Live Your Best Life Outdoors: A Must-Have Guide to Living in a Cabin

by whatsmind

Log cabins aren’t just for Abraham Lincoln anymore! 1.6 billion people live near or in a forest all over the world. This figure includes millions of Americans who live in log cabins. 

Living in a cabin may seem antiquated. But cabin life lets you enjoy the great outdoors and be truly independent. However, you need to know some facts before you head out into the woods. 

How can you find a great location for your cabin and survive in the outdoors? How can you build and design your own log cabin? What are your biggest threats out in the woods?

Answer these questions and you can start living in a log cabin in no time. Here is your comprehensive guide.

Find a Great Location

You can build a cabin in any location you want, including in a city, as long as you build your cabin to building regulations. However, most people try living in a log cabin out in the woods or in a rural area. 

You may want to select an area that is within a day’s drive of a city. This lets you go shopping for supplies and evacuate during natural disasters. 

But the key is that you find a location that you will be comfortable in. The climate should be mild, and there should be plenty of food you can hunt and collect. You should be able to find dry wood and potable water as well. 

Visit a few different sites and go camping in them. Keep in mind that you may need to go to several different states in order to find the perfect spot. You can also do research online and read guides to various locations. 

You should tell your loved ones what location you are setting up in. This allows them to visit you and keep in touch with you over the years.

Know-How to Survive in the Woods

If you are going to try living off-grid in a cabin, you are going to need extensive survival experience. You need to know how to hunt, distinguish between different species of plants, and keep yourself warm. 

Once you’ve found a location you like, you should go camping there multiple times and hone your survival skills. Start with weekend camping trips and then try out a weeklong trip. Go on longer and longer trips until you are completely comfortable in the outdoors.

Even if you have survival experience, you should bring educational resources with you. You should have books and written guides that give you information about poisonous plants and first-aid. 

Get Supplies

Survival books are one supply you should have on hand at all times. You need basic survival tools like a fire starter, multi-tool, and compass. You should have backups of each of these tools. 

You can have a pot you can use to boil water in. But you should buy a water filter in case your pot breaks or gets dirty. You can buy a straw filter so you can drink water directly from a creek, and you can purchase a bag filter to disinfect a large supply of water over time.

A knife, a hatchet, and an ax are absolutely necessary. You can get a few different hatchets, each of a different size, so you can perform various tasks. A small hatchet is good for butchering animals while a large hatchet can split wood into several pieces.

You can buy rope, but paracord tends to be better. It contains nylon and interwoven strands of fiber, which makes it very strong. You can split paracord into its individual strands and use them for fishing lines or tying things together. 

Your first-aid kit should be in a sturdy and waterproof container. It should contain bandages, gauze pads, and splints. You should also have supplies to disinfect and clean wounds, including rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer. 

You should bring a personal locator beacon so someone can find you if you need help. A signal mirror can alert pilots and rescue personnel to your exact location as well.

Non-perishable foods like canned beans and sardines are not absolutely necessary, but you can get them once you’ve settled into your cabin. You can also buy emergency food kits that let you prepare frozen and dried foods.

Build Your Cabin

Once you have everything you need to survive, you can start building your cabin. Some companies let you buy kits so you can construct your own cabin, though you will need to find wood. You should look at examples of log and timber homes and adapt them to your needs.

Start by leveling your land and removing plants and rocks in your way. You then need to dig a hole below the frost line and pour a foundation into it. You can use concrete or lay wood down, as long as the wood is sturdy and connected together. 

You can now place your first logs on top of your foundation. To make a floor, you can take wood planks and attach them together. You can lay floor joists to support the weight of your planks and provide integrity to your cabin. 

Test your floor and floor joists to make sure everything is sturdy. You can walk across them or put weights on them.

If they can support a lot of weight, you can make your walls by stacking logs on top of each other. Once the walls are in place, you can use an ax or chainsaw to cut out doors and windows. 

You should test your walls out to make sure they are firm. You can then place a roof over the top. 

You are not done with your cabin once you have the basic structure in place. You need to stain your logs so they do not get damaged by UV rays. Feel free to use a wood stain or paint to do this. 

To add insulation to your home, you can seal gaps in between your logs with caulk. You can add plywood or foam paneling inside to trap heat in your cabin.

Redesign Your Floor Plan

Some people choose to retire or move into a cabin they already own. If you have a cabin that you like, you can move into it permanently. 

However, you need to bear in mind that most cabins are designed for summer or vacation use. They are small and cramped because the cabin designer doesn’t expect people to live in them year-round. 

You can do a renovation on your cabin and expand it, but that can cost a lot of money. You should redesign the floor plan instead. 

Take a look at your cabin as it is right now. Think about how you can create the spaces you would have in a standard home. You can add tables to make a dining area next to your kitchen. 

If you have an upper floor, you can place your bedroom up there. If you don’t, you can place a bed off to the side away from your door. This will keep you warm and give you space to walk into your cabin and lay your items down. 

It may take some time to find the exact configuration you want. You should have furniture that you can move around easily. You can also have tools like a hand cart to make it easier to move things. 

Have Plenty of Storage Space

The area around your home should be open so you can store things outside. You can dry meat with racks and open flames, and you can hang up clothes using rope and paracord. 

But you do need to give yourself storage space inside. A corner of your home should be reserved for your excess supplies and personal items. 

Feel free to install shelves or buy crates so you can put your items in convenient locations. Try to keep things off of the floor so you avoid tripping over your things. 

If you can’t fit everything in your home, you can build a shed outside. If that would be too much work, you can place your items in bins and put them up in trees. 

Get Ready for Winter

Winter should be your biggest concern when living in a log cabin home. You will have less access to food, and you need to think about keeping warm. 

If you have not bought survival rations, you should buy them before the winter. You should also learn how to dry meat and preserve vegetables. 

You should buy firewood just in case the wood near you is too brittle or wet to use. You can talk to a company like Buy Firewood Direct and get a quote on how much firewood would cost. You should also get a thermal blanket, which will keep you warm while you are sleeping or outside.

You can eat snow if you are running low on water, but it can make you very cold. Try to boil snow to warm it up and kill any bacteria inside of it. 

Protect Yourself From Inclement Weather

You can get rain and hail during all seasons and snow during the winter. Inclement weather can chip at your logs and make it harder to go hunting or foraging. 

You can install a tarp over your roof to add an extra layer of protection to your cabin. You can also place weather strips around your doors and windows. 

A landslide or avalanche can destroy your cabin or trap you inside. Keep a shovel with you so you can dig yourself out if you are ever trapped.

Take a look at a topographic map and find a route you can take if you need to go somewhere else. Try to find a route that is near walking trails or tourist attractions so you can get help if you need it. 

Enliven Your Cabin

You can decorate your cabin however you see fit, adding paintings and works of art to make the space more livable. Some people like to tend to flowers or herbs inside their cabin, which brings nature inside and helps them prepare meals. 

One way you can make your cabin distinct is to add outdoor furniture. You can attach an overhang to your roof and then place chairs and hammocks underneath it. 

You can create a theme through your decorations. You can celebrate the region of the country that you are in by hanging photographs and paintings from local artists. If you want to commemorate nature, you can paint the interior of your cabin green and red. 

Maintain Your Home

Your cabin will go through wear and tear over time. Do an inspection of the interior and exterior of your home every month. Check for signs of mold and mildew growth and decay in your logs. 

It is very important that you seal any holes or cracks in your logs. Water can collect in your cracks, and the cracks can expand and cause the logs to collapse. You can use sealant for minor cracks, and you should replace any logs with wide ones. 

Start Living in a Cabin

Living in a cabin is exhilarating, though it can be difficult. You must do your research and find a great location to live in. You should also study wilderness survival and get the essential skills down. 

You can start building your cabin once you have your survival supplies. Get ready for winter and inclement weather and take action to keep yourself warm. But you can also get creative and design your cabin with any floor plan or decorations you want. 

Keep learning so you can keep living a great life. Read more cabin life guides by following our coverage.

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