Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dump Out the Kit

Photo courtesy Flickr

A travel tip speeds the morning’s toilette: dump out all the grooming supplies from their bag and replace them one by one as one dresses.

Doing so eliminates the risk of forgetting something.This trick works every day if one uses a travel kit all the time. Doing so saves space, the bother of handling giant bottles of this and that, and it makes dressing portable in case someone else needs to use your space.  

-30- More after the jump.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Turkish Farmhouse

Photo courtesy Flickr

A few years ago I spotted a photo and comment in a glossy shelter book: the traditional flat-roofed farm dwelling in Turkey is insulated over the winter by storing bales of hay on the roof.

That makes all kinds of a world of sense to me, presuming a dry climate, and at odd moments I consider things like accumulating bags of paper shreddings and piling them overhead here and there to conserve heat. Then I think about the fire department and put off the project.

Several weeks ago I picked up a pair of self-inflating air mattresses with memory foam tops, the kind of luxury car camping gear at which I sneered when younger. The mattresses are divine but not quite right for the project I had in mind. Even on sale they were an investment, and I was reluctant to return them. Looking for a place to store them, I found that they cover neatly the flat top of the experimental four-poster bed I cobbled together out of two-inch galvanized steel conduit and greenhouse couplings from a mail-order outfit.

Simply laying the self-inflated pads on top of the bed made an immediate difference in the warmth of its small interior. I used high thread-count cotton drop cloth panels as expedient hangings when I put the structure together. They’re gathered and retained with simple loops of hook and loop fastener. Elegant Japanese battery-powered tent lanterns provide reading light, and we sleep under an unzipped rectangular down bag encased in a duvet cover.

Solar chargers on the windowsill fuel the lantern batteries, and another solar charger keeps the Pad alive. Whittling away at utilities is beginning to pay off.

-30-  More after the jump.