Tips for a Maintenance–Free Hunting Camp

Posted by on Apr 19, 2018 in Minnesota Northwoods Life | No Comments

So you want to build a hunting camp, but not be a slave to maintaining it all the time? A cabin sounds like a lot of work, on weekends that are supposed to be fun. In my travels to different camps I took note of things that can be done to keep the maintenance time down. Looking long term, what are common problems to be fixed on a cabin?
Note- I am not a building expert. The following are my observations, your own research is recommended.

Steel Roof

Nobody likes roofing. But a steel roof is likely one you won’t have to replace in your lifetime. It’s a roof that sheds rain and snow without requiring raking. Getting that snow to slide off is important to prevent water leaks and damage. It’s also easy to install and insulate. I wore a safety harness while installing. Our roof has pink foam board insulation between the nailing supports. It is also vented along the ridge line, where it is unlikely to allow water to seep in.

The cabin is well insulated, which requires very little firewood. Even during winter visits, I crack a window open nearest the wood stove to allow fresh air in. The stove combusts the air that leaves out the chimney, and the propane lights burn air that vents out the roof ridge.

Be careful standing under the snow cornice!

Avoid Ground Contact

I built my cabin on piers above ground. Each pier had an 18″ well of tamped gravel, then post forms, then teated timbers for support. A 4″ timber is pictured here, but we also used 6″ timbers. The object is to keep the structure off the ground, to avoid water damage and limit rodent infestation. The cabin was then insulated with pink foam board underneath, and a crawl space remains. During the freezing and thawing cycle, the cabin “floats” on the piers, moving up and down with the frost heaves. And we have not had any rodent visitors yet, knock on wood!

A Composting Privy

Instead of the usual outhouse built over a hole in the ground, we use a composting toilet. This allows the structure to be built entirely above ground, supported by concrete blocks to avoid ground contact. The toilet has a liner bag, layered with sawdust or peat moss. At the end of each weekend, the liner bag is removed to the outside compost bin, where it will be eventually recycled as tree fertilizer. Another benefit is we will never have to dig another outhouse pit and move the privy.

by Joel Schnell

Posted April 18, 2018.

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