Testing My Cell Newsroom Setup: Shiftpods & Warmth Pumps Are A Nice Combo

In a earlier article, I shared some details about a particular undertaking I’m engaged on: constructing a cellular newsroom. Yow will discover full particulars at that hyperlink, however briefly, the thought is to make journey tremendous low-cost to have the ability to do extra “boots on the bottom” journalism. Plus, I’m working to do it with zero burning of fossil fuels. If that seems like a undertaking you’d prefer to help, you’ll be able to be taught extra at this text or go directly to my Indiegogo fundraiser here. As of this writing, I’m solely a few quarter of the way in which to the fundraising objective, so for those who can afford to assist, I’d deeply recognize it. Whether or not you’ll be able to assist immediately or not, sharing is one other nice technique to get this undertaking off the bottom!

One factor I discussed within the different article and fundraiser was that I have already got an enormous chunk of the “glamping” gear I’d want for this collectively. I’ve been engaged on preparing to do that for years, and have been doing what I may with spare money.

For most individuals who go tenting, it’s a seasonal factor. You solely go when it’s comfy to go, no less than when it’s only for enjoyable. However, I would like to have the ability to journey to go catch the best cleantech tales I can, so I wanted extra of an all-season setup, and I wanted it to be one thing I may arrange and take down shortly. It additionally wanted to remain comfy exterior of a sleeping again inside so I may write, edit pictures, and work on movies.

After doing lots of studying and analysis, it turned fairly clear {that a} Shiftpod was your best option for my state of affairs and desires.

What’s a Shiftpod?

For these unfamiliar, the Shiftpod is an invention that emerged from Burning Man, the annual desert competition recognized for loopy outfits, post-apocalyptic automobiles, and a philosophy of self-reliance and decommodification. This occasion occurs not simply in a desert, however a dry and dusty lakebed (playa) within the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. As a result of it occurs on public land, no everlasting buildings are allowed, so members (known as “burners”) need to camp within the desert.

As we all know, necessity is the mom of invention, and folks have discovered some fairly ingenious methods to remain comfy and get good sleep on the playa. Many individuals merely present up with an RV and use a generator and/or solar energy to remain cool and relaxation after staying up late the night time earlier than. Different folks construct Hexayurts, a temporary shelter made from foam boards with a shiny outer layer, to maintain the cool inside and replicate the warmth away. However, Hexayurts are huge and heavy, requiring lots of trailer or truck area only for the boards. Additionally they take lots of effort and time to assemble and disassemble.

This problem and the expertise of discovering out that the Hexayurt was lots of work led Christian Weber to consider how this might be accomplished higher. After every thing from Hexayurts to ice shelters, he arrived on the Shiftpod design.

Even the smallest Shiftpod has sufficient room to behave as a cellular workplace and sleeping area.

It’s lots like an ice shelter (one thing that may be arrange in a short time and has insulated sides), however with thinner material coated in a reflective materials, type of just like the Hexayurts. The tip result’s a tent that’s good for each winter and summer season tenting, as it may possibly assist repel each chilly and warmth as wanted. It additionally seals up lots tighter than most tents (to maintain playa mud out), and is extremely proof against wind.

To this point, I’ve purchased three Shiftpod shelters. Two of them are Minis, and I have already got these readily available. The third one is a bigger customary Shiftpod, however I’m ready for that one to come back in.

Including Warmth & Air Conditioning

An insulated shelter that seals tightly and displays daylight away seems like an ideal match for air con, doesn’t it? As soon as once more, ingenious individuals who go to Burning Man have accomplished lots of experimenting with that, too. Folks have tried every thing from including shade above Shiftpods to utilizing electrical followers to twin hose refrigerated air conditioners. This then led to the market seeing the demand for moveable air con, and to Shiftpod including ports to the shelter’s design for precisely this function.

Testing physique warmth evacuation with an EcoFlow Wave moveable air conditioner.

Happily for me, EcoFlow despatched me their Wave moveable air conditioner final yr. Like different twin hose air conditioners, it’s Shiftpod suitable, however not like most, it’s tremendous environment friendly. As soon as it brings the area right down to temperature, it solely wants about 400 watts of energy to take care of it. Which means that on battery energy it may possibly run for nearly a day with out charging, and with some folding photo voltaic panels, you’ll be able to run it with no need a generator!

The Shiftpod Mini doesn’t have air con ports, so I needed to take a look at this out by operating a single hose via the ground zipper. We introduced in the entire household, together with the canine and our extra adventurous cats to generate additional physique warmth. Fairly shortly, the Shiftpod’s insulation trapped all that physique warmth, turning the shelter right into a sweaty, smelly area. However, in a short time, the EcoFlow Wave cleared out all the new air and made the tent comfy inside for the entire residing issues we had in it.

What About The Chilly?

I additionally examined a more recent model of the EcoFlow Wave with an environment friendly warmth pump, however that unit has not been introduced to the general public but, so impressions must wait till the embargo lifts subsequent month. However, what I can say is that many individuals have run very small resistive heaters of their Shiftpods through the years and have had nice outcomes with as little as 200-400 watts of energy, so heating a Shiftpod on electrical energy may be very a lot attainable with no generator or a fossil gas heater. One thing like a Jackery or EcoFlow energy station can present loads of energy.

However, the cleanest answer to any downside is to make use of no vitality in any respect, and I needed to see how the tent did in 40-something diploma temperatures simply with the physique warmth of these inside it. So, I took it out to a campsite close by and checked to see the way it felt inside because the solar went down, and within the desert you’ll be able to bear in mind your identify temperatures plummet as a lot as 40 levels simply after sundown. Would it not be comfy sufficient for me to sit down and sort inside, or would the chilly grow to be too distracting to work?

Temperatures drop quick at sundown within the Chihuahuan Desert.

For the primary short while after sundown, the alternative occurred. The tent trapped in a lot warmth that it was uncomfortable and I needed to open the round home windows to get some chilly air to combine with physique warmth. However, as the sunshine pale and the celebrities appeared, I closed the home windows one after the other. With all of them closed, the chilly air by no means bothered anyone within the tent, as a result of we had been toasty heat inside.

The insulation was so good that we needed to depart the home windows and door open till nicely after sundown to keep away from getting too scorching.

I’d think about in even colder climate, I’ll want a warmth pump, however my evaluation on that must wait till subsequent month when the embargo on that gadget lifts. However, from what I’ve seen to this point, I feel we’ll keep heat all night time and be capable to work within the tent throughout any daytime warmth we encounter on the highway this summer season. About the one factor that may distract me are the views exterior the home windows.

All photos (together with featured picture) by Jennifer Sensiba.

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