Have you ever thought about what you’d do if you were no longer able to live in your primary residence? Maybe you’ve lost your job, there’s a long term power outage, or it’s simply just not safe to live there anymore.
Preppers are usually prepared for a whole host of things, including being able to live out in the open, make temporary shelter, keep warm and feed themselves, but how many of you actually have a prepper shelter to escape to?
A prepper shelter can provide you with a space not just for when SHTF, but in the meantime can be used as a place to hang out, somewhere to go for the weekends or a place to store all your equipment. From shipping containers, to underground bunkers, to a log cabin kit in the forest, these are all great options for a shelter.
However, one of the most common mistakes that Preppers make is putting a load of time, money and effort into building a solid fortress. But realistically, no matter how solid or thick your walls are, if enemies can get close enough to your home to shoot – its game over.
The best way to design your prepper shelter is to choose an area which people can’t reach via car, and have additional security measure around the perimeter. Perhaps the most advantageous place to build such shelter is in a forest or wooded area.
A log cabin makes a perfect prepper shelter for a number of reasons; it can be assembled in just a few short weeks if you choose a kit, it will stand strong and stable for years to come and it blends in well in a wooded environment.
Why choose a log cabin kit?
With over 30,000 kits manufactured each year in the US, there are plenty of reasons why kits are growing in popularity:
Most people just don’t have the time to build a log cabin from scratch, or access to the number of trees required to build a cabin. Preppers included! This is where a log cabin kit comes in handy. A kit is a perfect alternative for those preppers who like the feel and look of a log cabin but just don’t have the time or experience to dedicate to building one.
Whilst a temporary shelter is initially faster to construct, the longevity of a cabin ensures lifetime build value is much greater with a cabin than a temporary shelter; the temporary shelter will require lots of maintenance and re-builds.
Choosing a kit speeds up the planning process as well as the building process, because the majority of kits are already pre-designed and with hundreds to choose from, you’re bound to find one that suits your needs. The likelihood is that you just want a kit to build a small, off-grid square cabin, and the industry is full of log cabins meeting just those requirements.
The beauty of a kit is all the difficult and time-consuming work gets done by the manufacturer, including felling the trees, peeling the logs and drying them. They also scribe and notch the logs together to ensure they fit together perfectly.
There are so many different options for the logs, from the type of wood you choose, to how the corners are joined (notch type), to the profile and finish of the log (for example if you want it hand hewn for a more natural look, or milled for a uniform look).
The materials are then delivered right to your site, and depending on the size of your cabin, it is quite possible to have the cabin up and fully functioning in just a week or two. The logs are already notched and ready to piece together, much like the childhood Lincoln Logs toy, but life-size.
This process is without a doubt easier than building your own prepper shelter from scratch which, again depending on the size, could take a minimum of 6 months.
Whatever idea you have in your head for the perfect log cabin prepper shelter, it’s pretty likely that there is already a kit which meets those exact requirements, but, if not, most manufacturers are happy to be completely flexible and chop and change parts of the kit to make sure you’re buying only what you need.
There is a huge amount of flexibility, from the species of wood you choose to use, to the notch and finish type.
The most common types of logs used are pine, cedar, cypress and oak. Pine is the most popular and also one of the cheapest options, whereas cedar is considered to be a premium wood and comes with a higher price tag.
The next choice is how to join the logs, the most common notches are saddle-notch, dovetail, corner post and butt and pass. This is mainly down to personal preference as all of these joins produce tight and well fitted joins.
The more obvious flexibility you have in choosing a kit is the size and layout of the cabin. Kits range from 150 square foot, to much larger and luxurious plans, however given the purpose of a survival shelter you’ll most likely want to stick with a smaller cabin both to keep well-hidden and for heating purposes.
Whilst the cost of log cabin kit is slightly more expensive than building your own, it is probably on par with other prepper shelters such as underground bunkers and earth-bag homes.
Depending on the level on finish you want, you can expect to pay varying prices.
A ‘shell-only’ package will include the log wall system, and perhaps the roof, this will cost you $50-$80 per square foot.
A ‘dry-in’ package includes all the materials you need to build the exterior of your log cabin. I’d imagine this would be perfect for a prepper cabin as you don’t need fancy interior finishes. This option costs in-between $70-$130 per square foot.
The final option is the ‘turn-key’ package; this includes everything you need to have a cabin that is ready to move in to. From exterior fittings to all the interior fittings, this package is the most expensive of the three and costs in-between $130-$180 per square foot.
As a prepper you probably will be looking for a shell-only package and then using your survival skills to finish the cabin.
- Function Off-Grid
Another benefit of a log cabin is that they have the capability of functioning completely off-grid which is one of the most important elements of a prepper shelter. If the main power supply goes out long term, it’s vital that you have other ways to cook and keep clean and warm.
If you choose a cabin which is not too large in size, you’ll be able to incorporate a chimney, and heat the cabin with a fire. You’ll also be able to use the fire to cook your food.
If you make sure you site your log cabin well, you’ll be close by to a water supply which will provide you with drinking water and water to cook and wash with.
- Blends in Well
As mentioned earlier, one of the huge appeals of living in a log cabin is that they blend so seamlessly into any forest or wood environment. This is important if you want your shelter to go unnoticed and to prevent attracting any unwanted guests.
Whilst it will be visible if someone gets up close to the cabin, there are plenty of diversions you can put in place to prevent people from getting too close. By building in an area of thick growth, people will be less likely to venture through and find you, especially if it looks undisturbed. You might also consider adding additional security measures around the perimeter of the cabin.
- Multiple Use
Building a log cabin doesn’t just have to be for the sole purpose of preparing for the worst, in the meantime it can be used as a whole host of different things.
Depending on its location it can be used as; a weekend getaway to get closer to nature and practice survival skills, a rental property, an annex for older or younger family members or just somewhere to store all your prepper equipment.
Is a log cabin right for you?
If you have a piece of land that you could build a log cabin on, it could make a perfect survival cabin for you and your family when SHTF.
They blend in well with the forest surroundings and provide a sturdy home which will be easy to heat if you keep it small enough.
Would you consider a log cabin kit for a prepper shelter?
by David Woods