New Airstream camper uses solar panels for off-grid power

April 30, 2020 by  
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For nearly a century, Airstream has been designing campers built for both adventurous forever roamers or big families looking to enjoy summer time trips together. Now, the iconic camper brand has just introduced its latest concept, which is geared towards sustainable travelers of all types. The 2020 Atlas Camper features a solar-paneled rooftop and an ultra luxurious living space. Although Airstream has long leaned into contemporary and high-tech design, even featuring smart technology in their recent models , the Atlas 2020 is one of the company’s boldest designs yet. Modeled after the 201′ Mercedes-Benz  Sprinter , the exterior stays true to the camper’s signature shimmery silver cladding, which affords the camper an aerodynamicity that provides a very smooth ride. Related: Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology For power generation, the camper’s rooftop is lined with three-hundred watts of solar panels , which provides enough clean energy to charge electronic devices, and can be increased to potentially go completely off-grid. The contemporary camper stretches out over 24 feet and looks to be one of the company’s most luxurious designs yet. With the capacity to accommodate two passengers, the camper’s living space is increased thanks to its power slide-out — a first of its kind for the camper manufacturers. The interior design  is made up of sleek, shiny black and grey furnishings that give off a definite contemporary vibe. The main living space converts into a comfy bedroom thanks to a  fold-out Murphy bed . When not in use, the bedroom is a spacious living room with a hideaway smart TV. Past the living room is a small kitchenette, which features a refrigerator and two-burner stovetop. And for a true glimpse into luxurious design, the bathroom is a spa-inspired space with closet, standup-shower and porcelain toilet. For extra living space, the beautiful  Airstream model  features a wonderful amenity on its exterior. At just a simple push of a button, an exterior awning extends to let campers enjoy a bit of outdoor space for dining or just taking in the views while parked in amazing settings. + Airstream Via Design Boom Images via Airstream

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New Airstream camper uses solar panels for off-grid power

Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

April 9, 2020 by  
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Homesteading was a way of life for generations while the world developed industrialization and created cities of infrastructure. Over time, modern conveniences and the fast pace of business encouraged an increasing number of people to move into urban areas and/or reduce self-reliance in favor of easily accessible supermarkets and mail-order food. But in recent years, a resurgence of homesteading has shown that uncertain times have resulted in people returning to the basics of gardening , farming, food preservation and finding ways to be off-grid.  A recent data collection report by HomeAdvisor consolidated information from across Instagram to find out how many people are subscribing to a simpler way of life. Interestingly, the results show clusters of communities seemingly sharing common values in certain areas across the United States. Related: Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably? The information was gathered based on three commonly used hashtags (#homesteading, #tinyliving , and #offgridliving ), and then geolocation data identified the hot spots. Each of these lifestyles focuses on some level of self-sufficiency and cost savings. Homesteading is mainly about self-sufficiency. You’ll find homesteaders growing their own food, generating their own power and making their own clothes. Tiny living is a lifestyle that leaves a smaller footprint on the world. Tiny houses and tiny living are about simplification, a lower cost of living and using fewer resources. Living off-grid is a broad category that includes tiny living and homesteading. It also means disappearing from staples of society like the electric grid, schooling and the internet.  The reasons for heading towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle are varied, ranging from a fear of pandemics, an increase in surveillance infringing on privacy and concern for the environment. Regardless of the exact reasons, freedom,  lowering one’s carbon footprint  and a sense of independence seem to be at the core of the movement.  While there are abundant hashtags for any of these lifestyles, the study targeted these three as the best sources of information on the topic. The data was then consolidated and prepared for visual consumption by converting it into interactive maps and infographics . The method of collection eliminated Instagram posts without a location and those outside the United States. “To create these visualizations, we collected data by “scraping” it. Scraping is a technique that gathers large amounts of data from websites. In this case, we wrote a custom script in Python to get the data for each hashtag. The script collected information including the number of likes, number of comments, location, etc. for posts with each of the three lifestyle hashtags. The python script also collects data that human users can’t see, like specific location information about where the post was published from,” HomeAdvisor said on its website. When it comes to the United States and off-grid living as a whole, the interactive map gives a snapshot of the trend with the larger circles showing clusters. Moving into more specific information, homesteading may not be as rural as one might expect. In fact, large numbers of homesteaders are balancing backyard beehives , chickens and crops with a daily commute. One might also think homesteading is associated with life on the west coast. While that’s partly true, there are communities up and down the east coast squashing the idea that high populace and running your own farm don’t go hand-in-hand. As seen on the Top 10 States for #Homesteading map, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York all have active homesteading communities. Austin, Texas and Livermore, Colorado are Insta-proud of their homesteads too. On the west coast, the Seattle area in Washington and larger cities such as L.A. and San Diego in California top the list in the number of homesteaders posting their fresh eggs and veggies. For off-grid living, the map looks a little different. Here we find that numbers might be a bit skewed, considering off-grid technically means off social media, but the images are still there as a basis to understand the trends. By the Insta-numbers, Kimberly, Alabama comes in at the top of the off-grid areas, but since many of the posts are from the same Airbnb location, HomeAdvisor calculates that California takes the prize for the most off-gridders. This isn’t too surprising for a state that just mandated all new home constructions must include  solar panels . The four corners of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are all in the top 10 for off-grid living, in addition to New York, Florida, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska. The  tiny home movement  might be a bit hard to track for the mobile types, but on the road or not, Instagram is full of #tinyliving examples. The resulting map shows all three west coast states (California, Oregon and Washington) taking part in the trend. Florida, North Carolina and New York are active on the east coast, and Utah, Colorado and Arizona house the tiny movement too. Texas rounds out the #tinyliving top 10 list.  In conclusion, an increasing number of #homesteading Americans are going back to their roots of growing crops and raising cattle. Meanwhile, the #tinyliving community looks for ways to minimize their impact on the land, and #offgridliving continues to be difficult to accurately track, at least through the likes of Instagram. + HomeAdvisor  Images via HomeAdvisor

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Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

This jet black RV is designed for intrepid travelers who like to explore in style

November 14, 2018 by  
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Clad in jet black, corrugated metal siding and renewable Brazilian hardwood, the Draper is an impressive tiny home on wheels that is as tough as nails on the outside but surprisingly sophisticated on the inside. Created by the ingenious team from Land Ark RV , the Draper RV is designed to be the perfect roaming home for adventurers who want to travel in 300 square feet of style. The exterior of the Draper features black corrugated metal with a hint of red wood. Much like its sister design, the Drake , this RV has a unique, slanted shape that creates a sense of movement even when it is not in motion. The elevated volume not only gives the tiny home a bold presence and more interior space, but it also helps with the aerodynamic pull while on the road. Related: This bold ship-inspired tiny house has a surprising minimalist interior The two designs are quite similar, but the Draper has a few extras such as an ingenious fold-out deck. Made out of renewable Brazilian hardwood, the deck can be folded out to create a wonderful seating area, or folded up flush to the exterior when on the road. In contrast to its bold black exterior, the interior of the RV is light and airy. White-washed pine lends a fresh aesthetic, which is further enhanced by an abundance of natural light thanks to the many clerestory windows. The interior is also quite spacious, with 10′ ceilings that open up the space. Although the living area, which is installed with LED lighting , boasts a sophisticated design, the layout was created with adventurers in mind. There is a 7-foot-wide mud room at the entryway to store gear such as hiking boots, climbing equipment and more. There is also additional storage installed throughout the home. Custom-made,  flexible furniture makes the living space highly versatile. For example, a large galley kitchen with a convertible U-shaped dining space can be configured into different uses. When not needed, the dining table can be stowed underneath, opening up room for the sofa cushions to be folded out into a queen-sized bed, perfect for overnight guests. On the other side of the kitchen, the living room extends to the outdoor deck through a set of large sliding glass doors. The master bedroom is located on a sleeping loft at the far side of the home. The bedroom is reached by ladder and has enough space for a king-sized bed. The tiny home’s bathroom also comes installed with a vanity, wall-hung toilet and a full-size shower. + Land Ark RV Images via Land Ark RV

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This jet black RV is designed for intrepid travelers who like to explore in style

The SPACE pod from IO House lets you go off-grid in style

July 5, 2018 by  
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Who says that off-grid living is in conflict with living in style? Not the designers behind The SPACE, a portable pod that allows you to go off-grid easily and harmoniously while still enjoying modern features and conveniences. Combining sustainable living with luxury comfort, The SPACE from IO House can be placed anywhere you go, from a river’s edge to a forest clearing. All you need to bring along is a smart device to connect, and this off-grid pod will provide the rest: water, electricity, heat and WiFi. In addition, each detail in The SPACE has been designed to be aesthetically pleasing while also remaining ecologically friendly. Related: Escapod’s rugged Topo trailer lets you live off-grid in any environment With this portable pod home, IO House wanted to show that eco-friendly living can be a way of life without sacrificing modern amenities, conveniences and luxuries. Designed to take the dweller away from the stresses of everyday living in bustling cities, The SPACE is the result of dedicated design details that synchronize with the use of a smartphone to give the dweller ultimate control over his or her home. In order to provide unity with the natural world, IO House eschewed synthetic materials when designing the pod, using wood, wool, glass and metal in their place. The SPACE’s windows also link the home’s interior with the surrounding environment, furthering the residents’ connection to the outdoors. Inside the off-grid home, residents can take advantage of the smart home technology, controlling heat, electricity and more with the touch of a button. The full kitchen includes a dishwasher, gas stove, refrigerator, washing machine, coffee maker (with hot water and a steamer), and water purifier. + IO House Via ArchDaily

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The SPACE pod from IO House lets you go off-grid in style

The Air Opus pop-up camper inflates in 90 seconds flat

February 23, 2018 by  
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The Air Opus Camper makes on-the-road living easy with an amazing self-inflating system that pops up in 90 seconds flat. Simply flick a switch and the camper automatically expands. When it’s time to leave, a quick-release valves deflate the camper in 30 seconds. The entire structure can be folded up and ready to go in under two minutes. The Air Opus Camper uses Air Pole Technology to make set up a snap. To inflate the camper , the two lids on top of the trailer need to be folded outwards. Once completely extended, there are just a few bed supports to snap into place. The final step is engaging the air pump, which inflates the camper in a minute and a half. Related: TAXA unveils ultra-lightweight Mantis camper with pop-up roof The Air Opus camper, which retails at $21,499, offers an exceptionally comfortable interior with plenty sleeping and living space. The design improves upon previous models with more windows and skylights to let in natural light . As an extra bonus, the trailer is outfitted with a nifty pull out kitchen/grill for outdoor bbq-ing around the campfire. + Opus Campers Via Uncrate Images via Opus Campers

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The Air Opus pop-up camper inflates in 90 seconds flat

The Droplet is a light-filled teardrop trailer inspired by Scandinavian design

January 9, 2018 by  
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The world of tiny campers just got a lot cuter thanks to the Droplet . The Scandinavian-inspired teardrop trailer fits a queen size mattress and a fully equipped kitchen within a modern insulated shell. Its light size of just 950 lbs can be towed by most medium-sized cars, making the camping pod ideal for traveling the world. The Droplet is the brainchild of Diane and Pascal from Vancouver B.C. After years of hauling their camping gear from their homes to the car, the outdoor lovers came up with the idea for a ready-to-go camping solution . Related: Darling Tinycamper from Lithuania starts at just 7K Although compact, the Droplet trailer is equipped with all of the basics needed to live on the road. Its envelope is insulated with strong laminated foam, which makes it an all-season camper. The interior is built around a comfortable 6″ queen-size mattress. Storage at the bed’s foot provides room for essentials. At the sides of the bed are two large felt pockets for nighttime items like phones and books, and two LED reading lamps. What makes the Droplet especially comfortable are two features normally not found in tiny trailers: large doors and windows. The pod has two large doors on either side of the bed for easy entry. Large windows and a pop-up star-gazing skylight flood the interior with natural light . The camping pod’s backend hides a a fully-equipped kitchen, again with all the basics for living life on the road. The back hatch swings open to reveal the countertop and backsplash. There is a slide-out fridge and a 2 burner propane cooking stove, along with a recessed sink equipped with a hand-pumped closed-loop water system. + Droplet Images via Droplet

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The Droplet is a light-filled teardrop trailer inspired by Scandinavian design

Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

November 22, 2017 by  
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Oregon-based firm FLOAT Architectural Research and Design recently built the “Outside House” for a client who wants to spend her days communing with nature at its fullest. To provide a strong connection to the surroundings, the architects created two simple wooden cabins – the Mauka house and the Makai house – on top of a three-hundred-year-old solidified lava flow high up in the Maui mountains. According to FLOAT architect Erin Moore, the design was inspired by a back-to-basics philosophy that puts the focus on enjoying nature, “The Outside House is a place to live outside. Two small pavilions shape the basics of daily life and structure an intentional relationship with the land.” Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home—and you can stay overnight The first cabin, the Mauka (Hawaiian for “inland toward the mountains” ) pavilion, is an enclosed cabin with a small bedroom. It’s equipped with just the basic necessities – a bed, built-in bench and small desk with chair – and it has a large sliding window that provides beautiful views of the landscape. The cabin is raised off the ground by four concrete blocks to reduce its impact on the ground. The Makai (Hawaiian for “seaward”) pavilion is an open-air deck with a small kitchen that offers stunning view out over the Pacific and the island of Kahoolawe in the distance. The wooden cladding and deck were are made from Juniper – a tree that is harvested for its protective qualities in the Pacific Northwest. An open shower is located on the backside of the kitchen, covered with a privacy panel made out of woven marine rope. Based on the wishes of the homeowner, the construction process took great lengths to protect the land. The architects built the cabins using prefabricated galvanized steel, which was carried to the building site by hand to anchor one of the cabins to the ground, while the other one was placed on concrete blocks. This reduced the impact of the project while also allowing the structures to be easily dismantled. + FLOAT Architectural Research and Design Via The Contemporist Photography by Olivier Koning

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Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

Man quits his job, travels 31,000 miles in a renovated van with his cat [video]

November 21, 2017 by  
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It turns out dogs aren’t the best travel companions, cats are! In 2015, a man named Rich East quit his corporate job, renovated a camper van and took off with his rescue cat, Willow. Since then, he and the friendly feline have traveled more than 50,000 kilometers (over 31,000 miles) across Australia’s six states and two territories, venturing down many of the country’s lesser-trekked paths. Rich explains on his blog Van Cat Meow , “In early 2014 I started making plans for a massive life change. Unhappy with my 10 years in the corporate world I started designing a new life for myself. I started designing a campervan that could provide me with shelter, a home, and comfort for this next stage of my life. Slowly I began to sell all my possessions such that what was left would fit in this van.” In 2015, he was ready to go. “I sold my house, all of my possessions, and quit my job so I could take the trip of a lifetime,” he  explained . “But one thing I couldn’t say goodbye [to] was this little cat so the obvious decision was to take her with me.” Their deep bond is evident in the travel photography East uploads to Instagram . Related: Amazing camper van maximizes space with clever boat design tricks According to East, there are some distinct advantages to traveling with a cat, rather than a dog. He said, “I may be biased but I believe travelling with a cat is easier than travelling with dogs. Cats are very independent and don’t require a huge amount of attention. Willow is quite nocturnal, sleeping throughout the day if we are driving and coming out in the afternoon for some food and a cuddle.” He added, “The only disadvantage to having a travelling cat is not being able to go into the occasional area where pets aren’t permitted. We avoid the National Parks to find our own hidden places that maybe we wouldn’t have found otherwise.” While most cats aren’t suited for nomadic living, Willow is the exception. “Some people think it’s odd that I’m traveling with a cat, but Willow is so chilled out and absolutely loves our new lifestyle,” East said. For her protection, the feline wears a special collar that tracks her location. “With the tracking collar, I have the peace of mind that if she decides to go for a hike I will be straight onto her,” he said. Though the pair’s trip concluded in early 2017, neither East or Willow have plans to stop traveling. East continues chronicling their adventures on Instagram and even compiled some of the best travel shots into a 2018 calendar that is now available for sale in the Van Cat meow online shop . + Van Cat Meow Via MyModernMet , TreeHugger Images via Van Cat Meow

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Man quits his job, travels 31,000 miles in a renovated van with his cat

TAXA unveils ultra-lightweight Mantis camper with pop-up roof

October 12, 2017 by  
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The camper designers at TAXA Outdoors have outdone themselves with their latest off-grid masterpiece. Weighing in at just under 2,300 pounds, the Mantis can be towed wherever adventure calls you. The 18-foot-long home on wheels comes complete with a pop-up roof that adds more space to the interior, creating enough room for four full-sized adventurers to sleep comfortably. The innovative flexible space adds a lot of value to the otherwise compact camper. At full height, the pop-up central roof adds ample standing room in the kitchen and bathroom areas. For sleep space, a full-size bed/couch at the rear of the camper fits two full size adult and two bunk beds fold out in the living area. Related: Tiny TigerMoth Camper generates power while being towed Like most of the TAXA campers, the Mantis is designed to be enjoyable on the road and easy to store when not since it easily folds down to 6´9″ to fit into most standard length and height garage. Founder Garrett Finney, former senior architect at the Habitability Design Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), explains the inspiration behind the ultra-efficient Mantis design, “Our dealers wanted something with more sleeping room to round out our family of products beyond the Cricket, which is designed for 2 adults and 2 younger children,” Finney says. “The number one selling trailer for the past decade is a 20-foot trailer that sleeps 4 adults. This is our version of that.” For basic needs, the camper comes installed with integrated electric and plumbing systems, and is pre-wired for solar panels . The camper was also installed with ample storage underneath the bunk beds and in the kitchen. The Mantis also comes with the beloved TAXA feature of well-placed cargo nets and bungee cords, which are infinitely handy. The roof also has a cargo deck and rack for large items like bikes or kayaks. The Mantis camper has an estimated starting cost of $32,500 and will be available for purchase this month. + TAXA Mantis Via Uncrate

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TAXA unveils ultra-lightweight Mantis camper with pop-up roof

This giant Cup Monster wants Starbucks to use recyclable cups

October 12, 2017 by  
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A monster created with over 500 old Starbucks cups prowled outside a Seattle hotel this week. Advocacy group Stand.earth created the Cup Monster to pressure the company to deliver a better, recyclable cup. Although Starbucks has trialed recyclable cups , when you order that pumpkin spice latte or mocha today, the paper cup you hold still can’t be recycled in many regions. Stand.earth says Starbucks serves four billion disposable paper cups every single year – but many facilities can’t recycle them “because the inside plastic lining clogs the equipment,” according to the group . So they showed up at the Seattle Sheraton hotel this week, where Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson was speaking at the 2017 GeekWire Summit, with the Cup Monster in tow. Related: Starbucks trials recyclable paper coffee cups for potential global use Ah the Cup Monster is out of control! Every @Starbucks unrecyclable cup that gets trashed only makes it stronger! Kevin Johnson, be a hero! pic.twitter.com/V0c8KNsq9L — Stand.earth (@standearth) October 10, 2017 According to Stand.earth United States campaign director Ross Hammond, over 8,000 cups go to landfills every minute. He said in a statement, “We hope Seattle’s tech leaders will join us in calling on Starbucks to stop serving 21st century coffee in a 20th century cup.” GeekWire reported although activists wore Starbucks uniforms, they aren’t affiliated with the coffee company. Starbucks vice president of communications Linda Mills told GeekWire the company’s cups can be recycled in some markets like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. She said they are also working with municipalities so the cups can be recycled in more areas. Reusable cups are also an option; the company has offered a discount since 1985 for customers when they bring in cups that can be used over and over. On Starbucks’ webpage on recycling , they say, “We will continue to explore new ways to reduce our cup waste but ultimately it will be our customers who control whether or not we achieve continued growth in the number of beverages served in reusable cups.” You can sign Stand.earth’s letter to Johnson asking for a better cup here . + Stand.earth Via GeekWire Images via Stand.earth Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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This giant Cup Monster wants Starbucks to use recyclable cups

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