How to Build a Debt Free Off Grid Cabin – Shawn James explains how he built an off grid cabin in the middle of the Canadian wilderness for just $4500 USD ($6000 CANADIAN) on a 20 acre property. Shawn built this cabin by hand using hand tools and his own labor thereby saving him tens of thousands of dollars. He also was very careful in picking out the land making sure there were no building codes he needed to follow or inspections to pass. This of course added to the cost savings overall. This inspiring story is one we all want to accomplish with our off grid goals. To be able to build a homestead like this gives one a sense of accomplishment above and beyond working a 9-5 job working for someone else doing a job you don’t really want to do. Shawn has built his dream and we can all learn from his dedication and work ethic. It takes a lot of work and time and effort but the reward is priceless. Freedom, independence and self reliance. Thanks, Shawn for sharing your off grid dream with us!
Author’s Note: I’ve been writing about off grid living, homesteading and sustainable/renewable energy for going on 10 years and am always amazed at the ingenuity and skills some off gridders exhibit when building their own cabins and shelters. Shawn James I have to say is one of the best and most dedicated at what he does. As far as I’m concerned this is the ultimate off grid dream and is comparable to the classic off grid cabin built by Dick Proenneke in the Alaskan wilderness which helped inspire Shawn in his build too.
If you’ve been interested in living off the grid for a while then you most likely know who Dick Proenneke is and you’ve watched the Alone in the Wilderness For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Proenneke cabin you can watch the videos here.
Shawn James has recreated a modern version of the Proenneke video.
He captures the same feel of the original Proenneke cabin build and inspires me to want to build my own in the same fashion. Maybe though I will use more modern technology and tools but the same idea is there. To be able to build your own off grid log cabin is my dream and one I think we all share. We can all learn a lot from Shawn and Dick by watching them and how they build, and by listening to their advice about how to do this without debt which is the most important part. If you’re planning to build your own off-grid home, you may consider installing hurricane doors and windows to protect it from severe weather conditions like hurricanes.
Proenneke was in his 50’s when he started building the cabin. Think about that for a second. As I sit here planning my move off the grid and planning my cabin build I’m 45 years old. My body isn’t as young as it used to be and I’m not as energetic. My health isn’t as good as it was back in my 20’s when I should have started this, but I realize that if I don’t do it soon I may never do it. If I’m honest with myself and those who are reading this right now, I have to stop making excuses and just do it. There is no better time than now to build your off grid dream.
You either do it or you don’t. That’s my motto. I’ve been saying that phrase ever since I can remember. I keep waiting and waiting and waiting…trying to “save money” and “do it right” and make sure I “have a good plan”. But if I’m honest, those are nothing more than excuses because there are multiple times over the last decade that I could have built an off grid cabin like this. There were times I was doing well enough that I could have done it already. So I’m going to do it now.
That’s what this site is about. It’s my way of motivating myself and inspiring others to build their off grid dream too. I love to teach and I love to learn. I guess my lesson here is don’t wait and don’t go into debt. Do this. Build like this. You can do more than you think you can do, and you certainly don’t want the debt of a mortgage over your head for the next 30 years.
The idea of living off the grid and building your own cabin is ubiquitous with the off grid life. It’s about being self reliant, independent and 100% self sufficient. Most importantly it’s about happiness. I think that’s the point of it all. I think that’s why we do what we do. It’s all about the pursuit of happiness. And I can tell you that having a nice little cabin like this in the middle of nowhere that I don’t have a mortgage ad massive debt would make me very very happy indeed.
So what are you waiting for?
Go build your off grid dream.