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Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

Pre-Fab Yurt for Storage, Utility or Tiny Living

| January 5, 2012 | Gear
Views: 31441 | No Comments

Tyler: Neat idea and sound quite economic for building and then transporting to site. Would love to see photos of some that have been built!

The TenYurt eBook details a very simple DIY prefab structure that can serve a number of needs. It can be used for simple storage or basic shelter. Why the name TenYurt? Well it is called a TenYurt simply because it has ten sides and looks a bit like a yurt.

The basic design can also be enhanced in a number of ways to make it as complete as your needs and budget allow. The eBook about the TenYurt contains 37 pages of detailed design and construction information. There is a list of tool suggestions and each part describes which tool is best for each operation. Included are complete dimensions for all the parts and a complete parts list for both the sub-component parts as well as for the whole project.

There is also detailed information about alternative materials and suggestions  on ways that the TenYurt can be enhanced. The TenYurt has been carefully designed to maximize the use of materials in such a way that there is almost no wastage. It has also been designed to allow prefabrication at a location that is remote to where you would like to install it. All of the pieces will fit into a pickup truck for transportation and nothing is larger than 4′ x 8′.

The component parts are light enough to be easily handled and installation should be a fairly simple and quick task for two people. Depending on material choices and level of enhancements it should be possible to build a TenYurt for as little as perhaps $300 or $400. Enhancements will of course cost more. The following snapshots show the full content of the book to give you an idea of the number of illustrations and the level of detail included.

Original Article

Patagonia Travel Belt

| December 27, 2011 | Featured, Gear
Views: 2059 | No Comments

patagonia-travel-belt-xl.jpegTyler: We’ve all seen the classic travel and money belts, but this is the first one I might own.

Belts are boring, but essential tools. Outside of holding up pants their utility tends to be fairly limited. I own the previously reviewed 686 Tool Belt, and find it useful from time to time, but decided I wanted something simpler for traveling. After reading about the benefits of nylon webbing, I picked up one of Patagonia’s Travel Belts.

The Travel Belt, like the previously reviewed Tech Web Belt, is made up of nylon webbing that can be cut down to size and sealed with an open flame. Unlike standard webbing belts, the Travel Belt has a long 19″ x 1.5″ zippered pocket sewn on the inside that can easily stash a folded copy of a passport, folded currency, and keys. The pocket is surprisingly lengthy and capacious that when filled is never uncomfortable or ungainly.

I’m not a paranoid traveller, but I do recognize that it’s possible to lose a wallet, or have a bag whisked away at an inopportune moment. The Travel Belt makes it very unlikely that I’ll lose everything. On a recent trip to Bangladesh, I kept a folded copy of my partner’s and my passport, $20 in local currency, and an apartment key in the hidden pocket. Luckily, we never had need of the belt’s contents, but the security of knowing we wouldn’t be without bus fare home was comforting.

Original Article


Many homesteaders and other people that choose to set up households in remote areas quickly realize that transmitted electricity is a premium resource, if not completely unavailable in some particularly remote areas. Even in reasonably developed areas, on larger properties paying for “last mile” utilities may be prohibitively expensive. Some turn to ingenious but expensive kerosene or propane powered models for appliances such as refrigerators when they may have an inexpensive, low-tech refrigerating system right beneath their feet. For the same reason utilities are hard to come by, many locations also rely on a private well and that’s where our solution starts.
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A few nights ago I was watching a documentary about an expedition into the Caldera de Luba, an isolated and steep-sided valley on Equatorial Guinea. With some descents as steep as 70 to 80 degrees, sections of the journey were more like mountaineering than hiking. To assist in one particularly challenging segment, the crew built a rope ladder. Although, the technique was not explained in detail and was a bit hard to follow, it could be gathered that it was essentially a series of looped knots that secured stout lengths of wooden saplings into a highly serviceable rope ladder. I decided to research the technique (along with another, more minimalistic one) and share the process with you.

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Low Tech: No-Power Water Filtering Barrels

| August 2, 2009 | Featured, Gear
Views: 4805 | 2 Comments

Rain water barrels have been all the rage for the last couple years (unless, of course, you lived in one of those areas where the government “owns” the rainwater than falls from the sky).  They’re an excellent way to provide for or supplement the water needs of a home garden.  However, a lot of us forget that it was not too long ago that such measures (rain capture and cistern) were part of the life or death water supply of mankind in many area. With water collection comes the issue of purification.  It was with all of this in mind that I came across this clever bit of farm technology from the last century.  My hat’s off to the clever farm that built the first one of these from simple materials found on most farmyards without the need for power or industry.

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Earthquakes are among those handful of natural disasters that are at once, expected while simultaneously being unpredictable. That is to say that while we know that parts of the world are prone to earthquakes and can identify general trends, we have no reliable way to predict them or even monitor their approach. This often makes them much more catastrophic than hurricanes, flood and tornados when they do strike a heavily populated area. History and pre-history is full of cities and civilizations brought low or wiped out by the “Unquiet Earth” in its various forms.

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