December 8, 2016

Doug and dog - Pumalín Park

RIP Doug Tompkins

By Aurora Herrera

Can you imagine the founder of a multi-million-dollar company living off-grid? The man at the helm of the globally successful The North Face went off-grid with his wife in the early 90’s to explore the mountains of Chile and Argentina. Their love of the wild outdoors moved the couple to purchase more than 2.2 million acres of land, spending more than $370 million, to restore, improve and protect the land and then return it to the public as national parks

That man is Doug Tompkins. He passed away exactly one year ago.

His wife Kris McDivitt was the CEO of Patagonia and successfully ran the company of Tompkins’ long time friend and fellow climber Yvon Chouinard.

Described as an “adventure-junkie rock-climber” Tompkins showed that he was an outlier from an early age. He did not graduate from high school and spent the early 60’s rock climbing in Europe, Colorado and South America. In 1968 he set off to Patagonia with Yvon Chouinard, travelling for six months southwards from California. Tompkins made a film about the journey title Mountain of Storms; him and Chouinard had put up a new route on Mount Fitzroy.

When Tompkins moved to Chile he established the Foundation for Deep Ecology and also made organic farming a priority, establishing farms which produced organic products that supported the families in the community. Tompkins and McDivitt established two parks before his death; Pumalín Park, Corcovado National Park and was in the process of setting up Great Iberá Park, carded to be the largest national park in Argentina.

In 2007, the International Conservation Caucus bestowed its ‘good Steward’ to Tompkins and McDivitt. In that same year he was appointed an honorary member of the American Soceity of Landscape Architects for his work in restoring affected landscaoes. In 2009, Latin Trade named Tompkins ‘Evvironmental Leader of the Year’ and in 2012 the African Rainforest Conservancy awarded him and the couple the ‘New Species Award’.

We remember Doug Tompkins for his remarkable work as a conservationist, philanthropist, businessman, agriculturalist and an off-grid talent.

Read More »

Staying warm in the cold weather


As I sit here next to the wood burning stove, I am cozy warm inside of the SkyCastle. The temps are dropping and we just might have our first real cold snap of this winter later on today, at least that’s what the weather wizards keep saying. I have been watching the radar and there is wintry precipitation just north of us (that blue and pink stuff in the picture), but so far it hasn’t dropped south, maybe it will snow a bit in the morning, I don’t mind if it does, I have finished working for the week (it’s slow for merchandisers during the holidays), for me a nice snowy day means I’ll get to take some interesting pictures.

The SkyCastle is really simple to deal with in the cold, the wood burning stove keeps things warm enough inside, though we don’t try to keep things very warm, we dress warmly for the most part. Sleeping means bundling up in layers, I typically have thermals on (top and bottom) as well as thick PJs and regular socks & thick fuzzy socks. My blankets are also double duty, having a regular blanket that I sleep under year round, in winter I add a wool blanket, sometimes 2 of them, that is the real secret for me to keep warm in bed. I also utilize a hot water bottle. I know they are old fashioned, but by golly they work! I’ll usually put it next to my pillow with the blanket over it until I’m ready to get in bed, then I kick it down to the end of the bed to keep my feet warm. Having a warm dog is also another nice warm spot in the bed.

I found a couple of videos on how RV’ers keep warm in the winter. Honestly I don’t think I’d like living in a RV or camper in the winter if I had to be in a cold area, I think I understand why they move to warmer places in winter, those vehicles just aren’t meant for the cold IMHO.



I saw this video, thought it was interesting and decided to add it for you.


What about you? How do you keep warm in the winter?


Read More »


Join the global off-grid community

Register for a better experiencE on this site!