If you just purchased a remote, off-the-grid cabin for camping and vacationing, then you might be really excited. However, if your spouse is not very comfortable roughing it, or maybe you'd like a bit of comfort while in the great outdoors, then don't panic. You don't have to spend tons of money and turn your very cool off-the-grid place into a regular cabin. Here are two ways to increase the comfort of your cabin without running in power lines or installing an oil burner and baseboard heating.
Install A Solar Energy Kit
If you want to have lights on at night and don't want to rely on oil lamps or candles, then you should consider a solar energy kit. You can install this on your roof by securing the solar panels to your shingles. The panels will collect the sun's energy and transform it into electricity. Many people who hook up large solar systems in their homes install a device called a solar inverter. These are used to convert the energy that the solar panels generate from DC to AC. The reason this is done is that most home appliances are run on AC (alternating current.) However, if you are only planning on running lights and possibly a small fridge, then you can find appliances that are designed to be run on DC (direct current.) You should look for these in camping supply stores. They are not the type of thing you will find at a large home improvement store. Campers have been using car batteries for years (which produce DC energy) so there are lots of appliances that have been designed for those situations. Go to website for more information.
Hook Up A Pot Belly Stove
If your cabin gets chilly at night, or if you want to visit in the late fall or winter, then you will need heat. You could run electric heaters off of your solar power setup, but you should also consider a refurbished potbelly stove. These can be set up in the main room or in a bedroom. You should have a professional install them because it's important to insulate the area around the wall where you vent them. The stovepipe that runs from the stove carries heat, which helps to make your cabin warm, but it can also be dangerous and start a fire if the stovepipe is placed directly on bare wood. Proper insulation with fire retardant materials is essential.
One of the great things about a pot belly stove is that you can gather all of the fuel (firewood) from around your cabin. You can scavenge the area for fallen trees and then cut them up with a saw or axe. You can store it outside of your cabin until it's needed and then bring it in and burn it for warmth.