About

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Off Grid cabin project Facebook PageThis blog is about small cabins, off grid living, renewable energy, alternative building, shacks, shelters of all types, homesteading, camping, and other things that interest me.

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I live in Seattle, Washington, USA and like being outdoors and away from the city as much as possible. My friends and I share this attitude and a few years ago we bought some property in Washington State to get away from it all. The property is a few miles up a dirt road half way up a small mountain, far away from power lines and water service, somewhat remote just like we always wanted.

Off Grid cabin project in the woodsWe are building a small cabin  to replace our yurt that collapsed under the snow of a “30 year storm” in 2008. The cabin is a 10 year project that I suspect may never be done, but that’s half the fun.  I didn’t know anything about building when we started and have been learning as I go with some help from friends, books and especially the internet. Still lots to learn but it’s great to be able to call my mistakes “rustic” :).

We use rain water collected on the roof of our shed for washing water, solar panels provide the small amount of power we need for our weekend cabin. Currently we have 150 watts of solar power and one rain barrel with plans to use a 550 gallon tank high on the hill to provide more water pressure for showers and fire fighting ability.



Some future plans include a covered porch, wood-fired sauna in the woods, outdoor shower either solar or wood heated, a tree house for guests, and a camping spot to pitch a tent above the cabin on the hill.

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Check out my other sites: Small Cabin Blog | Small Cabin Gear | Used Outboard Motors

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30 Comments

  1. Linda
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 17:36:56

    I am a person with a disability. I use a power wheelchair to get around. I have been working on an emergency plan for if things aren’t going will in the US. The problem I am having is I haven’t found anyone the can tell me how I could use solar energy to recharge my wheelchair that is cost effective. I have never built anything electrical so I am a complete beginner. My power wheelchair is power through two 12 volt batteries and plug in to a 120 outlet to charge. Can you help Me?

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Apr 24, 2014 @ 14:41:32

      Hi Linda, yes I can help you. Sounds like a good plan to have a battery backup. Do you know if your wheelchair is 24volt or 12 volt? It may say on your charger. Also do you know how many Amp hours the batteries are? This will effect the size and number of solar panels. Without knowing that I’d say getting a 75watt solar panel with a charge controller would be a smart investment. If it’s a 24volt system, get two 40 or 50 watt panels and wire them in series to charge at 24volts.

      Here’s a solar panel and charge controller bundle. Buy this a large deep cycle battery from walmart or costco and you’ll be pretty much set. Easy to hook up and you can charge your wheel charge from the battery or from a inverter.

      Reply

  2. www.bohemianprose.wordpress.com
    Sep 07, 2013 @ 18:03:50

    Hey Solar Burrito,

    My dad just build a cool little “Shed” and got me thinking about my own again. I know you guys are in the hood canal area, any advice on how to find a lot like yours? Or where about’s in hood canal would be a good place to look?

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Sep 11, 2013 @ 20:43:32

      I’d figure out what you want, view, privacy etc, and your needs like power or water then call the 2 real estate offices in Hoodsport. They can show you wants available and help you narrow it down. Now’s a great time to buy, better than when we bought in 2006!

      Reply

  3. Joel Colvos (@joelseattle)
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 09:48:05

    Hey Solar Burrito,
    I was searching reddit for some advice on building an off grid solar system in the Pacific NW and someone turned me onto your blog. Keep up the good work! I also live in Seattle and have a few random projects going in Kitsap and near Yellowstone. I will keep following your inspiration. We even bought the same trail camera as you for security.

    Reply

  4. Emily
    May 22, 2013 @ 18:00:46

    I checked on several websites and couldn’t get the plans for this cabin. Help?! It would be a dream come true :)

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      May 23, 2013 @ 10:59:26

      We bought our plans with the lumber package from Pennypincherbarns.com. This kit is called the Owls Clover Mini Cabin.

      Reply

  5. Andy Fitch
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 18:03:07

    Dude I love the project and have enjoyed the YouTube videos. I have got a similar project going out on the east coast. My buddies and I are restoring a barn to use as a hunting/hang out cabin. It’s not quite as secluded as your spot but it’s got a ton of character. Anyhow, I’ve looked into a lot of the off the grid ideas that y’all have utilized and I had a question about your rain water collection system and what you do to winterize it. I’m thinking about doing something similar at our spot but I’m worried about it freezing and haven’t found a whole lot on the Internet other than to drain the barrels come winter. Any advice would be appreciated. My blog is http://www.flintshiresforge.blogspot.com.

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 13:11:39

      Ya we drain ours and some winters we forget and it freezes and expands out the top of the barrel. I think there is some food safe anti-freeze you could check out if you don’t use it for drinking. I find it easiest just to drain it and haul water in Winter.

      Reply

  6. Matt
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 14:31:38

    This project is incredible. I want to do something like this so badly. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

  7. Lindsey
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:49:56

    Hi guys,

    I’m currently looking for blogs to be featured on Bob Vila Nation, and Solar Burrito would be a perfect fit!

    Visit the site and email me back if this sounds like something you’d be interested in.

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:23:59

      Hi Lindsey, I’d love to be on the Bob Vila Nation. I’ll I don’t have your email address, but post it here and I’ll email you. Otherwise hit me up at jebsworth(at)gmail.com

      Reply

  8. Jono Williams
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 23:52:58

    I saw you posted a story about my tree hut (the best hut, NZ)! I’m glad you liked it :)

    Reply

    • sola9986
      Jan 09, 2012 @ 18:44:54

      It’s a rad place. I was all over your blog last night. I’d like to make a wood fired hot tub similar to yours at my property. Great job, looks like it was really fun to build. How did you know how to weld that tank for the propane heater?

      Reply

      • Jono Williams
        Jan 10, 2012 @ 16:43:46

        Oh nice man! it was so so fun to build! In my full time Job I work with some stainless steel fabricators so they helped me with welding the Propane heater tank. Hey I am working on another cabin at the moment, would you like to check out my ideas?

        Reply

  9. Josh Travis
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 11:04:36

    I would really love to see the plans you worked off of from penny pincher. I am wanting to design my cabin to be close to what you have, ( maybe a little larger) but I am wanting to draft my own plans and get the lumber locally and hopefully break ground soon. Maybe when you have time you could do a detailed construction video of how the main parts of the cabin. Emphasis on the roof sizes and pitch etc. Thanks so much, love your channel.

    JT

    Reply

    • sola9986
      Jan 09, 2012 @ 18:49:31

      Penny Pinchers wouldn’t like if I gave you the plans but I can tell you there is no words only 9 pages showing each wall on each page. The roof was really hard. I didn’t have much construction experience but it was pretty easy to frame the walls and the roof rafters would have been easier if we didn’t do the 2 intersecting roof lines or dormer. Not sure the right term but same your money and time and do a simple 12×16 or similar cabin with one roof line. Let me know if you have more questions. Rough carpentry is easy, just keep things level and get help with the roof angles.

      Reply

      • Josh Travis
        Jan 10, 2012 @ 06:31:13

        Thanks for the response. I understand about the plans. I have ordered a few books that will help with the overall design. That roof looked like a nitemare but it looks awesome. It really makes it look like a larger cabin.

        I was concerned about the major guts of the cabin. Like what size the floor joists are? How many Legs are going to the foundation stuff like that. Ridge beam size?, Is everything else 2X4 construction?

        Looking forward to more videos. thanks for all the info.

        Reply

  10. onkelseoserbe
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 19:51:16

    I’ll right away snatch your rss feed as I can’t find your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please permit me understand in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    Reply

  11. Nate
    May 11, 2011 @ 09:22:02

    Hey guys, I had a questions for you. I used to own a 1/2 acre on Anderson Island in the upper sound, but they had a lot of regulations for building. So I was curious what Island you were on or the area, because I want to start building a man shack. Your project is sweet.

    Thanks

    Reply

    • sola9986
      May 16, 2011 @ 10:20:20

      Were near Hood Canal. I know where Anderson island is. Lots of cheap land out there. We technically built a shed as big as we could in our County, 200 sq foot. How big is your “shed” building limit in your county?

      Reply

  12. John Delp
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 21:09:57

    Hey! Just wanted to give you a thumbs up! We’re doing a whole bunch of alternative building, material salvaging and yurt living on the Kitsap Peninsula and are always happy to find like-minded Washingtonians out there. Keep up the good work, love the blog!

    Reply

    • Tammy
      Sep 11, 2011 @ 23:21:46

      What can you tell me about getting Kitsap permit approvals for a yurt as a primary home? I’m just now learning about yurts and wondering if this is a “do-able” for me. I’m thinking about Burley-Ollala area. Thx 4 any info!

      Reply

      • sola9986
        Sep 16, 2011 @ 20:07:56

        I’m not sure you’ll need a permit for a yurt if it’s under 200 sf and the deck is under 30-36″. If you going bigger you may, I’m not really sure though. The main issue that people run into is when they want to live in their yurt. I think Kitsap is not ok with that based on the http://www.mellishfieldswest.com/.

        Reply

  13. Annie B. Siemer
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 16:34:21

    Thanks for your blog. I will put it on http://www.mayapplestrawbale.blogspot.com
    Thanks to LLoyd Kahn for telling us all about it!

    Reply

  14. Robin Rogers
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 17:29:42

    Hi There Burrito, Just wanted to let you know that I added your website to my website. Cheers! Robin

    Reply

  15. Julie Graff
    Dec 16, 2010 @ 13:48:19

    ok…I figured it out. Thanks.

    Reply

  16. Julie Graff
    Dec 16, 2010 @ 13:46:47

    How do I SUBSCRIBE to the Solar Burrito Blog?

    Reply

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