Mobile, Modern & Modular: 15 Capsules for Off-Grid Living

Why stay tethered to the grid in a fixed location when you could live in a compact mobile pod that can be transported to the location of your choice? These modern capsules are what 21st-century off-grid dreams are made of, ranging from spacious self-sustaining retreats to accordion-like expanding shelters that are lightweight enough to tow behind a bicycle.

Tricycle House

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Made mostly out of folded polypropylene, ‘Tricycle House’ by People’s Industrial Design Office is lightweight enough to be towed around like a bike trailer. The house can be expanded like an accordion to increase the space inside or make it more compact for travel. Translucent walls let in daylight and all amenities within – including a sink, stove, bath tub, water tank and transforming furniture – is manually powered. The firm also makes ‘tricycle gardens’ to tow alongside the house.

Egg-Like Ecocapsule

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Shaped like a massive egg, the Ecocapsule by Nice Architects is a tiny off-grid living pod that’s equipped with all the comforts of home, including a bed, hot showers, flushing toilets and the capability to cook. Powered by solar panels and a built-in turbine, with a back-up battery for cloudy and still days, it can be shipped, air-lifted or towed and fits into a standard shipping container.

Diogene Hut by Renzo Piano

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Designed by architect Renzo Piano for the Vitra campus in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany, the Diogene cabin offers 80 square feet for an individual occupant as a “voluntary place of retreat.” Photovoltaic panels and a rainwater retention tank make it self-sufficient, and it’s highly portable. There’s just enough room inside for a bed, table and chair.

Portable Retreat with a Roof Hatch

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Three hinged panels open this two-level off-grid retreat to the sky on both the top and bottom floors, enhancing the occupant’s connection to whatever environment they’ve chosen. This mobile wooden shelter by Allergutendinge features a bunch of fold-down elements, hidden storage and a bed that doubles as a staircase to the loft.

Camouflage Stacked Wood Cabin

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This ‘invisible hut’ looks like no more than a stack of logs when it’s all closed up, but a hatch on one side drops down to become the terrace for a rustic cabin. The Yeta Log Cabin by Lab Zero can be set up virtually anywhere, and as small and minimal as it is, it comes complete with a kitchen, shower, toilet and solar panels.