Outfitting remote cabin advice

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by littleoutback, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. I'm planning on putting a cabin on some land I own. This would be a place for camping and off the grid, there is a house on the property now, but it would be far away (both good and bad).

    I'm thinking along the lines of woodstove, little generator for when the needs arise, composting toilet and a decent radio.

    I'd like some advice on what people found that works well, things I should be thinking about getting or finding out more about - generator wiring, water storage (any containers that won't burst when frozen solid), any composting toilets that work, emergency stuff needed besides fire exstinguisher and first aid kit - those kinds of things.


    Thanks!
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Forget the dern generator. This is a backwoods cabin....right?

    Heat: woodstove
    Water: sandpoint handpump well (works all year long even at subzero temps)
    Light: Aladdin lamps and PetroMax lantern
    Toliet: outhouse
    Cooking: woodstove, Coleman campstove, outdoor fire pit
    Bathing: pressure showere by filling a handpump garden sprayer with warm water
    Refrigeration: coolers or propane frig

    If ya want to see what the above cabin is like, send me a PM and I'll set you up in mine.
     

  3. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Cabinfever hit the nail on the head. And it would help to know what state you are referring to as cold weather has different demands than warm.

    Meantime, consider a stocked pantry (bare bones), candles, batteries, fuel for lamps, lamps, blankets, etc.
     
  4. littleoutback

    littleoutback New Member

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    Its a real two season area, winter, 5 months worth, and everthing else squished into the other 7 months. And snow, lots of it.

    Sand point well sounds good, any links for info.
     
  5. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    give us a rough Idea of where you are and the ideas might be more helpful. Elevation would also be helpful.

    mikell
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I would be afraid of the generator being stole. It is a valuable item.
     
  7. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    For a radio, you might consider a small battery powered shortwave radio. I love my Grundig Yacht Boy 400. There are many affordable models to choose from. They are small and therefore easy to pack in and out. Plus, when you want, you can often use an AC adapter. Being shortwave, you will also increase your listening options.
     
  8. littleoutback

    littleoutback New Member

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    I have a GE "Superradio", yes that is what its called. It came out in the 70's and are still making it today, If your a fan of AM (I follow a baseball team) its great.

    As far as things getting stolen or vandalized, that is a concern. The main house is right by the road so you have to be pretty daring. Not many neighbors so maybe that helps, price is a factor too - so whatever I put in will hopefully be replaceable easier.
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    That's an excellent radio, it's the one I have. And, it's cheap too, only about $35.
     
  10. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Main idea, outhouse, no power - few years - small generator if wanted - 1000 watts (of course more is always better - and a big problem if your idea is to live without power), two fifteen gallon barrels on the 2nd floor for gravity water flow (with a gas pump to pump water up to barrels from well or haul water system), with garden hoses run to kitchen sink and shower, propane heater or none, heat water in or on wood cookstove, and wood heat.

    BTW Do NOT let the water freeze - drain it - slope all pipes to drain.

    Add later if desired, grid connection and or solar wind generation, battery storage and fossil fuel generator if desired - none of these are required.

    Here is a list of the things we thought we needed - these are things which every pioneer and bush-person might need to survive and flourish in the woods. This is foir four of us.

    (1) Pressure canner
    (2) Sleeping bags (4)
    (3) Coats (4)
    (4) Fancy aluminum hanging Aladdin kerosene lamps (4)
    (5) Cast-iron fry pan, large, medium, and small
    (6) First aid kit
    (7) Ax
    (8) Chainsaw
    (9) Jack-all
    (10) Big rope
    (11) Kerosene lamps
    (12) Hammers and sledge hammer
    (13) Splitting maul and wedges
    (14) Sourdough starter

    These are some of the more romantic things you need to live on your own, make your own shopping list. Get materials wherever you can, take your time you will get everything you need if you keep your eyes open, like the building materials we needed.

    Also, we built a log house from Poplar logs, and found locally a used cookstove for $15 in 1972, and replaced it with a new used one in 2001 for $125CDN/$100USD. And we bought an Ashely wood stove for $15 in 1972, and just up-graded to a new Blaze King in 2004 (about $2,000 CDN/$1600 USD).

    [​IMG]
    Aladdin Hanging Lamp

    [​IMG]
    Katie II Grilling Veggies

    [​IMG]
    New Blaze King - Catalytic - 82.5% effiecient - Great Stove

    So, all that is about what I figure you "need" - guess that's stretching it a bit - see other recent post "Needs vs Luxuries"

    Good Luck,

    Alex
     
  11. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    One thing I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned is candles. We don't have electricity in our cabin. A few years back I picked up a bunch of sconces with glass wind protectors for $5 a piece. We have 2 on the back wall and 2 on the front wall. I still have 4 more in boxes. We love em. We also have a couple of candelabras. Any time we have a chance to pick up taper candles inexpensively we do.

    Another thing that is really useful is a breadbox.

    If you are going to be travelling to the property for weekends short stays on a regular basis I would recommend a large chest cooler. We buy a bag of ice and put veggies, meat, milk, etc inside during the summer. During the winter we don't have to put ice in it but it is still useful without the ice. For longer periods we just set it in a little pool in the creek (a little less convenient but obviously cheaper).

    We have a propane heater but I've never used it. Lowest temps I've slept there are in the low 20's. I do have a sleeping bag that is rated to 20 below though.

    Mike
     
  12. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like some simple 'hidden' storage might be nice. Like when you level out for the foundation incluse a small storage under the floorboards. Or whatever you can come up with to make it seem less interesting to poke around in.
     
  13. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Had another thought or two based on our experience with our cabin. It's 12x16 and was there when we bought the place.

    One thing we are going to change in our cabin is adding a window on each of the 2 walls where there currently isn't one. We have noticed that sometimes there is a breeze but the cabin is still stuffy because it is coming from the wrong direction. (window and door on the north wall and window on the west wall). For example, we can't get any breeze inside if it blows from the southeast. We thought about some kind of fabric scoops for now. I'll try it this summer.

    If you site the cabin under mature trees, you will stay a lot cooler in the summer. Ours is sited in a grove of black walnut trees.

    Another thing that is a small detail but makes a huge difference. A real screen door! We have netting we hang down but it is a real pain (another item on the honey-do list).

    A covered porch of some sort is really useful. It gives you some extra space when it is raining and really doesn't add much to the cost of building.

    If you will be fishing, have a spot not too far from the cabin for cleaning the fish. We have a stack of solid cinder blocks which my wife uses. Heads and guts she buries in the field with a shovel we keep at the cabin. This pretty much eliminates the fish smell, is good fertilizer and reduces the risk of attracting nuisance animals.

    You definately want to think about catching rain water off the roof of the cabin. Even if you choose not to drink it, you can use it for watering a garden, etc. We are planning a gravity feed irrigation system using roof runoff.

    I would highly recommend a loft for sleeping. Even if you choose not to use it yourself, it will make a huge difference if you want to invite guests. It gives you extra space for sleeping accommodations. Having a futon is another thing that makes a big difference spacewise.

    Before you actually go ahead with the cabin, stake out the dimensions (at the site) and run twine along those lines. Actually walk around thinking about the layout. This is a real cheap way to avoid mistakes that are site specific.

    As usual, just my 2 cents worth.

    Mike
     
  14. goggleye57

    goggleye57 Active Member

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    Here's our get away cabin in Northern Michigan-
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It's pretty spartan. we have a propane cookstove, a propane refrigerator (we never turn on, we use a cooler with ice) Propane permanently mounted lights (copper tubed from the main tank) an old wood stove, and an outhouse. Thats about it. No generator. We kind of enjoy the lack of electricity. Also the less you have the less maintainence and financial worries you have for a place that should be a retreat not a burden.
     
  15. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    In response to Mike's good suggestions - all very important or nice.

    Right away when you make a window, or install a door with glass in it build and install a shutter - with locks. When you leave for more than a few days - lock those shutters - saves the windows.

    Our shutters,
    [​IMG]
    1x4 Pine, with Lock - We have On All Windows and Doors With Glass

    Also, as Mike said we have interior screens on windows on each side and end of our cabin, and get good cross-ventilation during all wind conditons in summer - even at 90F outside it is cool and comfortable inside.

    Our big Passive Solar south windows (10'x4' and the south small one 42"x32" in the image above) are the best in the winter.

    Alex

    goggleye57
    Nice cabin! You are right about no power - we enjoyed it for the first two years - then it came 7 miles down the road and we hooked up - sort of sad - though we do with out it - not really - fridge, lights, pump - oh well - thinking about solar -battery etc.

    No power is fine for awhile.
     
  16. norris

    norris Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to consider for a remote cabin or camp if you are not always going to be there is to buy a shipping container. I once had a 20 foot one. It is very study heavy steel and can be securely locked. That way you have a bear-proof container, a place to store lots of valuables like 4-wheeler, guns, ammo, tools and other items that tend to grow legs. It's hard to break into one of those boxes without a cutting torch, it keeps out all but the very most determined.
     
  17. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Alex and Googleye, nice lookin' places you haver there. But, if you pardon my saying so, they look more like homes and not the backwoods "camping" type of cabin that Littleoutback was asking his questions about.

    So here's my one-room cabin that I used to live in. It is now a guest cabin for friends and family on accounta we built a "cabin home" next door a litte over a year ago. If you're interested to see more, there is a link to the cabin's photo album below the photos.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To visit the one-room cabin photo album, click here: Cabin Photo Album
     
  18. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Cabin Fever,

    You are right - about ours anyway.

    Very nice images and "guest" cabin.

    So, where are your images of your "real" cabin-house?

    Thanks again,

    Alex
     
  19. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Here a a couple photos of our home:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Click this link for more photos of our cabin home: Our Cabin Home
     
  20. norris

    norris Well-Known Member

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    Cabin Fever,
    Excellent craftsmanship! One thing that struck me as particularly interesting and beautiful was the fireplace. I noticed that the rockwork does not extend through the roof. I have pondered doing something like that so I would have the thermal heat storage of all the rock without the disadvantage of it extending through the roof which would cost a lot of heat (and extra work). Never seen it done before. Is that an insert in there or a regular wood stove? Could you give me some details, I might have to copycat.

    Sorry to get off topic.