Setting Up A Getaway Cabin On A Budget

If you have already begun putting food storage aside for the tough times that lay ahead, then it’s likely you have thought about a getaway cabin. This is especially true if you live in a city, or a heavily populated suburb or town.  Many of us have experienced financial set backs over the past few years, and the dream of a cabin with a well and enough property to grow a garden may appear to be an impossibility at first blush. The good news is that’s not always the case. A basic, no frills cabin is all you need. In fact, a no frills cabin is preferable over a showpiece that will draw the attention of looters.

If You Can’t Buy, Then Rent

If you can’t afford to purchase a getaway cabin, consider renting. This narrows your choices, but better to have a safe haven than wishful thinking.

Pool Resources

If you have friends or family members who are likewise interested in a getaway cabin, consider joining forces with them to begin searching for a rental or the outright purchase of a cabin. As long as there is enough floor space to sleep everyone, it will be a slice of Heaven if ever conditions arise where a getaway cabin is needed. There is another built-in advantage to pooling space and resources with others. During a calamity of long duration, it may be necessary to keep round-the-clock watch over your property to protect it against looters and worse. Wood gathering, drawing water, gardening, grinding wheat and alternative cooking is labor intensive and extra hands will be a blessing. Experts in the field of preparedness will tell you there is strength in numbers. Whenever possible, never go it alone.

Must-Haves in a Self-Sufficient Getaway Cabin

There are basic universal must-haves for a self-sufficient getaway cabin, no matter what climate zone you live in. It must be reachable from your primary residence; it should have a well for a reliable water source and a manual hand pump for a work-around during an electrical outage; it must have enough land for a sizeable garden; and it should be set up for basic, everyday living--a root cellar or cold room to store the overflow from the garden, basic toilet facilities (think outhouse), and it should be well away from a main road to avoid opportunists. Make no mistake; within a few days without food and water, many will take to the streets in search of survival. Your job is to be as far removed as possible from being an easy target!

If possible, it is preferable to be one tank worth of gas from a heavy population. This is problematic, as few of us live in regions where this rule of thumb is even remotely possible. Another optimal location to consider is an agricultural or farming community. Typically, farmers are familiar with living off the land, and they are much more likely to be prepared to defend their property when necessary. That is not to say that you should not be prepared yourself--you should be--but, if ever there comes a time when looters and free-loaders converge on your area, it is likely the bad guys will be driven off when your neighbors are no-nonsense farmers.

Keeping It Simple

When searching for a get away cabin, seek a low profile. For instance, a cabin with an outhouse is actually preferable over one that is dependent upon electric to run a wells water pump to flush a toilet. Besides, you are preparing for tough times, right? Tough times don’t necessarily arrive with widespread calamity. Instead they might begin with an unexpected lay-off, which leads to the inability to pay the electrical bill. Setting up a cabin for off-grid living makes both financial and logistical sense.

In order to accomplish a self-sufficient lifestyle, think manual appliances, a good tree-felling axe should you have a plentiful wood source nearby, and alternative lighting, heating and cooking methods that do not depend upon a non-renewable fuel source such as gasoline or propane or which is reliant upon running a generator. In northern climates, cooking can be accomplished by using the firebox and the top surface of a wood heat stove by using cast iron Dutch ovens and cookware. For those living in warm climates, consider a solar cooker to prepare meals.

When adhering to a keep-it-simple plan, the trail always leads to renewable resources such as wood in northern regions and solar in more southerly regions.

Make a Plan To Safely Get to Your Getaway Cabin

Keep in mind that with calamity, it’s likely that roads will become gridlocked. Cars will run out of gas; especially when electrical is interrupted. Gas stations rarely have back-up generators and this fact was evidenced during the devastating tsunami in Japan, the Haiti earthquake, and during Katrina. Even when gasoline is available, roads will quickly become clogged with drivers who experience car problems.

If you have the means, it is wise to plan ahead for alternative transportation such as a mountain bike or an ATV. Either mode of transportation are more likely to get your family or group to a get-away cabin should the roadways become impassable.  If this is an option for your financial circumstances, always put aside a compos, topographical maps, and enough gas to get you to your destination—always store gasoline in an outbuilding, away from pilot lights for safety.

If you must depend upon a vehicle to get you to a getaway cabin, make sure to address any deferred maintenance and keep a dependable spare tire in your vehicle. The donut tires that come with newer vehicles are not meant for long drives and they certainly aren’t meant for off-road driving, which you will likely have to perform to circumvent abandoned cars.

Safety First

A getaway cabin must also provide for the safety of its inhabitants. If your plan revolves around a generator for self-sufficiency, better think again. If ever there comes a time when roving groups come to your neck of the woods, running a generator is really no different than making hand painted signs inviting them straight to your door. Think of times when you have spent time in the wilderness; the peace and quiet that is so alien to city life was all around you. Now add a generator to that equation, and you will quickly understand why the convenience of a generator will pale in comparison to personal safety. The same goes for lighting an oil or kerosene lamp or an emergency candle with the curtains open. In a location where looting has become a reality, even for a short time, it will be necessary to cover windows with black-out fabric or black trash bags that have been applied with duct tape to avoid advertising your preparedness.

A well thought out preparedness list should include fire extinguishers. When cooking with alternative sources, lighting spaces with oil or kerosene lamps, and heating with wood stoves comes with increased fire hazards. Plan ahead. If you will be using emergency candles for lighting, place them in hurricane candleholders whose glass shade will protect from accidental fire.

That “Perfect” Cabin

The first rule to keep in mind before searching for a getaway cabin is there is no such thing as the  “perfect” cabin. The closest you will come to perfection is a workable plan, tenacity, and the will to survive whatever comes your way.

Barbara Fix, the author of this article, has written a new book entitled "Survival: Prepare Before Disaster Strikes!" (ID: UFKKCVLD2AFV6) Edited December 12, 2011

The cost of the book is $11.66 plus $3.95 shipping. If you are interested in learning how to prepare for the hard times that are ahead, I would encourage you to get this book.

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