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Building a bug-out cabin

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posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 07:38 AM
I have inherited a small piece of rural land about an hour outside of my city. I'm looking to make good use of this and would like to put a permanent shelter there, just not sure what route to go.

The land is on a cliff (not high, about 10' at the lowest point and 30' at highest) looking out onto an ocean bay. There is limited/no fresh water sources around so rain barrels would be a must. Most of the area is wooded and secluded, but along the dirt road leading to it there are a number of summer cottages (owned by family/friends). I don't have a lot of money for this project but I am willing to spend a lot of time and labor on improvements once the structure is in place.

I am thinking just a basic wood cabin, 12x16 or thereabouts in size. Maybe 1 small window and of course a door that can be locked. I'm not too worried about looters or vandals when I am not there, as they would have to come through a lot of other properties to reach mine, and it is a quiet rural farm valley.

I don't mind roughing it, and I have been camping a lot at the site getting a feel for it. I do want the cabin to be solid and well sealed though. I want to be able to store things there and not worry about rodents or insects too much.

The wood available in the area is mostly birch, but I wouldn't want to cut too much down as it is nice cover from the wind and from prying eyes. I am thinking I will probably need to use mostly all bought lumber for this project.

Does anyone know any good styles of cabin/camp that I can peruse, or have any advice from doing something similar?


posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 08:34 AM
Sounds like a great project.

Could you give a little more detail of the ground surface and the inclination of the cliff.
Will it be susceptible to the ocean tides/waves?
Do you 'own' the cliff too?

Any pics of it?

Birch wood too?Cool.

[edit on 23-6-2008 by AGENT_T]

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 10:44 AM
If it is on a slope, you could actually build part of it into the slope. This would have an advantage of giving you a 2 storey building plus a large downstairs 'hidden' section that is surrounded by earth on three sides.

The 'hidden' section would help in keeping your house warm and protected and would make a perfect 'retreat' part of your house.

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 11:13 AM
Better check out the shipping cost on these.....

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 11:42 AM
better still why not try another method dig a very big and deep hole in the ground and burya couple of good quality shipping containers and live in them and best part of it there made of steel and wont rot or burn and prying eyes cant see them, weld them together a few internal walls and doors maybe a sky light or two a stair case for access man they work ok in antarctica!

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 12:06 PM
For a 12x16, all you want is a single room. Maybe a small kitchenette in one corner to cook on (hot plate, mini-fridge, microwave if you wanna get fancy), a bed that can be used (or convert to) a couch, a couple chairs, maybe a TV antenna somewhere so you can get news and a small generator to power things.

As for water, you could retrieve a lot of rainfall water by making the roof a shed-type, sloping one way only. Then gutter the water into your rain barrels. This would be mainly non-potable since the dirt that will get on the roof will be in it, but that would take the load off any potable water supplies you set up.

As mentioned earlier, if you can recess it into the ground, that will help with heating/cooling, since you will get some geothermal effect. It will also strengthen it against nature's fury. If you're on top of a cliff, that will be a concern. Use modern technology to tie everything together with metal ties (tornado ties, hurricane ties, depends on where you live what they're called).

If you do recess it, look at the drainage to be sure the thing doesn't rot away or flood after the first rain. Groundwater can be tricky to control.

On the subject of rot, if you really want it to last, look into building it with something like cypress. It's pricey in some areas, but where it grows it is as cheap as pine. It will not rot, period, especially if you treat it initially. I'm actually thinking of borrowing a flatbed and paying the fuel to go get a trailer load for myself.

Of course, if you want something that will last without turning yourself into Grizzly Adams, you'll have to either build it yourself (including getting all the needed tools) or pay a contractor to do at least part of the job. You will need concrete for a strong foundation, so you'll have to have access for a truck or buy a mixer and spend a few back-breaking days pouring it yourself. Either way, it'll be expensive and hard work.

That's not to discourage you, just want you to know what you're getting into. Sounds like a great project, and I wish you well on it.

Edit: I thought of some more.

You could try going with post and beam construction, using posts (around here we use red cedar for durability) and beams across them, sort of like a barn would be built. Dig those holes deep, 2-3 foot at least to make it strong enough, tamp them tight, and use big posts. If you're lucky, you can cut them on site. you can make the beams from large dimension rough-cut pressure treated lumber.


[edit on 23-6-2008 by TheRedneck]

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