Video – Field Lab video

I’ve linked to The Field Lab in the past, and it’s always entertaining to see how someone fares when they take ingenuity and a tight wallet to an environment that most people would rather just take a pass on. I was bopping around YouTube looking at preparedness videos and this came up in the roster:

I would love to do something like this except for the fact that chicks dig flush toilets and running water. But, I think a fella could still put together something that might be chick-acceptable.

It’s a good video to watch because it covers a lot of the technical details that we would find important..how you cool your living environment in the middle of the desert using off-grid power, that sort of thing. I rather like the covered courtyard with the cargo containers…

It’s a good video to watch. The website for the guy’s continuing experiment is The Field Lab.

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6 thoughts on “Video – Field Lab video

  1. I’m there, mentally; the no neighbors and no stoplights is fine, but no water, no serious food growing, and half a tank of gas to get to the store is a problem.
    If he had a bit more water, and a more arable location, the remoteness would be a feature instead of a bug. That’s also where a solar vehicle would come in.

    I’ve got a notebook of my own courtyard conex plans here, and can’t wait to try them out. (Or skip the conex, and go with reinforced concrete box culvert.)
    For the price of two 40′ and two 20′ boxes, you get an interior courtyard of 20’x24′, which means you can have a kick-ass living room, or a shaded courtyard/greenhouse. Putting your solar and water heating panels on the roof gets you room for enough solar to run machine shops, and gravity-fed running water wherever you want it. You can cinder-block wall the outside to greatly diminish the heater-icebox effect of a conex house, and if you double wall it with gravel between, you get tank/bulletproof walls, with a rooftop garden on the top periphery.

    Adding boxes increases the perimeter, to whatever point you can afford.
    Utility poles laid on the conexes, with plywood and a pond liner, get you the ability to roof the whole thing with soil. Proper reinforcement takes that soil thickness to depths that’d stop nuclear fallout radiation, or stop mortar shells, and hold heavy snow loads.

    And other than your building boxes, it’s pretty much the way houses were and are built around the Mediterranean, for the same benefits, since forever: rooftop patios for cooler evenings, rooftop/container gardening and cistern-feeding, and security from bad people and bad times.

    Sink the whole thing to grade, and your entryway is a reinforced stairwell.
    Put that in a small faux rock outcrop, and it isn’t even there, whether from space or twenty feet away, except for the solar and water panels. Which are a lot easier to hide than a house esp. at ground level.

    Tough to beat the costs he has though.

    • If I’m visualizing your “roof with soil” plan, you’re putting the weight of that soil — and any water it may absorb — on the sheet metal roof of the shipping containers?

      That is a recipe for disaster.

      Shipping containers are strong at their corners, where the large diameter square tubing is supporting the load. Elsewhere they are little more than sheet metal boxes, not much stronger than a car trunk lid or van roof. A foot or two of wet soil is likely to collapse the roof of a container.

      • Uh, no.

        I’m putting it on a solid bed of 8″ logs laid across the containers, with double layer structural plywood and a pond liner on that, and supported by pillars underneath.
        That’s side by side beams, with a 24′ open span from box to box, supported by another crossbeam and pillars at 12′, holding about 330# per square foot of wet soil at a depth of 3′, for a substantial overkill factor for the roof. (Like you could land helicopters on it. If I reinforce at 8′ and 16′, you can drive tanks on it.) All the weight on the beams goes straight to the structural steel of the conexes (and a curtain wall of masonry), not the flimsy 14 gauge corrugated sheet steel roof.

        Hence the helpful included paragraph:
        “Utility poles laid on the conexes, with plywood and a pond liner, get you the ability to roof the whole thing with soil. Proper reinforcement takes that soil thickness to depths that’d stop nuclear fallout radiation, or stop mortar shells, and hold heavy snow loads.”

        So perhaps “visualize” what I actually wrote.

        I’m not a big fan of death by suffocation in a major earthquake, nor from simple structural stupidity.
        Thanks for the input.

  2. idk, i been following him a long time, and a shitload of hot chicks come to see his place and chat, and more than a few “local” women drop by to bring him delicacies. now me, i’d just be thought of as that weird loner guy out in the desert. he’s thought of as that rugged individualist chicks dig. go figure. my next “cabin” will incorporate his double roof design. its brilliant.

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