“Simple Offers Freedom”: Building a $500 Cabin Without a Permit

by | Feb 17, 2016 | Emergency Preparedness, Headline News | 64 comments

Do you LOVE America?



    How to make it in the wilderness certainly has its difficulties, but so does living in modern society.

    Whether you are taking shelter from the elements and the harsh realities of nature, or from the stresses, panic and emergency crises of the city.

    Building a cabin is a classic, timeworn and reliable way to build a shelter that can be made simply by a few men, or if necessary, by a single man alone.

    It is enough to survive, but no guarantee of an easy life.

    But it provides a path to a simpler life – away from the busy conundrum of idle and mostly meaningless existence inside the system.

    As the man in the below video notes, “Simple offers freedom.” Indeed, the cabin life may be about as free as it gets.

    He built the cabin at 10×10 deliberately, and cheaply – for $500 – allowing him to build without a permit, and enjoy the freedom of living off of his own land.

    Practically everywhere in the country – suburban communities and rural lands alike – places restrictions on building that requires approval and permission. But most codes make an exception for temporary structures and those under a certain size – and that’s where you’ll have the most room to work on the project on your terms and outside of most restrictions.

    For bigger projects, and the right to build without a permit if you are willing to stand up for it, see what patriot Tom Hyland did to live free.

    Like other things in life, there is no one way to do it, but it’s a time honored tradition that offers its own advantages – for survival, independence from debt and life of self-reliance and preparedness.

    Here’s a look at the old fashioned way, from an archived old timer:

    Whether it is your getaway retreat from emergency, or the start of a new and simple lifestyle, the cabin can be an asset that will never be out of reach in price, is easy to construct, and can be counted on for many years of dependability – even if the construction isn’t perfect.

    Read more:

    Living Free Without Permission: “Building Without a Permit, Driving Without a License”

    The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

    What Is The Best Place To Live In The United States To Prepare For The Coming Economic Collapse?

    The Safest Areas in America: An Expanded Western Relocation Zone

    Considerations for SHTF Living & Bug Out Locations


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      1. We will never be free as long as property tax exists.

        You can put up your subsistence cabin and live frugally, but if you can’t pay your property taxes, you will be evicted from land that you own free and clear.

        As long as we have a functioning government, you cannot be cash poor and own land (long term)

        I never thought about how evil the property tax system is when I was young….


        • Bingo and Yahtzee – America is NOT FREE. WE are enslaved as every other nation under the tyranny of leadership that does everything to control us down to the last remaining minutes of our lives.

          • I live in a place that dosent require permits. You can live where you want in what you want. I spent my whole life complaining about permits but after I moved here I understand the reason for them. Ive had 2 neighbors whos homes have just plain collapsed and another whos came home from work one day and couldnt open the front door because when he built the house he didnt think that a header over the door or windows was important…. Most people ive seen build houses without permits built them to fail. Cut corners where ever they could and generally did a poor job.
            But im still against them.

        • If a cabin is built on a trailer chassis, there are places you can camp free on public grounds. Around here there is free prime lakeshore camping spots for primitive use. There is a catch though, you can stay at one place for two weeks, and move it to the next free place. Some have outhouses and free TP.

          I have seen a pontoon converted to a cabin and used on the lakes, anchor off shore or use the public remote camping sites all spring summer and fall for fishing, swimming, and picnicking. Free parking at the public boat access with the trailer. There is a trailer and boat license renewal here, the trailer is a lifetime one about $38, the boat every two years, about $24. Not bad for not paying lakeshore taxes of 5 grand a year and having it all.

        • I have been screamin it for years…..and if you happen to have that property as a second or third property guess what in good ole michigan you get to pay DOUBLE the property tax because your so wealthy you have two properties….I even get 20 or so fresh brains to hammer this into every semester, think it matters… not till property tax is done away with…we are all just slaves…..do you know how frustrating it is to teach civics and economics when your awake and know Truth….its about enough to make a guy wanna throw some tea….

          • Yeah , good ol michigan .
            So , we got divorced , not both properties are primary residences and homesteaded , lol .
            Trade a government licence for less government tax !

          • When I lived in Michigan, the “Homestead exemption” lowered what you lived in, but as justsayin says, they gouge on any other property. Michigan’s whole philosophy is why I don’t live there or have property there. Plus it’s too cold for me anymore.

        • There are exemptions available for older or disabled people depending on which state you live in. For example, in NC you can read about it at:
          ht tp://www.nchfa.com/forms/Forms/PropertyTaxRelief.pdf

          In NC, veterans can apply to exclude the first $45,000 of their property value.

          In some cases, the property taxes can be deferred for life. The taxes would still have to be paid whenever the property was transferred.

          I know that years ago my grandfather didn’t have to pay any property tax at all.

          Other states have differing programs of property tax relief.

          If you’re older or disabled, use your favorite search engine and look for “property tax exemption” or “property tax relief” or “homestead exemption.”

        • Exactly. Plus, in some states like Florida, it is actually illegal to live off the grid. You MUST pay for electricity to occupy a property in Florida. Even if you have your own solar system it is illegal to not pay Duke Energy for their services. This is in the state that is perhaps best suited to a pure solar electric existence. Just remember that the government is never your friend. It is the friend of the large corporations and you WILL BE their serf.

          • Winston Smith you are so wrong about Florida. If you are grid tied and selling back electric you pay tax. I’m off the grid and have solar and NOT TIED TO SND GRID. pay nobody but myself for electric. I also bought several small portable cabins classidled as a sheds and built it out to house specification with hard wire and plumbing to my Solar and a drum drain field for a septic.
            We call these fish hunting camp’s and nobody messes with Us cause this is our culture and the Confederate Flag still flys proudly here. You are only a slave if you let them enslave you. Also time to stop rewarding Veterans with tax credits. Its rewarding them for fighting the ZOG wars wrapped with the US flag. The military and veterans in the last 30 Yrs are the problem why our Government has been hijacked. Fuk Today’s veteran sheep morons. Stop rewarding failure. In fact we should charge you Vets double cost for goods, services and taxes. Stupid is, brainwashed morons.


            • Just don’t let the state know. The most famous case I know of I believe was in West Palm Beach or maybe Palm Beach county. A woman was profiled by the local paper for having built an off the grid home that ran on solar and the state promptly swooped in and told her she was not allowed to live there without a grid connection because of state law. Likewise, I think it is also illegal to collect rain water because I know someone who is studying to work in the field of environmental protection and we discussed the law regarding off grid living. She was taught that it is illegal to do either in the state of Florida. Now this doesn’t mean I think you should follow such an immoral law. It’s just that you need to know that it exists and compensate for that fact by keeping a low profile. It is not likely that they will go around trying to find people who are running afoul of these laws. They have better things to waste our tax dollars on than that. However, if they learn you are doing it, it is entirely likely that they will come after you.

        • Im there too, especially since the taxes here are so high, am thinking put together a bunch of tiny homes on wheels and rent them out for cash and barter, 2 or 3 of them will cover the taxes etc…

          • Kula, I have a relative who has like 6 or 7 of these 10×10 or less units on his property. Hosts lots of gatherings. They have extended porches with seating, firepits, serving areas, and such. Lots of classic and unique old signs hanging on the buildings. Its a neat setup.

        • You are right about the property taxes.

          Also, I am really impressed with Dick Proneake. Lived in the woods for 34 years starting when he was 51 years old.

          I would do that in a heart beat except I screwed my self by getting married and having kids.

          I feel like Al Bundy…

          • John
            The only reason I have a mountain property and trying to build a cabin is because I am single. Almost no men are a go. Almost no women. Obviously not many want to do it. If I sell, it will get a McMansion.

            • I had drank the Koolaid myself. I have said cabin and wife is fully on board, but that is BOL and to reward her putting up with living in a camper for seven months many of them through winter, while we built said cabin, I bought her a nice McMansion in 2012. We have subsequently sold it. Go to Youtube and put in “1102 Achiever” Our Realtor did this for marketing. It worked. We sold it in nine days.

        • I have to agree with you 100%. With that said there is land in Alaska that doesn’t have property taxes or require permits, except water rights. Now if you are close to a city in AK then you will have property taxes. Depends on where the property is. Don’t want to move to AK though, but it’s doable. (I have researched buying land there)

          The water rights thing is interesting. Say you build a cabin on property that you own and drill a well. You are good. No permits, but if your neighbor comes along and does the whole filing for water rights and say you are encroaching then there are issues. Not likely, but possible. So if you want to be free from all of this junk, then parts, not all, of AK is for you. Be ready to have to hire a float plane or a home made ferry to get you to your property and be loaded for Bear, literally.

          I have property in Tennessee and some counties don’t make you pull permits. (I do pay property taxes. They are low) The only permitting required is from the state. Septic and Electrical. The electrical is tied to the septic. Inspector won’t pass your electric and give final, without the septic final in hand. The way around this is not to need to be connected to the grid. I figured a way around that, but it is labeled “Temporary” service. It would be up to the power company on how long I can keep the service though. So if you went off grid completely, then no one has to know squat about what you did. My county has a five year assessment period. I built a cabin in 2010 and paid $60 a year on the property, and the assessor found the cabin in 2015 and now it’s $275 a year. I only have two acres, but if you had a significant size piece and a immovable barrier across an access way, I doubt they would get out and walk the property. Plus the Assessor is a cool dude, he would fit in here on this board.

      2. A little cabin in the woods, little getaway in the mountains, sounds extremely attractive.

        • You would have to live there full time, or next time you visited you would find someone cooking meth in it.


        “High Grade Uranium goes missing in Baghdad,Iraq” Enough to make a dirty bomb,American company Weatherby, has no comment.

        • It’s part of the psyop mate. The missing nukes form Dyess and Minot AFB have never been recovered as intended. Old Navy knows that this will be the next false flag attack.

        • Can’t be true because there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq…….?

      4. Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke, is definitely old school.. Have watched (alone in the wildness) several times on PBS. His cabin and cash still exists today, just as he left it years ago. If you look on YouTube, their are some videos of people that went to visit his cabin.. If I remember right he also built another house and a couple out buildings too…

        • I don’t think he built another house, but definitely a workshop. It appears he never used a chain saw, but he had gas cans. I know he had a boat motor as seen in a youtube video. Maybe the cans were kerosene gas for lanterns?

        • Nemesis
          That’s my man. Too bad he’s gone.

      5. I would like a cabin in the woods, but not much in the way of woods left. Small house off grid is doable.

        • At least you get it, and would like a simple retreat, most just cant even imagine life without 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a 4 car garage, and 2 60″ TVs

          • Kulafarmer
            I had all that already. I always wanted a cabin and a few acres of wild land with a garden. I have land now. Yay! My cabin plan is ~400 sf. 12×12 kitchen 12×12 other room, small bath in middle. A lux cabin.

        • As a child, my family would spend a part of each summer in a single room log cabin on Big Canyon Lake in Canada.

          No electricity. No running water, the lake provided what we needed. Out house. Took the boat to the local store for groceries. Indians lived in teepees all around.

          Best of times!! Miss it alot. That’s why we’re campers today.

          I’m tryin’ to go home to Panicsville (as mom called it) 🙂

      6. My father did this in 1978. His cabin was 24 x 24, high in the mountains of West Virginia. At age 12, I thought it was the best house ever.

        • Your webpage link does not seem to work. Can you post your web page address?

      7. Rebecca, off topic, but were you posting as “I’m your Huckleberry”? When I hovered over the name it was your website.
        No big deal, or what? It makes me real suspicious when someone changes their screen name. In your case, was it because of Philo? To what end?
        Why change and post under another name?

        • Maybe she is transgender?

          • Awwww John
            read up on endocrine disrupters and you’ll see why it is you little boys who Transgender all the time. Us wimmin are already wimmin.

      8. You can also hide one on public land when the time comes. Same thing with a storage container.

        If you have one on your own land it would be good to put it in a densely wooded area where it’s unlikely to be found. Preferably a pine forest where you won’t leave tracks from walking on grass.

      9. I still think of the boat that “Tammy” lived on in those 60s movies, as the ultimate way to live. Cabin on a boat… pickup and move whenever you want.

      10. how large can your porch be?

        • Do like my friend, one trailer was his tiny house and he had a second that was a covered deck, fit together pretty easy with jack stands for support, as long as you dont take the wherls off its considered temporary,

        • I don’t know how large a porch can be, but as far as I’m concerned it only needs to be big enough for me and a good dog or two.

      11. in most counties you can put a tuffshed or less than 200SF storage building on your land (cabin–wink wink) but it has to be as an accessory building to a RESIDENCE already on the property, which defeats the purpose, also the accessory building cannot have sewer or water hookups, the only thing you could put into it would be a woodstove.

      12. Dick Pronekee was a real life badass. He went out to Twin Lakes Alaska and built that cabin at age 55.

        • With nothing but hand tools….

      13. 10 x 10. You can’t cuss a cat without getting hair in your mouth.

      14. What about a barn? I know someone who grew up in one when lumber bought to build the house burned.

      15. Moderator, same IP and email been using for over a year now

      16. Hell with the cabin crap just build a nice shelter and use mud in the walls throw a cheap woodstove in it. It’s good enough to stay in for the weekends hunting or whatever. No sense in investing a lot of time and $. Or better yet buy an old rv and roll it in there and spend the energy digging a sesspool for it. Bring out a couple 100 lb propane tanks should be able to last the winter. Or dig a bunker and disguise the air pipe as a tree. No one will know where it is If it’s done right.

        • I agree: if your thing is survival through a shtf, then go underground, not over-ground. I have lost count of the number of cabins I have peeked around in over the years. People will get inside your cabin when you are not there: that’s what happens. But a concrete, sealed underground bunker? That is hard because a) it is hidden and not easy to detect, b) can be sealed and locked and is very hard to break into.

          If you like the idea of an above-ground cabin, then how about this as your option: create an underground bunker but have a hand-cranked elevator that lifts your cabin to the surface when you are living there. Up it goes, and everything looks normal. When you pack up and leave, crank it down and close up with camouflage.

          • Frank Thoughts
            that is too complex for us mechanically challenged.
            My little cabin design is underground on east and north sides. West blank and south passive solar. I am thinking shutters but a few suggested concrete blocks, sandbags or such. Hay bales? In shtf times. It would be invisible from street and google. I have an outbuilding invisible from google, but raised flowerbed are not yet covered with green edges.
            not disappearing but not so noticeable.

            • You are right: it may be too fiddly for most. Your approach is probably more practical: just build with a low profile or one that blends in with the surroundings. Frank Lloyd Wright was a master of that. I like the idea of perching on a mountain top with glass windows for the view of the valley but a low and camo profile for the back.

          • F.T., what a cool idea, a cabin that you could conceal within a bunker, and crank up to the surface when you want to occupy it!

            I am of two minds about an underground bunker. On the one hand, maybe you could be safely concealed there with your supplies to wait out whatever is happening. On the other hand, if baddies somehow knew you were down there, maybe they would decide to besiege you and wait you out. They might seal up your ventilation intake. Perhaps the builder of the bunker, forseeing this possibility, would add one or two escape tunnels with distant concealed exits.

            But I would still be concerned about whomever I hired to excavate and construct the bunker coming back to invade it if shtf. Ideal situation would be if only you and those you absolutely trusted did the construction, and it were located out of sight of roads or neighbors.

            • Another idea is to build a bunker and put a shed on top of it with a hidden door to the bottom. Put some crap in the shed to conceal the entrance.

              • That sounds like a plan! Just make it a “falling apart” shed open to the elements so that some wanderer wouldn’t decide to set up home base in the shed.

            • I would bring in a construction crew from another country to avoid that problem. I would recommend Germany: huge experience in creating tunnels and bunkers and they build to a high standard. The Japanese would be my second choice.

              I am still scouting a site but will definitely go with the under/overground option. Where I live, all the degenerate financial elites around here (hedge funds, traders, etc.) (I live in a modest condo in a very wealthy area) are building basement bunkers night and day. And those bunkers are huge. They tend to dismantle the house or demolish, create a massive hole in the ground, and then truck in a huge pre-built concrete bunker and have a crane lower it in. Then they build the house on top which looks normal. Most people will just drive by and think “same house, same house, same house, blah, blah, blah” but not realize what sits below.

              • The elites are building bunkers – another indication of trouble ahead.

                Good luck with your project! My family members would never go for the bunker idea, the preps I do, I do in spite of their sarcasm and complaints! 😉

        • Asshat, I like that idea but remember the convo a few threads back about condensation and mold? I was thinking a good idea would be to convert an old mineshaft or cave. Maybe put a filter on the air intake filled with damp rid? I’m going to see what I can do this summer to solve the condensation issue. A lot of work and money if I have to scrap it 🙁

      17. Just finished watching all three of the Alone In The Wilderness films and found my eyes welling up! What a contrast to how many of us struggle to exist in so called “civilisation”
        Got a deep longing to live in a more natural environment.
        Little more than a pipe dream I guess.
        I like to imagine Braves BOL being similar… I know, I know, I’m just a dreamer.

        • c.l.s., you would enjoy the “My Side of the Mountain” novels, about a twelve-year-old boy who decides to leave his crowded family apartment in NYC and go live off the land in the Adirondacks. The first of these was published in the late 60s, and was made into a movie. These books are classed as Children’s Literature, but like many great kids’ books, are terrific reading for anybody. And they are “must reads” for anyone interested in wild craft, like the folks who post here.

          • CM.
            I googled My Side of the Mountain written by Jean George.
            Many thanks for the recommendation.

          • Wow, The first time I have ever heard of someone reading “my side of the mountain”. read that book when I was a young boy at least a dozen times. Always dreamed of doing something like that. Harleys got the better of me though. Lost interest and never thought about it again till now. Thank you for a fond memory.

      18. That film is well over 50. If anyone tried that today the LANDSAT would spot them on IR within months and a SWAT team from the BLM or other alphabet soup agency would be choppering out to arrest the “domestic terrorist” within days. Jim Bridger fantasy’s aside folks. The days of a free world where this was possible ended a long time ago. Try living “off grid” today, even in someplace like Alaska and see how long it takes for the “troopers” to fly out to check your permits. Even with “permits” you can expect regular visits from government. You want freedom? Where? and how much are you willing to pay to have it? Not much I’d wager or the internet would not be part of your life.

      19. get some screens dude.

      20. Good article/video.

        I could handle living in a very small dwelling.

        ATM, I have plenty of space. It used to be full of “stuff”.
        I have been selling off the stuff, and rooms are starting to get empty.

        I spent half a lifetime collecting stuff. I have figured out that without a bunch of stuff, we don’t need many rooms. We only use the 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen, and one living room. The other 12 rooms??? STUFF!

        I am so looking forward to selling this place.

        I have embraced the “less is more” lifestyle. It is awesome!

        Less stuff to dust, move, repair, replace, etc.

        I am selling down to only guns, ammo, food stores, pm’s, preps, and basic clothing.

        I am getting better at ebay, armslist, craigslist, etc.

        I am ready for the “small dwelling, big garden” life for the 2nd half of my life.

        I will remain a prepared gray man, only with less stuff.

      21. Question on log peeling. What is your opinion? Have seen one cabin over 100 years old down the road which was just plain bark. Another which is one of oldest cabins in the USA but maybe rebuilt was also not peeled. Both were pine. Maybe pine bark is somehow better, less needed to be peeled. Of course, peeling is a lot of work.


        Also, given the come-along-jack, hydraulic jack, and other tools, doesn’t seem the traditional log cabin design is needed. Seems you could do a more native american long house or round house much faster and easier. I’m sure one of you will say it won’t stop bullets. :O:

      22. I’ve lived in Florida for the last 50 yrs., being a New England transplant. Believe me when I tell you that if you build anything, anywhere, trying to live off the grid, somebody always tips off the local gov’t. Their way of thinking is “If I pay my property taxes, so should you.” I’ve seen it too many times. Human jealousy.
        The answer is to get an RV (any type, old or new), and live in a Fish Camp. Very cheap living, if you can handle it. I have friends that are doing it, and handle it very well. But, let’s face it – most people are too spoiled by our modern way of living to do it!

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