When you want to get away from the craziness of life, sometimes it can be really difficult to completely unplug from the chaos of life in your own home. But have you ever considered an off-grid cabin? These wonderful little vacation homes can be a haven for sweet weekend memories as a family or for being able to work on your next hunting story. (Don’t worry. We weren’t there to know if the deer you missed had 6 or 12 points. So we will leave the details up to you.)
What Is An Off-Grid Cabin?
An Off Grid cabin is a structure that is not tied directly to the electric grid. Hence the term “off-grid” However, just because these cabins are off of the electrical grid does not mean that they lack the normal comforts of home. In fact, in some cases, these off-grid cabins are more comfortable than your typical home.
To help you create the best off-grid cabin experience, we have come up with a list of the 50 off-grid cabin essentials
1.) The Cabin
This may sound obvious, but to have an off-grid cabin, you need, well, a cabin. At Ozark Premier Buildings, we have seven options for how you can have your off-grid cabin completed. (All of our Sheds can also be completed as cabins). Each one of them is unique in their own way. However, for this blog, we are going to focus on creating your future cabin from either our Lofted Cabin or our Standard Cabin. There are three ways that we can complete your off-grid cabin.
Off-Grid Cabin Shell
When we say a “shell,” we mean that you get the structures as with the subfloor stud work and exterior walls, doors, windows, and roofing in place. However, that is all you get. This is our most economical option. However, it will require the most work from you.
Off-Grid Cabin Shell with Insulation and Electrical
The next tier up for your off-grid cabin is the shell with the addition of insulation and electrical. If you choose the electrical package, you choose where the light fixtures and outlets go. If you choose to have insulation added, we use spray foam insulation for the interior of your cabin.
Shell with Insulation, Electrical, and Finished Interior
When you want a truly off-grid experience that is no hassle on your end, we can complete the entire off-grid cabin for you from start to finish. We can place your electrical, insulate and then finish the walls and floor. All you need to do is tell us where to put it, and we are happy to show up, deliver it and give you the keys.
Of note, if you choose this option, plumbing is not currently available as something we do. If you want an off-grid cabin that will allow you to have plumbing as a part of the finished result, we would recommend that you opt for our shell or electrical-only package, as the insulation would need to be added in after the plumbing is done. We also have a list of local contractors that we would be happy to pair you up with.
Now that you have your Grid Cabin, we believe that there are 50 things each off-grid cabin needs to be truly successful. To help you have the best chance of enjoyment and success on your off-grid cabin, we recommend the following 50 items. While not all of these are necessary, we think most people will agree that they make the space more enjoyable overall.
One of the most important things that you need in an off-grid cabin is a heat source. Most times, the most trusted way to have heat is to have a wood stove that is appropriate for the size of your off-grid cabin. However, depending on your commitment level, you could do a propane heat source. Additionally, if you have a small enough cabin or a large enough draw from solar, you could also do an eclectic heating system.
(The largest off-grid cabin we create at Ozark Premier Buildings is 640 square feet).
A storage solution can be as simple or complex as you want. Most times, people buy a few totes and a shelving unit and keep the storage to a minimum. However, if you intend to use your off-grid cabin for more than a weekend getaway, you may want to consider it may be worth investing in more traditional storage methods.
Off-Grid Cabin Tools
Pretty much everyone knows how to use a hammer. However, it should be noted that you want a hammer that is well-constructed. For this reason, we would advise you not to purchase a hammer that is a multitool, as these hammers are not typically designed to handle true construction needs.
An axe is a tool that may or may not be needed for your off-grid cabin. However, if you plan on having a wood stove or even a simple fire pit, an axe is a must-have. We recommend going with an axe that is well-weighted so that you can trust your tool to do the work and not spend so much time straining yourself.
5.) Circular Saw
A circular saw is a great tool to have on hand for many reasons. The obvious reason is that you want will be able to work on any construction projects that you may need to. The second is that in a pinch, you can use this too as a chainsaw.
However, the big advantage is that having a circular saw that is battery-powered at your off-grid cabin means that you won’t have to lug around gallons of gas for a generator, and you can simply bring your batteries back home with you when you leave.
The next power tool you may find helpful at your off-grid cabin is a Drill and Impact Driver. Truth be told, you can probably get away with just a drill in most cases. However, Both of these tools are very helpful to have on hand no matter if you are simply adding some shelves or are in need of making some major adjustments.
Something that we would recommend is that whatever power tools you decide to get, stick with the same brand as many times the batteries are interchangeable and will allow for more use time and less frustration waiting on a battery to charge.
Having a knife or a multitool on hand will prove to be one of the best tools for your off-grid cabin. So much so that you may find yourself carrying it regularly. Having this tool on hand makes it easy for you to fix small issues quickly, all while not taking up more than a small amount of pocket space.
There are two main options when it comes to providing truly off-grid wooden cooking options. The first is to have a wood stove that can heat and offer a cooking space for baking and stovetop needs. The second option is to do a small hot plate that you can power with solar or a portable generator. Additionally, you can do a propane camp stove. However, you would be subject to benign able to find fuel and remembering to bring it.
10.) Solar Power
Depending on how off-grid you want to be, solar power at your off-grid cabin may or may not be needed. However, most people want at least minimal creature comforts such as a lamp or fan. Yet, some of your guests will need some small amounts of electricity for a CPAP or if you wish to power a small TV, as we saw in the previous video.
If you are truly off-grid and your guests do not care, a place to go to the restroom in the woods may be all that your guests need. However, if you are looking to give your guests a more traditional feel a portable camping toilet will work for a small weekend getaway. However, if you intend to live completely off the grid and want a more traditional toilet system, you may need a larger composting toilet system.
When we say refrigeration, we don’t mean that you need a whole refrigerator and freezer system. We mean buying a quality cooler like the one from Bevanda. Especially if your off-grid cabin is simply just a weekend getaway. However, there are propane refrigerators that can be added to an off-grid cabin for more storage and stability.
13.) Security Camera
When we say security camera, we do not mean like a Ring Doorbell system. What we mean is something like a solar powers trail cam. Whether you want several on your property to allow you to see the wildlife or just one that faces towards the cabin to see if someone or something breaks in, these cameras are great!
Off-Grid Cabin Protection
When it comes to protection at your off-grid cabin, nothing is more important than being well equipped. Depending on how far away you are, you may truly be the last line of defense between you and the natural predators around you. We have found three ways that protecting yourself can and should be done.
14.) Bear Mace
While bear mace may or may not be helpful in a bear attack, it can be helpful to have it on hand as there is minimal risk of injury to yourself. Bear mace is easy to carry and have on hand for inside your cabin and would help in deterring other animals or people with malicious intent.
There is nothing quite like the sound of a shotgun to scare off whatever may be trying to cause issues. If you are not familiar with firearms, we highly recommend that you take some safety courses and learn how to handle the tool properly. However, if you choose to go this route, we have found that you can oftentimes find yourself a shotgun for a reasonable price.
16.) Bow and Arrow
A bow and arrow is a great way to pass the time at your off-grid cabin. However, if you are a skilled marksman, you may be able to use this tool for self-defense from all sorts of wildlife. Just make sure that you have the proper arrow tips for self-defense, as target practice arrows will not help you.
Having multipurpose furniture doesn’t mean it has to be ugly. When we say multipurpose furniture, we mean that the furniture can be used for more than one thing. Take a look at the Ikea furniture above. How do you think you would incorporate it into your space?
18.) Plumbing Supplies
When we say that you need plumbing in your off-grid cabin, we are not talking about needing a whole septic system.In Fact, we simply mean that if you have a sink, you will need a pipe that attaches to the drain and directs water into a containment system.
This can be into a small bucket under the sink, or it could be a pipe that leeches out into the ground. Take a look at the video above, and if you like the information, a full video can be seen on their youtube channel.
As we mentioned earlier, we can insulate your off-grid cabin if you desire. Insulation is what will keep your cabin from becoming too hot or cold. If you desire to understand which insulation suits your needs best, This Old House has some great information on it.
Putting flooring in your off-grid cabin is vital to ensuring the longevity of your cabin. While the subflooring is in place, it is not intended to be used as the primary floor. You can use any kind of flooring that you choose for your off-grid cabin. However, we recommend not using carpet as a vacuum will use a lot of energy to fit it. Additionally, we can install flooring in your cabin if you would like.
As we mentioned, with insulation, flooring, and electrical, we can also finish off the interior of your off-grid cabin with walls. However, if you would like to finish out the walls for your self that is fine as well. We have found that other than pine board, sheetrock and paneling are great options for finishing off the interior of your shed.
22.) Fire Wood
Firewood is a staple for each off-grid cabin. Whether you need it for heating your home or for having a campfire, firewood is a must-have. Depending on how often you are at your off-grid cabin, you may just be able to pick up some firewood at your local grocery store; however, if you need large quantities of firewood, it is best to know how to stack it up and season it for years to come.
Propane is a great way to offer you an alternative fuel source from wood or electricity. However, your location may make it difficult to depend on propane as a regular fuel source. To help you understand is propane or wood is best for your situation, take a look at the video.
24.) Battery Bank
23 Battery Bank
Needing a backup battery bank is essential to keeping your electronics charged. Whether it is your smartphone or fish finder with usb charging, having some battery backup is helpful. To do this, your battery backup could be from the power tools that we spoke about earlier, and using a battery converter pack, or you could use a power bank that is solar rechargeable.
Candles are a great off-grid item as they are a very reliable light source no matter the conditions. We recommend having a few 100-hour candles on hand to make sure that you can have a light source no matter the situation. Nonetheless, it may be beneficial to have some citronella candles for outdoor use to keep the bugs away.
26.) Board Games
Board Games are a great way to enjoy your time in an off-grid cabin. We all know the standard of Monopoly, chess, checkers, and card games. However, if you are looking to have fun playing some new games with your family and friends, we highly recommend Dutch Blitz, Blokus, Tenzi, Dixit, and Codenames. Who knows, maybe one of these games will become your family’s next favorite.
Books are a great way to pass the time in your off-grid cabin. We recommend that you take five of your favorite books along to always have on hand to enjoy at the cabin. If you are not sure where to start, we recommend The Bible, Hatchet, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Fin, The Lord Of The Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
28.) Knitting/Crocheting Supplies
Knitting and Crocheting supplies are not just a way to fill time while you are relaxing; it is also a great way to make some extra blankets or dish towels for the cabin. However, if you’ve never done this activity before, you may find it difficult to do this without a how-to guide for knitting and crocheting. Then again, if you are truly off-grid, no one may be able to hear your frustrations as you tackle your new hobby 🙂.
A ladder is essential for nearly every off-grid cabin. We recommend that you have a ladder that is at least 8 feet tall so that you can easily reach the roof if needed. Additionally, if you have a loft area, you may find that having hooks and a telescoping ladder will allow easy access to a nice sleeping area while saving space.
Now, mirrors may sound like an odd thing that you would need in an off-grid cabin but hear us out. First, adding the mirror across from a window will allow your space to feel larger than it actually is. The second reason we encourage you to have mirrors in your off-grid cabin is they can help increase the light level as it reflects the light around you.
31.) Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting has come a long way in recent years. In most cases, you will not need electrical to give your outdoor space the lighting it needs. Two common ways people add outdoor lighting are floodlighting or ambient lighting that is run off of solar panels. Personally, we like a mixture of the two of them. Imagine having some nice ambient lighting on the porch and some floodlights to see as the deer go by at night.
32.) Dining Ware
When you have an off-grid cabin, you still need to provide dining ware. We highly recommend that you look into purchasing a stainless steel dining set. This will allow you to have a dining set that is durable for indoor and outdoor dining options.
33 .) Coffee Pot
If you are anything like us, you need a good cup of coffee no matter how off-grid you are. To make having a coffee an easy option, we recommend that you use either a French Press or a stove top percolator. You could use instant coffee packets as well, but who wants a bad cup of coffee to start their day? If you are anything like us, you need a good cup of coffee no matter how off-grid you are. To make having a coffee an easy option, we recommend that you use either a French Press or a stove top percolator. You could use instant coffee packets as well, but who wants a bad cup of coffee to start their day?
If you are truly living off the grid in your cabin, a fire starter of some sort will be needed. We recommend that you have at least two reliable ways to start a fire, such as matches and a lighter. Recently there have been advancements that you can even get a rechargeable lighter.
However, if you can remember your scouting skills, you can always use those skills.
35.) Bedding And Extra Blankets
Every dwelling place needs a place to rest and be comfortable. That is why we recommend that you always have a bed and some extra blankets. As we mentioned earlier, knitting or crocheting your blankets can be a great option for relaxing. However, depending on your climate, you may want some heavier blankets on hand.
36.) Wheel Barrow
Wheel Barrows are a great tool to have on your off-grid cabin. These tools can help you move firewood, be a basin for water, or even a way to put corn out for the deer. The possibilities are nearly endless.
37.) Water Purification
Having some kind of water purification system at your off-grid cabin ensures that you can have safe drinking water at all times. However, drinking water is not something that can be taken lightly and should be done properly to ensure no one becomes sick. To do this, we recommend having a water purifier such as a Lifestraw or some kind of hand pump system.
Buckets are an important part of any off-grid living situation. We recommend that you use steel buckets as they can be great for placing hot coals off of a fireplace. We also recommend that you consider having food-grade quality buckets on hand if you plan to transport food for the surrounding wildlife.
39.) Shelf Stable Food
Going off-grid does not mean that you should go without having a small reserve of food. In fact, we recommend that every off-grid cabin has some shelf-stable food. Some popular camping brands are Mount House. However, if you are looking for some shelf-stable food that is healthier, we recommend checking out Thrive Foods, which offers freeze-dried foods with no additives.
40.) Kitchen Supplies
To be able; to cook for your guest, you will need some kitchen supplies. That being said, how much cooking you want to do may vary depending on how you use this cabin and where you are located. We recommend that you have the basics of some kitchen knives, a can opener, measuring cups, and serving utensils.
42.) Outdoor Seating
Enjoying the great outdoors is what many people are looking for by having an off-grid cabin. However, you can’t enjoy the outdoors without having proper seating. You could tell your guests that they need to bring their own camping chairs. However, we think that by having a few camping chairs on hand, you and your guests will all be happy to shoot the breeze and enjoy the great outdoors. Yet, if you are looking for truly rustic seating, take a look at the video above.
43.) Fire Pit
A fire pit is a great tool and a great way to make some memories. Depending on your location, you may be able to make your fire pit out of large rocks and have a rusting look and feel on your property. However, if that is not the case, we encourage you to get a fire pit with a cooking station.
44.) Appropriate Apparel
If you are already someone who enjoys being off-grid and being in outdoors, you know the importance of proper clothing. However, if you are new to the whole idea, having clothing that is comfortable and appropriate for the weather can make or break your off-grid experience. For that reason, we recommend talking to your local camping outfitter as to what clothes will benefit your situation the best.
45.) Quality Footwear
In the same vein of clothing, appropriate footwear is key to enjoying your off-grid cabin surroundings. In most cases, your off-grid cabin is going to be a much more rugged area than where you have your typical house. Because of this, we recommend having a pair of hiking boots or chore boots at your off-grid cabin.
Flares may seem like a thing of the past. However, they are still very effective in notifying people where you are located in the event of an emergency. Many times when you are off-grid, it is difficult to give a 911 dispatcher your location because there is no address associated with your cabin. However, placing these flares at the end of your driveway may be a great way to help direct traffic in the event that you can not effectively give your location.
A hand-crank flashlight in your off-grid cabin is a must-have. Imagine being without power, and all of your batteries are dead. Oof, this sounds like the start of a scary movie. However, having a hand-crank flashlight will give you the option to have a light source no matter what your surroundings are like.
48.) Hand Crank Radio
A hand crank radio may remind you of growing up and being at your grandparents during a bad storm. However, this technology is still useful even today. With a hand crank radio, you are able to make your own power no matter the circumstances and be able to listen to the radio no matter where you are located. Additionally, many hand crank radios can now be powered by solar or even be used as a backup battery bank for charging your phone.
49.) First Aid Kit
A first Aid kit will allow you to be prepared for the most basic medical issues that may arise at your off-grid cabin. In fact, we know that trying to figure out different aspects of your off-grid cabin can give you a headache. That is why we believe getting a quality first aid kit is just as important as anything else that you would put in your off-grid cabin
50.) Fire Extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher in your off-grid cabin will help you be the first line of defense if something catches fire. Typically speaking, your off-grid cabin will be somewhat far away from common public services like the fire patrol. For this reason, we highly recommend that you keep a larger fire extinguisher on hand should any unfortunate instances occur.
51.) Work Gloves
Work gloves are a great tool and not just for those with “soft hands” Work gloves are essential to helping to protect you from things like poison ivy while doing yard chores around your cabin. We recommend that you have a few sets on hand at all times to make sure that whoever is helping you (whether an adult or child) with the day’s work can be protected.
What Do You Need In Your Off-Grid Cabin?
The odds are if you have the desire for an off-grid cabin, you may not need all of these things. However, this list may be able to serve you as a “checklist” to make sure you have all of your essentials in place for your off-grid cabin. If having an off-grid cabin is something that you are ready to have built, contact us! At Ozark Premier Buildings, we are passionate about building you the off-grid cabin of your dreams!