. I have heard from some hikers that on the Maine trail there is a camping spot every 10 miles. The average thru-hiker accomplishes 13 miles a day though so oftentimes a long day will end smack in the middle of the stop stations. There is nothing left to do but stealth camp or wild camp.

The legalities surrounding stealth camping can vary greatly by state, city, or even local municipality. While pitching a small tent on the side of a state highway in Alabama may be fine it may not be fine in Arizona. Hikers interested in being a camping ninja should be familiar with the state law at least before taking their first step.

Stealth camping for the hiker can be a bit of a burden though. Not only do you need to think about food and water for the hike but to some extent (especially for camping) you have to think about lodging, medical emergencies, communication, etc. No one can enjoy hiking with a 100lb. pack. Ideally a pack  – for camping or not – should not exceed about 35lbs. That is quite a task when you are trying to pack food, food prep gear, sanitation implements, a sleeping mat, a sleeping bag, a small tent, layered clothing, and other objects such as a camera, a journal, or a guide. At to that the unwritten law of leaving the site as you found it you may have to have knowledge on fire starting and extinguishing in safe manner as well as trash and sanitation disposal. A great resource is Stealth Camping online.

Hiker Camping

photo courtesy of JJ Harrison

RVing

It goes without saying that stealth camping with an RV is a bit harder than any of the previously mentioned hobbies. Finding a remote location for any sort of vehicle can be quite a challenge. But with the number of unpopulated areas still left in the United States (and serviced by paved roads even!) it can be done. It is important to understand that boondocking or stealth camping in an RV is a bit of a different practice. While many don’t like the word boondocker it has become common vernacular and really just stands for RVers who camp without any sort of hookups and are totally self-reliant. This includes water, sewage, electricity, etc. It also means no camping fees and no park regulations which can oftentimes be the biggest perk involved save the ability to spend time in some of America’s most visually breathtaking spots without any disturbance. There are four considerations when boondocking. Neither is truly more important than the other but all four must be adequately prepared for. Boondockers need to consider water, food, waste, and power.

Water can be supplied by the on-board freshwater tank to which you can augment with water carriers, extra tanks, bottles, etc. It is recommended that you have at least 1 gallon of drinking water per person per day but in addition a boondocker may want to shower, wash dishes, prepare food, etc. Food can be as fancy or as simple as you like. If a boondocker cooks using propane the only consideration is, of course, the propane and perhaps the refrigeration needed to keep the food from spoiling prior to cooking. Even cereal can become an obstacle as milk is needed and milk must stay refrigerated and refrigeration requires power! Waste is both human and garbage. An RV has a black tank so that is not a problem. However, each flush uses water which comes from the holding tank (water) and is powered by a water pump (power). One may want to consider outfitting their RV with a composting toilet instead. As for garbage, it can be disposed of as normal but should be put in a large, black, heavy duty bag at the end of each day and then secured either in the back of a pickup in a box or something similar in order to keep critters out. Power comes in a few forms and is dependent on the type of RV and the boondocker themselves. Think on-board generator, portable generator, batteries, solar, wind, etc. It is important to remember though that even a camper slide relies on power to move in and out.

Boondocking

photo courtesy of The Snowmads

THE NEW KID

As of late the tiny house trailer crew has taken an interest in stealth camping too as there has been a significant visible rise to the stealth camper. Sometimes referred to as the “Bug Out Bunks” or “Get Out of Dodge” trailer these stealth campers are pretty fascinating as they are outfitted much like traditional tiny houses or RVs yet they are done so within the confines of an enclosed utility trailer. I first became aware of the fad in late 2012 when I saw the ‘Over The Top Cargo Trailer‘ on the Small Trailer Enthusiast website. The idea is that one takes an enclosed cargo trailer and converts the interior to a well appointed camping rig. This is so it can be parked almost anywhere without raising any suspicion as to what is inside. With on-board generators, solar power, comfortable beds, water holding tanks, commodes and showers, and much more these new kids on the block are certainly part of the future of the stealth camping set.

Stealth Trailer

 

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Safari Tents and Glamping in Gatlinburg

On a recent camping trip to the Gatlinburg, TN area my wife and I were driving around literally searching out tiny houses and tiny cabins. Certainly I can’t be the only one that does this. Alas, if you have ever visited the Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge areas you will know that small cabins or even small campers are certainly not what the rental market there is comprised of. Long gone are the Smoky Mountain hollers and hand-hewn cabins of mountain lore and in their place 2- and 3-story chalets and condos to rent. That is until you drive by a place like Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort with their quaint, adventurous, Safari Tents for rent.

Safari Tents

Originally built in the early 1960’s, the LeConte Vista RV Park was a favorite place on Highway 321 for a number of families looking to visit Gatlinburg but still feel connected to the Smoky Mountain park(s). Originally closed in 2007, the property was completely remodeled in 2013 and is now Camp LeConte managed by Linzy and Ian Nicely. In talking via email with Linzy I found out how such unique units made it to the mountains.

“My dad, Clarence, travels all over the world. He first saw the tents in Australia and thought they were neat. After finding where the tents were made, Ian [husband] and my dad went to South Africa to find some. The ones in South Africa were in fact neat, however, they had metal frames and weren’t really the look we were going for. My dad and I then went to Europe and found the tents you see at Camp LeConte. They have wooden frames, furniture made from reclaimed lumber, and were built well. They were perfect!” Great story and so fitting for our impromptu visit to Camp LeConte.

Driving down Highway 321 and seeing the inviting pool (of course, a true, blue pool with only a guest or two resting in chairs is always inviting) we decided to stop in and inquire. It was only after turning in to what we thought was a typical campground (albeit one with incredibly manicured spots and well-landscaped common areas) did we see the Safari Tents. At what I can only guess is about 320 square feet or so the nine Safari’s are imported from Europe, set up on a wood platform, and a true touch of “glamping” right in the the Smokies.

LaConte Maps

There are four configurations of the Safari Tent offering different sleeping arrangements for your specifications. There are five bunkhouses (a Queen-size bed and a set of bunks), one ‘double up’ which has two double beds, two ‘honeymooners’ which have a Queen-size bed and a sitting area, and one deluxe bunkhouse with a Queen and two sets of bunks. Each tent save the deluxe bunkhouse has a great storage area before the sleeping area which has both closed and open cabinets, a countertop, and ample lighting overhead. All the Safari tents though have a very “fold art” style round table with four chairs as well as a porch swing complete with view of the mountain-scape.

Table

Swing

Starting at just $119 per night the Safari Tents are made of quality materials including heavy duty vinyl, zippered, all-season windows, zippered entry, wooden support posts, and forged metal braces and brackets. The electrical work runs through contractor conduit and each space has a heater for the cold months and an air conditioner for the warm months. There are also overhead lights, a ceiling fan, and GFI outlets in each tent. We spent nearly thirty minutes walking around the tents, walking in them, swinging on the swing, talking about their application possibilities in other settings, and the like. They were…well, so cool! In their ruggedness they all at once gave off the sophistication and joie de vivre of glamping, the pure style and adventure of a Hemingway novel, and the cozy, warm feeling the Smokey Mountains are know for.

Whole SafariIn addition Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort also offers full hook-up RV and Camper sites, primitive tent sites, a well-stocked camp general store, full-service laundry room, in-ground swimming pool, high-speed and dependable WiFi throughout the park, and a Gatlinburg trolley stop on property.

To make your reservation contact Camp LeConte online or by calling (865) 436-8831. You can also LIKE them on Facebook, pin them on Pinterest, or tweet to them on Twitter!

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]