Securing my off-grid cabin for a reasonable price is really important to me. I thought you may be curious as to how I keep my cabin safe, so I wrote this up for you guys.
So, how do I secure my off-grid cabin for under $250? The best way to secure your off-grid cabin is to buy an affordable surveillance system. Alarms, locks, and even cameras can be employed to foil any would-be burglar that may come prowling.
Off course there are a variety of options that you can try to see what would fit your personal needs best. Let’s take a look at some of the best options together.
Securing Your Cabin
Your cabin is your home away from home; your escape from the world. The last thing you want is to feel like your sanctuary is at risk from those with malicious intent.
Just like in dealing with your normal residence, its imperative that you exercise caution and prepare extensive measures to protect your cabin. Especially when it’s off the grid.
The first thing that you will want to do is make sure that all the doors and windows are secured.
I can’t tell you how many cabins I have visited with flimsy doors. I know that a lot of the time we want a nice rustic look for our cabins, but rustic doesn’t mean the same thing as rusty.
A strong door can dissuade burglars from breaking into your off the grid cabin. Remember, most burglars are looking for an easy steel and won’t waste a lot of time fiddling with doors they know they can’t break down.
A lot goes into having a strong door, most of which you probably already know, but let’s look at some basics anyway.
A strong door should be made of strong materials. Oak, maple, and walnut, are all excellent materials for making doors. Avoid anything made of plywood or plastic which easily collapse with one swift kick.
One common thing to avoid if you want to make sure your cabin is secure is the use of old barn wood doors. Old barn doors look awesome. There is no doubt about that, but they aren’t very durable due to years of weathering harsh elements and wood rot.
They may look great, but is that really worth the safety of your cabin?
I know that aesthetics are very important to any cabin, so if you are dead set on using an old door, here are some tips on how to reinforce it. (These tips obviously apply to any door, and may want to be employed if you are concerned about the strength of your front entrance.)
This is a pretty simple fix that could cost you anywhere from $100 to $150.
First, you will want to determine whether or not your door is even worth strengthening. I’m sorry, but sometimes these old doors are just to used to be capable of adequate protection.
If the door in question is severely weathered or rotting near the center of the door, do not use it. Never risk your own safety for the sake of decoration. One swift kick, separates your cabin from those who wish to steal your property.
Second, you will want to add a deadbolt lock. Anything less is insufficient. Anything older than 10 years has experienced enough ware that it warrants replacement.
Removing a deadbolt is simple. Almost all deadbolt lock are held into to place by two small screws found around the edges of the lock on the interior side of the door. Simply unscrew, and replace it with the new deadbolt which can be bought at any hardware store.
Third, you will want to replace the deadbolt strike plate. The strike plate is the groove in which rests the deadbolt when the lock is activated.
The process of replacing it is similar to replacing the deadbolt itself. It is held into place by two screws located at the top and bottom edge of the plate. Remove the screws and replace with a new strike plate.
The strike place ensures that the deadbolt snugly fits into the deadbolt groove.
Next, you will want to install hinge, door jamb, and door shields. Shields strengthen the existing locks by making them more blow resistant. Any robber looking to kick your door in will be sorely disappointing by its strength.
Shields are easy enough to install and are well worth the price of extra protection. A great deal on quality door protection can be found on Amazon here.
I know that a lot of this may seem excessive, but remember that your front door is your first line of defense. Like I mentioned before, burglars are looking for an easy steal.
If your cabin has a tough front door, that is usually all you need to scare off any robber.
Now let’s look at what you can do to strengthen your cabins windows.
Securing Your Cabins Windows
Windows are the second point of entry that any determined burglar will check in order to rob your hard earned property. Having tough windows will stop most burglars right in their tracks.
First off, there are some very simple things that you can do right off the bat to make your windows safer without having to install heavy duty locks or bars.
First, make sure your windows are closed and locked whenever you leave. Burglars are opportunists. Nothing says “Rob me!” louder than an open window. It’s like a “free french fries” sign at a fat camp. Every burglar in the county will be waiting in line to get a piece.
The second thing you can do to secure your windows is to keep your blinds drawn. Something about closed blinds just seems unappealing and dissuades a burglar’s prying eyes.
If your off the grid cabin doesn’t have blind, I highly recommend installing some. It doesn’t have to be blinds per say, anything that block the view of the interior will due just fine.
I’ve seen cabins that employ drapes which work just as well as blind while, still keeping the rustic aesthetic that most people crave in a cabin.
The third thing you can do is install an alarm in all of your windows. At my cabin, I use the GE personal window security system. It’s an easy DIY project that only takes about an hour to install.
The great thing about this alarm, or one like it, is that along with its very capable lock, it also has an incredibly loud alarm.
Remember, burglars aren’t trying to recreate Oceans 11. More often than not, if an alarm is sounded, you can bet it will send unauthorized visitors running.
The next thing you could do to secure your window, is to install anti-burglar bars. Hopefully the suggestions I have made already are enough to keep burglars at bay, but if you still feel like you need a little extra security bars are a great choice.
Barred windows are extremely difficult to enter and usually require some sort of equipment that a burglar in the woods, most likely won’t lugging around.
A DIY window kit will usually cost around $100.
The final suggestion I would make is to replace the glass in your windows.
A small caveat on this suggestion. Replacing glass in windows can be very expensive. I would estimate the price of replacing all your windows at around $3,000 if you hire a service to replace them for you.
However, the price drops dramatically if you know how to do it yourself. Considering that laminated glass, for example, costs only about $60 to $90 a window you could easily replace every window in your cabin for under $200. Depending on the size of your cabin of course.
Doors and windows are the first and most important line of defense against burglars, but there are other things you can do to secure your cabin against threats.
One of the easiest thing that you can do is to make sure that your cabin is well maintained.
Maintaining Your Cabin
The last thing a burglar wants when busting down the door of a home is to find someone inside staring back at them. A home that appears a occupied, is home that won’t be robbed.
Appearance matters when it comes to protecting your cabin. If it looks like nobody has been around in 20 years, then a burglar will feel safe taking his sweet time trying to break in.
There are a few of things that you can do to make your cabin look as though people are around.
First, make sure that the lawn is well maintained. I know your cabin probably doesn’t have a perfectly manicured lawn out front, but I’m sure it has some sort of garden. Make sure it isn’t cluttered with weeds or piled with leaves, these are sure signs no ones there.
That or that your a crummy gardener. Both unappealing options.
If you have any potted plants, keep them regularly watered. A great thing you can do to maintain your cabin’s yard is to regularly prune trees and bushes. A sure sign of a vacant home is an out of control bush.
Another thing you can do is to maintain the trail leading to your cabin. I know this can be difficult especially on an off the grid cabin, but there are a few things you can do.
Line the trail leading to your cabin with rocks. This not only clearly marks the trail, but it shows that you care about your property. Those that care are more likely to have a beefed up security system than those that don’t.
Once your trail is clearly marked, maintaining it should be fairly easy. Once a year, give it a thorough weeding to make sure plants don’t overtake it. It doesn’t take more than a day. Go out with gardening gloves and a shovel and get to work. If you have kids put them to work to, it’ll put some hair on their chests.
If you really want to discourage burglars, rake leaves in the Fall, and shovel snow in the winter. Now, I know that this may not be very realistic. Most people aren’t close enough to their cabins to be able to provide frequent maintenance, and those that are just don’t want to do it. Trust me, I get.
If you have any neighbors close by, maybe they could help you out. That may be difficult in an off the grid cabin, I know, but I’m just throwing out suggestions.
But that does remind me of one of the best deterrents against robbers.
Get Some Neighbors
Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of people go off the grid to get away from neighbors, but they are a great thing to have around! Off-grid communities are where like-minded people escape to nature and share their love of roughing it. Cabin communities large and small are much safer than going it alone.
It’s like a herd of zebra. Alone, they’re easy picking to any predator. All a lion has to do is wait for when a zebra separates from the pack. Once alone, the lion can easily pounce and take down a zebra. So to, when you cabin is, can a burglar wait for the right moment and break in at the opportune moment.
If your cabin is in a group, however, it becomes much harder to find the right moment to strike, just like how a lion will find it much harder to take down a whole
So, talk to your buddies. Maybe someone you know is looking to construct an off-grid cabin themselves and you can show them a great neighborhood to build in.
A popular method of protecting your off-grid cabin is by employing trail cameras. A trail camera is a motion activated camera that automatically snaps a picture anytime a large animal passes.
Traditionally used by hunters and scientists to track the movements of large game, they can also be used to photograph any would-be burglar lurking through the woods.
Trail cameras are easy enough to set up. Find any sturdy branch and you can easily attach one. Like any security camera, it’s helpful if they are in plane sight.
After all, the idea with a security camera is to deter action. Hopefully, you don’t have to use it to catch someone in the act of robbing you.
Be cautious though. I have heard stories of people stealing cameras that are easily accessible. Consider placing your camera on a high-up branch, or surround it with barbed-wire. Anything to deter theft.
Trail cameras can cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Definitely worth it for the extra security.
Some trail cameras can even send pictures they take directly to your cell phone. Imagine being able to know right away if there is an intruder on your property. Handy for sure. If your cabin is within in cell service, I highly recommend getting a cabin with such features.
Other Methods of Defence
While doing some research I found some unorthodox methods of protection that you find useful.
I found one idea in particular that you will at least find entertaining.
Have you ever considered leaving a note directly to those wishing to steal from you? If not, maybe it’s a good idea. When absent from your cabin, post a note on the door informing potential baddies on the lack of valuables inside your cabin.