Man Spends 6 Years Living Off-Grid with Rainwater & Solar in a Self-Built Cabin


Canadian Castaway has been living off-grid in his self-built cabin for 6 years now, and we sat down with him to find out what it’s like day-to-day, how much it cost him to build and live off the grid, and what he’s changed over the years to make his alternative lifestyle more comfortable and functional.

Canadian Castaway lives in an 18′ x 22′ cabin with his girlfriend and his cat. It has a kitchen, living room, and bathroom on the main floor, and a movie-watching space, a home office, and a bedroom in a couple of lofts above.

His electricity is from two solar arrays that are set up in different spots on his land to maximize sun exposure, and the panels charge a pair of lithium batteries. He also has a generator for backup electricity, which he runs for about an hour a day during grey winter days to top up his batteries.

His heat comes from a wood stove and his hot water and cooktop run on propane, although he has installed an electric water heater for use on sunny days (when there’s extra solar power) so that he can reduce the amount of propane he uses.

He collects rainwater from the roof of the small house, and stores it in a 6,000-liter cistern in a shed. During summer months when there is plenty of rain, the tank is always full. During the winter, he goes for about 5 months without rain, so he has to ration the water (about 1000 liters per month). The tap water is filtered through a nylon filter to remove sediment, and the drinking water goes through a UV lamp filtration system.

He initially bought the land and built the cabin for approx. $64,000 CAD but that was done by taking a risk and building without a building permit. The building inspector has since required some upgrades that significantly increased the cost of the project, including putting in a road, putting in an engineered septic system, increasing the size of his cabin’s footprint to meet the minimum building code size, etc.

He initially wanted to build and live off-grid because it seemed cheaper, and with the cost of land being so low, the entire project cost less than what an empty lot costs now. But he does say that while he enjoys the feeling of being self-sufficient, it’s also very limiting because you can’t leave the home unattended. He might eventually plug into the grid if the power lines get closer to the point where it would be affordable to do so.

He also has plans of his cabin for sale HERE…

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