An alternative modeling approach is described for unsaturated porous-media samples, where both irreversible and equilibrium thermodynamic arguments are used to set up a simple coupled differential equation set. Predictions based on numerical evaluations of the foregoing set demonstrate the nonlinear temperature and fluid profiles that have been observed in experiments with unsaturated water-in-soil samples. Minimal literature and empirical input is required to quantify parameters. Comparisons with data from small scale experiments show good agreements. It is argued that such an approach could lead to acceptable simulation schemes for poorly-defined media containing several nonreacting fluids.