Welcome to The Off Grid Cabin

Have you ever dreamed of building your own off grid cabin?

We did and for a long, long  time.

Who The Heck Are We? 

We’re your average run of the mill working class family. We own a nice home plugged into the grid. and we work 9 to 5 like 100% of everyone we know.

Or… knew.

Life changed drastically over the past year for us and in case you haven’t read that story yet you can read our about-us page and get caught up with the nitty-gritty.

So… I was a military helicopter pilot, my wife Mireille works a corporate government job and our twelve year old daughter Clara just started junior high. Meo our sixteen year old Nova Scotia Duck Toller sleeps while we pay the bills and the world just keeps on spinning. 

We’re not vacationers. We don’t travel the world. I did quite enough of that over the past twenty-four years in the military thank you very much. We have no expensive hobbies or expensive monthly gym memberships. But what we do have is a common love for the great outdoors. We love camping as a family the four of us. 


Why We Love Being Off Grid

We love the outdoors and the simplicity of a small tent, a camping stove, a wood fire, late night stargazing and the freedom of being away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There’s something unappealing to me about living within ear shot of neighbors on all sides of you. Surrounded by everyone else’s comings and goings. So we began talking about how we might be able to “camp” all year round if we had a cabin of our own. 

That was the spark that set it all off.

We’ve since designed and built the cabin, something we now teach others to do 100% FREE of course, and are continuously adding new and exciting components to the build and sharing that as well. In fact, we’re only a few weeks away from installing the solar system so that we will have year round power for some of the amenities I’ve installed.

Why Are We Sharing All This?

Honestly, it all started for two reasons

  1. As a way to share photos of the build process with friends and family
  2.  I could not for the life of me find all the information I needed to complete certain phases of the build and find the best tools and products out there.

Now… there’s a place right here!

This is your one stop shop to discover the truth behind what it takes to design, build and live in an off the grid  energy efficient solar powered cabin. 

We’re kicking off the build of our 20ft X 24ft off the grid cabin with a special invite for you to follow along with the build, step-by-step 100% FREE, simply by subscribing to our weekly newsletter if you haven’t already. 

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Off The Grid Welcome for Pinterest

If One Thing’s True Its This

This will be a most epic adventure for those of who have the desire and the passion, or even just that raw curiosity to learn the complete in’s and out’s of designing, planning and building your own off the grid cabin. The number of people who are joining the ranks of living a subsistence lifestyle is increasing daily and for good reason. For some its a necessity. While for others (like my family) we are doing it to reduce our carbon footprint, save money and even blog full time as a newly retired Air force pilot. 

Today marks the birth of an epic journey.

Some of you are just joining us for the first time today and some of you have been long time followers of our building adventure.

Either way, we want to extend a huge welcome to you and yours and hope you find our site informative, uplifting and enjoyable.

We want you to come back often as we complete new phases of the cabin and please to share our site on social media.

It’s ONLY by you that we’re able to reach so many new people. 


What Is Living Off The Grid Anyway?

Well in short it means…

Living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.


So, Why Would Someone Want To Live In An Off Grid Cabin?

Great question and honestly… we get asked that ALL the time.

Since the day we decided to share our off grid intentions, we’ve had friends & family, co-workers, people from around the world asking what it’s all about, how do we do it, where do we live, and… do you REALLY have a water-less toilet?

What in the blazes did I just read on Facebook that you and your family are building an off the grid cabin? Have you gone completely mad? i thought you were a military pilot! Are you broke or something? Does this mean your eating granola and doing yoga all day now? Hey wait…. can we still visit you? How do we find you in the mountains? What about this blogging thing you’re doing? Do you have electricity, a fridge, heat…?

Yup… we’ve caused quite the stir with our friends and family with this one.


So Here’s The Deal With The “Rustic” CabinThe Off Grid Cabin in Sept

Look, these people who think we live in some shanty town had better think twice because our off grid cabin, the one we’re teaching you how to build, isn’t so “rugged and rustic” after all.

Not so “rustic” after all is it?


We’re Just Like You 

Like me, you may very well be growing tired of the ever increasing expenses that comes with modern day life. Things like the monthly energy bill, water, heat (natural gas for us) and property taxes.  Our daily desires have blanketed us with a never ending requirement to upgrade, have the next “new fancy thing”, buy the bigger, faster, better version of something we already own. It’s a vicious cycle. We must have bought every new version of iPhone out there and why? 

Personally, we’ve never lived paycheck to paycheck because the military has afforded us a comfortable lifestyle. But things over the past few years have changed for us as you may know from our about us page and how we view our world. Even my role in it. I can no longer serve people the way I used to in the military but…. I’ve found a new way to help people. And believe it or not I really prefer NOT getting shot at and being away from my family for 9-10 months of the years.

Things have taken a change and we’re doing everything we can to adapt.

You’ll learn more about all that over the months as we get to know one another better. For now just know that it was high time for a change in location, a change in finances, a change in lifestyle and a change in freedom!


So, What Are You Sick Of?Utility Bill Power Cord Cash

Are you sick of paying never ending money sucking utility bills too? Not having time freedom? Space? maybe you do want to travel but the costs are so astronomical you can’t be bothered to save all year just or a single week away. Our cabin is our vacation now! 

Maybe you had the same experience with the home bills like we did.

We pay ever increasing fees for power, water, fuel, cable, phone, insurance, taxes… etc.

On and on it goes and ever increasing. What’s trickier yet, is that the second we get an income boost or tax break… we end up spending it on something new that we probably don’t even need. Instead of investing in our future, we buy a new TV, art for the wall, a fancy meal at a restaurant, relax on our budgeting and the next thing you know… that extra money… its gone. And its NOT coming back. 

Sounding like maybe an off grid lifestyle isn’t so bad after all huh? 


Income Off The Grid

Where our site is different from the other off grid bloggers out there (yup there are others out there like us and I’ll be sharing the BEST of their stuff with you down the road) is that we’re sharing our complete build costs, the money we’re saving and yes… even the income we’re making by living off grid.

This whole “Off Grid Cabin” thing you see before you has now actually become my personal full time career and while it’s expensive to do, people are able to help us out (without paying a single dime) and that is actually helping us to pay the monthly fees to keep this site up and running. You can learn more about how to support us here.


Military Helicopter Pilot Gets Cancer

Steve-The-Biznutt-Barnes-Captain-ch-124-Seaking-Helicopter-232x300So the short and skinny of it all goes a little like this…

I’ve been in the Canadian Military for 24 years. I  was a CH-124 SeaKing Helicopter Pilot and LOVED my profession.

Following a 9.5 month deployment to the Gulf in 2012 I came home and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

My career… shuttered to a stop.

I was grounded.

And to this day… I’ve never flown since and I miss it terribly.

However, I now have four years of fighting cancer under my belt, I’ve learned more about my life and what I want out of it more inSteve Barnes off the grid in the sky that time period than any other. More importantly, I’ve learned what it really takes to live happy and healthy.

I know now what my family wants out of our life together.

And that’s to spend more time with me in the flesh and not on a video Skype from some 4000 miles away.

What changed everything so drastically was that I discovered I could still serve people and make a difference in the world (a VAST difference) by serving them from home or at the cabin on-line and off the grid. More so than I ever could have in the cockpit.


It’s Important to Realize The Following…

A penny saved, is a penny earned

Remember that old one?

Well it’s true.

And that’s a BIG reason why you keep reading me talk about money, taxes, expenses and the like.

I’ve learned more than my fiar share about going solar and you will too!

In fact, one of the things I’m most proud of since I retired and built the cabin is partnering with over thirty solar and I’m personally able to give you the best possible deal with going solar. I save people an average of $26K when they switch their existing home to solar. Even if you can’t go off grid yet… this is THE PERFECT way to build up the nest egg to build your cabin down the road. If you wan to get a free solar quote for your home just drop in your info and I’ll take care of the rest.

I’ve lived an exciting life so far, it’s only getting better and I’m FAR from finished living it!


So, What You Can Expect From Me?

If you’re just joining me today… that’s great… you haven’t missed much.

We’re still finishing up the interior but I’ll be going right back to the very beginning of it all inside that weekly newsletter that you can subscribe to.

Step-by-step, photo-by-photo, every piece of lumber, nail, bead of glue, measurement, tool and tack is accounted for.

You’ll see all stages of planning and calculating the lumber required, the resources we’ll need and the logistics of building the entire cabin in a matter of weeks.


I’m really going to spoil you rotten with info.

My wife and daughter will vouch for me that when I say when I put my mind to something, it gets done to the highest standard imaginable.

I’m curating the best possible off the grid content and information from other sources around the world on-line and off and sharing it all with you.

I highly encourage you to share the website and bring everyone you can. In a way, this is YOUR website. I built it for you and I’ve love if you would share it on social media. 


The person with all the power to SHARE THIS SITE is… 

You Gorilla Pointing

What’s Your Role?

You get to read, ask questions, share, learn, correct me when I’m wrong and like something if I’m doing it right 🙂

Go ahead and ask questions  when they come up. You can always comment at the bottom of a blog post or you can send me an email directly using our contact us page.

Also, share with us your craziest off grid adventures, all your outdoor stories, send us photos of your off grid home or the one you would like to build. If you’re down with it we can share it with our 120k+ followers on facebook.

Oh, and be sure to drop into our Facebook page and give us a LIKE!

Tell me what it is YOU want to take away from your visits here with us.
Like I always say…

No asky. No getty!

Here are some topics we’ll be posting about…

  • The true cost to living off the grid
  • The total cost to build the cabin
  • A complete materials list (with complete pricing)
  • Step-by-step “How To” of every phase incl…
    • Foundation
    • Framing
    • Steel Roof
    • Vinyl siding
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
    • Insulation
    • Heating
    • Flooring
    • Finishing
  • The Tools required
  • The solar system (requirements, calculations, where to get it and installation)

Are You With Me On This?off-the-grid-smores-300x214

I hope you’re as excited about this project as we are. It’s going to become something of a legacy I’m 100% certain of that. I can already smell the fires, the s’mores, the crunch of the new fallen snow in the winter, see the deer and the rabbit tracks out side our front door and best of all my family all bundles up warm together in front of a crackling wood-stove on a beautiful starry night laughing and growing old… off the grid

I look forward to seeing you back here real soon.

We’ll keep the fire burning for you.

Till then,


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