So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Sunday, October 28, 2018
Cabin without electricity
An off-grid cabin that's dirt simple is pretty attractive. My dad's old hunting camp was such a place. To get there required a nine mile drive down a dirt road, then another quarter mile or so on a fire road. It was a simple 16 by 16 foot cabin framed with spruce poles. It had a woodstove. Water came from a brook down the hill. There was an outhouse and a woodshed behind the camp.
Back when it was built about the only way to have off-grid power was a noisy generator. Very few camps were equipped with them, as they were usually more trouble than they were worth. Dad's camp certainly didn't have one.
What it did have was a 100 pound propane tank. That ran a gas stove so we wouldn't have to light the woodstove just to cook dinner. More important than the stove were the two propane lights.
There were not a lot of good lighting options back in the day. Candles are dangerous, smokey, and don't really put out a lot of light. Kerosene lanterns were better, but they too put out a lot of fumes. If the wick was poorly trimmed, they'd smoke even more. Back then battery powered lights did not last very long. The batteries were primitive and the light bulbs inefficient.
Propane lights burned cleaner than the other options. The light from the two lamps in the small cabin was sufficient. One was installed in a central location for general lighting in the cabin. The other was located right over the table. That provided enough light to play cards or read books.
If I had to illuminate a small off-grid cabin today I'd definitely go with a small solar electric system. LED lights use very little power, last a long time, and are very bright. Once set up a small off grid system, say 50 to 100 watts, could last a long time.
While the propane lights were fine, there were problems. The mantels were fragile and often needed replacement. Hauling the propane tank though the woods wasn't always that fun either. The roads were not always drivable, even in a 4 X 4. One year we brought a tank in by snowmobile.
Of course, a small solar electric system can provide power for any number of tools and devices. However, I still think having a good, reliable, and long lasting lighting solution is the most important.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.