30+ Small Cabin Plans for the Homestead Prepper

If you’ve been prepping for any length of time, you’ve probably realized that one of the best ways to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, is an off-grid location. As a prepper or future homestead owner, you have several options.

You can try to find an existing home and pour money into it to renovate it as an off-grid home or you can build a small cabin as your future primary residence or as a bug out retreat.

House plans for homestead preppers come in all shapes and sizes. Some preppers may even prefer to live in a tiny home, at least initially. In this article, we’re going to look at small cabin plans for the homestead prepper or as a long-term bug out retreat.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Small Cabin Plan

No matter which type of cabin you choose, you need to make sure that the location or property you select for your homestead or bug out retreat has the resources to allow you to be self-sustaining.

Look for property with a natural freshwater source, plenty of land or at least a nearby forest, and room for you to grow your own food in some capacity. When choosing the actual plan for your prepper cabin, make sure you consider the following:

  • Insulation. A cabin you will live in long-term should be well insulated to keep you warm in winter months and cool in the summer.
  • Eaves. The design of the eaves of your cabin should allow for maximum use of natural sunlight for warmth and natural drainage for rainwater.
  • Solar Lighting. Consider how the design of your cabin will support your solar panel power system for lighting and other power needs.
  • Rainwater Collection. Install a roof that makes it easy for you to integrate a rainwater catchment system to supplement your fresh water supply.
  • Hot Water Heating. In most cases, tankless hot water heating systems work well in small cabins. Make sure you explore this option prior to designing your cabin.
  • Alternative Heating
    • Woodstove Heat which can be used for heating your home, your hot water, and cooking.
    • Heat Recovery Ventilator (MHVR) which recovers natural heat from your home prior to it being lost and recycles it through the home

Choosing the Best Plan

Consider how much time and effort you personally have available to put into building your small cabin. For those that don’t have a lot of time or who don’t want to be involved in building a cabin, the prefabricated option might be best.

The budget you have available will also somewhat guide your decision about a cabin plan. Make sure to thoroughly research the costs associated with the cabin plans you like best and choose the one that will work for your situation.

Your preference for amenities and amount of space will help determine the size and style of your cabin plan. Those with a preference for luxury may choose a smaller cabin plan but upgrade the materials or choose a larger plan with extra features.

Larger families may need more living and sleeping space whereas individuals or couples can make do with a much smaller square footage.

The small cabin plans we’ve listed below are separated into categories merely to help you narrow down your choices. Prefabricated plans can sometimes be customized somewhat if you’re willing to pay higher costs. DIY plans can range from simple and inexpensive to more complex or luxurious, depending on the design, materials used, and final size of the cabin.

Professionally constructed cabins typically are the most expensive simply because you are paying for professional labor and contractors to build or assist you in building your cabin.

There really is no right or wrong choice or one option that is better than the others. But you must do your research, consider the needs and preferences of your family, and choose a location that is well suited for your homestead.

Prefabricated Cabin Plans

For those who need to get their small cabin erected quickly, without all the hassle of a DIY project or the time it takes for a custom designed built for you home involving a contractor, prefabricated cabin plans might be your best option.

These are cabins which are basically built in advance and shipped or transported to your site and erected.

#1. The Lincoln Log Cabin

Lincoln Log Cabin by Zook Cabins offers floor plans with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom as well as a front porch that runs the entire length of the cabin. A great cabin for preppers who are erecting their homestead on land with a view of the river or mountaintop. Several different sizes of floor plans are available.

#2. The Settler Cabin

Settler Cabin by Zook Cabinsare great for those who want the comforts of a log home scaled down to a single wide cabin. The front porch is deep enough to provide room for sitting. This cabin is perfect for small prepper families or as a hunting cabin or short term bug out retreat.

#3. Julia Shipping Container Cabins

Julia Shipping Container Cabins can be a good option for homestead preppers that need to get a structure up quickly and are looking for a minimalist design. This plan comes complete with a materials and tool list for getting everything put together.

#4. ShedKing Shed Cabins

Shed cabins like these from ShedKing come in a variety of sizes and can be modified with different features depending on your needs. They can be a nice option for those who are budget conscious and don’t need a ton of customization in their design.

DIY Cabin Plans

The DIY or do-it-yourself small cabin plans are basically designed with the complete cabin plans and a list of materials you will need to complete the build. What you use for the build materials is up to you.

This type of plan gives you the greatest control over total project costs because you can either use new materials if your budget allows, or you can use available or recycled materials to reduce total project cost.

#5. Small A-Frame plan (80 square feet)

This floor plan is perfect for the single prepper who just wants a bug out location they can use when needed. This tiny cabin is simple to build and easy to maintain. For those who enjoy the minimalist lifestyle and don’t need much space, this small A-frame cabin is ideal.

#6. A-Frame with porch cabin

This A-Frame with porch cabin design is a great option for those that want the unique look of the A-frame cabin but don’t want to give up the front porch. This cabin design has both, the A-frame design and a nice front porch for those quiet evenings after the chores are done.

#7. This Tiny Wood Cottage

Tiny Wood Cottages like this one are compact enough to fly under the radar for building codes in most areas but include a loft sleeping space that is perfect for children.

Always double check building codes for your municipality and modify plans as needed to suit your area.

#8. Norwegian “Stabbur” style log cabin

Norwegian “Stabbur” style log cabin for less than $300. This cozy little cabin was built for under $100 by an Oregon couple many years ago. Another reader used their plans and stated the cost today would be just under $300.

It’s small but if you need a bug out retreat or just want something to get your homestead started, this cabin may do the trick.

#9. These 400 square foot cabin by Cabinplans123

400 square foot cabin by Cabinplans123 is a simple set of plans to build a 384 square foot cabin with a loft space. If you’re looking for something simple that you can build yourself to make your prepper homestead a reality, check this one out.

#10. Penobscot Cabin 12 x 20 Plan

The Penobscot Cabin 12 x 20 Plan includes a half or full loft and a front porch. It’s a great small cabin plan for the homestead prepper because it can easily be expanded on three sides as your family grows. Plans include framing instructions, floor plan suggestions, a material list and instructions for a basic solar power system.

#11. Alaska Log Cabin by Antler Works

This Alaska Log Cabin by Antler Works was perfectly suited for two and they were even able to add a bunk room to the structure as their family expanded. This one includes a handmade spiral staircase which proves you can customize a build with the right skills and tools.

#12. One Room Cozy Cabin-Mother Earth News

This cozy little one room cabin could be the perfect floor plan for an individual or couple who are ready to live simply and without the frills. Add rainwater catchment, a woodstove, and solar panels for lighting and power and this could be your dream cabin.

#13. These A-Frame cabin plans

A-Frame cabin plans are a very common choice for those who want to get back to nature and build a cabin that blends in with the environment. Each of the two bedrooms has a balcony and the plans include a living room, bathroom, and kitchen on the main floor.

#14. Simple Log Cabin by Joalex Henry

Simple Log Cabins like this one by Joalex Henry are great for preppers looking to add a basic structure to their homestead. If you don’t need fancy, this simple log cabin will do the trick.

#15. Look Out Cabin by Today’s Plans

Look Out Cabin by Today’s Plans is a uniquely looking small cabin plan for preppers who want the added advantage of a second story to keep an eye on their surroundings.

#16. Conestoga Log Cabin package

Conestoga Log Cabin package is a small log cabin kit by Conestoga Log Cabins & Homes. Described as one of the most comprehensive log cabin kits available, it includes an electrical package complete with light bulbs and a smoke detector!

#17. KEOPS Duplex Log cabin plans

KEOPS Duplex Log cabin plans are a great option for the homestead prepper who needs separate space for two families. This kit comes with materials you need and the website includes videos and instructions for putting it all together to create your ideal homestead log cabin.

#18. Barn Style Stealth cabin by Simple Solar Homesteading

Barn Style Stealth cabin by Simple Solar Homesteading is a good small cabin plan for those who want a unique home but don’t need much space.

The beginning DIYer will find these step by step instructions by instructables easy to follow. And this small cabin can be built with just the basic carpentry tools.

#19. 2-bedroom one-story cabin by LSU Ag Center

This 2-bedroom one-story cabin by LSU Ag Center will appeal to the practical homestead prepper who needs just a little more space to spread out. The unique roof design gives the cabin some character.

#20. 2-bedroom escape cottage

This budget conscious 2-bedroom escape cottage by Drummond Homes is the perfect compromise for preppers who need more room for family but are limited by budget constraints.

#21. These Pod Houses

Pod Houses are perfect for those that don’t need a ton of space but who also are looking for a unique design to lend some character to the homestead. If you haven’t considered this small cabin design, it’s worth your consideration.

Professionally Constructed Cabin Plans

For preppers who want to have every inch of their house built with them in mind or for those who don’t want to be involved hands-on in the building process, we’ve listed several built for you cabin plans below.

These homes in most cases are more expensive than a prefabricated or DIY cabin plan but they have the added benefit of customization. You’ll need the guidance and labor of building contractors to get your cabin erected and finished.

#22. Appalachian Log & Timber Cabins by Alh Log Homes

Appalachian Log & Timber Cabins by Alh Log Homes take pride in building authentic, finely crafted authentic appalachian style log cabin homes.

If you’re looking to build a small cabin that is authentic to the way our ancestral log cabins were built, this is a good option.See examples from throughout history in the video below:

An Overview of Appalachian Log Homes

#23. The Chesterfield

The Chesterfield is a slightly larger cabin at just under 1,200 square feet. It includes two bedrooms on the first floor and another on the second floor. There are two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and dining room.

With modifications, including rainwater catchment and a solar panel system, this could be the perfect prepper cabin for a homestead.

#24. Two-story design with a front porch by Cabins and Sheds

Farmhouse with porch is on the dream house list for many homestead preppers. This two-story design with a front porch by Cabins and Sheds will get you pretty close to your dream cabin life.

#25. Cabin House Plan 1907-00018

Cabin House Plan 1907-00018 by America’s Best House Plans is a one story, 2 bedroom, 2 bath cabin with an open floor plan. This small cozy cabin has 681 total square feet and makes a great cabin for a homestead couple or small family. For additional small cabin plans, visit America’s Best House plans.

#26. Winchester Classic Cabin Retreat by Rocky Mountain

Winchester Classic Cabin Retreat by Rocky Mountain Homes offering optional log, panel, or timber packages is a classic cabin totaling just over 1,200 square feet. The open floor plan with 2 bedrooms, a loft area, and a stone hearth in the living room feels like a cozy cottage.

#27. This Pole Cabin

Pole Cabins like this one can be a great small cabin for the homestead prepper. With enough space for the average family and when modified to include solar panels and a rainwater catchment system, you’ll have all you need to withstand a SHTF event.

#28. Multiple House Plans from North Dakota University

Multiple House Plans from North Dakota University are available on their website. You can use the “Find” feature on your browser to search the extensive list for keywords.

Want cabin plans that include a greenhouse? Want a cabin with a gable roof, flat roof, or poleframe? You’ll find cabin plans for all of those options and more on this site.

#29. Large Cabin with Basement by Cabins and Sheds

This Larger Cabin with Basement and Loft Option by Cabins and Sheds is well suited for the homestead prepper who needs more storage space than you can get in tiny homes or small cabins. With this cabin plan you still have the quaint look of a traditional cabin with all the extra storage space a basement provides.

#30. The Koia modern cabin from Norgeshus

If your budget will allow it, you can even go for the more luxurious style for your prepper homestead with something like the Koia modern cabin from Norgeshus.

Amazing Simple and Elegant Koia Modern Cabin from Norgeshus

Which of these small cabins for homestead preppers are you most drawn to for your family? Do you have a favorite small cabin plan not listed here? Share with us in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “30+ Small Cabin Plans for the Homestead Prepper”

  1. HI ,,,Megan I find your artical very interesting ,,, I homesteaded a hundred plus miles from town in Alaska ,the last seven miles was by a trail. Over land was not practical in summer except on foot ,or to fly in on a floatplane , in winter snowmachines and freight sleds were used when the river was frozen,that in mind ,we found things that worked ,
    I would suggest that most of what you have listed is not practical unless you just want to bring what your trying to leave with you ,,,
    What we found that works well was a small pole barn type building ,post in the ground ,10 foot to the eaves to allow a raised floor hung on the posts ,two fit adults can get a 24 ×24 foot shell up in a week with no heavy equipment ,,, no concrete is needed ,the site need not be level , with the crawl space closed in there is a measure of wild fire protection with the metal roof and siding ,to start with leave the windows to be done later there’s much less chance of a break in ,
    Unless you live there full time you will most likely get broken into ,even a shipping container will be broken into ,for that reason leave only what you can afford to lose that’s not nailed down ,I had no locks on my doors ,still don’t , in Alaska we made it a point to leave food and socks and sleeping bag with a note that if you were in need to use them also a set up of dry wood next to the woodstove ,
    Every thing inThe pole barn type building can be handled by two fit people one piece at a time ,worst thing to deal with is when finishing the inside is sheetrock so cut the sheets in half to pak them in ,same for plywood ,I like the fire resistance of sheetrock , as the wood stove get help bringing it in ,,
    Once the shell and floor are up a hole in the ground under the cabin will help to hid stuff ,dig a hole and cover it with plywood cover the plywood with dirt for a stash pit.
    In this day and age I would think long and hard about not having windows in favour of flat screen television system run off solar panels. For light think about solar tubes or skylights
    One added thought ,,,,if you have grid what’s the point???
    As of today friends in Kali are going on two days with out grid ,,
    Yes you can live well with out grid ,off grid over 40 years now, miss it once in awhile?I think ???on. Second though not really ,,winter has started ,better cut more fire wood,freezing at night ,snow in the mountains
    Really good TEA and blueberries and chocolate ,

    Who is John Galt?

    • 0ldhomesteader,

      Unless you live there full time you will most likely get broken into ,even a shipping container will be broken into ,for that reason leave only what you can afford to lose that’s not nailed down.

      As a point of note on thieves and remote dwellings, I had a friend years ago with a small A-Frame cabin in the hills of rural southern Ohio. For a wood stove that would heat and could also be used for cooking and hot water storage, he had another friend build him something from ¼ inch plate. I helped him, along with another half dozen friends install this heavy monster in that cabin. It was bolted to the floor, lined with sand and fire brick and put to use. We worked together with typical 40 hour weeks, so he could only use the cabin, about a 90 minute drive, on weekends, and one weekend just a few weeks after the installation he went down to the property to fine the cabin door kicked in, and the stove was gone.
      We thought it might be proof of a Yeti, since to pick that thing up and walk off with it seemed unbelievable.

  2. Megan,

    If you’ve been prepping for any length of time, you’ve probably realized that one of the best ways to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, is an off-grid location.
    You can try to find an existing home and pour money into it to renovate it as an off-grid home or you can build a small cabin as your future primary residence or as a bug out retreat.

    This was our final choice; but, to be honest, the fates and luck played a great role.
    When I married I moved into a rural rental property with my new wife and her 2 boys. She had lived in that little house for quite a while; but, the landlord had a boy who came of age and wanted a place of his own, at which point we were asked to find another place to live.
    As luck would have it, we were told of another rental property, occupied by a neighbor whose father had died and whose mother was ill, so he and his family were moving back to the old homestead. We move to that new rental property, only 2 miles distant and started learning the new big old house. It had no furnace, with heat supplied by a combination of a fuel oil stove and an air tight fireplace insert with an electric heater in the bathroom. Cooking and hot water were fueled by electricity. After living there for 2 years, in what seemed to us the perfect location, the elderly owner passed away and the property came on the market. We could not afford the buildings and the 114 acres, so with some dealing with the real estate agent, we were able to carve off the building and a little under 8 acres for a really inexpensive price.
    The best thing about the place was the location, outbuildings, and amenities.
    It had and still has two huge old style (post & beam, mortise & tenon) barns; but, the 12 room, 4 bedroom; but, only 1 bath main house was a true fixer upper, with the benefit that having lived here for 2 years, we knew all of the flaws and needed upgrades.
    It had a great well and a creek running through the western edge, plus a small woods and plenty enough timber to cut for firewood.
    The bank forced us to install a furnace, and that was our initiation to propane.
    We quickly switched the kitchen from electric to gas and added a ventless propane heater. That heater with the firewood kept us going even with the occasional winter power outage.
    We have since replaced all of the windows, and doors and thoroughly insulated the place. Over the years we added other off grid amenities, such as a whole house generator, and some solar powered and low voltage DC equipment.
    While total off-grid is a dream, we discovered that it’s more of a dream for younger people, so grid dependent with serious off grid capability works well for us, and if the grid should go down, we could still live quite comfortably for a year or more.
    I think part of this self reliant lifestyle, no matter a large house or a small cabin, is your mindset, since remote rural living puts you in touch with your surroundings and yourself. While it’s possible to be bored, that’s only for folks who need constant entertainment, and out here, that entertainment can be as easy as going out back and stargazing with a set of binoculars or just sitting and listening to the sounds around you.

    No matter which type of cabin you choose, you need to make sure that the location or property you select for your homestead or bug out retreat has the resources to allow you to be self-sustaining.

    This is probably the most important lesson of this article, with the addition that knowing and mitigating any foreseeable bad events is part of this.
    In our case it is primarily tornadoes; however, flooding, wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes are a few one might consider. In reality, there are really no perfectly safe locations; but, some are better than others, and knowing the risks and having a plan is a good start, or as I was once told: ”The best plan, is to have a plan”

    Some of your points are things we did after the fact; but, when constructing, would be good to consider during construction.

    Insulation: This is important; but, don’t forget the vapor barrier and ventilation, or you could get condensation problems in your walls and ceilings.
    Eaves: The eaves, unless they are steep and extended will be unlikely to cause problems with natural lighting; but, to complement them, be sure to put planning, thoughts, and money into good gutters & downspouts. It there are trees around, a leaf or gutter guard system will save much time and expense in the future.

    Building a house specifically designed for solar gain is possible; but, the extent of the eaves, and the direction of the home for the windows system, is something that requires thought. Properly constructed, the eaves can let full direct sunlight into the home during winter days; but, shade the glazing on the hottest of summer days. Back in the late 1970’s I helped design and construct a few small homes like these, and to best find out the details, you’ll need a book like the 1976 paperback: ” From the Ground Up” by Charles Wing, & John N Cole. I still have my copy and it’s out of print; but, used copies are available for less than $10.00 or a pdf is available here:


    Solar Lighting: A south facing wall can help heat the building with lots of glass. For a small cabin, patio style sliding glass doors might be a good solution, allowing sunlight for lighting & heat, and a way to move items in and out of the building.

    Rainwater Collection: This isn’t a roof consideration, as much as the gutters and down spouting and a place where those gutter guards can help a lot, to keep debris out of the collected water.

    Hot Water Heating:
    A tankless heater requires some type of uniform fuel, usually electric, propane or natural gas,; but, off grid, some type of semi manual wood fired heater would be best, since using electric to heat water is extremely inefficient.
    OTOH, anyone who has used a standard black or green water hose on a sunny day and left it full of water laying out in the sun, may have experiences how scalding hot the water in that hose can get.
    A black background and a serpentine hose or pipe with a small circulation pump can easily heat a lot of water on a sunny day; but, one needs to be able to drain the system in the winter, at least at night. As an engineer I would probably make this an automated project; but, with some plumbing and valves, one could most likely create a manual system to collect heated water.

    Alternative Heating: Wood heat is probably the best alternative for heating. Wood can be collected year round from dead fall and often by offering to help neighbors with their downed limbs. A good axe, chainsaw, &/or bow saw can work wonders, allowing you to collect winter fuel all year round.

    Heat Recovery Ventilator:
    These are normally called an ”Air to Air heat exchanger”.
    I have a small paper from the University of Saskatchewan with an explanation and plans for an air-to-air heat exchanger and it is also available as a pdf:


    I’ve only constructed some models of these and never built one large enough for an entire house; but, if you are handy and have the time and skills, this is another DIY possibility.

    Here is another similar one:

    Professionally constructed cabins typically are the most expensive simply because you are paying for professional labor and contractors to build or assist you in building your cabin.

    I’ve helped to build a few cabins, mostly for weakened camping & hunting; but, our last building ended up being very cost effective by purchasing it prebuilt and delivered from a local Ohio firm run by the Mennonites.
    Their Lofted Cabin for instance has the following specs & prices: From 14×18 up to 14×36 (500 ft2) < $10,000 or rent to own for under $500.00 for 36 months. That’s around $20 per ft2 constructed and delivered to your site.

    No matter where you live I suspect you can find places offering this or similar products.
    You would of course have to add your own additional insulation, wiring, and plumbing; but, composting toilets like the Clivus Multrum: http://www.clivusmultrum.eu/ can take care of the worst of the plumbing and waste issues.

    Here’s my 14×24 foot building being delivered last July: http://www.theohioprepper.org/NewBuilding/
    Select a photo for a larger image.

    Prefabricated Cabin Plans
    I’ve designed plans myself and looked at those offered by others and if you have the time, equipment, and skills, they are not at all hard to build.

    The Lincoln Log Cabin
    We have neighbors who built one of the prefabricated log homes and it’s quite a place, with two stories with a large open architecture. Not all that small; but, heated mostly with a wood stove.

    Shipping Container Cabins
    Around here we’ve seen these mainly for storage; but, a few have used them for weekend living.
    In this same concept area, we’ve seen some who purchase an old school bus, no longer road worthy; but, a good starting place for a tiny living space.

    Where there’s a will and a bit of pioneer spirit, there’s a way to accomplish any of these things.

  3. TOP ,,,the fun begins finding some thing of yours at the next homestead over ,so you wait till the folks go to town and then go get your stuff back ,,,next time you see them lots of hard looks. But once in a while some laffs too ,
    Saw your shed photos ,nice. but we allways kept things as far apart as possible in case of fire ,
    Tea and chocolate

    • 0ldhomesteader,

      the fun begins finding some thing of yours at the next homestead over ,so you wait till the folks go to town and then go get your stuff back ,,,next time you see them lots of hard looks. But once in a while some laffs too ,

      We’ve personally not had that problem with neighbors; but, those living close to town south of here occasionally have things goe missing; but, never seen again. It’s just another good reason for remote living.

      Saw your shed photos ,nice. but we allways kept things as far apart as possible in case of fire

      Actually we have 50 or more feet between all outbuildings, with the exception of the new building and the machinery shed (our garage); but, you will note that the machinery shed is stacked block construction with a standing seam galvanized roof, so a fire is unlikely.
      The new building replaced an old 18×18 brooder house that was built in the 1920’s and had just melted / rotted away. The new building also nicely hides the propane tank farm sitting about 25 feet behind it; bit, is still a work in progress, with some insulation and wiring next on the list.

  4. Thank you for this, we do have a small cabin/ bunkhouse on our property that we are starting to clean up paint put on a roof two weekend ago, that was hard work, now hubby and I need to figure out to add a 10×10 room without a permit, here in Washington state, you can add that size of a room. I’ll be going over the cabins to see what to add thanks your the hard work on a great article:)

  5. Ohio Prepper:

    How do you link photos and such in a reply ? Most websites have some type of tool bar that helps with this, but I don’t see anything in the reply box.

  6. I can’t think why anyone would bother instead of just buying a bunch of old minivans. A minivan has plenty of room in it for one adult and one kid. Get rid of the front and rear seats, and use bungee straps down to D rings that you’ve bolted to the floor. These straps hold shut and hold in place the chests of drawers that you’ve cut in half. At night, rig a hammock for the kid, catty corner inside of the van, over the adult who is sleeping on the floor. Then, you see, you can move where it’s warm in winter and cool in summer. Rig both vans to tow one another. Have a small motorcycle and a bicycle and the vans dont necessarily have to be able to be driven anywhere, at least, not for many months, during which you can earn money with which to get them repaired.


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