Off-Grid Living with Ultra-Runner Patrick Sweeney

Off-Grid Living with Ultra-Runner Patrick Sweeney

GoSun Ambassador Patrick Sweeney has become a household name in the ultra-running community. The headline of Sweeney’s running blog reads, “Vicarist for Hire.” (A vicarist, being one who devotes their life to maximizing others' vicarious enjoyment.), and the ultra-runner does just that, making a living having fun so that others can go along for the ride.

Traveling the majority of the year in his tiny, off-grid trailer, dubbed the “Patcave.” (complete with its own Instagram profile), Patrick has perfected a lifestyle that's uniquely his own, choosing quality over quantity. 

"I love to cook and I love to be self-reliant. I also can't afford to eat at restaurants. Living on the road in the Patcave, the GoSun stove allows me cook great food anywhere the Sun shines."

In 2015, Sweeney made international headlines while running across the United States from L.A. to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Pat began running a marathon each day (26.2 miles), but quickly ramped up the distance to around 50 miles each day feeling he could run 40 miles a day “indefinitely.” The motive for this transcontinental trek was to raise money for the 100 Mile Club, an organization dedicated to fighting childhood obesity, a cause Sweeney has championed throughout his career.

When asked about what it takes to live a life around running, Pat responded modestly: “I fill a weird niche. I’m not the best runner by any means.” What he may lack as an athlete, he has overcome with sheer personality, amassing something of a cult following, with mentors and friends stretching from Mexico City to Vancouver.  

Despite his notoriety, Sweeney has chosen to adopt a minimal lifestyle to support his running habit, even selling ad space on the sides of his tiny, off-grid trailer, to fund his adventures. 


Breakfast time Garlic, potato l, habanero, jalapeno, radish, cilantro and tofurky

A photo posted by Patrick Sweeney (@patcave2016) on


Patrick Sweeney has been running ultras for nine years. During college, he began running marathons, just to see if he could do it. Later on, Pat approached running in a different way, running barefoot on the sands of Manhattan Beach, California, where he was born and raised.

After running a few marathons in conventional running shoes while still training barefoot on the beach, Sweeney realized that barefoot running was the way to go. While pacing a friend in the Badwater 135, Pat experimented with running in huarache sandals made by Luna, which were inspired by the Tarahumara, a Native American tribe in northern Mexico known for their long-distance running. Pat ran 40 miles in those sandals at the Badwater 135 and has since made running the central theme of his minimalist lifestyle.



We had the chance to chat with Patrick while he was hanging out in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in the Patcave.

Hey Pat, you have been one of our most supportive brand proponents, putting the stove to use seemingly daily. We’re curious, how does the GoSun tie in with your off-grid lifestyle in the Patcave?

I love to cook and I love to be self-reliant. I also can't afford to eat at restaurants. Living on the road in the Patcave, the GoSun stove allows me cook great food anywhere the sun shines. I eat a vegan diet and I like to know everything that goes into my food. I mostly cook root vegetables supplemented with leafy greens and whatever I can forage.



Judging from the wholesome food pics on your Instagram, you don’t seem like a big fan of junk food. What do you eat when you’re running?

I eat real food more than anything; mostly pinole, tortillas, avocados and bread. I usually drink more beer than water.

So you’re the founder of the International Beer Mile Association, you host the Beer Mile at the Born to Run Ultra every year, and you recently held the inaugural Sky Drinking event in Leadville. What is the allure with the Beer Mile?

The beer mile is all about shared misery, stupidity and good times. Over the years I have helped raise thousands of dollars for various charities. Plus I am good it.


A photo posted by Patrick Sweeney (@sweeneydoes) on


To follow Pat and his off-grid running shenanigans, check out his blog at

Story produced with the support of freelance writer and Bozeman local, Zach Altman.

This article is part of our larger information resource on off-grid tiny house living. Please click here to learn more.

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