Nomadic Homes (171)

Yogan Carpenter’s Ladybug Truck

Yogan, a highly creative French carpenter, has been in our last three books. Here is his latest creation, about which he wrote:

This is a 2002 Mercedes 311cdi Sprinter double-cabin (7 seats) truck with a hydraulic bed lift. I call it Le Benne-Benz. I wanted the 7-seater because we live in collective and it’s cool to go to festivals in only one vehicle! All the stuff (tent, mattress, etc.) is in the truck and there’s only one driver! It’s also good for a hot tub and a good stage for a concert!

I travel a lot, so I had to make a place to sleep and live during my travels. The idea to make a removable cell came to me because I like to sleep under the stars, and sunbathe nude, so the open roof was mandatory!

For the shell, I made 10 arches in laminated poplar wood (9mm × 8 layers) and I glued 2 layers (2 × 6mm) of poplar plywood for the shell.

I have a big lifting frame in the forest where I suspend it, and it’s possible to sleep inside while it’s suspended (off the truck) like a big swing seat!

I travel with “Sucette,” my cat, and under my bed I have space to put my paraglider, my longboard, my accordions, and a lot of Cabanophiles books to sell during my travels.

This structure cost me less than 300 Euros!

I can level the bed with the hydraulic lift, which means I can find a lot more good camping spots! 50° max!

To use a van with a camper shell is a good way to be “unruly” because now in France its illegal to make your own rolling home. With this technique you can be so creative! I like to be unruly in this world; we need to be creative and have fun!

I will put Le Benne-Benz in my next book Cabanophiles II, in 2 years!

Note: Yogan published a book about his travels called Cabinophiles (for which I wrote the intro). It’s in French, but he’s translating it into English. www.cabanophiles.com

Here is more info on his Mercedes: yogan.over-blog.com/2018/08/dans-mon-benne-benne-benz.html

Finally, here is Yogan and his pal Menthe visiting Shelter two years ago:

www.lloydkahn.com/2015/11/french-carpenters-stop-by-shelter-on

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Tiny House Built to Escape Wildfires

In 2017, wildfires swept through Ojai, California causing a tremendous amount of destruction. Ryan watched as the eerie glow on the horizon turned into a wall of flames racing towards his parked tiny house. It was about 4am when he hitched up his home to his truck and managed to move it to safety moments before the property was engulfed in flames. Thankfully, his tiny home was safe but the property it was parked on was completely torched, the property owners tragically loosing their home.

It was that event which prompted him to build a second tiny house. Firstly, he wanted to build cheaper, so he didn’t have quite as much capital invested in his home on wheels and secondly so that it could be smaller, easier to find a parking space for and even more simple to move should the fires ever sweep through the area again…

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SunRay Kelley’s New Tiny Home on Wheels For Sale



From SunRay’s website:

This 20′ vardo is off-grid ready. Solar panels run a high-efficiency solar refrigerator and 12-volt lighting. The wood-fired heater heats 14 gallons of hot water while it heats your home. A propane stove and oven additionally warm this tiny home when you make tea or bake.

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Jay Shafer's $5,000 Tiny Home



Jay Shafer is the Godfather of the modern tiny house movement. I say the modern movement, because for the vast majority of human history, we have lived in small, simple shelters. It was almost 20 years ago that Jay designed and built his first 90-square-foot (8m²) tiny house on wheels and that moment sparked the very beginning of the tiny house movement and a trend towards reclaiming the human right to affordable simple shelter.

The affordability factor is a big one. In recent years, we have watched the average price of a tiny house on wheels creep up as the movement grows, more builders get involved and the spec of tiny homes ever increases. It’s not uncommon for a tiny house on wheels to now cost over $100,000 (US) – still a relatively tiny price tag compared to the cost of a “normal” house in some areas, however still a price too far out of reach for many.

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Handcrafted Heirloom Tiny House



When constructing a tiny house on wheels, we are presented with a unique opportunity to add materials and fittings which we may not be able to afford were we constructing a larger home. Reducing the size of a home also means reducing the amount of materials which are required to build it and therefore gives us an opportunity to use higher quality, longer-lasting materials. Putting hardwood floors down in a 5-bedroom family home would be an extreme cost, but when you’re only placing them in a tiny house on wheels, then all of a sudden that becomes achievable. When Alex and Emmie, a young couple from Ojai, California decided to build their tiny house, they chose to truly craft it as an heirloom, utilising high-quality, sustainably sourced materials to build their home in a way that it would stand the test of time, and be a treasure which they could pass down to future generations.

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Paul and Melissa’s Homemade Vardo

For maximum space versatility, the shelves and seats can be folded up and fastened out-of-the-way, and the massive drawers and cupboards under the bed provide ample storage. We have no running water or electricity, but plenty of comfort and convenience with the propane cooktop, large bay window, and skylight that lets us see the stars at night.

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Beach Camping in Baja California Sur

Left to right:

  • 1983 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 with 8-foot bed parked at Roosterfish Cove, Destilladeras (several miles farther out on the East Cape from Shipwrecks). This model did not have independent suspension for front wheels; desert rats preferred it because it was tougher.
  • Air Camping tent (made in Italy) on roof. When flap was up, it faced water. Had mosquito netting, mattress, pillow, sheets inside. Ladder holds up cantilevered section. Great for the desert, no worry about snakes, scorpions. I would 4-wheel it out in the desert on my travels in Baja at night, go down into arroyos and sleep. Stealth.
  • 9-foot Haut 3-fin board
  • Yakima Rocket Box on roof, which contained:
    • 10-by-12-foot flea market tarp for shade. There was a solar panel on the Rocket Box that charged up an extra battery. Note sandbags hanging in corners to hold tarp down in wind; no stakes nec.
    • fishing rod

I would fly into San José del Cabo, pick up the truck at my friend Chilon’s house, drive out to an arroyo on a ranch, down to the beach, let air out of tires and go 2 miles or so on the sand to Roosterfish Cove. All alone for days. No clothes nec.

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Houseboat Island Living



Mark has lived a very unique life, sailing and traveling around the world working as a professional mime and clown. Now, in his retirement he is living the island lifestyle on an incredible off-the-grid houseboat where he is able to enjoy life and spend his days looking out over the ocean.

Mark’s houseboat is a member of a houseboat community which is made up of 8 floating homes which are situated on an island off the coast of New Zealand. This community is made up of a variety of beautiful, small, off-grid, tiny houseboats, all with their unique and individual charms. The community has existed in this area since the 70’s.

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