tiny homes on wheels (30)

Paul Elkins’ Video of the TinyFest Festival Sept. 10-11, 2022

One of Paul’s bicycle-pulled campers is in our most recent book, Rolling Homes. Paul drove all the way down from Washington to exhibit one of his trailers next to our Shelter booth at the festival. People were fascinated with his trailer and he had inquisitive visitors for the entire two days. Here is his video of a bunch of the rigs on display.



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Simple Van Setup

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Brilliant simple van setup by Sam Ausden, who is pulling an equally brilliant trailer built with SIPs (structural insulated panels) with solar panels powering a big air conditioner and a 14kw 48-volt battery.

His units were on display at the TinyFest Festival last weekend.

There are 17 $8 milk crates holding everything. They are held snug with powerful magnets. Simple, cheap, practical, lightweight.

Quite a contrast with expensive, overbuilt, heavy Sprinter van conversions.

www.zerohouse.co

instagram.com/tallmaninavan

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At Tiny Home Festival on September 10-11

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We’re scrambling to get ready to do our first festival appearance in four years.

Evan and I are in the process of packing up our trucks with all our festival gear: 10′ × 10′ booth with white canvas roof, our Shelter banner, boxes of books, tables, chairs, and lath walls that we will affix to the sides of the booth and upon which we will mount blowups from our various books.

This is for the Tiny Home Festival at the Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California this weekend, September 10-11. Details and tickets at:
www.tinyfest.events/tinyfest-pleasanton-california-2022.

We will be selling our books at a discount and I will be doing a presentation and slideshow on Rolling Homes on the main stage at 1 PM on Saturday, September 10 (calendar file).

In the past we have appeared at green festivals, solar energy festivals, and what was the best of all: the Maker Faires, but the Maker Faires unfortunately went out of business, and then Covid came along.

The big news right now is that Rolling Homes is finally in the stores, as well as available from us via mail order.


Below are some spreads from Rolling Homes (available at shelterpub.com/building/rolling-homes, which has a 30% discount on two or more books and free shipping:

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Rolf Pot’s Ford Transit Connect Van

Having always been attracted to compact living spaces on wheels and having been stranded several times in VW Westfalias, I decided to start off with a basic solid vehicle with reliability, safety and small size in mind. The challenge of fitting as many desirable features in a limited space attracted me greatly. Found this 2017 Ford Transit Connect passenger van with 16K miles for 20K dollars here in the Bay Area.

Essential for me was being able to stand up and a sense of spaciousness. Hence the rear-hinged pop-top, purchased from England. Cutting it to size was a bit of a pain, a local welding shop made the strengthening frame, the rest was pretty straight forward. A single flex solar panel and a ceiling fan just fit on the 6″ top. The bed slides forwards and backwards to max 6′3″, while still allowing standing space to cook and stretch. A 200ah battery and 1K watt inverter is sufficient for blender, 150-watt space heater, movie screen etc. Slightly larger size tires and a yet to be installed 1″ lift kit gives it a bit more clearance. The van took 8 months to complete, gets 32 mpg at 65 mph on level road. Inadvertently the additional weight gives it a smooth ride while retaining enough power. The six speakers and good seats makes this a perfect rig for my travel needs and stealth camping. My pup Bella agrees!

Rolf Pot
Santa Cruz

Note: Rolf’s bus “Old Red” is featured in our new book Rolling Homes on pp. 204–205.

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GIMME SHELTER – Summer 2022

To anyone receiving this for the first time, I send these newsletters out every few months. They’re different from social media — old-school in a way — in that they go to a select audience (over 5,000 people now), rather than blasting out into the internetosphere.

If you’re not signed up on the list to receive it, you can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here.


Homestead in Spring 2022. See our recent book,
The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening

Rolling Homes Is Done!

Back cover

Title spread

After a year and a half, dealing with maybe a hundred contributors, thousands (I kid you not!) of emails, many thousands of photos, the book has pieced itself together, as has been the fashion with our building books. The material provided the content, and the book organized itself as it was put together.

I just received (via expensive air mail from China) the first five copies of Rolling Homes: Shelter on Wheels. 7,000 copies of the book are now en route to the U.S.A. and we expect it to be available in mid-July.

Holding it in my hands, I’m seeing it for the first time. And yes, I am prone to over-enthusiasm, and yes, this is my baby — but I think this is our best building book in years. There’s energy, there’s joy, there’s cleverness and craftsmanship and the spirit of adventure. There’s solid information — and fun. The people shine through.

There are time-tested components recommended by these builders, sometimes in great detail. And there’s inspiration — to create, to build, to get out there, to do something different.

But best … check it out in this 50-page flipbook: shelterpub.com/rolling-homes-sample-flipbook

Attention, reviewers:

Want the full book in flipbook form for review? Write rollinghomes@shelterpub.com, telling us where your review might appear, and we’ll send a link (and send us your address if you’d like us to mail you a copy of the book once printed).

Seeking blurbs:

Can you help us publicize the book? We will send you the flipbook version and if you like it, could you give us a few lines we could use for publicity purposes?


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1956 Cadillac Camper

Got this email with old photos from Claudia Smigelski today, it referred to the camper, which was for sale for $1525 on eBay in 2011 (in LA, of course) — which I had posted on my blog.

Hello Lloyd!

I’m unsure if your the same Lloyd with the 1956 Cadillac camper, but if you are thanks for posting the photo! It reminds me of one I bought many moons ago in Arizona and brought to NY.

Wish I still had it! What happened to the 1956 Cadillac Camper?

Thanks, Claudia

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Tiny Home in Northern California

A month or so ago, I saw a unique elliptical wooden teardrop trailer in the surfers’ parking lot at Salmon Creek (Sonoma County). Inside was Mira Nussbaum, who was painting on a silk scarf. The trailer will be one of the units covered in our forthcoming book (publication date May-June, 2022), Rolling Homes. Mira told me she and her husband lived in a tiny home, and she sent these photos. A link to her art work is at www.silkstorymaps.com.

Our tiny house, Tree Song, was inspired by three years of visioning and design for a better way of life. We built this sanctuary so that we could take a step towards living our own beliefs and values in our day-to-day choices. Tree Song was built in 2010 from locally harvested and produced material sourced from local businesses who care about their ecological impact, furthering our intention to live a simple life connected to the land. Tree Song was built on a 22′ × 8′ trailer and is 13′ tall. This amazing home has been at two retreat centers on the East Coast, made an arduous cross-country journey, and now resides in Northern California where we have called it our home since 2017.

–Mira and Alex

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Camping in a Tacoma

Our truck, “The Greasy Devil,” all set up for a clear, but windy night’s sleep in Wyoming. We have an awning to add over the feet if the weather is raining/snowing or too cold.

Dear Lloyd,

I just wanna say thank you for putting out such great books over the years! I found Shelter Pub by way of picking up a Whole Earth Catalog in a thrift store while in high school about ten years ago and have been a fan ever since. Homework was my lockdown reading of choice last year!

I am writing because my husband and I are currently on a long road/camping trip and will be driving through Baja next month. Our rig is a 2018 6-cylinder manual Toyota Tacoma with a homemade sleeping platform and a Softopper (we jokingly call it ultralight overlanding since the softopper weighs about 40lbs). We just did about 5 weeks throughout Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada, and Northern California. Next week we will leave our hometown of Boulder, CO to travel through New Mexico, Arizona, southern California, and Baja for the next 2 months.

I have gone over your blog posts about camping in Baja and was wondering if you have any tips or recommendations you would be willing to share. It will be our first time there, my first time in Mexico and we cannot wait! Our truck is pretty off-road equipped, with a 3″ lift, an air compressor, and recovery gear so we don’t mind going through tough terrain. We love mountain bikes and motorcycles (even though we are not planning on bringing any, maybe rent for a day or two?) and are beginner surfers with a love for the water (the one problem with living in Colorado!).

Anyways, thanks again for all of the wonderful work you put out. I have gone to multiple lectures while I lived in Oakland during college, always leaving inspired and hopeful. I actually had Marianne Rogoff as a writing teacher my freshman year, who told me she worked for you back in the day! I love following along your posts online, your trip to Rome looked simply amazing. I have always wanted to write to you to say thanks, but felt too shy, until now that I have an extra reason to say hi.

–Jessica Milavitz
SUNSHINE CANYON FURNITURE COMPANY
www.sunshinecanyonfurniture.com
instagram.com/ultralight_overland

Note: For lots of info on Baja from my travels there, see: lloydkahn.com/?s=baja

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GIMME SHELTER – October 2021

To anyone receiving this for the first time, I send these newsletters out every few months. They’re different from social media — old school in a way — in that they go to a select audience (over 5,000 people now), rather than blasting out into the internetosphere.

If you’re not signed up on the list to receive it, you can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here.


This is my first newsletter in 6 months, no less. Boy, how time has flown. So I’m afraid it’s gonna be a long one.

Rolling Homes

Rick and I have been working on this book for maybe 4 months. Our modus operandi: I write (or edit) text, print out photos, use a color copy machine (a workhorse Brother MFC-371DCW) to resize photos, then paste down text and photos with removable Scotch Tape. These then go to Rick, who uses Photoshop and InDesign to prepare files for printers. As we go along, he makes PDFs so I can print out pages to see how they look. An analog/digital process. We’ve got about 150 (out of 256) pages done.

I never know what a book will be like until we are well underway in production. We start with a theme — here, homes on wheels — and put it together 2 pages at a time, and the book reveals itself as we proceed.

And this one — good golly Miss Molly! — is turning out to be amazing. I’m sure you’re aware of the explosion of nomadic vehicles in recent years. Our book is composed of primarily do-it-yourselfers — the theme running through all our building books — and the designs, ingenuity, and craftsmanship are stunning.

One thing I just realized: there are a lot of surfers in this book — female and male. Below is Yasha Hetzel, who went 120,000 miles in Australia in a Citroën Berlingo van, here surfing at South Point:

BTW, we don’t seem to have any of the so-called “vanlife” rigs here — the young attractive couples with photos of sunsets and the minutiae of their daily lives. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it’s just is turning out that our rigs and people are more real, more hands-on than the “influencers.”

Shelter Books Exhibited at the Biennale Architettura in Venice

This is the big news around here right now. According to Wikipedia, the Biennale Architettura is “…an International exhibition held every other year in Venice, Italy, in which architecture from nations around the world is presented.”

The two architects responsible for the exhibit, Leopold Banchini and Lukas Feireiss, visited here last year, interviewed me, shot photos, and in conjunction with the exhibit, produced a book titled Shelter Cookbook. They have arranged for my flights to and from Venice, and a place to stay there, and after three flight cancellations and rescheduling and Covid preparations, I’m set to leave here on October 6th. I am excited!

The Shelter part of the exhibit consists of three of our books: Domebook One, Domebook 2, and Shelter, which are on display, as well as stick models of buildings shown in these books.

Stick models of buildings in Shelter and Domebook 2. A lot of work went into making these!

The exhibit is in the Arsenale di Venezia, a huge complex of shipyards and buildings built in the 1100s and used for building Venice’s ships.

I’ll be in Venice October 9–11; and on the 13th, I’ll be doing a slide presentation called “60 Years of Natural Building” at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, a school of architecture in Italian-speaking Switzerland. Then to Florence, then (maybe train ride) to Sicily where I’ll spend a week exploring (and swimming). Back home and back to book production end of October.

I’m really excited to be going back to Italy (and seeing Venice and Sicily for the first time). I love the people, the sea, the countryside, the food, the gardens — the Italian way of life — my cup of tea — er, espresso.

I’m going as lightweight as possible this trip, with a Cotopaxi Allpa 35 travel pack with compression bags (fits easily into overhead bin) and my regular daily Dakine backpack for MacBook Air, glasses, pens, etc. Trying something new this trip: the only camera — my iPhone 11 Pro Max. Not taking my Olympus OM-D EM-1 camera and lenses saves a lot of weight, and the iPhone is pretty darn capable.
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