Nothing beats a cabin when you have to leave society behind. A cabin is remote, comfortable, and able to protect you against the elements. It’s the perfect place to go when you don’t need all of the bells and whistles in your residence—like crown molding, plasma TVs and granite countertops—but when you need a rustic, dependable place to live.
In short, if everything breaks down, you want to have a cabin where you can settle in. It needs to be stocked and ready to go at a moment’s notice. So, what does your perfect cabin need?
A Remote Location
It has to be remote. Don’t buy anything within a few miles of town. Don’t buy a cabin on a lake with another cabin every 50 feet. Some would say you shouldn’t even buy anything with a paved road leading to it.
Think about it: You’re trying to hide out from something. It could be a pandemic, it could be a revolution, it could be an invasion. These things have happened time and again over the course of human history, and they’re going to keep happening. The people who fare the worst are always the ones in the cities. They’re easier to find and more susceptible to danger. Don’t be one of them. You want your cabin as far from everyone else as you can get, and you don’t want anyone to know where it is.
The Ability to Function Off the Grid
If you need to head to the cabin, the grid is gone. Plan for it. You’re not going to have cellphone service. You’re not going to have water and sewage services. You’re not going to have electricity or someone who can drop off propane tanks. This thing has to work for you when you’re all alone and you have nothing. Everything else is just a bonus.
A lot of people forget this when building a cabin. It feels secluded and secure, but the heat is all propane based. They stockpile propane so that they’re ready, but how long is that going to last? A few months, a few years? You don’t want a timetable like that, where your cabin is useless when time runs out. You need things like a wood-burning stove, solar panels for electricity, and a water filtration system. You need to be able to go to the cabin with nothing and live there indefinitely. Plan it as though the grid is already down.
Plenty of Storage
Cabins are often very small. When planning yours, make sure you plan for plenty of storage. You need far more food than you probably think. You need canned goods and salted food and water and things that will last.
There are other ways to get food, and you’re going to have to address them eventually. You need to know how to farm, how to hunt for animals. Your stored food isn’t going to last forever. But it does need to last for as long as possible, so that you’re not entirely reliant on finding food. If you have nothing and whether or not you eat tonight depends on your ability to shoot a deer, do you really feel that good about it?
Plus, some situations don’t last forever. Wars end, diseases burn themselves out. You may only need to live in the cabin for a year or so before it’s safe to come out. Plan so that you have plenty of food storage and you can make it through.
This depends on where you live. If you’re in a cold-weather state, though, be sure you have as much insulation as possible so that the cabin stays warm and livable in all weather conditions. Many older cabins, like the ones they built on the American frontier, were not insulated at all. That requires a tremendous amount of energy to heat, though, and there’s a reason the settlers often did better in the south than the north. Know your location, your seasons, and plan for them.
If you can pick any location, experts suggest going somewhere with a moderate temperature. You don’t want it to be 120 degrees in the summer, and you also don’t want it to be 20 below in the winter. Either one can kill you. Find something that is in the middle and build your cabin there. This has the added benefit of extending your growing season when you start farming.
A Water Source
Water is another thing that people often take for granted in the modern day. Any home you go to in the United States has water as soon as you turn on the tap. Your cabin needs to have a water source.
Digging your own well isn’t the worst thing you can do. Many cabins run off of their own wells for years, and it may last your entire life. However, considering the equipment used to dig modern wells, this isn’t something you can probably do if you start having issues with it. You may be wise to find a water source like a river or a stream, which provides water without any work on your part. You will need to boil that water to use it, to make sure it’s safe, but this is how people survived for hundreds of thousands of years. There’s a reason most major cities are built on water sources.
Again, it depends what you’re trying to get away from, but security may be incredibly important in the event of a civil war or a revolution—two things that often feel far more likely than most people like to admit. You need a cabin that is safe, that is hidden, and that you can defend. Build it with that in mind.
Hiding it may be the most important step. People have build cabins in the midst of a dense forest or in the side of a hill. Some have even built underground bunkers that can’t be detected from the surface. A cabin that is right out in the open could put you in serious danger, no matter how well stocked it is or how well it’s built. At the very least, find a place without roads and heavy traffic lanes, where people are less likely to stumble upon you.