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The Mud Fun Sleeping pod

The sleeping pod delivers the essence of high performing shelter in the most direct way; the cosiness factor and a comfortable space in which to recharge and rejuvenate.

Building a sleeping pod provides you with the most important benefits of shelter for the minimum investment of time, energy and money.

Why Small?

-The Cosiness Factor: Everyone can relate to a comfortable, personal, private space that is cosy. 

-Sleep, which is the most important aspect of shelter, doesn't take up much space. 

-To provide participants with a sense of success and completion sooner. 

-The greatest return on investment of time, energy and money.


The sleeping pod is the most direct way to get the most benefits of earthen masonry as it can be completed soonest. It is a comfortable, healthy place to sleep and rest, with superior air quality. Getting a good night's sleep is the most important aspect of shelter and sleeping between earthen walls is the way to absorb the benefits in the deepest way, and so building a sleeping pod is the ideal first foray into earthen masonry shelter construction.  And building together in a festive cultural way is the most direct way to allow more people to gain positive educational experiences and know how while making easy work out of many hands. 


A good nights sleep: A Position of Strength.


Once we have the optimal place to sleep in, and are being fully nourished by our best sleep, then we have the peace of mind from which to make proper choices about all of our other shelter needs and wishes. From this position of strength we can create our ideal home, and at the right pace. (See below on other elements of shelter).


Location: The first sites should be upon land that is accessible and connected to a vision that is aligned to the Mud Fun values.



The earthen sleeping pod cubby will provide a very solid and comfortable place to sleep for one or two (or more if snuggled together) as well as a little indoor foyer area to hang or place bags, clothes, shoes etc. 


How much space? 

The interior space for a sleeping pod cubby is roughly 3 metres wide and 4 metres long in an oval shape to make space for a king sized bed plus an entrance space. The exterior space includes up to an additional metre to the sides for all the thick buttressed walls.  Then for the total roof space, we are allowing up to another metre around the perimeter for overhanging roof awnings which create undercover areas for other activities such as cooking or cleaning.  So a total roof area of about 25 square metres but a total indoor space that is about 12 square metres.


Dollar sense

From the perspective of real estate investment, a small structure has always represented the greatest financial return on one’s investment of money. The earthen sleeping pod takes this mathematics further to create even higher returns on investment of time, energy and space. (see my notes on “Bank Power Bank” of Sleeping Pod)


Old and new 

Over a million Australians are living "van life" in their vans (a new trend) and more than that number have been living in caravans for some time, and now the tiny house movement is adding to the numbers of Australians who are choosing to live in smaller, cosy spaces. So it’s both an established part of our culture and a new trend. 


Self care first

A team can achieve the goal of completing a personal sleeping pod for an individual in a relatively short period of time. Once you have our own space, then you can help others. 

Cubby The word “cubby” evokes a sense of cosiness, fun and playfulness. It’s a child-centric word that speaks to our inner child. It takes us to the natural beginning and there is a freedom inherent in the word. But make no mistake, an earthen sleeping pod cubby is not restricted to child's play. It has been designed to satisfy the deepest desires of adults including financial, physical and emotional needs.

Building an earthen sleeping pod provides the highest social and financial return on investments of time, energy and money. 


If we are only able to build one single ideal room or space that embodies all of our highest values, then it should be the place we sleep. 

A superior night’s sleep

You can improve your sleep quality in a number of ways but the best, most unknown and least talked about way to dramatically deepen your sleep, is to be wrapped up in earth that is charged by the sun, moon and the natural elements. An earthen sleeping pod is made with big fat earthen walls and sleep is its primary function.


Sleep is the most important element of shelter and this forms the basis for the Earthen Sleeping Pod Cubby House structure. Addressing and enhancing our sleep needs is the best way to use festive earthen masonry to provide the highest return on our investments of time, energy and money. 


Sleep comes first


Sleep is our best medicine for rejuvenating and becoming whole again each new day. Sleep recharges us for all other aspects including personal goals and interpersonal goals with our family, the community and the world. Compared to the other reasons for creating, acquiring or securing shelter (cooking, eating, bathing, toilet, entertaining) a place to sleep is of greater importance and so building a simple earthen sleeping pod is the most direct way to enjoy the benefits of earthen masonry in the deepest way possible. 

Sleeping in your own earthen sleeping pod cubby house is the most direct and shortest way to get the health benefits of earth -that only a handful of people in the modern industrial world are currently able to enjoy because earthen masonry is expensive. There’s a handful of the rich and famous with their adobe mansions (Will and Jada Smith know what’s up-)  as well as a handful of hardcore DIY pioneers who have built something themselves and a few in between but  the majority of people don’t know about it and are missing out.  But anyone who wants to can have this, regardless of what your budget is. The key is to start small which delivers the cosiness factor and can be completed sooner. The sleeping pod achieves this.

Other Shelter Needs besides sleep


The other needs of shelter are secondary and can be addressed later after securing a place for creating a good night’s sleep. Below are the other compliments of shelter beyond sleep and some of the considerations. 


Toilet: There are a range of toilet possibilities from offgrid to town sewerage, from the simple bucket of sawdust, to the composting flush toilet system I installed in the liveable cubby-house, to connecting to an existing sewerage system, and these decisions can be figured out along the way.


Water: Access to water of course is a necessary given, which can be anything from access to a nearby creek, to rainwater tanks on an existing building, to an underground bore/well, or “town water”.


Kitchen: Mud Fun always starts with building an earthen wood-fired "rocket stove" to start feeding the people in attendance, from the very first event. It's a very efficient way to cook a lot of food using fallen twigs and branches as the fuel. At first it can be a stand alone structure and later be joined to the outside of the sleeping pod under the overhanging roof eaves. The stove can have a flu for directing hot air and smoke through to warm up a bed platform in the colder months and closed off in the warmer months.


Off Grid efficiency example: Once at a festival in a remote location, I built a rocket stove that was used to cook three meals a day for over 300 people for over a week, all fueled by fallen wood collected from the property saving the festival thousands of dollars.


Electricity: To keep the sleeping pod free from EMFs, to ensure the deepest, soundest healthiest sleep, we propose having a separate electricity room to charge up appliances and do computer and media stuff in. 

Compared with a Tiny House.

While a tiny house most often includes more than a sleeping area - also a kitchen, shower, toilet and dining/living area, there are several benefits to an earthen sleeping pod that some people will value above and beyond what a tiny house provides. Mud Fun advocates for adding all those other things later according to your individual needs and budgets.


In addition to what has already been mentioned, the benefits of an earthen sleeping pod that a tiny house cannot provide include: 


-Savings on bills.

Thermal mass is a form of measurement that has largely been forgotten by the shelter construction industry. Good thermal mass combined with earth's breathability and good positioning of the structure enables an earthen structure to maintain a unique comfortable indoor air temperature and air quality year round and save you money on heating and cooling bills. Earth and its thermal mass provides a natural, silent warmth and cooling that is superior to that provided by machines and electricity. In order to achieve thermal mass it requires lots of weight but tiny houses are dependent on being lightweight.


The goal of the sleeping pod is to make it comfortable enough year round to reduce its heating and cooling bills to as low as possible. In a hot climate it is about keeping comfortably cool. In colder climates or where there is not enough direct winter sun, a small, wood fired heater / oven can be added. 


-Solidly planted in the ground. 

An earthen sleeping pod is built on a solid stone foundation that begins underground and the walls are made of many tons of material. This means it doesn't shake, rattle, rock, squeak or creak no matter how much you jump up and down or side to side or even literally swing from the rafters. A squeaky bed is one thing but a squeaky creaky bedroom is another. Couples deserve to root their relationships on solid ground. 


-Water drainage

The traditional stone foundation of the sleeping pod is built up off the ground with a rubble drain that surrounds it to ensure that water drains away from the structure and site whereas a tiny house is on wheels and so the water drainage and foundation is often not considered.


-Mould and allergy free

The breathability of earthen walls stabilises humidity to an optimal level which prevents mould. 


Many report that mould can easily become a problem when living in caravans parked in one location for extended periods of time, especially after a lot of rain and especially if they are not parked indoors under cover and up on a foundation with drainage. The same is also true of many modern homes including tiny homes.


Earth Building Association of Australia, a professional body that includes architects, engineers and scientists is currently using the most sophisticated technology for measuring and monitoring the air quality (based on temperature and humidity) to gather lots of detailed data over a year to prove what is already known by those in the know, that earth is the best material for providing optimal year round indoor air quality. 


-Free of metal and plastic. 

An earthen sleeping pod can be built free from plastic and metal creating optimal conditions for the subtle energy flows within the body. 


Researchers such as Dan Winter believe sleeping around too much metal or plastic is detrimental as it disrupts these subtle energy flows. The modern home, caravans and tiny houses are most often built with lots of metal and plastic.  


-Minimal use of wood except for window and door frames and roof.

Earth has load bearing capacity so it can replace all the timbers that are used to hold up a roof. Earth building can reduce wood usage by 80%.



The big fat walls of an earthen sleeping pod sitting on a stone foundation are built to last for centuries and millennia like the plethora of such earthen building communities around the world.


The durability of the materials and parts used to build the modern home, caravans and tiny homes have a relatively short guarantee, such that by the time the structure is paid for it needs to be replaced.  


These are the most important considerations when trying to determine the value of the physical structure that a Mud Fun program produces when compared with what else is out there in the market. 


Creating An Opportunity to Experience It.


A sleeping pod cubby can be made available for people to spend a night in it to allow people to experience what it feels like to sleep between such walls to create an appetite and demand for it as relatively few people know what they are missing out on. Those who are a part of its creation can be offered the first chances to do so. 



Moving Away from Current Norms

Australians are the most indebted people on earth and have the highest per capita energy consumption / carbon footprint. We have the world's biggest new homes being built, and the world’s emptiest homes (persons per square metre) and therefore I’d imagine we are spending the most amount of time on housework and yardwork (boring). Our houses are creating some of the world’s worst indoor pollution because all the modern ingredients used to build the modern home off-gas VOCs into the house.  Behind the scenes, there are the toxic work conditions of those manufacturing the modern construction materials, which often happens overseas, and mental illness among the people in Australia’s construction industry building our homes, is more pronounced here than any other industry.  Shelter is our biggest financial cost made up of direct costs, associated costs and indirect costs. The direct financial costs are the cost of construction. The associated costs include the ongoing cost of finance which makes up a significant amount of the mortgage or rent payments and the ongoing bills to run the house. The indirect costs are all the things you need to have in order to be able to pay for the direct and associated costs which include education costs, and a portion of your transportation, clothing and technology costs. Altogether, the size of the social-emotional, environmental and financial costs of modern shelter are becoming more apparent globally but especially in Australia.  Shelter has become commercialised and housing is now the lynchpin of a global, corporate, geo political financial system that determines everyone’s fate. Hand sculpting your own earthen mud sleeping pod is a move away from all this. It is a move towards taking shelter creation back into your own hands directly, in the spirit of child’s play, in a way that is pleasing to the soul. This allows us to regain the enormous power that we have given away, in a way that feels right. For more information about how to quantify this power in financial terms, read the section on “power-bank-power”.


What we are moving towards 

-regaining the cosiness factor

-building in a way that aligns with who we are according to our highest values and vision.

- fun, meaningful activities with long term vision, and a sense of caring and responsibility.

- maximising enjoyment of each step of the shelter creation process, especially getting the mud mixed and the walls up. 

-teamwork and strengthening the greater good.

- finding allies and creating solutions.

-completing small things that build confidence now.

-building leadership 

-offering hands-on learning 

- empowering youth

- empowering cultural community minded artists and artisans as construction activators. 

- seeking broad diversity and inclusion. 

- using what we have available

-only spending what we have saved

- re-engineering processes for inclusion of many participants to experience strength in numbers and make light work out of many hands

-following instincts and gut feelings to create 

--reviving ancient heritage methods that have withstood the test of time over millennia


A sleeping pod delivers both a sense of freedom and the tangible results of freedom.

The Freedom of Nature

Sleeping in your own earthen sleeping pod feels like the freedom and inner strength that comes from being out in nature. When the life of work, bills and housework is out of sight and so it also leaves the mind which gives you a feeling of abundance and possibilities.The heaviness of modern life’s obligations drops away and a weight is lifted.  A sleeping pod is a structure that provides a good night's sleep between natural solid ingredients and without bills. 

Freedom from Bills

Positioned the right way in a moderate climate, an earthen sleeping pod cubby keeps a comfortable temperature year round. A cosy space year round for rest and sleep. No need for bills to heat or cool it. In cold climates you can add a little stove or one where the smoke goes vertically underneath and the heat is stored in the earth floors and walls to keep it warm and toasty. But usually just the winter sun hitting it all day warms it up to a comfortable temperature by night. And in the summer it’s the reverse. You position it in such a way so it’s protected from summer sun so the coolness of the night fills up the big fat walls like a battery and keeps it cool inside. That’s the freedom from bills that “van lifers” are experiencing.  

A freedom induced sleep

There must be a correlation between freedom and a good night’s sleep. An earthen sleeping pod cubby is the most direct way to immediately tip toe directly out of the hamster wheel matrix of bills coming at you over and over again for the rest of your life. Having your own sleeping pod can give yourself time to rest and give yourself space so you can figure out what you are going to do with the rest of your life, especially the best part of your life, because commuting to work and back everyday is not the only way of living.

The modern house curbs our freedom

Building a sleeping pod is a step in the opposite direction to modern life which is largely about working to be able to pay for shelter and then setting up your children and the next generations to be able to do the same.  Many people are working at a job they’d rather not do while their children are sitting in classrooms they’d rather not be in. If you were to ask your child if they want a day off, or a week off, or a month off, or a year off, there’s a very good chance they’d say yes.  If you ask yourself the same and you were honest there’s a very good chance you would say yes. If you were to ask yourself why you are going to work, the answer in its simplest form is to pay bills. And the degree to which this is true for you is the degree to which your freedom is being curbed. Most of the conveniences of modern life, especially the modern house, comes with a cost to your freedom. The finance industry is the master debt collector that rules over all other industries because of the financial cost of shelter. The finance industry’s enormous power comes from the rent and mortgage payments that everyone in the modern consumer world pays for their shelter.  Most rent payments end up going to the bank to pay back loans on the property. Hand sculpting your own sleeping pod is a step away from all this, a step in a different direction.

When you build your own walls, your sleep is going to be much deeper and more peaceful from the satisfaction of what you have achieved and also from knowing that when you wake up you don't have any bills to wake up to, and no real need to go chase money for paying your shelter bill. You can’t even get a bill or pay for one of these structures if you tried because there’s none of these for sale anywhere and hardly anyone has these skills. By the time you find someone that has, you could have learned how to do it the right way yourself. The only way you are going to get one is to build it yourself. You can't even buy the main ingredient, the earth because in the modern consumer world it has no value and no one knows its potential. People in the modern consumer world are always digging it up and trying to get rid of it and so they will deliver it to you for free. Everything you think and know about our current shelter reality is turned on its head.  The most superior, expensive

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