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

Green Mountain College Tiny House

by Kent Griswold on August 27th, 2013. 26 Comments

My name is Cody Gaylord and I am the current REED Manager (Renewable Energy and Ecological Design) at Green Mountain College. We are currently trying to sell the tiny house that the REED program designed and built in the Fall of 2010. The funds from the sale will be used to fund the REED programs next design/build project.

This tiny house was designed and built by Green Mountain College students in the Fall of 2010 as part of the REED (Renewable Energy and Ecological Design) program. The house boasts 96 square feet with a base footprint at 8 ft. by 12ft. plus an 8 ft. x 3 ft. 6 in. sleeping loft. Nearly all materials were repurposed and locally sourced including the rough cut siding and the slate threshold and countertop.

green mountain tiny house

The window area is maximized on the south side for passive solar heating, and windows are placed for adequate summer ventilation. The off-grid 300 watt solar system shades the southern glazing in the summertime, and can easily power lights, laptops, peripherals, and devices. The sleeping loft is accessed via a ship ladder, and underneath is a custom corner window and storage bench. The angled rear wall creates a spacious feel, and the hyperbolic roof is designed to maximize rain water collection.

There is an exterior layer of 2 in. XPS insulation at the walls. The floor is insulated, and there is 2 in. of rigid insulation at the roof. The wall and roof insulation and interior paneling needs to be completed by the buyer. The house can be moved by GardenTime in Rutland. Buyer is responsible for moving costs. The asking price for this off-grid tiny house is $5,000. Funds received from this sale will be used to fund the REED program’s next design-build project.

Serious inquirers only please to: Tiny House Sold
Cody Gaylord
REED Manager

interior 1

interior 2

interior 3


interior framing

Erin and Dondi’s Off-Grid Tiny House

by Christina Nellemann on August 5th, 2013. 82 Comments

More and more young people seem to be ditching the typical suburban “first home” for a tiny house and Erin and Dondi Harner in Colorado are no exception. Their 100 percent off-grid tiny house has just recently been completed and contains all the necessities for a totally self-contained 181 square foot home on wheels. The couple named their home “Soleil” because it runs off the sun.


Dondi is a civil engineer who works in Fort Collins and Erin is a nutritionist, author and business owner who is working on her second master’s degree in nutrition. Their home is 29 feet long and 8 1/2 feet wide and contains a shower and bathroom sink, composting toilet, six solar panels and a 300 gallon water cistern for fresh water. Water is heated with an on-demand heater. The home also has a loft with a small staircase for quick access, a kitchen and dining space, an office, a closet and even a sofa that converts into a guest bed.

Some nice details of the home include lodge poles on the deck and by the stairs, tongue and groove aspen paneling on the walls and bright red panels on their kitchen cabinets. You can read more about their build and traveling adventures by visiting their website. Continue Reading »

Casting Call for a New TV Series

by Kent Griswold on July 31st, 2013. 34 Comments

A major cable network is currently looking for strong smart women who are planning to lead their family and friends into a whole new life.

They are looking for people who are willing to make a big change in their lives and move somewhere off-grid.

Now Casting. Women and their families. Ready to ditch the “Rat Race” and get back to the simple life.

Please email your name, contact information, photos and a brief description of your story to:

casting call

July 31st, 2013and filed in Announcement
Tags: casting call, Off-Grid, series, TV