Shipping container turns 'cargo cabin' in King County park

CARNATION, Wash. - The idea of repurposing shipping containers is nothing new, but typically it's being done in urban settings. Stop to smell the flowers in King County's Tolt-McDonald Park, and a new sight is seen: a cargo cabin.

King County Parks Project Manager Sujata Goel dreamed the idea years ago, seeing so many unused containers.

"We thought this would be interesting," Goel said. "It would be durable, it would be something that's very secure, be something that's unique. And that's kind of how the idea started."

After four containers were donated, the county held a design contest.

The winning design, envisioned by Hybrid Architecture, was built for the community to try out. It features double bunks, a table, bench, futon, and an outdoor fire pit for cooking.

There's no kitchen, and because it's in a campground with facilities, there's no running water in the container.

It's built green, using recycled wood that's been re-milled for adaptation for the siding inside. It features many salvaged materials, plus radiant heat, energy-efficient windows, and LED lighting.

The only one built so far is booked solid through the winter months, and has a waiting list, so the county's now working on plans to build more.

The cargo camper and yurts at Tolt-McDonald rent for $50 a night, and $300 for the week.

Goel said, "So I you're never been camping, if you've never been outdoors, if you don't own a sleeping bag, it doesn't matter. You can still go and have that experience."