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How to Build Your Dream Cabin in the Woods: The Ultimate Guide to Building and Maintaining a Backcountry Getaway Paperback – 18 Sep 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; Reissue edition (18 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1629146536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1629146539
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 908,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. Wayne Fears is one of the most prolific writers of outdoor literature. He has had over 5900 magazine articles published and he has written 29 books including how-to, novel, and humor. He has been awarded numerous awards for journalism and conservation. He was voted into the Explorers Club and enshrined in the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame.

Product Description


"If you've ever had that's your book."--"American Small Farm" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

J. Wayne Fears is a wildlife biologist by training and former editor of Rural Sportsmen magazine. Fears has written more than four thousand articles for the Southern Sportsman Journal, Turkey Call magazine, Great Days Outdoor magazine, Whitetails Unlimited Magazine, and a number of other publications. He built his own log cabin almost seventeen years ago and has been enjoying it ever since. His favorite getaway is an Alaskan trapper's-style cabin on his property in Cross Creek Hollow, Alabama.

Inside This Book

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Imagine, if you will, a small cabin tucked away in a forest. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "sharkin" on 1 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
OK, the title is a bit of a misnomer, it is so much more. For anyone thinking seriously about having a retreat tucked from the hussle and bussle of the rat race, then this book is for you. Prior to reading this book I would of thought that you build a cabin and move in, not so. The author has a wealth of knowledge that covers all the aspects that you'll need to have that dream cabin in the woods. From the type of cabin that you might want, to how to heat the cabin efficiently. Every idea and thought are clear and easy to understand, there is no over complicated technical information that the reader will not comprehend. The book also lists a great deal of organisations out there that can help you with all aspects of living in a Backcountry getaway, use them. This is also not a book adverising certain products. All the information is stated objectivly. The author informs the reader what he used and why he used a certain product, whether it be a outside toilet or a propane gas lamp. What you get from the book is the feeling that the author loves heading for Cross Creek Hollow at the weekend, to spend quality time with his family. Enjoy.
Kind Regards
Sean Harkin
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
fantastic book, well put together, very informative covering a large range of topics that I hadn't considered. The links section is in itself extremely comprehensive too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 78 reviews
178 of 180 people found the following review helpful
Wide-Ranging and Well-Done 20 Sept. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlike many of the newer books on building cabins, Fears states that anything over 1000 square feet in NOT a cabin. Readers looking for a general introduction to cabin building and living will find a wealth of information here. Fears is serious about what it takes to build and live in a small cabin. Most of the plans he reviews are for cabins from about 400 to 800 feet square. So, this is a real cabin book! Yuppies wanting to build custom homes in the woods will be put off when Fears describes (in depth) the building and proper use of an outhouse.
Fears discusses land choices, cabin building styles and materials, lighting, heating, options for water supplies, and kitchens. He seriously suggests not having electricity at all.
Toward the end of the book you will also find suggestions for building a rifle range, concerns over making your cabin secure, how to safely use a chain saw, and other helpful information.
At times Fears comes across like the "good-old-boy" he is. At other times he shows a deep knowledge of Aldo Leopold. It seems to me a rare and wonderful combination.
This book does NOT tell you how to actually construct a cabin. But for those of us beginning the process of seriously considering what kind of cabin we want, where to put it, and the basics of design, we find a well-written and genuinely useful book. Highly Recommended.
74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Broad and deep info about how to make the dream come true 14 April 2004
By Patricia Tryon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There are plenty of books with pretty pictures (or idealistic word pictures: think Thoreau) about cabins; here's a wide range of information covered in reasonable depth for anyone looking seriously at the practicalities of building or simply buying a cabin. From water supply to outhouse to simple plans for building benches around a fire ring, the author provides not only the wisdom of his own experience, but also detailed drawings to help readers realize their backcountry dreams.
It is unlikely that I will undertake much in the way of actual construction. But I am studying this book for its virtually encyclopaedic reference to types of cabins (Adirondack, Appalachian-style, log cabin kits, and more) as well as for good pointers on cabin siting. There's a treasure trove of material about heat and light and their applications in, say, the cabin kitchen. Even if we end up purchasing something already built, I will be far better informed (and thus expect to make a better decision) because of the scope and detail of this book.
Fears touches on what one might call the "social factors" of a getaway, as well. He describes what ensued when an essentially extroverted couple built something that provided the solitude they thought they craved and tackles straight on the liability issues that your hospitality may raise. And he goes beyond the nuts and bolts of construction to explain the importance of providing truly comfortable sleeping facilities.
I'll be looking at pretty pictures, too, but this little book with its black and white drawings and photos has become my cabin bible. Already I feel far more confident in my search for a getaway that I will be able to use, enjoy, and maintain. Never have I even considered a wish to grant more than five stars to any book. Because of its utility, fine organization, complete index, and readability on a subject matter I expected to confuse and befuddle me, I would happily grant it a mountain-skyful of stars.
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Not quite a "how to." 18 Feb. 2007
By Michael Ofsowitz - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book doesn't live up to its title's promise of "how to build your dream cabin...," though it's a pleasant book and offers a few useful ideas. If you haven't yet bought the land or built the cabin, the book is a good start, providing information about what you should think about (location, cabin style and size, floor plan, etc.) and how to get on with a few basic needs (like an outhouse, light, heat, and cooking). But you won't find any building plans here other than for a small woodshed, a bunk bed, a simple outdoor bench, and a birdhouse.

If you already have a cabin, the material in this book is less helpful. Frears tends to let you know about some types of decisions you can make (such as outhouse options or cooking options), but he's pretty short on the detail that might actually inform those decisions. For example, he says he prefers Coleman lanterns for indoor light, and propane camp stoves for indoor cooking, but he never addresses the concern of using propane appliances indoors (which ones are the safest?). In discussing kitchen options, he describes his city-water sink set-up and once mentions a grease pit, but says nothing further about grease pits. (Where, dear environmentally friendly reader, will all your dishwater go?) And given all his experience in deep woods, there's not a word about the mix of food and wildlife, except to mention mice (midnight raccoons and bear seem to be my problem when I cook outside).

I thought his absolute best piece of advice was to not skimp on bedding. Fortunately, my wife and I have a good mattress at our cabin for ourselves, but we've neglected the kid and guest beds. It's not a project that can be romanticized, but one to work on at once.

I also thought he neglects to reflect on logistics. He'll praise things like metal roofing and log siding, but not a word about how to get these to your remote spot. I imagine he drives a rather large pickup when he visits his cabins, but you won't need one to enjoy your dream cabin.

The book isn't "the ultimate guide to building and maintaining a backcountry getaway," but it's food for thought for anyone still planning to buy land and a cabin.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Solid Start to Realizing a Dream Cabin 14 Dec. 2011
By Zinta Aistars - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
So many of us have a dream cabin in the woods envisioned in our minds--I do, too. Most of us never do get to realize it, but it can still be fun to dream. Actually, as I write this, I seem to be nearing the realization of my dream, and so I picked up the Kindle version of How to Build Your Dream Cabin in the Woods to learn more.

There is much to learn. This is not the first such book I've read, but it would be a great choice as an introduction to learning about log cabins. J. Wayne Fears writes in a manner that is easy to follow and understood by anyone, not just someone practiced in construction. But then, the book isn't really about the actual construction (a glossary does list log cabin builders and kits). It is more of an introduction to the dream, familiarizing the reader with all the considerations to be made going into such a project.

Not least among such considerations, the author notes, is thinking through if one truly appreciates a life of solitude and seclusion. Log cabins tend to be built in secluded areas of wilderness, and that does not mean a life of convenience transported from the suburbs. He suggests trying out such a lifestyle if even for a short vacation, to be sure that one is comfortable with it. There are trade-offs to be made, but the benefits can be tremendous. He recounts the story of a couple who longed for a log home in the woods, built one, moved in, only to find they couldn't bear the disconnect from the life of convenience and social connection to which they were accustomed.

Fears also makes it clear that this book is not about log homes. It is about log cabins. Anyone who has started to even scratch at the surface of learning about log cabins knows that it is difficult to find anything about actual cabins, that is, 1,000 square feet and less. Paging through contemporary magazines about log homes, one finds log McMansions, not cabins.

If, however, one does want a cabin, and a true wilderness lifestyle, Fears goes over many important considerations. He writes about choosing a good site and how to go about buying it, what inspections to get first. He writes about different kinds of building materials, pros and cons, from logs to roofing materials. He writes about the benefits of wood stoves over fireplaces, and encourages not installing electricity at all, but gives advice if one does want to plug in from time to time.

And more: how to split wood, how to install good lighting and not cause cabin fires, how to create a shooting range that is safe. He also writes about how to have a good water system, but once again, staying with the wilderness experience, he leans toward the outhouse, explaining how to keep it relatively maintenance free and always clean with a few simple moves. Composting toilets got their coverage, too. The author even covers cabin cooking, more times than not done outdoors on a fire ring, and he includes plans for building the perfect bench by the fire. Not to be missed are rules for visitors and preventing vandalism when you are back in the city.

Photographs are beautiful and helpful, often showing cabins the author himself has built, and quite a few simple blueprints are included, mostly for cabins 400 to 800 square feet in size. Links are embedded in the text, especially convenient in a Kindle version, and I followed up on several of them, learning even more.

Smart, clearly written, sensible--this is a book to take the dream into reality. Enjoy.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 9 July 2007
By CDB - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought and read at least 5 different books on cabins and this one by far was the best, most informative and hence most useful of them all.
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