Off-Grid Cabin with Energy Wheel, Floating Bed & Indoor Climbing Wall

Off-Grid Cabin with Energy Wheel, Floating Bed & Indoor Climbing Wall

>>MAT: Hey everyone in this video, we’re gonna give you a tour of this off-grid micro cabin. It’s a fun, interactive living space with some really unique features. In the middle of the room, there’s a bed that can be raised up to the ceiling. There’s a climbing wall. There’s also 2 lofts with a fireman’s pole to come down. There’s 6 solar panels to power the cabin and there’s also a human powered energy wheel inside that helps top up the batteries. We’re going to give you a full tour in this video. Let’s go check it out. [Music Playing] So right now we’re at a place called Le Vertendre in Eastman Quebec and we’re in one of their cabins which is called The Zoobox. The cabin is 20X26 feet and the whole front wall is all glass and a lot of the windows open so you can get some good cross ventilation in here. The cabin is insulated with rigid foam. So when you first come in you’ll notice that it’s just one big open room. There’s no partitions. It’s just an open-concept space and starting here on the left, you have the kitchen. [Music Playing] Over here, there’s lots of storage space for all the kitchen stuff. In this cupboard, you got all the cutlery and then down here they hid the fridge in this cupboard and the fridge is electric so it’s running off the solar power system. And then in the kitchen, it’s just open-concept shelving which I really like. They used some galvanized pipes to support the shelves. There’s a propane cooktop and oven. The sink is over here and all the water that’s supplied to the cabin is coming from a well that’s on-site. There’s also a propane hot water tank. [Music Playing] Over here, on the bathroom door, it’s kind of neat. They put up a diagram to explain how all the off-grid systems work. So that people staying here can understand and appreciate how everything’s coming together to make this tiny cabin function. Through here is the bathroom. It’s small but there’s everything you need: toilet, sink, shower, and there’s a septic tank on-site for the gray and black water. Over here is probably my favorite feature of the cabin. It’s basically a giant human-sized hamster wheel that generates power for the cabin. So you basically just walk in it. You can even do a bit of a jog and it generates power. Most of the power that’s fed to the cabin is coming from the 6 solar panels on the roof. But the wheel can be used to supplement the solar power system and help top up the batteries. Basically the way it works is that there’s a dynamo hooked up to this wheel that converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy. You’ve probably seen smaller versions of this which are the bike lights that are charged by the movement of the wheels. Over here is a charge controller so you can keep track of how much power is coming in. How much is being used. There’s also a backup generator on-site that kicks in, if the batteries are too low. [Music Playing] Over here in the corner, there’s a nice hanging chair for just lounging, relaxing, and looking out into nature. The bathtub is right out in the main living space in front of the window. which is nice because you can take a bath with a great view. Over here is a futon couch that turns into a bed, but that’s not the main bed. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the video, the main bed is up on the ceiling. Having a hanging bed like this is a really cool space saving feature because it really opens up the room during the day and you don’t have to make the bed. You just pull it up and you also don’t have to have a separate bedroom for it. So the dining space is under it. The chairs can be moved away and the table is on wheels so that can be tucked away in the corner also. The bed is hooked up to a pulley system with a counterweight and the counterweight is the same weight as the bed. That way it’s easy to pull it down and push it back up. Over here is the wood stove that supplies heat to the cabin, but the cabin also has a heated floor. There’s glycol tubes running through the floor. It’s powered by propane and that supplements the heat coming from the wood stove. The heated floor is also thermostat controlled so the house won’t freeze when no one’s here. This is kind of the fun wall. The whole wall is actually a blackboard so you can write and draw on it and there’s also obviously the climbing wall which is a really unique and really awesome feature. The climbing wall along with the wheel you can actually get a pretty good workout in this space. On the climbing wall, there’s also a beanbag game that you can play. And if you get bored of climbing and playing and there’s also a lounging chair here, a TV in front and a popcorn machine for relaxing. Another cool feature of this cabin is this wall ladder that leads up to two small lofts that can be used for hanging out, but they can also serve as sleeping lofts. They both have mattresses in them. And then to come down you can use the ladder or the fireman’s pole. [Music Playing] This is one of the most creative spaces we’ve seen so far. We love that the cabin is off-grid but you don’t really notice because the systems are so easy to use. And the extra features like the climbing wall and the energy wheel really help liven up the space. If you’re interested in checking out one of these zooboxes, we’ll put a link in the description of the video. Also, if you like this video, please share it. Don’t forget to subscribe and thanks for watching.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. In Canada – where I suspect it snows. For all the tech and off-grid options this cabin offers, it has a flat roof? Why would you not put an angled roof on?

  2. been watching lots of these tiny house vids for ideas. Big thing iv noticed, so many are built in high risk bushfire forested areas.

  3. Energy wheel is great. Reminds me of a kids roundabout in Africa that the kids used to wizz around on whilst it produces enough energy to power a water pump for their drinking water, Win win.

  4. Last time I used a fireman's pole was one year the firefighters came with one of those mobile fake fire vans I don't think I liked it once was enough for me

  5. OMG!!!! My final Marketing project in uni right now is a marketing plan for this😂😂😂. Thx for the comments: great help towards getting that A+😂😂😂

  6. A truck needs to deliver the propane. A truck needs to pump out the septic. Heated floor has a pump that could stop working. I'm thinking not so off grid.

  7. I do like a lot of the concepts presented in this cabin, however there are a few things I'd change. That giant hamster wheel is amazing and I think it should see more use in even normal houses. I'd think that a cabin like that would be a bit more private, I know it's off grid, but I still feel like having a full side being nothing but windows would be iffy for me personally. If anyone did happen to stumble upon the cabin in the wild, there would be no privacy, and I'd be worried that the windows would leak cold air in the colder months. Windows tend to be more likely to be weak areas in that regard in regular buildings.

    I'd probably try to rig up something so I could use the lofts for extra storage rather than a sleeping area. That might just be me though, I wouldn't be planning on taking many people if I had one of these. More of a place to get away from it all.

  8. modern day off grid definition: 'using fossil fuels in a more complicated, expensive, and indirect manner but eyyyyyy charging this one fridge with solar panels!'

  9. Only two complaints I have on the design. One is that there are no curtains on the glass door or the window wall; even if there are no neighbors who might peek at you bathing or sleeping, blocking bright light is kind of important for comfort. Second is the loft, children and elderly have little chance of getting up there or coming down safely, and if this cabin is supposed to be off-grid in some forest with neighbors far away, how are you going to get help when you slip and fall from the ladder or pole and break your leg?EDIT: The bathtub needs a cover that can be used as a table.

  10. What fun can that fridge door not be worked on to switch what side the fridge door should open I know the bigger fridges can be altered to change direction in opening This cabin is amazing

  11. If you have children or house guests, there's no privacy. Any one sleeping in the loft had better have good overnight bladders – going up and down at 2 am is going to be bounds of fun. As well as a need to turn on lights, awakening up any one else in the place. The kitchen is a fail… fridge door opens the wrong way, sink is located so you bang your right elbow during cleanup, and having open shelving above the range just asks for grease accumulations on whatever is stored there. I'd be worried about sitting under a suspended bed, especially as the cabin ages.

    I'd skip the tub entirely, although it could work as a couple's retreat.

    I do like the hamster energy wheel. I like the cabin location. I'd like to see an outdoor space set up for use, and a covered entryway for when one fumbles for keys in the rain. Or if a guest is awaiting you to let them in.

    Climbing wall is of no use to me, but it's not in the way.

  12. nice concept, but its missing a cozy part of it, is very weird because the design and the idea are amazing, but the final product feels like a cold Matchbox, Not a place that I will choose to go,

  13. how do you recoup the gas expended from the heated floor? apart from paying for more gas… seem a little contradictory.

  14. I would love to see some diagrams on how they put the bed together with that pulley system. The "Energy Wheel" signs all of the autographs in this video, but to me the bed is the true star of this show 🙂!

  15. I found a few problems with this place. The fridge hinge for one, or the sink next to the right side wall. You are guaranteed to bump your elbow somewhere. De bed in the middle. Yeah the lift system is cool but totally pointless . You have the space on the upper floor for a cosy nest, and the other side of it could still be used as a play area. And if you have more ppl over, that menas the bathtub front of the window becomes useless and in the way unless you like orgies. The futon blocks the climbing wall, and the dinner table if tucked away blocks the tv. Also i wouldn't really like my lunch to roll away on those wheels. The hamsterwheel feels somewhat annoying that you can't full on run on it.

    I feel like the designer of this place tried too hard and wanted too much and it went to the debt of comfort and usability. There could be much better solutions for this space in a similar fashion.

  16. The cabinet containing the refrigerator should have the door permanently removed. The refrigerator is working to removed the heat that is inside the unit. The heat then sits inside the cabinet with no way to escape. That cabinet door hinders the movement of heat, causing the refrigerator to work harder and will eventually fail causing the premature purchase of another refrigerator. Bad design. Good design for the heating system of a propane boiler heating the glycol/water mix that circulates under the floor.

  17. I would like to educate myself on how to build one of those energy producing wheels you made if there is amy link or website you could lead me in the right direction of it would be greatly apreciated

  18. What I don't understand is it's a cabin out in the woods I'm sure there's Trails he can do some climbing why have all that stuff inside now if you put a hamster in there it would do the same thing I'm not kidding now if you put a hamster and him side by side if you look at the guy he would almost look just like the hamster I promise you

  19. The dream of every geeky goober. RUN FASTER FORREST!!! 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣🐁🐀 An explanation of all off-grid systems? What is it, an Airbnb???

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