It is time to think about a remote cabin in the woods. A cabin to retreat to when you need to. A cabin in a lush meadow high in the mountains, or banked on the side of a hill with a stream running down beside it.
“Sitting in front of a crackling campfire at a cabin is one of the great joys in life “ says William Edward Summers, principal of California and British Columbia based design firm William Edward Summers Creative Projects.
Everybody wants a cabin in the woods. But there is a lot of thought and resources (time, money, skill, materials, tools, fuel, transportation) that go into one of these.
From our friends at AmericanPreppersNetwork:
Consider these ideas when constructing a cabin:
Where – If you can drive to it, so can anyone else. Back road are fine, but off grid and a place where no road goes to it is better. Is it on a river tributary? Can you get a boat to it? Can you use an ATV to get to it? What’s the terrain look like between your jump off point and your cabin? Is is feasible to build a trail in? Have you considered the seasons for transport? Boating materials in is a lot of fuel, ATV burn less but your materials might get muddy.
Snowmachines and cargo sleds use less fuel, easier hauls. Look at the property in the summer, then look at it in the winter. What might be nice in the summer is not so nice in the winter. The same goes for winter. It might be an easy ride in the winter, but come summer it’s all ponds and bogs. Does the land have a high or low water table? If it’s high, move on. It’ll be more trouble than it’s worth.
Time – How much are you willing to put into building a cabin? Weekends? Take vacations to do it? Did you think about the seasons? Summer is prime time to build, winter is OK for interior work but not putting on roofs. Ideally you want the shell completed in the summer, to include the roof. Winter is used for installing insulation, vapor barrier and wall covering.
Materials – batten board, T-111, plywood, beaverboard (OSB)? 2X4, 2X6, 2X8 or log construction? Animals, like porcupines will eat the siding. Birds, like woodpeckers can peck holes in certain types of material. Keep siding tight and secure. How is the venting? Does your cabin breathe in all kinds of environments? Can insects like flies, hornets, Yellow jackets, and even mice get in the venting? Have you any experience with frame or log construction? Have you ever scribed a log and operated a chain saw? Have you ever operated or maintained a 5KW genset, an air compressor that will drive air tools and air nail guns and air staple guns? Traditional hammers and saws are OK, but pneumatic air tools will save a lot time and effort.
Size – Are you building this for yourself or a family? Bigger means more time and resources. Small could mean cramped. Where are you going to put your supplies? Also, is your cabin going to be placed near a creek or in a grove of trees, or out in the open meadow? How far or close do you need to be to certain elements?
Structures – Is the roof to be pitched sharply for snow or rain? Will you have a rainwater collection system? What will the roof material be made of? Where will the chimney be placed? Will you have a large usable crawlspace underneath? You’ll need to rodent-proof the crawlspace around the venting areas. Will all the exposed wood be weather-treated? Make sure to frame the doors and windows with secure structures such as hardwood or even iron. Will you have secret places to hide your guns and gold coins? How big will your pantry be that will hold six months or even a year’s supply of food? Will you have a root cellar to store your food in the winter time?
Amenities – Wired for electricity? Indoor plumbing? Plumb for LPG? What are you (or the spouse) willing to live without? I’m good with wood heat, propane lights and stove.
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