For as long as mankind has been on the planet, people have lived, survived and thrived outdoors.
Shelter; a place to retreat, eat and sleep, has always been fundamental to our existence. We’ve come a long way since the rudimentary living quarters of our ancestors, and now it’s possible to be immersed in nature while living comfortably.
You may have seen a log cabin in a secluded rural location, or at the end of a garden. They offer an opportunity to enjoy nature while being protected from the harsher outdoor elements. But are log cabins only designed for temporary recreational use, or can actually live in them?
That’s what this article aims to uncover.
How long can you live in a log cabin?
Let’s address this question at its most basic level. Is it actually possible to survive in a log cabin? The definitive answer to that is yes, you can.
Thousands of years ago, humans might have only needed basic shelter to shield them from the elements. By the standards of modern living, electricity and running water are necessities, and both of these utilities can be found in many of today’s log cabins.
Assuming you have electricity and water, what else you will need to live in a log cabin comes down to your own requirements. There is a broad variety of log cabins available on today’s market; from luxurious glamping pods to modest cabins, with just enough space for seating or a bed.
You may see log cabins with three to four rooms advertised. Of course, living in this type of environment could be a more realistic long-term option. However, conventionally, this type of property would be classed as a ‘log home’ rather than a log cabin. For this reason, we haven’t factored these larger dwellings into this article.
How long do log cabins last?
Another element is the structural integrity of the log cabin. You might be happy to live permanently in a log cabin, but is the structure built to last?
The general consensus is that log cabins can last for 60 years or more, such is the durability of these small structures. One of the main reasons for the longevity of log cabins is the quality of materials used. In general, log cabins are designed to withstand inclement weather, which can be a feature of rural areas.
If you are buying a new log cabin, you should note that it’s incredibly important to have the wood treated as soon as possible. That’s because as a natural material, wood expands and contracts perpetually. If log cabin treatment - typically made from a blend of oils and waxes - is not applied in a timely manner, the wood can deteriorate when it is exposed to the elements.
Maintenance also comes into play. Taking care of a cabin throughout the year will maximise its lifespan. As well as periodical treatment and sealers, it’s important to inspect the interior for damage, clear the gutters out, and make any necessary repairs as a matter of urgency.
There are few limitations to the amenities you could incorporate into a log cabin. From wifi to smart apps and even underfloor heating, log cabin living can border on luxury, depending on your budget.
However, some people prefer to avoid the trappings of modern-day technology for a purer existence in the wilderness. Off-grid living is not for everyone, but if you do want to live in nature with as few distractions as possible, a log cabin may be the ideal lodging.
Many who believe in this self-reliant lifestyle also have strong sustainability values. For this reason, a location with renewable energy potential, such as a scope for solar panels, may be preferable.
Secluded log cabins may have no access to the sewage system, in which case, composting toilets should be a consideration. When it comes to heating, wood stoves can warm the cabin by burning timber, while also doubling up as a way to cook. With no supermarket in sight, food can be acquired from hunting, fishing and foraging.
Good for glamping
Off-grid living requires resilience and a fair share of survival skills. For many of us, log cabin living would only be possible with the same amenities we are accustomed to in a normal home.
At the other end of the scale, there are log cabins with arguably more luxury than you’d see in the average house or apartment.
Log cabins used for glamping pods are often stylish, eye-catching structures with built-in beds, lounge and cooking areas, storage space, and amenities from fresh water and electricity to wifi. You could live in a log cabin glamping pod that is part of a resort, or is in an isolated location.
In many cases, glamping-style log cabins will be in areas with plenty of activities to choose from - from hiking trails to local villages and vineyards, nature attractions and historical sites.
In essence, living in a log cabin can be done, and log cabin lifestyle will be dictated by your preferences and budget.