2018 Appropriate Technology Course in Montana

July 9th - 20th, 2018

Most of our PDC students for the last 2 years have attended both the PDC and the ATC. We are doing that again this year. We are also running a "Peasant" PDC which is a less expensive option for a PDC.

  • Peasant PDC: May 22 - June 21, 2018
  • Homesteaders PDC: June 23 - July 7, 2018
  • ATC Appropriate Technology Course (this course): July 9 - July 20, 2018

UPDATE! We videoed all of the permaculture design course and the appropriate technology course. All 177 hours of video is now available HERE!

We are still arguing about what projects we will do during the ATC! Do you have suggestions, comments or questions? Join us in the thread and let us know what you think.

Following the Permaculture Design Course, the Appropriate Technology course, led by Chris McClellan, takes the permaculture principles to the next level by applying some crafty science and engineering to basic life essentials like hot water and water catchment. With this course, you'll cover a wide range of topics and get real life experience building the systems you'll need to live comfortably and sustainably

The location

Missoula, Montana

The cost

Click HERE to register

Early Bird Pricing (until March 15th)

  • PDC only $1,150
  • ATC only $1,150
  • Both ATC and PDC $1,850

After the Early Bird Special is complete the regular prices kick in if there are any spots left.

  • PDC only $1,450
  • ATC only $1,450
  • Both ATC and PDC $2,450

Information on work trade here.

Help Shape the ATC

We are now selling tickets to this event. The exact details are still being worked out.

We have started a thread at permies here, where we ask the question, what would you like to do at this years ATC? We have some projects in mind and are working on the details but there is still time for you to pitch us your ideas. What do you want to learn/build that would fall under Appropriate Technology for the homestead?

Let us know at the thread by clicking here.

ATC Details


Schedule and suggested reading are in the works.

Shelter--In which we build an insulated, draggable natural building on skids

Cob: Building with Sandy Clay and Straw.
Light Clay Straw Insulation
Round Pole: Harvesting and Using Small Trees instead of Store Bought Lumber
Cheap, Simple Living Roofs
Shade tree lectures on design principles, planning & legal considerations and more


In which we build a Wood Fired Rocket Mass Heater (Cottage version)
We build a Rocket Stove and attachments for canning, baking, and hot showers
Solar Electric In which we build a small system for charging lights and mobile phones, and learn what it can and can't do.


Catching and Storing Water
Simple Hot Showers (solar, compost and wood heat)
Watering a Garden with Used Water
Home Made Composting Toilets


Simple Metal Working including welding, cutting and shaping sheet metal
Scrounging (procuring and using free materials from Nature and the Human Waste Stream)
Rough Carpentry with hand and power tools

The instructors

A great group of experienced instructors. Learn more.

The site

Lots of really cool Appropriate technology and natural buildings. Learn more.

The accommodations

While tent camping is included, you can pay a bit more to stay in one of the cool buildings. Learn more.

The food

Oh god! Did I mention the food. Wow! Learn more.

The people

You will probably learn a huge amount from other participants just as they will from you. Many friendships last long after the PDC is finished.


Questions about this course and the atc can be asked in this thread on permies.com

Register Now!


Energy concepts

The aim of the Appropriate technology course is to give students a more fundamental understanding of Energy so that they can make informed choices about the technologies they use

Solar thermal strategies and techniques

Students will learn about solar passive design including natural building concepts, solar cookers, solar dryers, and solar cooling

  • solar dehydrator
  • solar oven


Students will learn about rocket stoves and pyrolysis stoves

  • Rocket Powered Oven
  • top lit up draft (tlud) stove

Human powered devices

Small scale electrical generation

Students will learn about solar photovoltaic, hydro, and wind


Students will learn about composting toilet systems, grey water, and bio filtration.

Tool use

Students will be taught how to use a range of hand and power tools. This includes an introduction to welding.

2018 Homesteaders PDC (Permaculture Design Course) in Montana

Preceding the ATC, there will be a PDC. The aim of this PDC is to teach you the Permaculture process of design with a homesteading flavor. Once you have a deep and fundamental understanding of the design process, you can design for any situations: urban or large acreage, dry or humid climate, tropical or cold, etc.

The homesteading flavor comes from the opportunity to learn about really cool appropriate technology and homesteading infrastructure, and techniques used on site: rocket mass heaters, solar ovens, natural buildings, hugelkultur, and much more. Learn more...


Chris McClellan - 2018 ATC Instructor

Chris McClellan 2018 ATC

Uncle Mud (aka Chris McClellan) raises free-range, organic children in the wilds of northeast Ohio. Between building things out of mud and junk he writes for Mother Earth News Magazine and teaches simple DIY skills at workshops and fairs.

  • Greenhouse Rocket Mass Heater with Chris McClellan


ATC: $1,450 Early Bird Special $1150

PDC: $1,450 Early Bird Special $1150

Both: $2450 Early Bird Special $1,850

Note: 80% refunds up to two weeks before the event starts. If you are not comfortable with being recorded, please do not attend.

Appropriate Technology Course only is $1,450 per student
Early Bird Special $1150

Permaculture Design Course only is $1,450 per student
Early Bird Special $1150

both courses are $2,450 per student
Early Bird Special $1,850

Or via bitcoin: 177pNU2a9iCpUXQwXX9EbtA2UwZpgeqcMT

Lots more details, FAQ, discussion, etc. on this thread at permies.com

Location Information

These courses will be taught at Wheaton Labs, a learning facility located west of the Rocky Mountains, in the Missoula area of Montana.

Established in 2013 by the founder of permies.com and richsoil.com, Paul Wheaton, the expansive property features a spectacular sampling of natural buildings, eleven rocket mass heaters, eight rocket cook stoves, hugelkultur garden beds, earth berms, showers heated by compost, a variety of solar power systems, sustainable horticultural practices, and a broad collection of projects and experiments intended to shape the future of permaculture.

Wheaton labs is actually two pieces of land: “base camp” which has a few buildings on it already, and “the laboratory,” which started as bare timber land. It is surrounded by beautiful mountain views and expansive coniferous forests, and nearly a thousand acres of federal Bureau of Land Management land. Wheaton labs is truly surrounded by beauty!

This “farmer laboratory” fosters innovations and experiments such as wofatis, poopers, hugelkultur, polyculture food systems integrated with holistic management-style animal systems, a different style of community, aquaculture, and earthworks for privacy, water retention and frost protection. The ultimate goal is the least toxins possible.

Note: For the security of our residents and staff, the exact location of Wheaton Labs is only revealed to paying customers. You will receive detailed location information and directions upon receipt of payment.

For Those That Fly to the Event

If you need a ride from the airport, we can arrange for somebody to pick you up.

  • Between 8 am and 9 pm: $15 per ride
  • Outside of those hours: $35 per ride
  • Please be ready to pay driver in cash

For those that may not be able to fly with sleeping bags and tents, there are a limited quantity available to rent for a small fee; and of course, you can always rent the Tipi, Wofati, or other structures for your stay to lighten your luggage.

A few people have shipped a box of this sort of thing here. And a couple of those have left tents and sleeping bags for future people attending these events.


Everybody must be okay with being photographed or filmed; and people are encouraged to take video and photos of the course. Details here.


Tent camping is included with the courses.

We have a few formal tent pads with a sand bottom, to give you a soft, level surface for setup. First come, first served. Some people last year came a week early.

Once you are registered, we will give you information on local hotels, lodges, campgrounds, etc. - we have had several people that prefer that sort of thing.

We have had some people arrive with a van or truck to stay in - that's fine. Some people want to bring a camper - please coordinate with the registrar about that - there is no fee, but we need to put you in an appropriate spot. We don't allow plugins or the use of a generator. Solar panels are okay.

You are welcome to harvest some of the food we have growing here, just be respectful, and leave some foods behind to reproduce.

Slumber Party at Cooper Cabin!

Cooper Cabin is also known as "Wofati 0.8". The structure is not quite done yet, but people have been living in it since August of 2014. This spacious structure has plenty of room for large groups.

We will be allowing up to twelve people to throw a sleeping bag down on the floor of Cooper Cabin for a small fee. This requires a seperate registration.

A step up from camping - rent one of these

Course instructors will be occupying most of the structures we have, but there are a few structures with bunks still available. (We will try to update this page to reflect availability)

The Love Shack More Details and Booking Here

The Red Cabin More Details and Booking Here

The Tipi with Rocket Mass Heater More Details and Booking Here

You probably won't need to fire up the rocket mass heater, but you could if you wanted to. This is the tipi and rocket mass heater that was part of the great rocket mass heater experiment in the winter of 2013/2014. Most people want to stay in it during the winter to fully appreciate the function of a rocket mass heater.

You can learn more about the tipi with the rocket mass heater here.


Workshop food will generally be an omnivore diet and might have paleo, gluten-free, dairy/casein-free, and/or vegan or vegetarian options at many meals. Note that this means it might be often or some times, but not always. Due to budget and staffing constraints, we are not accommodating special diets at this workshop. If you have a special diet, we recommend bringing back up foods just so you don’t go hungry.