Off Grid Cabin Build
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
kra1956 19-Nov-22
DanaC 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
RonP 19-Nov-22
fuzzy 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
[email protected] 19-Nov-22
Starfire 19-Nov-22
Whocares 19-Nov-22
deerhunter72 19-Nov-22
kentuckbowhnter 19-Nov-22
kra1956 19-Nov-22
spike buck 19-Nov-22
Sam 19-Nov-22
[email protected] 19-Nov-22
LUNG$HOT 19-Nov-22
fubar racin 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
deerhunter72 19-Nov-22
Bearman 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
kadbow 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
cnelk 19-Nov-22
BULELK1 20-Nov-22
Bearman 20-Nov-22
Bearman 20-Nov-22
Bearman 20-Nov-22
deerhunter72 20-Nov-22
Ambush 20-Nov-22
Elauwit 20-Nov-22
wv_bowhunter 20-Nov-22
Inshart 20-Nov-22
TGbow 20-Nov-22
c3 20-Nov-22
c3 20-Nov-22
cnelk 20-Nov-22
wooddamon1 20-Nov-22
wooddamon1 20-Nov-22
wooddamon1 20-Nov-22
wooddamon1 20-Nov-22
zeke 20-Nov-22
zeke 20-Nov-22
fastflight 20-Nov-22
DanaC 20-Nov-22
cnelk 21-Nov-22
wooddamon1 21-Nov-22
eBike John 21-Nov-22
JusPassin 21-Nov-22
kadbow 21-Nov-22
ben h 22-Nov-22
fdp 22-Nov-22
KHNC 22-Nov-22
stick slinger 23-Nov-22
Two Feathers 23-Nov-22
dnovo 23-Nov-22
rooster 24-Nov-22
Beendare 25-Nov-22
Matt 25-Nov-22
Jebediah 25-Nov-22
Norseman 25-Nov-22
Coyote 65 25-Nov-22
cnelk 25-Nov-22
Cazador 25-Nov-22
BlacktailBob 26-Nov-22
Catscratch 26-Nov-22
cnelk 26-Nov-22
BlacktailBob 26-Nov-22
BlacktailBob 26-Nov-22
BlacktailBob 26-Nov-22
ND String Puller 26-Nov-22
BlacktailBob 26-Nov-22
t-roy 26-Nov-22
BlacktailBob 26-Nov-22
Nick Muche 30-Nov-22
cnelk 30-Nov-22
STRYKER 01-Dec-22
APauls 01-Dec-22
APauls 01-Dec-22
APauls 01-Dec-22
APauls 01-Dec-22
APauls 01-Dec-22
APauls 01-Dec-22
Hh76 01-Dec-22
cnelk 01-Dec-22
cnelk 01-Dec-22
WV Mountaineer 01-Dec-22
BlacktailBob 01-Dec-22
From: kra1956
19-Nov-22
Going to build a 16x24 off grid cabin. Anyone have any tips or advise I could use during the building process. Going to use probably use generator for power but not sure about water source.

From: DanaC
19-Nov-22

DanaC's Link
Might want to find a copy of this old book

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
I just built one in Wyoming - 12x24. Put the wood stove in a couple weeks ago

From: RonP
19-Nov-22
over the course of a year i inspect quite a few off grid cabins and residences. the water source for most of them are storage tanks that are filled by a truck that hauls water. the electrical service is typically 30-60 amps 120 VAC (no 220/240) from solar panels and batteries, with a backup generator. the appliances are propane.

unless you have a specific question, i offer the following:

many are unsafe in that they lack proper emergency egress, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and proper clearance of wood or other heaters and the flue to combustible materials. some are downright dangerous.

you will likely have rodent problems so a proper base, foundation, flashing, sealing, etc. are important.

depending on where you are, you might have to consider winterization of the plumbing so make sure to install the proper isolation valves and drains.

From: fuzzy
19-Nov-22
Email me [email protected] I have some information i can send

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22
YouTube is your friend - some pretty crafty guys that have built Off-Grid cabins - lots of good ideas

19-Nov-22
I spend time at a friend's. Solar electric, propane stove, cistern for water works great. Used the quiet Honda generators before solar was in and worked fine but solar is always ready, quiet and allowed switching from a propane fridge to electric. Nicer when leaving it unattended for a month or two.

From: Starfire
19-Nov-22
I have a semi off grid cabin. It has no plumbing, just a hand pump sand point well, but I wish I had put a shower stall in the corner. I made a gravity shower out of a five gallon pail, which works fine but I have to go outside to use it, which is tough when its below freezing. Check local zoning laws to see if you can just drain it to a buried rock pit otherwise put in some sort of holding tank.

From: Whocares
19-Nov-22
Pretty nice, Brad!

From: deerhunter72
19-Nov-22
cnelk, that is really nice! Congratulations

Lots of good stuff on YouTube. Check out The Outsider for his incredible log cabin build.

19-Nov-22
Check out Kyle’s cabin on YouTube. Videos from start to finish.

From: kra1956
19-Nov-22
Thanks everyone for the ideas and reply's. cnelk's cabin is exactly what I was thinking of building.

From: spike buck
19-Nov-22

spike buck's embedded Photo
spike buck's embedded Photo
spike buck's embedded Photo
Off grid also... honda generator.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Off grid also... honda generator.
This cabin is off grid. We bring in treated water is spouted 5 gallon containers. Use a 6000 Honda Generator.

From: Sam
19-Nov-22
If any way possible I can’t help but to think that open cell spray foam would be your friend.

19-Nov-22
Brad, I don't see a padded rocking chair on the front porch!

From: LUNG$HOT
19-Nov-22
Nice Brad looks like home!

kra1956- Good luck and keep up posted on progress.

From: fubar racin
19-Nov-22
We are going with a pole barnish style for ours. Will be 12x24x10 each with a 12x12 deck between and a 4x12 deck out front of each. We will use power poles from the local electric company then frame up a 2”x8” floor off the buried poles. All of the framing from there up will be 2”x8” inside the power poles. also due to wind and snow load for the area we are building. We are insulating the full depth of the 2”x8” then sheeting inside and out then covering with pro panel on the outside but just painting the sheeting on the inside. Planning on a radiant heater for heat and it won’t be plumbed for indoor water.

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22
Thanks for the replies about the cabin. No rocking chair allowed. Too damn much work to do.

From: deerhunter72
19-Nov-22
cnelk, would you care to share some inside pics of your cabin?

From: Bearman
19-Nov-22

Bearman's embedded Photo
Bearman's embedded Photo
Cnelk, iffn ya wanna make that dissappear, Whip up some good old mud (dirt) and paint it up.

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
I haven’t done hardly anything to the inside - except hang up an elk rack lol

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: kadbow
19-Nov-22

kadbow's embedded Photo
kadbow's embedded Photo
kadbow's embedded Photo
kadbow's embedded Photo
Built mine 25+ years ago. Keep it simple. (Painted it this summer) 12’x20’ with a 12’x12’ loft for sleeping.

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
A few details about the cabin. I had to build trusses/headers and precut material at my house and haul everything up 300 miles to the site. No lumber yard in the area. I reclaimed the windows from a remodel job we did.

It was a big help to draw the cabin in CAD prior to building so I had all my lumber counts and details already completed.

I’ll be installing a Renogy 200watt solar kit - water capture will be off the metal roof for use as needed.

I also reclaimed lumber for the outhouse

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: cnelk
19-Nov-22
Pro Tip - when building an outhouse, install some galvanized flashing in front and behind the seat. This will keep any pooo and urine from sinking into the wood and cause smells. Also put a clear roof so it’s nice and bright inside

From: BULELK1
20-Nov-22
Damn nice Brad!

All you guys did good!

Good luck, Robb

From: Bearman
20-Nov-22
My hunting cabin is 14x14. I added a 8x10 room (bed) this past spring for the wimmen folks that come hunting. Exterior is reclaimed cedar fence boards. Bad mistake.gotta battle with woodpeckers.

From: Bearman
20-Nov-22

Bearman's embedded Photo
Bearman's embedded Photo

From: Bearman
20-Nov-22

Bearman's embedded Photo
Bearman's embedded Photo

From: deerhunter72
20-Nov-22
Really great stuff fellas!

From: Ambush
20-Nov-22
cnelk, that's looking like a great place to have the next annual Colorado Bowsiter's meet and greet.

You may want to upgrade the Little House to a two hole'r though. And judging by the advancing age of that crew maybe some arm rests and a grip bar. Or I guess Paul can always help the older fellows out.

From: Elauwit
20-Nov-22

Elauwit's embedded Photo
Elauwit's embedded Photo
Mine is 16 x 12. I have a small solar powered light and no plumbing. I did wire it when I built it in case, I ever want a generator.

From: wv_bowhunter
20-Nov-22
Great work guys! I love seeing these small cabins.

From: Inshart
20-Nov-22
Nice......: Brad, not including labor, (just materials) about how much do you think it cost you?

From: TGbow
20-Nov-22
Yal got some nice setups

From: c3
20-Nov-22

c3's Link
Now that I'm not building tightspot quivers anymore, I've been working on some ideas for a cabin some day. Did a bunch of testing on my new garage 'design studio' where I used some new construction idea's. I'm kinda into modern design stuff and this was a super cool video I saw on in-slab, forced air radiant heating for colder climates. YMMV as I'm guessing you'll be doing yours in LA and might not need such a great heating system.

I've never been much of a pier and beam fan as those things are generally super cold up here in Utah to Montana where I've lived all my life. Mine will definitely have something like the 'slab on grade', 'monolithic pour' or Legalett type foundation.

I've attached a few pics of my garage build, which is way over the top for what you're trying to do, but the construction idea with TJI beams instead of a traditional rafter roof can be super cost effective, especially if you want a giant over hanging roof for your porch to hang out on.

I know I'm way out there, but cool idea's are still cool ideas and we can all dream if we want to :)

Cheers, Pete

From: c3
20-Nov-22

c3's embedded Photo
c3's embedded Photo
c3's embedded Photo
c3's embedded Photo
c3's embedded Photo
c3's embedded Photo
guess it didn't like my pics

From: cnelk
20-Nov-22
What you see for my cabin is $5000

From: wooddamon1
20-Nov-22

wooddamon1's embedded Photo
wooddamon1's embedded Photo
Set up for off-grid or I can use the power or generator on my property. Solar eventually. The never-ending project ;)

From: wooddamon1
20-Nov-22

wooddamon1's embedded Photo
wooddamon1's embedded Photo

From: wooddamon1
20-Nov-22

wooddamon1's embedded Photo
wooddamon1's embedded Photo

From: wooddamon1
20-Nov-22

wooddamon1's embedded Photo
No water storage yet, but I'm driving a well next spring. I'll be glad not to have to haul water for showers etc. Great looking places, gentlemen!
wooddamon1's embedded Photo
No water storage yet, but I'm driving a well next spring. I'll be glad not to have to haul water for showers etc. Great looking places, gentlemen!

From: zeke
20-Nov-22

zeke's embedded Photo
zeke's embedded Photo
Here is mine. 20'x30' in western KY. off grid. Made from 4"x8" cypress cants. 12 volt lights.

From: zeke
20-Nov-22

zeke's embedded Photo
zeke's embedded Photo
Inside view.

From: fastflight
20-Nov-22
I have seen a bunch of small buildings or other structures that aren't poured on a concrete foundation or at least a concrete slab that end up rotting, sinking, heaving, and in general turning to junk. I am really curious what some of you have done to get a good stable base to start building on? What gives a small cabin the best chance to last a long time? Really curious to hear about the elevated cabins and why that decision was made?

From: DanaC
20-Nov-22

DanaC's Link
Poured concrete piers.

From: cnelk
21-Nov-22
Many don’t put good eaves on their building or don’t build in the right location. Gotta get that water away from the structure.

My cabin is built on 6x6 treated skids. If sometime in the future I want to relocate it, I can do that.

I follow a DIY builder on YouTube that says - “I do my things my way. It might not be the right way, but it’s my way - you do it your way “.

I like that saying

From: wooddamon1
21-Nov-22
cnelk, that's exactly what I did. 2X12 treated joists that I salvaged from a foundry roof that was being torn down on top of those. Totally "portable" building with quickly detachable porches.

From: eBike John
21-Nov-22
Awesome pics, keep them coming. I'm pretty remote myself but nothing like those cabins

From: JusPassin
21-Nov-22

JusPassin's embedded Photo
JusPassin's embedded Photo
I built this 30 years ago. I used creosote treated railroad ties for pilings and girders. Underside is completely wrapped in treated plywood. No plumbing, no wiring. Propane stove, and mantle lights. Built by hand, no power, no generator. Just as sound as the day I finished it. No one has stayed there in 5 years. What a waste.

21-Nov-22
fastflight...

the key is good drainage. a good friend of mine built his on 6x6 treated skids sitting on a bed of sewer stone. its been there about 25 years... no rot whatsoever and hasnt moved an inch. if i can get him to send me some pictures ill post them.

From: kadbow
21-Nov-22
Poured concrete pilings (sonatube) for mine. Been there 27 years in the Colorado Rockies. No issues.

From: ben h
22-Nov-22

ben h's embedded Photo
Overall foundation
ben h's embedded Photo
Overall foundation
ben h's embedded Photo
adjustable beam pocket
ben h's embedded Photo
adjustable beam pocket
ben h's embedded Photo
Framed cabin
ben h's embedded Photo
Framed cabin
When I was in graduate school for civil engineering, I didn't have any money and still don't, but I did get to build an off grid cabin in Alaska (for someone else) which was a super fun project. We had to barge in all our supplies and plan everything months in advance because there are no trips to the store there. We used screw pile anchors for the foundation that has an adjustable beam hanger on the top if differential settlement did occur, you could just move the beams up or down accordingly. We used these because, concrete is probably $75-$100 a bag, by the time we got it to the site and have to be careful with shipping and storing. If your soil doesn't have many rocks, or roots these just screw in to the ground. We had to dig ours in about 3-4' and then backfill. The bases are about 12" in diameter.

From: fdp
22-Nov-22
It's interesting to me that these cabins don't have rain gutters and water catchment systems.

From: KHNC
22-Nov-22

KHNC's embedded Photo
KHNC's embedded Photo
KHNC's embedded Photo
KHNC's embedded Photo
KHNC's embedded Photo
KHNC's embedded Photo
Here is mine in SC . 20x20 , electric toilet and ran on Generator. Sold in 2019. Have to keep the squirrels out of the ceiling. Bear spray works good. Just dont go inside for a bit afterwards. :)

23-Nov-22
I’ve been in a fair number of hunting/trapper cabins. Storage is always an issue. Always need more places to to dry thing out. The foundation/floor and roof are the more difficult and expensive parts. Go higher if you can. A Loft for sleeping/storage is the cheapest way to increase space.

From: Two Feathers
23-Nov-22
Mine is 24 x 20. LP gas stove and lights. Also some 12 volt LED lights. No electricity, no running water, outhouse. Wood heat and kerosene heat.

From: dnovo
23-Nov-22
No matter where you're building, a good overhang and proper drainage will go a long way to preserve your building. As a retired GC, that was the cause of more problems than just about any other.

From: rooster
24-Nov-22

rooster's embedded Photo
rooster's embedded Photo
Built this in the back yard a few years back. It's 16" x 32'. The "man cave" portion is 16 X 20 and insulated. I heat it all winter with one of those oil filled radiators. I use the full loft for storage, but it could/would make a great sleeping area.

From: Beendare
25-Nov-22
I've seen some incredible off grid buildings in Alaska and other spots.

Passive and very efficient construction techniques....and off grid energy from Hydro, Solar...pretty slick. The problem is always wifi and good satellite communication.

From: Matt
25-Nov-22
You guys have build some really nice places, great work.

From: Jebediah
25-Nov-22
Really impressive, every single one. Even more so considering I’ll bet a good fraction of the builders have no background in construction. On here previously I showed my ~8x8 lopsided shooting house, building it nearly killed me.

From: Norseman
25-Nov-22

Norseman 's Link

From: Coyote 65
25-Nov-22
Not to be a killjoy here, but you might check with your local taxing authority to see what they will allow. Think building code. Built a house about 6 years ago in a rural county in AZ. Some of the things that they mandated were amazing. An example was windows. Had to have certain number, had to be certain height off the ground.

Neighbor put a small deck on one side of his house without getting a permit, the county fined him and made him take it down when they discovered it.

Terry

From: cnelk
25-Nov-22
Thanks for the YouTube video link Norseman. It was enjoyable to watch

From: Cazador
25-Nov-22
Funny the term “ off grid” there are thousands and thousands of these “camps” in UP of Michigan and Northern Wisconsin built in the 60s bd 70s and they are still gems. Beautiful places guys!

From: BlacktailBob
26-Nov-22

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
None of these look off grid or remote to me. I see pickup trucks. This is off grid and remote.

From: Catscratch
26-Nov-22
^^^ does that have ratchet straps holding it to the hillside?

From: cnelk
26-Nov-22
BlacktailBob - Did you build that?

From: BlacktailBob
26-Nov-22

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
I was there and helped do some of the work, but all the credit for it holding up to this years trip out there with measured and recorded wind speed of 139.8 mph goes to my late friend Roy Roth. Its literally strapped to the side of a mountain and has withstood hurricane force winds like a boom shelter.

From: BlacktailBob
26-Nov-22
Thats bomb not boom.

From: BlacktailBob
26-Nov-22

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
Roy pretty much built this one 50 miles up the the Unalakleet River too. I bought material from a previously collapsed cabin up there and Roy, with the help of two retards like myself, built it in two days. Everything was either boated 50 miles up the river from the village or salvaged from around the corner on the river.

26-Nov-22
Bob that’s amazing! Thanks for sharing that....and RIP Roy. I’ve only read stories about him...that guy had some grit!

From: BlacktailBob
26-Nov-22

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
Put this new monument up in Roy's Saddle a month ago. Look for an article in Bow Hunter about that.

From: t-roy
26-Nov-22
The bears mess with the new monument, Bob?

From: BlacktailBob
26-Nov-22
Not that I know of yet.

From: Nick Muche
30-Nov-22
That’s a great looking monument Bob!

From: cnelk
30-Nov-22
Watch/follow Bushradical on YouTube - he's done some real cool off grid cabins

From: STRYKER
01-Dec-22

STRYKER's embedded Photo
Not completely off grid. Built this on my place in Wyoming. Made out of eight foot fence post. Cabin door was custom built by a fellow Bowsite member.
STRYKER's embedded Photo
Not completely off grid. Built this on my place in Wyoming. Made out of eight foot fence post. Cabin door was custom built by a fellow Bowsite member.

From: APauls
01-Dec-22

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
Myself and two friends were commissioned to build a small addition to a shack in the tundra 200 miles from nearest civilization. Lumber had been dropped off in the winter on a 14 foot snow bank. When we got there it looked like it was dropped from a passing 747.

This was the beauty of a shack we were supposed to add to. I will give my buddies all the credit, they're construction animals. We looked at what we had for material, what could be stolen from the old shed and decided against an addition and started from scratch.

From: APauls
01-Dec-22

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
Some of you might even recognize it and even stayed in it. It's fun to look back on, because the pics are time stamped.

We landed on August 24 roughly noon. At 1:00 we were organizing materials to see what we had to work with

From: APauls
01-Dec-22

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
By dinner time the next day we had a real cabin taking shape.
APauls's embedded Photo
By dinner time the next day we had a real cabin taking shape.
APauls's embedded Photo
Rolled roofing was a little flat...had to make some adjustments. You can imagine what some of the lumber looked like.
APauls's embedded Photo
Rolled roofing was a little flat...had to make some adjustments. You can imagine what some of the lumber looked like.
6 hours later we had a foundation and floor.

From: APauls
01-Dec-22

APauls's embedded Photo
3pm the following day roof was up, closed in and rolled roofing was on
APauls's embedded Photo
3pm the following day roof was up, closed in and rolled roofing was on
APauls's embedded Photo
By 5pm on day 2 (or 1.5) things are starting to get homey.
APauls's embedded Photo
By 5pm on day 2 (or 1.5) things are starting to get homey.
APauls's embedded Photo
I cooked while we worked!
APauls's embedded Photo
I cooked while we worked!

From: APauls
01-Dec-22

APauls's embedded Photo
Come noon the following day it was time to close her up.
APauls's embedded Photo
Come noon the following day it was time to close her up.
APauls's embedded Photo
At 9:20pm on day 2.5 we had ourselves a legitimate cabin.
APauls's embedded Photo
At 9:20pm on day 2.5 we had ourselves a legitimate cabin.
APauls's embedded Photo
Following day we added the interior touches.
APauls's embedded Photo
Following day we added the interior touches.

From: APauls
01-Dec-22

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
bunk room.
APauls's embedded Photo
bunk room.
APauls's embedded Photo
Hot showers.
APauls's embedded Photo
Hot showers.
At the end of 3.5 days we had done all we could do. The tin package that was supposedly delivered was nowhere to be found. 2 years later we found out that it had been delivered on top of the snow and I guess as the snow melted the entire tin package slid the 100 yards to the lake, way out on to the ice, and melted into the lake lol. So we took it as far as we could. Some bowsiters will have hunted out of this camp at Baralzon lake for CBG caribou. Pretty cool what can be done with the right 3 guys. I'm usually the manager, but it was also fun just to be the lackee on this one. I just hauled material to keep those 2 boys fed, and cooked meals to keep the tummies full while hauling. Worked sun up to sun down and I was pretty proud of the whole project. What started out as a 8 foot addition to a tilted shed turned into this beauty of a cabin with running water, electrical, shower, bunks and kitchen.

We hauled a tank way up the hill that gets pumped from the lake. Gravity feed water to the cabin, and dug a pit outside for septic.

From: Hh76
01-Dec-22
We are in the process of reconditioning our off grid place. A couple quick thoughts.

Wire it up as if you were going to have power, that way it will be easy to power with a generator or solar. It doesn't take much, a couple of outlets, and a couple of boxes for switches and lights.

Water system is nice to have, and can be pretty simple. We have a large tank that we can fill in the summer, and we bring 5gal pails in the winter. An RV pump, or a foot pump at a sink really makes it easy to wash up. Plumb gray water drains to a simple dry well.

Think of rodent proofing while you're building. I don't know the answer, but I'm envisioning a lot of hardware wire?

From: cnelk
01-Dec-22
1/2" Hardware cloth around the perimeter of the cabin is what I'll do, dig it in and then out from the edge 6-8" so nothing cant dig under it

From: cnelk
01-Dec-22
Question for those have finished the interior of your cabin.

What did you do for floor finishes - Im thinking about using a garage floor coating/paint - something washable

01-Dec-22
^^^^bingo^^^*. That or ploy it.

From: BlacktailBob
01-Dec-22
We use a polyurethane paint over plywood at the cabin in Whalepass, Prince of Wales Island. Wet environment with everyone coming in with wet rubber boots and rain gear. Floor is subject to a lot of moisture yet seems to hold up well and is easy to clean.

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