How to Build a Cabin: DIY Log Cabin as a Hunting Lodge and Survival Cabin

Learning how to build a cabin from scratch could be a good answer to the problem of long-term accommodation in a post apocalyptic world. Once the fallout from whatever TEOTWAWKI event has passed, you are highly unlikely to be able to return to your own home. It might still be radioactive, there might not be any power, or it may present a big target for thieves and looters. A cabin in the woods, built ahead of time and camouflaged, can be a safe haven for you and your family.


Photo courtesy of Robert Linder

Before you can even think about how to build a cabin, you’ll need to do a lot of both physical and bureaucratic groundwork. For example, you’ll need to:

  • Buy the land — the way that land division works in most states is that every parcel is owned by somebody. There is very little public land to be had, but fortunately the land that is available tends to be woodland. Inquire at the town hall about how you can secure some private acreage from the town.
  • Securing building rights — once you own the land, you’ll have to go through the usual red tape to be allowed to build on the plot. You can put yourself in a great position for both the bureaucracy and the apocalypse by planning to be as self-sufficient as possible. The less work it will take the town to run power, water or sanitation to your cabin, the more likely they are to grant you building rights.
  • Clear the land — the first physical preparation job you’ll face is to clear and level the land. This will probably mean renting a stump grinder, as you can’t run the risk of trees slowly growing back in the middle of your cabin. Leveling can be done with a mini-earthmover, or by hand if the land is already reasonably flat.
  • Organize log transportation — the last big prep job will be to work out how to get the wood to your site. Even the smallest cabin will need materials that will be longer than your truck or car can carry; consider renting a flatbed for a day and getting all the wood onsite and covered with tarp.

Key Skills for How to Build a Cabin

With these steps done, you’re ready to think about the practicalities of how to build a cabin. You can find hundreds of different ways to learn how to build a log cabin, but some of the common key skills include:

  • Carpentry — you’ll need to know how to fit joists, columns and posts as well as rafter work for the ceiling. Your local timber merchant will be able to cut the wood to the right size for you, meaning you have only to learn to fit them together securely.
  • Roofing — your cabin has to be waterproof and damp-proof, and the roof is responsible for the majority of this protection. You’ll definitely need to learn about flashing, venting, and insulation, and you may want to learn how to shingle.
  • Framing — this skill will allow you to build load-bearing windows, doors and fireplaces in your cabin.

The Kit Homes Debate

The easiest way to learn how to build a cabin is to buy a kit home from a catalogue. The kit will be delivered to you in parts, which you then screw together. However, some purists say that the cabins built like this are not designed with a long-term future in mind, because to keep costs down the manufacturers reduce the quality of the wood.

With time and effort, many people find it’s financially cheaper to design and build their own cabin, but the decision depends largely on your technical capabilities, budget, and timescale.

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