off grid

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THE SHACKBroadhurst Architects / hat tip tinyhouseswoon

The shack was created as a logical step between tent camping, and the yet unrealized weekend cottage. This fundamental shelter has no electricity. Oil lamps provide light. Heat is provided by a small wood stove, which is also used to heat water that is delivered to the “kitchen” sink by a gravity system. The vertical drop is achieved by using a hand-powered bilge pump to fill an overhead storage tank. Rainwater is collected from the roof as part of the outdoor shower system. Acknowledging the constant struggle between mouse (and occasionally rattlesnake and bear) and man, the shack sits upon four wood posts with rodent barriers, a detail borrowed from local corn cribs. The board and batten siding is locally milled pine. The roof is standing-seam terne.

The southeastern façade of the building is opened to a cantilevered wood deck with an overhead-acting aluminum and glass garage door. A removable canvas awning serves to shade the deck and extend the living space during wet weather. Small windows on the northwestern façade allow the mountain breezes to flow through the building, and allow occasional views of cows on the adjacent pasture.

s&thi
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Making Your Own Survival Tin

Here are the specific items I recommend placing in your Altoids or similar sized tin:

  1. Ritter Mk5 CRKT Knife (comes with an Altoids size storage tin): Perhaps the most important item in your kit. This excellent little knife can be used for constructing a shelter, hunting, skinning, a ferro rod striker, and for self-defense.
  2. Nano LED Mini-Flashlight: A great little flashlight. LEDs provide more light and consume less power than traditional lights. Can also be used for signaling. 
  3. Emergency Water Bag (1 Quart): Water is critical as you can only live three days without it. Yes, this item takes up a lot of room in your tin, but it provides an effective way to collect water from natural sources like lakes and streams.
  4. Water Purification Pills (4 ea):  Each pill sterilizes 1 liter of water. Remember to wait the required amount of time for the bacteria to be killed. 
  5. Compass, Button Size: Navigational aid for those who are directionally challenged and for those who are in bad weather and/or poor visibility.
  6. Matches, waterproof (6 ea): Fire is absolutely vital in a survival situation. It can keep you warm, cook your food, sterilize your drinking water, and can be used as another source for light at night. Having a fire is also good for morale and if you’re in a survival situation, that can be pretty important.
  7. Match Striker: Needed to light your matches.  
  8. Cotton Tinder (3 ea): A great fire starting aid. 
  9. Spark-Lite Firestarter (Orange): Another great source for starting fires. Can start 1,000 fires.
  10. Vargo Titanium Whistle:  A durable signaling device to call for help. 
  11. P-38/51 Can Opener: Can also be used as a small cutting tool, ferro rod striker, or flat-bladed screw driver. 
  12. Tin Foil: Can be used in cooking, for signaling, for collecting water, or as a drinking cup.
  13. Duct Tape: A multipurpose gem and a MacGyver favorite. Duct tape can be used for repairs, restraining, affixing, and attaching. It’s use is limited only by your imagination.
  14. Fishing Kit: Small assortment of hooks and sinkers. You gotta eat and being able to fish may help with the boredom, too.
  15. Fishing Line, 20ft (bobbin): Can be used not only for fishing, but also for clothing repairs, and for stitching up deep cuts.  
  16. Alcohol Wipes (1 ea): For cleaning wounds and as a fire starting aid. 
  17. Band Aid (1 ea): For cuts, abrasions, and blisters.
  18. Butterfly sutures (1 ea): For closing up cuts and wounds. 
  19. Needle: For digging out deep splinters and along with a little fishing line can be used to stitch up wounds and repair clothing.  
  20. Benadryl (2 ea): Allergy season can be rough! Also great for allergic reactions to stings. 
  21. Imodium AD (1 ea): For when you get a bad case of the runs from bad food or water. 
  22. Aleve (2 ea): Pain Killer and Relaxer. 
  23. Safety Pin: Perfect for securing items to your clothing, removing deep splinters, and for making temporary repairs to clothing.
  • Ranger Band: Essentially a giant rubber band cut from an old bicycle inner-tube and used to secure the tin. Can be used as a small tourniquet or as part of a sling-shot. 
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New Harvard start-up lets you have a tiny house experience with no strings attached

Perhaps you’ve thought about ditching the concept of the traditional house and living in a tiny home, but you haven’t got the nerve to try it out. Maybe you’re pretty sure that an off-the-grid lifestyle is for you, but you don’t want to fully commit to living in compact quarters. A new Boston-based start-up wants to let you try your hand in the world of tiny house living with no strings attached.

Sacrificing the open space of a traditional home for compact living has many benefits. Cost efficiency, sustainability, and focusing on the simplicity of life hold obvious allure, and for some, this allure is reason enough to convert from a typical home or apartment to dwellings no larger than a single shipping container.

Continue reading

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SIX DAY CABIN | photos Aaron Flack + Mac Bishop

We wanted to use our hands for something other than tapping away at a keyboard or smartphone; to be directly responsible for building a place that we can enjoy together in the coming years; to use vacation for creation rather than escape; and, above all, to learn something new.

…we managed to erect a solid ~200 square foot cabin over 6 days of building. The project consumed ~40 working hours, 264 two-by-fours, 3,000 photos (which add up to this time-lapse video) and about $6,065.62 (excluding the land we built on). We are now convinced that, if you have a week to burn, a cabin-build will beat a week in Cancun every time.

hat tip to Andrew Odom for The Tiny Life 

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More and more people are turning away from grocery stores and utility companies in favor of their own back yard. The idea of becoming self-sufficient is an alluring one, but exactly how much land would you need? Assuming a family of four, here are the land requirements to sustain yourself for one year. (via How Big A Backyard Do You Need To Live Off The Land? | Visual.ly)