Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Ice-Chest A/C For Tent Camping

It's easy to make a cheap air-conditioner for your camping tent. Cut one hole in the top of the cooler to match the size of the small fan you plan to use. Expecting electricity on my trip to Tiny Texas Houses in Luling, I chose this small fan which lay face-down on top of the hole. The air is pushed down, past frozen water bottles or frozen ice packs placed inside, cooling and condensing it as it circulates before being pushed out the 2nd hole you need. Mark carefully around the 'vent' you choose. I used a PVC elbow joint, cut my 2nd hole and pushed the elbow in place, now I can direct the flow of cold air coming out onto me instead of straight up.

Plan A - The Idea
I was anxious to put it together to prove to my skeptical family it would work. They just smiled politely as I explained to them how it would work but said very little. I plan to cut 2 holes in the top of the cooler, one to snugly fit the 4" pvc elbow, and another just a bit smaller to fit this little $8 fan placed face-down over it. The fan will push the air into the ice chest past the frozen water bottles and out the pvc elbow. Only because I knew it was going to be flimsy to transport did I decide to wait till I actually got to my destination to cut the holes and put it all together and I'm glad I did. 

Plan B - The Reality
When I arrived with my tent, I couldn't resist the generous offer to spend my week there in a tiny house, even if it meant having no electricity to run my fan. Luckily I had decided to wait until I got there to actually make the thing because I simply cut a much smaller hole to fit the little battery powered personal fan I had brought with me as well. It worked like a charm! I saved the piece I cut out for the elbow, and kept it to plug the pipe and saving my ice when I wasn't running it.
When I got home and used my electric fan it worked even better.

Plan C
I'm planning to build another one using this old ice chest. I'll add some baffles to ensure the coldest air gets circulated well before exiting the vent. At first I planned to place 2 of these 4" elbow vents on this one, but having had a discussion at TTH I now realize I need more air to come in than can come out to further condense and cool the air. I may place two much smaller elbow vents on this one. Thank's guy's! So that's the plan... I'll update with the reality soon....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Free Camping Space For Houston Salvage Certification Seminar

I'm interested in gathering a team and working as a PSL outpost, creating our own 'tiny village' of salvage miner's and salvage 'artists/crafters/builders' right here in Dayton. I'm offering free camping space to participants of the TTH Houston Seminar this weekend and the next.

I live in a rural area about 40 minutes east of Memorial Park. It's a straight shot down Hwy 90 which merges with I-10 and the Memorial Park area. I have 2 1/2 acres and a barn outback with power, water, and plenty of room around it for campers, tents, trailers. There's an apt in the loft with a bathroom available (no hot water heater yet).

If you are interested in camping here, send me an email at c_sweat at with "Camping" in the subject line. I'll get back to you with our exact location and answer any questions.

Email me as well if you're interested in the possibility of living here, being part of a salvage team, living simply, building simple livable portable structures (like the loopholer camp cabin concept), and working on sustainable living projects, so we can talk more in depth about our plans.

To learn more about the Houston Salvage Mining Seminar follow this link from Tiny Texas Houses.

  Plenty of room.
Room for several campers or tents near the barn for power.

There's a small apt with a bathroom to use in the loft of the barn. 

There's space for tents behind the barn as well.
 Fire pit to keep the bugs down.
Another camper space we can get power and water to.


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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Loopholer Camphouse Workshop at Tiny Texas Houses

I attended the 'Loopholer' Camp House workshop at Tiny Texas Houses in Luling Tx. Led by Brad Kittel, we were involved not just in the building but also in the creative process of designing around the elements we had on hand, which was salvaged sections of tongue and groove walls removed intact from a previous house deconstruction.

The camp cabin concept is as Brad said about 'perfunction' not perfection. It was just four of us ladies and Brad. We all had a turn working with the different tools and each process of building involved.

We had fun working together, sometimes laughing at each other's awkwardness with an unfamiliar tool or mistakes (I got a little crazy with the nail gun), but it was all in good fun.

I felt like friends by the end of the week, which more than made up for the seriously intense 100 degree heat of a Texas July.

We didn't get it finished but did get the sleeping loft in place, and learned alot.

Here's the windows we chose to go in it. He has other houses in differing stages of completion all over the place.

So here we are, the sun setting on us the last day of the workshop. We put the planking up on the last wall ourselves and got a window in. I think we all felt good about what we had accomplished with nothing more than salvage, sweat, a few basic tools, and Gatorade! I can hardly wait to see our little camp house's continued progress.

I had doubts about my ability when I arrived, but feel empowered now. If I can do this, anyone can.

The Essay House at Tiny Texas Houses

It felt strange to pack my truck for a week-long workshop at Tiny Texas Houses. It was the first time I've been anywhere alone in a long time. I looked forward to attending the building-with-salvage workshop in Luling by Tiny Texas Houses and also some time just for me.

Though I packed my tent prepared to camp, Brad offered me the little writer's cabin they call the Essay House for my stay. It's a sweet little cabin in the back and like all his tiny houses - it's built with love and 99% pure salvage.

I woke that first morning imagining this is what it must have felt like to be a settler on the Texas frontier. A fog had rolled in during the night, I could just make out the faint shape of deer taking advantage of the cover the fog offered. 

The cabin has no electricity or water right now, though it's fully equipped for it when it finds it's final resting place. I enjoyed sitting and napping on the porch. It feels especially remote tucked in among the Prickly Pear Cactus and Mesquite trees, shrouded in morning fog.

A ladder leads up to the loft and bed. Everything you could need packed into a tiny space that still managed plenty of room to move around.

It has a kitchen and a drop down table for writing or meals.

A shower and a tiny sink of course. There's a shuttered pocket door to hide the the bathroom while still allowing a sweet cross breeze thru the house.
It was very easy to imagine living in this tiny house. A simple life unburdened by all the non-essential 'crap'. A home like this would beg you spend time outside too.