WildSnow Weekend — Port-a-huts

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 15, 2015      
WildSnow Field HQ iscompact and cozy.

WildSnow Field HQ: 9 feet wide and spacious.

We love our little WildSnow HQ Port-a-hut. It’s compact, cozy and completely adequate as a temporary shelter while we go skiing. I fantasize about building another one so it was fun to take a peek into Outdoor Research’s cabina on wheels.

Here are more posts about our port-a-hut.

A clever attraction, Outdoor Research Tiny House at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

A clever attraction, Outdoor Research Tiny House at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

Interior of OR Tiny House. Note the spiral staircase to the loft.

Interior of OR Tiny House. Note the handcrafted spiral staircase to the loft.

Nice wall mounted drying rack.

Nice wall mounted drying rack.

A platform which slides out from under the loft makes another sleeping spot.

A platform which slides out from under the loft makes another sleeping spot.

Clever glass stabilizer.

Clever glass stabilizer.

Recap of WildSnow posts from the week of February 8 to February 13, 2015:

Strapless and Brakeless? Find Your Ski With the Tracer, or Neverlose

Hokkaido — All About Patience

Dynafit Center of Excellence — Adult Workshop, or Proof of Inner Child?

Japan — Niseko and Asahidake

I Heard the Arcteryx Avalanche Airbag…

Tech For The Masses — Dynafit OEM Ski Touring Gear


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


20 Responses to “WildSnow Weekend — Port-a-huts”

  1. RDE February 15th, 2015 9:02 pm

    As cute as they can be, the cabin on wheels is an expensive and labor intensive solution for a mountain base camp. Start with a high cube insulated food shipping container– 10′ high ceiling, 40′ long for a fraction of the cost of building a similar space. Room enough for a real bedroom instead of an overheated loft. Make it as woody or as ultramodern as you wish inside. Anything from bare container to architectural steel cladding on the outside. 10′ of snow on the roof? no problem. Let one side open wide with sliding glass for the summers and close with steel shutters in the winter and when you are gone. Nearly impervious to theft. And when a wildfire sweeps by and reduces all neighboring cabins to ashes your internally insulated cor-ten steel home will likely survive.

  2. Aiglon Morzine February 16th, 2015 8:51 am

    I need one of these in my life – I’d never need to leave the mountain!

  3. Scott Nelson February 16th, 2015 12:40 pm

    Part of the appeal to me, and I’m sure Lou and Lisa, is building it basically from scratch. Labor intensive = fun, in my book, well at least most if the time. OR tiny house looks like it has some nice features.

  4. RDE February 16th, 2015 3:10 pm

    Hi Scott,

    Believe me, turning a shipping container into a mountain home will provide plenty of opportunity for labor intensive fun! The primary difference is the esthetic. Most tiny homes are cute as a bug’s ear— and most boxes are well– boxes. But an insulated steel box will outlive a whole fleet of stick-built trailer homes. And if your taste tends toward the contemporary they can even be attractive.


  5. Lou Dawson 2 February 16th, 2015 3:29 pm

    RDE, only gotcha is one of the primary reasons for the wheeled trailer is so it’s a bona fide temporary “camping shelter” or “RV” under land used codes. I suppose the shipping container could be that way as well if it was on wheels or perhaps timbers, but one has to be careful in the incredibly restrictive land use atmosphere we have in many parts of the country, especially near resort areas where NIMBY types who in the name of “controlling growth” have influenced things in a not so positive way that is detrimental to the common man, in my opinion.

  6. Scott Nelsonj February 16th, 2015 4:25 pm

    I do like the starting point with a steel container though. And yeah cutting one of those up to fit windows and doors sounds really laborious. And the thought of ‘recycling’ a container sounds good to.

    Seems like I saw something recently about man camps in the oil/gas fields in North Dakota using these containers for living quarters, or was that the FEMA prison camps on wheels ?

  7. Jailhouse Hopkins February 16th, 2015 6:48 pm

    Those stairs sure do look purty but good luck negotiating them after a manly Jager session.

  8. Tyler February 16th, 2015 10:29 pm

    FYI – OR is working on dates for the Tiny House to make a run through Carbondale, Telluride, Durango, Moab and parts unknown this Spring/Summer.

  9. GeorgeT February 17th, 2015 11:14 am

    What are your top “10” improvements/ideas planned for Port-A-Hut 2.0?

  10. RDE February 18th, 2015 7:51 am

    I hear you on the problem of zoning Nazis. But on the other hand a steel container is simply a rigid trailer frame without wheels. And they are available in several sizes if square footage is the barrier.

    The designs that appeal for a mountain cabin are single container structures capable of being secured against break-ins while you are away skiing in Chile and resistant to the wildfires that are a ever increasing threat in our beetle-killed forests.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 February 18th, 2015 8:59 am

    RDE, to find the people who let the zoning nightmare happen, one only has to look in the mirror. Through voting, political will and pop politics we let it happen here in the Aspen valley. Around here it came from a misguided fight against wealthy people and big developers, noble intentions (other than the awkward fact that the wealthy folks still built their homes, instead of the common man) but nobody seemed to realize that the incredibly restrictive bureaucracy that developed would raise the cost of housing across the board, and stifle innovation. The concept of the tiny house really brings it all home. Try to live in one around here, and you are committing a crime. Don’t get me going!

  12. Lou Dawson 2 February 18th, 2015 9:16 am

    George T, how about 3,000 square feet and the portahut as a guest house?

    Seriously, the main improvement is LVT (high quality vinyl) on the floor, which is presently plywood and gets soaked, no good lasting finish. Always improving the water system as well, I’d like to have year-around water from the tank, not sure how to engineer that but it’s very intriguing to try and put together. I also need to mount the backup generator in a good location, with a permanent wiring system so it’s just a matter of starting up the genny when needed. The solar system is good almost all the time, the generator is only necessary if we want to use the internet longer than a few hours at night.


  13. See February 18th, 2015 11:13 am

    One big difference between a stick built tiny house and a shipping container is that I can make and transport the former myself from relatively cheap, locally available materials. Also, I like windows.

  14. Terrance February 18th, 2015 1:33 pm

    My brother in law uses a windmill to pump water into his water tank that gravity feeds his cabin in the woods.

  15. RDE February 18th, 2015 5:31 pm

    Hi Lou
    Here in Jackson this guy fought for three years trying to get his trailer park on the Village road approved for affordable housing structures. Finally gave up and made it an upscale resort for these “tiny houses” he designed. Nicer than million dollar suites at the Four Seasons by far.


    Look at the link I posted. One of the design flaws in these artichoke designed container houses is that they have too many windows! And you can’t begin to build and insulate a 320 sq ft. stick structure for the base cost of a container.

    If I were designing one it would still be on wheels for the “planners” but semi buried on a south facing hillside with a wildflower meadow on top and a whole side of glass that opened up to a deck for the summer and could be partially/fully closed up by insulated steel shutters.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 February 18th, 2015 6:12 pm

    RDE, it’ll all come to a head eventually when people realize you can easily live in a tiny house. It’s going to be difficult, the bias against mobile homes is incredibly strong and resulted in layers and layers of rules and regulations that make it illegal to live in a tiny house. People are doing it anyway, all over the country, but they’re taking a lot of risk. One complaint from a neighbor and it’s all over with and you’re stuck with an expensive pile of wood on a trailer.

    What’s ironic is that this whole ethos is the original idea of the mobile home. Inexpensive, small portable housing.


  17. See February 18th, 2015 6:20 pm

    RDE, I stand corrected. Those are some nice looking houses.

    As a side note, my grandfather was in the dredging business and lived in a converted barracks barge that he hauled up onto a lot by the Detroit River. I loved that place.

  18. RDE February 19th, 2015 8:52 am

    I live in the Teton Valley Idaho, home of the zombie subdivision. Close to 10,000 subdivided lots with no homes started on them in the past 5 years. Most “protected” by restrictive CCRs that require large square footage, stone and unpainted wood on the exterior, no visible solar panels, no “unconventional” ie energy efficient design— you get the picture.

    But in the overall scheme of things it’s fairly insignificant compared to permafrost methane release in the high Arctic, glacial melt rates in Greenland , global ocean acidification or even the snowless winter in the Pacific Northwest and blizzards in Boston caused by a warming Arctic increasing the jet stream meander.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 February 19th, 2015 9:03 am

    RDE, I understand the concept of “insignificant,” but are we not to think locally and act globally, with the component that acting locally and getting our own house in order might be the start? If more people lived light on the land, in small efficient homes, wouldn’t that help? Or should we live in large houses, and restrict our own ability to live in small homes just so we don’t have to look at a trailer park? Lou

  20. RDE February 19th, 2015 9:55 am

    Hi Lou
    We are on the same page except that we need fewer people, and those living lighter on the land.

    The biosphere is a very large and complex interactive system, and the human species is proving to be a virulent cancer from the point of all the other species that have co-evolved on it. But it is the nature of a dominant species to expand until it exhausts and collapses its ecological niche and humans are no different. Except in the case of Homo Consumerist the niche is the entire planet.

    re Global Extinction Events: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP_Fvs48hb4

    Time to go skiing and enjoy the sunshine of our snowless February here in the Tetons—-.

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