Go glamping Wild West-style in these Conestoga covered wagons

September 24, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen a lot of unique glamping options , but one resort in Northern California is taking guests back to the Wild West. Guests at the Yosemite Pines RV Resort , just 22 miles from Yosemite National Park, can enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience by sleeping in large Conestoga wagons. Not only do the wagons include luxurious interiors, but they also come with private picnic areas to fully enjoy the natural surroundings. The Yosemite Pines Resort in Northern California is just a 30-minute drive to Yosemite Park. The resort has a number of lodging options , including tents and a cool, retro trailer, but its the six new Conestoga wagons that are becoming the resort’s most popular attraction. Related: Sheep wagons converted into rustic (and adorable) mobile living spaces The large covered wagons, each furnished with a king-sized bed and bunk beds, can accommodate up to six people. Each glamping  wagon is equipped with heating and air conditioning, as well as a small kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. The wagons are set up to provide guests with plenty of options to fully immerse themselves in nature. Guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner on their own picnic tables just outside the wagons. Additionally, visitors can take a dip in the swimming pool before enjoying an evening making s’mores and small talk around the central fire pit. When guests are not exploring Yosemite Park , the glamping resort offers nature walks and hayrides, as well as fun events such as outdoor movie nights. There are also plenty of local excursions offered daily, including mountain climbing and white water rafting in the summer or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months. While there are a lot of activities on offer, there’s a strict ban on gunslinging of any sort. + Yosemite Pines RV Resort Via Apartment Therapy Images via Yosemite Pines RV Resort

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Go glamping Wild West-style in these Conestoga covered wagons

A stunning solar-powered pavilion is planned for pasta company Barilla

September 21, 2018 by  
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London-based firm Open Architecture Systems  has just unveiled designs for a gorgeous solar-powered pavilion for the Italian food company Barilla. Slated to be built adjacent to the company’s headquarters in Parma, Italy, the plans show a contemporary building with an undulating roof rising out of the surrounding landscape. According to the architects, the inspiration for the design originated with the company’s key values of tradition, family and community. Although the concept is based on the pasta company’s long history, the structure itself is a fresh,  contemporary design that manages to be both subtle and striking at the same time. Related: Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun The architects explained that their first objective was to blend the new building into its surrounding landscape in order to become one harmonious space. “We strongly believe that landscape and pavilion should always be merged into one system, one building,” the firm said. “The new topography allows us to define a sense of space, and to provide shelter and a place for discovery, very much like in nature . We are interested not only in the space created by the topography but the spaces around it and how they interact with the new Barilla Pavilion. Raising the landscape provides us with infinite potentials for visitor interactions, interesting and unique experiences such as a raised piazza, a stepped hill with seating for an amphitheater, a valley for gatherings and many more different uses.” Partially embedded into the surrounding landscape, the building’s height is kept low to put the focus on the bold, undulating canopy that looks as if it’s about to take off at any moment. Comprised of perforated rows of solar panels , the roof’s array will generate clean energy for the building and also enable a system of natural ventilation. The exterior will be clad in large vertical glass panels framed in metal posts, providing natural light  throughout the interior. Once inside, visitors will be greeted with an open-floor plan comprised of several independent elements used for distinct purposes. At the heart of the structure will be the Hub, a large central space that can be adapted to various uses. There will also be flexible spaces for art exhibits and meetings as well as a large 400-seat auditorium. Also found inside will be the Start-ups Pavilion, an open office space where young entrepreneurs can foster their ideas. Within the solar-powered pavilion there will also be a nutrition center, which will serve as a research facility that is open to the public. And of course, guests to the pavilion will be able to dine in Sapori Barilla, a large restaurant featuring the company’s signature pastas. + Open Architecture Systems Images via Open Architecture Systems

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A stunning solar-powered pavilion is planned for pasta company Barilla

Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials

September 17, 2018 by  
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Lace up your hiking boots and trod into places inaccessible via horse, quad or car. Backpacking allows you to explore the outdoors while enjoying a little distance from the crowds squished together at the state campgrounds. There’s just something about planning for and carrying all the supplies you need for backwoods camping that is empowering and exciting. Once you’ve decided to give backpacking a try, make sure you’ve got the essentials covered. You will find that you can survive with very few comforts while backpacking, but there are some “must-haves” on the list. Here’s a backpacking checklist to ensure a successful start to your adventure! Sleeping and Camp Supplies Backpack — Choose a bag with either an internal or external frame, with the capacity to hold your necessities. Aim for the size that will hold the maximum weight you’re comfortable carrying, even though the goal will always be to avoid filling it completely. The capacity is measured in liters, so look for indicators like 60L or 90L in the product description. It’s best to get fitted by a professional at an outfitter such as REI for the most comfortable experience with your backpack. A 45L is adequate for overnight trips, while a 60L will meet the needs of most multi-day trips. Sleeping bag — Be sure to bring one rated for your weather conditions to ensure that you stay warm and dry. Also consider the weight and packability of the sleeping bag you choose. Roll pad or inflatable backpacking mattress — This is a welcome addition for both comfort and insulation from the cold ground. Tent — This is optional but recommended for protection from bugs and other critters that scurry in the night as well as rain. Some backpackers opt for a hammock instead of a tent . If this is your plan, seek out a lightweight one with a bug net and sturdy straps. Backpacker’s pillow — This is a comfort item. A rolled-up sweatshirt will do the job if needed. Related: Six tents perfect for camping this summer Cooking and Food Supplies Cookstove and fuel — These are lightweight and offer different gas options. A JetBoil or similar device quickly boils water (in less than two minutes) for your morning brew, oatmeal or dehydrated chicken fettuccine. White gas stoves work well at lower temperatures, and gas is easy to find. There are now stoves that heat with sticks and pine cones with the added luxury of a recharging attachment for electronics , too. Any variety will do the job. Just make sure you have the right gas and give it a trial run at home before you go. Food — The lightest and easiest food for backpacking is the pre-packaged, easy-to-find dehydrated meals such as Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry or AlpineAire. However, these meals are typically high in salt and can lead to dehydration and puffiness. In my opinion, most of them are only moderately palatable. There are harder-to-find brands, like Food for the Sole, that offer a shorter shelf life but higher quality ingredients and less processing. Because they are cooked in their own bags with the addition of only water, dehydrated meals eliminate the need for pots, pans or additional ingredients. They are a great place to start, but with a little experience, you’ll soon find many alternatives to add to your cooking repertoire. In addition to dehydrated meals, pack snacks with high protein and a combination of carbs and sugar, such as trail mix or protein bars. Jerky, dried fruit and durable fig bars are other good options. Supplies — Pack a pot and/or skillet for cooking and a cup, a plate and silverware for dining. Related: Camping kitchen checklist Water Supplies Access to water is the most essential portion of your planning process. If you are hiking along a river or will camp at a lake, you can plan to sterilize water. Otherwise, you will need to pack in all of your water. The average person will use around one liter of water per hour of hiking. Plus, meals require a lot more water than you might realize. With the weight of water coming in around 2.20 pounds per liter, you can easily tack 10 pounds onto your pack weight. It is essential to map out your water sources and plan accordingly. Water filtration system, Steripen or iodine (affects taste and is really only used for emergency situations) — These items ensure the water you drink is safe. Water bladder (2L or 3L) and collapsible water bottles — Each item will make it more convenient and efficient to grab a drink of water. Clothing Supplies Moisture is not your friend on the trail, so select your clothing carefully. When choosing clothing for your outdoor adventures, consider fabric performance. Avoid cotton, because it does not have good wicking abilities. Instead, pack wool-blend socks, shirts and long Johns. Opt for polyester/nylon options that wick away sweat and dry quickly. Depending on the weather, you can expect to bring several articles of clothing: at least two pairs of socks, underwear, shorts or convertible pants, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, a jacket or sweater, rain gear, lightweight sandals, sturdy trail shoes or boots and a stocking cap, neck gaiter and gloves if necessary. Safety Supplies Map and compass — Make sure you know where you’re headed. Leave your itinerary with someone at home and avoid backpacking alone. For an added level of safety, consider a portable GPS device such as the SPOT or Garmin eTrex. Multi-tool or Knife — It’s amazing how handy a multi-tool can be thanks to having small screwdrivers, pliers, an opener and a knife in one small device. Paracord — This can be used for a clothesline, to make repairs, to hang a hammock or anything else for which you would generally use rope. Matches — A lighter is great, but also bring some waterproof matches. You can make your own by dipping strike-anywhere matches in melted wax. Store in a small mint tin. Flint and steel — Once you learn to use it, the flint and steel works great for backpacking and is also a basic survival supply. Bring a few cotton balls rolled in petroleum jelly or melted wax for an easy fire starter. First-aid kit — Include ibuprofen for sprains and stings, Benadryl for allergic reactions, bandages, gauze, tape, tongue depressors (they can be used as a small splint) and moleskin for blisters. Bathroom items — Don’t forget to pack toilet paper, hand sanitizer, medications, a toothbrush, deodorant and feminine hygiene products. Light trowel — This is helpful for burying waste (6-8 inches deep at least 200 feet from any water source), and bring a resealable bag to carry out garbage at the end of your trip. Camp soap (biodegradable) — This can be used to wash your body, hair, dishes and more. Other essential items include several pieces that can come in handy for safety reasons: a flashlight or headlamp, bug spray, sunscreen , sunglasses and/or a hat, lip balm, heavy-duty tape for repairs, a needle and thread, pen and paper, a small amount of cash, personal identification, a backcountry access permit (if needed) and trekking poles (optional). Related: 4 must-have camping essentials Packing Tips With each item you pack, think about weight and size. Focus on putting the heaviest items at hip level with lighter supplies above and below it. Although many packs are set up for the sleeping bag at the bottom, we recommend putting it into a waterproof bag in case your water bladder leaks (we’ve seen it happen too many times!). Alternatively, pack your sleeping bag at the top of your backpack. Also look for ways you can minimize the size of supplies, such as wrapping the paracord around the bug spray container or taking tape wrapped around the tongue depressors. Use compression sacks to reduce the size of clothing and your sleeping bag. Place first-aid or food items in resealable bags, which can be used as a garbage bag on the trail. Once you’ve worked your way through this backpacking supply checklist, you should have everything you need to head out and enjoy the backcountry. Images via Ted Bryan Yu , Wilson Ye , Kevin Schmid , Colton Strickland , Emma Van Sant , Simon Migaj and Josiah Weiss

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Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials

Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

August 7, 2018 by  
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This summer’s deadly heatwaves in Japan  have caused government and Olympic officials to consider the benefits of adopting daylight savings time for the  2020 Summer Olympics to ensure athlete safety. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered his ruling party to consider what impacts a two hour shift forward would have on the country after backlash on social media followed the announcement. Adopting daylight savings time would allow events such as the marathon to be scheduled in the cooler morning hours. Masa Takaya, spokesperson for the 2020 games, urged the time push, saying it would also “help protect the environment and realize a low-carbon society in Japan,” alongside other efforts to add more plant life and heat-inhibiting pavements in the city. Although the time shift would provide both energy-saving and safety measures in the face of climate change , many citizens are protesting that the change would result in longer working hours for them. This is not a light claim made by the Japanese labor force, as a 2017 report by BBC News revealed that most individuals in the nation clock in more than 80 hours of overtime each month. Related: Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones Japan has not used the daylight savings system since the U.S. Occupation following World War II from 1948 until 1952. The event, a sour subject for many Japanese, also impeded initiatives during the 1970s and early 2000s to return to the system in the hopes of conserving energy in the country. The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to be held in Tokyo from July 24 until August 9, 2020, followed by the Paralympics from August 25 until September 6. As these are typically the hottest months of the year and likely to become hotter with global warming , the decision to enforce daylights savings time in Japan weighs very precariously in the balance for now. + 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Via Reuters and  The Japan Times Image via T-Mizo

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Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

6 Green Parenting Tips for Summer

July 30, 2018 by  
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Although your children may be thrilled to be out of … The post 6 Green Parenting Tips for Summer appeared first on Earth911.com.

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6 Green Parenting Tips for Summer

10 Essential Oil Diffuser Blends for Summer

June 20, 2018 by  
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Summer is finally here. That means road trips, days at … The post 10 Essential Oil Diffuser Blends for Summer appeared first on Earth911.com.

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This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five

June 19, 2018 by  
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When designer Jorie Burns set her sights on owning a second home near Lake Michigan, she decided to take a chance with the more affordable options found in prefabricated architecture. After perusing several different layouts offered at Lakeside Cabins Resort, she and her family settled on a compact floor plan of 860 square feet. The tiny cabin was built in Indiana and then shipped to the resort in Three Oaks, Michigan. Created for seasonal use, Jorie Burns’ compact cabin is primed for relaxing and unplugging — literally. The house operates off the grid and was designed to embrace the outdoors. To match the aesthetic of the other homes at the Lakeside Cabins Resort , the tiny home features a log siding exterior and a 280-square-foot enclosed deck large enough to fit a dining area and extra sleeping space. The interior features a 380-square-foot living space, a master bedroom for Jorie and her husband, and a double loft that’s roomy enough for two double beds and two single beds for the kids. The design of the tiny house was dictated through emails between Jorie and the builder. “I shipped the builder all of our lighting , bathroom vanity, tile, and chose cabinets, flooring, tongue and groove wood for the walls, countertops, cabinets and everything else that went into it,” Jorie told Inhabitat. Given the limited space, Jorie chose a minimalist aesthetic with Scandinavian influences to make the home feel airy and spacious. Related: The pre-fab tiny Skyview Cabin is crafted from all-natural and low-impact materials This summer will mark the family’s first stay in their prefab home and Jorie anticipates that they’ll spend much of their time outdoors. The tiny  cabin , which is located a 90-minute drive from their main residence in the Chicago suburbs, has access to two pools as well as two small lakes where the family can enjoy paddle boarding, fishing and kayaking. The retreat is also located two miles from Lake Michigan’s shoreline. + Jorie Burns Via Dwell Images by Paper and Plate Photography

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This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five

Solar-powered home boasts an upside down layout for an expansive feel

June 19, 2018 by  
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When a couple finally decided to fulfill their dream of living by the beach, they reached out to Sydney-based architecture firm Rolf Ockert Design to bring their vision to life. To make the most of the property’s views that overlook the nearby lagoon and beach of North Curl Curl, the beach home was designed with an “upside down” layout where the living areas are stacked on top of the lower level bedrooms. Energy efficiency was also a key driver in the design of the North Curl Curl House, which is powered with solar energy and built with low-energy, recyclable and low-emission materials throughout. Located on one half of a new subdivision on a double-size block, the North Curl Curl House enjoys great waterside views as well as privacy thanks to its siting on a quiet street. “Council regulations asked for a steep angled setback from a rather moderate height on, aiming to encourage pitched roof forms,” explains Rolf Ockert Design in their project statement. “We employed that rule differently, designing instead a two-layered roof within the given envelope, gaining light and 360 degree sky views as well as natural breeze and a ceiling height that adds to the feeling of generosity.” The North Curl Curl House’s “upside down” layout organizes the open-plan living areas on the top floor, with the kitchen occupying the heart of the room. The living room and dining area, which also open up to a large outdoor deck and BBQ area, are placed on the east side of the home to overlook panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean . The floor includes a study area for the family as well. Downstairs, the master bedroom suite also faces east towards stellar vistas of the Pacific Ocean, while the two bedrooms for the kids take up the central space. On the west side is the rumpus room, which connects to the garden and pool. The two-car garage with laundry and storage is discreetly tucked underground so as not to detract from the views. Related: Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes To ensure energy efficiency, the North Curl Curl House makes use of natural light and ventilation over artificial sources wherever possible. The home is also equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and a solar array. The walls in the lower level of the home were constructed from brick to provide high thermal mass. + Rolf Ockert Design Images by Luke Butterly and Rolf Ockert

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Solar-powered home boasts an upside down layout for an expansive feel

6 tents perfect for camping this summer

June 18, 2018 by  
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Now that summer is here, it’s time to prepare for some  camping trips. But finding a great tent can be tricky. Are you an adventurer who needs a tent that will withstand all types of weather ? Are you looking to stay somewhere unconventional (like in the trees, or on a lake)? Or maybe you need something that can easily be packed away or recycled after use. If you’re on the hunt for a new tent, here are some of our favorite options that are perfect for your summer camping trip. 1. Alfheim by Nordisk Summer is the best time for camping and and enjoying nature. If you’re planning for longer than a day trip, you’re going to need a tent to protect you from the elements. The Alfheim by Nordisk is a teepee-inspired tent that requires only one person to set up. The Alfheim comes in two different sizes: 12.6 meters squared or 19.6 meters squared. The 19.6-square-meter tent also has an organic option. Other custom options include a ground sheet that zips in and mesh dividers to create separate sleeping spaces. 2. Shoal Tent by SmithFly There’s something magical about spending a camping trip next to the water , but with the Shoal Tent , you can camp right on the water . The tent sits on an inflatable raft that can easily be deflated and carried from campsite to campsite — or from lake to lake. The entire structure of the tent inflates along with the raft, making it very lightweight. The tent has an 8’ x 8’ footprint, so it is comfortable and roomy. 3. KarTent Have you ever been so tired after an event that you just can’t be bothered to break down your tent and take it home with you? It happens more often than you think — every year, thousands of festival-goers leave their tents behind. What if the tents were made of cardboard ? Hear us out. The KarTent is a tent made out of recycled cardboard , and once your journey is over, you can choose to either take it home or drop it into the nearest recycling bin. It’s big enough for two people and secures to the ground with recyclable pegs. For larger events, you can buy the tents in bulk; the company will set them up for you when you arrive and break them down once your event is over. 4. Sky-Pod If you want to sleep among the trees , you’re in luck — the Sky-Pod tent allows you to do just that. You can hang a Sky-Pod as high as four feet above the ground, which is ideal for enjoying life in the trees , but it is also a great safety measure if you’re camping in areas that are prone to flash floods. It also reduces your impact on the environment — you don’t have to worry about placing your tent on a game trail or crushing important flora under your tent’s floor. 5. Sierra Shack by Alite Pop-up tents are an easy way to get out of the weather no matter where you are, but they tend to be difficult to set up and awkward to sleep in. The Sierra Shack is a handy, budget-friendly pop-up tent  that unfolds instantly, has enough room for two people and can even be zipped with other Sierra Shacks to create a small chain of tents. Each tent has a built-in rainfly to keep you dry in case of overnight rain . Once you break it down, the tent weighs less than seven pounds, so you can easily carry it from one campsite to the next. 6.  Stingray Tree Tent by Tensile If you like sleeping in a hammock but don’t like getting caught in the rain, Tensile’s Stingray Tree Tent is the tent for you. The tent keeps you off the ground and provides an enclosed environment to protect you from weather, bugs and other outdoor unpleasantness. You can easily string the tent between any two stable items — trees, boulders or even vehicles. This tent has one major benefit over a standard hammock, though — it can hold up to three full-sized adults. In addition to these practical benefits, the company pledges to plant 18 trees for every tent purchased with its partners Arbor Day Foundation, Eden Projects and WeForest. As you can see, you don’t have to stick with a traditional canvas-and-poles tent during your summer camping trip. Hopefully, these tents inspire you to reconnect with nature and start exploring. Happy trails! Images via Anruf Advertising, Nordisk Smith (Alfheim); SmithFly (Fly Shoal Tent); KarTent (KarTent); Sky-Pod, Zak Bentley (Sky-Pod); Alite Designs (Sierra Shack); Taylor Burke, Justin Hartney and Sean Murphy (Stingray Tree Tent)

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6 tents perfect for camping this summer

Solar for renters? This startup is taking on the challenge of ‘split incentives’

May 9, 2018 by  
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The seed-stage venture, born at Yale University, plans to pilot its idea in New Haven this summer.

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