by , 10/20/06

all terrain cabin, bark, canadian design, prefab, off grid

Today is all about cargo containers and Canadian pride. The All Terrain Cabin (ATC) comes from BC-based design and local business collective, BARK, who developed the cargo home as a representation of the diversity and possibility in contemporary Canadian design culture.

The ATC is a 480-sq-ft cabin, fully equipped for self-sustained, off-grid living. The container has been made ultra-modern with aluminum, wood and glass. It’s a product of what appears to be extensive collaboration, and is now on tour to let the world see what Canada’s got going on.

BARK was founded in recognition “that Canada is being short-changed by the widespread, limited stereotypes of what our country is and has to offer – maple syrup, raw logs, and handsome Mounties. BARK’s Founders dedicated themselves to expanding those perceptions by showcasing Canada’s innovative design talent.”

We still enjoy maple syrup (and handsome Mounties), but as far as we’re concerned, the APC achieves its goal. Amongst the cargo recreations we’ve seen, this is one of the nicest.

via: Mocoloco (also covered at Treehugger)

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  1. Mike Crawford June 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Three additional notes on the stove and biodiesel:

    1) Mr. Wilkinson from Dickinson/Sigmar is right: biodiesel won’t start and run the stove.

    Fortunately our Sigmar 250 instructions specify starting the stove with kerosene or alcohol to warm up the burner, and that has always worked for us. We use 2 oz of alcohol instead of the recommended 1 oz, just to be sure, and then turn on the diesel fuel when the starter fire is almost out. This sufficiently heats the element that vaporizes the diesel into fumes, which can then burn freely. We also use the stove’s draft-assist fan to keep a good draft while the burner warms up, then turn the fan down or off after that (depending upon how much fuel we run through the system). If we do this — the burner warm-up and draft-assist — we only need to clean soot out of the stove once or twice a season.

    It’s possible that the Pacific has a different burner than the Sigmar 250. At the time I posted the original comment, I thought the two were identical, but they may just be similar. It may be that Dickinson stoves will start and run on pure diesel alone, in which case biodiesel wouldn’t work with the standard starting method. Biodiesel does burn well once it’s burning, but it takes a higher temperature to get it there. The Dickinson might only work with biodiesel in the way that our Sigmar does — by preheating the burner with a fuel that’s easier to light.

    2) Our ceramic fuel meter float eventually saturated with the biodiesel, and had to be replaced at a cost of a few dollars. This may not have happened had we shut off fuel flow with the external valve each time we left the cabin alone for a while.

    3) Biodiesel is known to soften some types rubber components such as hoses, gaskets, and o-rings. All our components are intact after ten years, but it’s possible that some rubber components will go after a while.

  2. mcbubble March 26, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, that’s crazy! Check this link out for another container cabin, less than 22,000 USD by Ecopod!

  3. mcbubble March 26, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Forget about the high-priced Bark cabin. Check this one out, which is a less than 22,000 USD!

  4. Name (required) January 4, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    ATC cost : $180,000.00 !

  5. Mike Yost October 1, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Loving the potential of vacation habitat with very low impact on terrain! Send me info! Prices!

  6. Jeff Suva May 21, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Looks great! You guys did your homework. Where can I order them from and at what price? My only decision is to buy one or two! Thanks much.

  7. All Terrain Bark Cabin ... April 10, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    […] in October Inhabitat posted about the above All Terrain Cabin. The 480 square foot cabin is completely equipped for self […]

  8. Luke March 25, 2007 at 12:13 am


  9. Will Tomkinson December 11, 2006 at 2:10 am


    I am “Mr. Dickinson” so to speak and we also own Sig Marine now. It is true that the stove needs makeup air and that the burner of the Sig Marine 250 and the Dickinson Pacific share the burner design. As for the makeup air, the draft will be imperceptable by the occupants. The stove can be pretty generous with its heat production and will ore than “make up” for the makeup air.

    We have not officially got a green light with the bio-diesel despite having a number of customers indicate that it is not a problem for them. My tests show that straight bio will not be sufficient to start it or to create a stable burn but that after the pipe and stove are up to temp, the bio-D will vapourise and burn.

    Contact us through BARK if you have a question on the subject (email pls).

  10. Mike Crawford November 27, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    Regarding the biodiesel, I have been running a Sigmar 250 marine diesel stove on it for five years now, as a heat and cooking stove for a hut on an island off of Maine. Other than having had to replace a float and an o-ring that broke down over time, it has been problem free. Since the sigmar burner is essentially the same as the Dickinson burner (designed by the same people), I can’t imagine there being a problem with the Dickinson. Not having tested their stoves with biodiesel in long-term studies, they probably have to respond the way they did.

    You’re right that the stove will need oxygen. However it is possible to set up a duct system to keep from having to open up windows.

    Provided you do get everything to work, it’s a great setup. A single stove can provide a cook surface, oven, heat, and hot water, all without any electricity, and will run nearly silently. If you go with biodiesel, there’s no bad exhaust — just a faint hint of french fries in the air, and there will be no oil smell in the building or stove. That’s expecially nice when it comes time to clean the burner.

    My next stove will likely be a Dickinson Beaufort, which will serve as a backup heat, hot water, and cooking system in our primary house. I love the Sigmar, but will want the extra size provided by the Dickinson.

  11. Marc November 9, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    I would love to see a similiar design go into production. I think that this would sell rather well, if they could keep the price down. If they could keep it below $100,00 USD I know they would sell. This would be perfect for disaster areas, plus they look great! Also, if you anyone knows of any other sites showcasing Canadain designs let me know. I guess I join the masses of ignorant fellow Americans when it comes to Candian design.

  12. andy November 3, 2006 at 10:37 am

    I am curious about the use of a Dickinson stove running biodiesel as claimed. Dickinson told me they wouldn’t burn biodiesel, plus they require a ton of makeup air, so this puppy would be kinda drafty. That being said, it is an excellent concept and well executed, but the utter omission of a price tag suggests this will never go into production, because it is surely too expensive – something I am very intimate with (costing eco-prefab). My best guess is $180k Canadian went into this. I would love to be corrected. BARK – care to comment?? It is probably harder to nail the cost, since it appears most of the gear was donated.

    Then of course there is still the issue that you would need to meet code+zoning with this puppy, hence some sitework and crafty explanation, even if only sonotubes and a white lie that it is in fact ‘just a construction trailer’. I am also skeptical about all season use, there has got to be a lot of thermal bridging in all that steel, even if the canvas is insulated. BTW – where are all the mechanicals located? Is there a floorplan somewhere?

  13. STEVE October 28, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    I think this is a great idea, I’m in love with the breckenridge soho flat, similar in concept, but, lacking the security this model offers for a weekend retreat. Although, I’d like to see solid wall panels that are hinged in some way, that fold open, and/or lift up, versus the canvas material the sitting/bed area offers. If the sofo flat offered a retractable deck, such as this model, I would be in heaven.

  14. g510 October 27, 2006 at 11:26 am

    Jeez!, the Fishbowl Fetish strikes again!

    What’s with all these recent designs whose major feature seems to be tens of square yards of floor-to-ceiling glass?! Is this a case of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” about the zero-privacy society being foisted upon us with ubiquitous video cameras and illegal broad-spectrum wiretapping?

    What next, put the toilet on the porch? “Howdy neighbor, how’z it goin?” “Oh pretty good, I was constipated yesterday but everything’s coming out OK today!” “Good to hear it. Oh P.U., you sure are right about that, har-har, I can smell it from here!” “Heh, yeah, isn’t life grand?!”

    No-freakin’-thanks! I’ll have my windows for looking *out*, not for being looked *in upon.* Regular windows, to let light in without zapping a room in ultraviolet and exposing every detail of one’s life to passers-by. Windows small enough to make lower-probability targets for kids’ errant baseballs and odd bits blown by wind. Windows that open to let a breeze through the screen without letting clouds of evening biting-bugs into the house to wreak havoc upon the sleeping hours.

    If people want to live in mostly-glass cubicles reminiscent of nothing so much as the glass apartments of Eugene Zamyatin’s novel _WE_ (the predecessor to Orwell’s _1984_), I suppose that’s their right. But it’s my right to tell them they’re nuts.

  15. Dave October 24, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Loved the design and interior use of space. I thought it would make a fantastic cabin for weekend use. However, when I talked to the person who was on-site Saturday night she told me that the ATC was only created to highlight the Canadian goods featured “inside” the cabin, NOT to sell the actual cabin itself. She told me very “snootily” that it would be completely unsustainable to smelt all the aluminum necessary to create the cabin just to waste it on a vacation home (I guess it would be better to use more fibreglass and poly materials). I agree that this would be a fantistic runaway home that could be just trucked & dropped into the wilderness somewhere but it is “truly Canadian ” to be so short sighted as to miss a fantastic opportunity staring us in the face. Perhaps we can leave it to someone else with more Marketing sense to get this ATC into production. The BARK Collective may be great promoters of Canadian busnesses but very bad business people themselves. I did think that the white poly walls in the bedroom/sitting area might be a little thin when going up against some sharp, Whistler bear paws though! :-)

  16. dr. miguel stroe October 21, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    would like to know what the cabin comes equipped with and the price

  17. Walt Barrett October 21, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    What a great looking product! I would love to sell it on my web site eh!
    Walt Barret

  18. Craig October 21, 2006 at 12:27 am

    It looks like the fabric is from Weatherhaven ( and has been used for shelters in Antarctica! I guess if cloth is used for yurts, it can be used for Canadian camps…

  19. aloyd October 20, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    anybody know the cost?

  20. Aaron October 20, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    It’s actually about the same square footage as my first apartment.

  21. richard October 20, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    Oh, and another note: since this is a standard-sized 8′ x 20′ container, when unfolded it’s really 320 square feet of enclosed space, with 160 square feet on the wooden deck.

  22. richard October 20, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    I just saw this at the Vancouver Home Show last weekend, and it’s very well designed. One of the BARK people told me that the container was custom-built by a Canadian company that makes similar things for miltary applications. Apparently it’s going to Japan next.

    It did seem like the fabric side (I don’t know if it’s just canvas or something more high-tech) wouldn’t be very well insulated, but as a proof of concept it’s very well done.

  23. Craig October 20, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    The white, rear portion looks like canvas–is it? Also, is there an option to join two of them? That seems more practical for less than perfect weather.

  24. October 20, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    […] Form and Function: BARK’s All Terrain Cabin BARK’s All Terrain Cabin boasts 480 square feet of “self-contained, sophisticated living space with all the comforts of home.” It definitely takes camping to a whole new level. Check out the photos. Via Inhabitat. Posted on October 20th, 2006 in Uncategorized by Rhaya […]

  25. Hannes October 20, 2006 at 9:10 am

    What an exceptional design. Really practical.

  26. Alex October 20, 2006 at 6:55 am

    Ah ha! a cabin that really stands out from the sheds.
    It also looks like it would be fairly secure to lockup.

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