Episode-1508- Building with Shipping Containers — 21 Comments

  1. I’ve seen a lot of these with man-sized doors cut into the ends, which solves the risk of being locked in using the standard seals. It’s not a choice without trade-offs though.

  2. This topic is how I found tsp about 1000 episodes ago. Episode 560. Been listening ever since and has changed my life. Living the dream on 86 acres outside of Tulsa. My only problem now is having to many projects because of the lessons I’ve learned. Thanks Jack for all you do!!

  3. Last week there was a call in about storm shelters and types of doors. You would also want to consider getting locked into a storm shelter. If the door opened out and a tree or debris landed against the door you could be trapped. Some tools stashed inside of the shelter would be on option.

    also note that doors that open out are harder to kick in….you have to break the jamb in lieu of just the latch.

  4. For a shipping container home, I’d try two containers side by side build a detached roof over it and trellis the roof supports and grow plant walls.

    • I agree and in fact on any tiny/small cabin I think a detached roof has HUGE merit. In my property search across rural Texas I found TONS of old guest/ranch had/in law houses that were old single wides. Almost all had VERY simple metal roof structures over them, just basically like a car port. First one I figured was a bubba way to fix a bad roof. But after walking into many in the July/August heat and having nothing but open windows for cooling I figured it out real fast.

      Mobiles are tin cans in many ways, they gain heat in the sun stupid fast. These places were very cool given the outside temps over 100! I am a believer in the double roof system in hot climates.

  5. I’m so happy that you covered the subject of burying containers to make an underground shelter. This topic comes up so often and it is SO scary. On one of the Doomsday Prepper episodes they had a guy who did it and you could see at one point how the wall was collapsing and he had tried to brace it with a beam.

  6. For people that don’t have time to sit down with a book, listen to the audiobook:

    The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

    It is a great book on the history of the container business. If anything it is scary to read between the lines and put the pieces together of just how much ‘stuff’ comes from overseas. I have heard something to the effect that 80+% of our goods and food comes from somewhere else. That is just mind boggling, and makes you really wonder if the concept of ‘self-sufficiency’ is really worth spending time on. Looking at everything in our house, it makes you wonder is it possible to replace this stuff with something local, even if local means just on this continent? I am not sure that is possible, do I need it, maybe not? But am I living a ‘modern’ survival lifestyle to make myself self-sufficient on only the local resources, or am I requiring a regression if I don’t have those things coming in on containers.

    Needless to say, I believe the book is very intriguing, and makes you think about all that stuff going on in the background that makes this entire world tick these days.

  7. Question about stoves. Could a person have a stove on the outside of the building or a fan system that would feed it fresh air or would that be more hassle and costly than its worth.

  8. Sounds like it’s very involved to turn shipping crates into living areas. I’d use mine for a huge storage shed.

  9. Great podcast! I’m planning on building a tiny House on 5 acres. Now I’m planning on using a shipping container for my tool shed.

  10. I never realized how thin the corrugated steel walls were, or that all the strength was in a tube frame. This was a great interview highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of shipping containers.

    I’m still convinced the ultimate structure for a self-sufficient lifestyle is a thin-shell concrete dome with polyurethane insulation. I don’t want to drop a link, but google should show you exactly what I’m talking about.

    • Dude you can include links for info purposes, generally it is clear what is just for info and what is just for spam.

  11. Out here in Australia there are quite a few companies converting shipping containers to prefab housing. Used in resorts, mining camps, military, etc.
    This mob are not too far from me.

    Almost a blend of container cabin/tiny house………

    Been toying with the idea of building a bush cabin out of a 40 footer, but with fold down sides- the roof on one side counterbalancing the deck on the other, and vice versa. When folded up, near as secure as a bare container.

    • Let me know if you ever actually find a reasonable way to get one put on a piece of property in the US.

  12. This could potentially be an easier alternative metal tiny house for a reasonable price. Came across this the other day.

  13. With a tube bender, a welder, and some other basic tools a person with some basic construction and metal working skills could do this really cheap. If nothing else it would make an affordable little workshop or shed. I don’t know if it is easier than doing a connex but the possibilities are quite impressive.

    • Just caught up to this episode. Quite impressive. James, did you ever pursue this arched cabin idea?