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Thinking about buying a cabin or land in southern Utah?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by mixflip, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    Hey guys, new to this area of GT. I have been on board with the prepper movement for a few months now. I live a big city (Las Vegas) and like most... if SHTF long term and the city is not a viable option anymore, I have been thinking about...

    option#1) buying a few acres of blank land and bringing a trailer to the site or building a cabin?

    option#2) a preexisting small cabin on less than an acre? No building or trailer needed.

    Both options in southern Utah since its fairly affordable out there (about $30k or less) and the wide open west is still fairly secluded and unpopulated out there. Plus its only 2 or 3 hours away.

    Is there a good resource to help me better understand the basic process of knowing how to shop for land or cabins in the hills or mountains? The cabins look to be located near other cabins so I dont know if I want to do that? I guess it could be good to have trusted neighbors to help out?

    But I also like the idea of having 5 or 10 acres very secluded and away from anyone and just have a self sustaining micro farm for my family and friends only.

    I know its a big investment but the way I look at it... if nothing happens my family gets a vacation cabin in the outdoors and if something happens my family has a place to bug out to and live off the grid and live self sustained (just as the folks of the great depression were forced to do) if it came to that?

    I have been reading and watching everything I can such as greenscience/youtube etc etc and several survival books. For years I have been prepping for home invasions, robberies, muggings, and basically short term SHTF...but only recently have I opened my eyes to the real possibilities of having to live through a neo great depression thanks to Obama & Bush, the FED and the IMF and all the other domino effects of the world economy.



    Thanks for any help on the subject.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  2. TangoFoxtrot

    TangoFoxtrot OIF 04-05

    Sep 10, 2008
    Nowhereville, USA
    Option 2 sounds good. Make sure the land is defendable, has a good water source, and has 6 ways in and 12 ways out. You might want to add George W. Bush to the domino effect "he" started.

  3. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Here comes the rain.
    1. If you can get easily to your cabin, so can anyone else with a. an ATV, or, b. a motorcycle.
    2. Think about fire danger. If you can install a roof line system that you can activate by a telephone call, then you are as well covered as possible.
    3. Check the water supply. All the pictures in the world depicting pine trees and lakes are useless to you if you are not permitted to drill a well. Don't even think about a cabin as a retreat if you do not plan to install a well prior to putting up a cabin.
    4. Do not think about having a remote cabin, if you aren't able to put in secure storage.

    There are millions of guys who want 5-10 acres, a cabin and kick back. I am one of them. However, there are significant tradeoffs and risks.

    In my region, the US forest service refused to cull dead trees while it was required that landowners remove theirs at about $500 a tree. That cute pine tree in the backyard is a potential roman candle when shtf. You may be careful around fire, but what about all the car campers when shtf?
  4. off road

    off road

    Jun 6, 2011
    There are lots of different options. I like the trailer idea, but a truely mobil one that you can pull out in the winter or if there is a fire. As has been mentioned, a reliable water source and secure permanent storage are a must.

    My folks had a cabin on a nice large lake, with a good well, but it was to far away to visit regularly, so they essentially ended up spending their 'vacation' doing maintenance and clearing all the brush that had grown up since the last visit. Eventually, it got to be to much for them. If you can get there in 2-3 hours, that is workable!
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  5. My family and I have gone through this same decision-making process. We live in a urban area of North Carolina, but wanted land in the western NC mountains for a cabin. We wanted vacant land so that we could control the design of what we build. My rather picky criteria was as follows:

    > 1.5 to 2.0 acres
    > cleared of trees, but surrounded by forest around perimeter of lot
    > covered with thick pasture grasses
    > outside of all flood zones
    > slightly sloping for basement
    > secluded, but not too far removed from medical facilities or a Walmart :supergrin:
    > dead-end road to limit passersby
    > at least 2,500 above sea level
    > well water
    > trout river nearby

    After a long search and some word-of-mouth leads from friends, we found a 1.6 acre piece of land that fit all the criteria.

    If you find some vacant land that you like, I would suggest going ahead and ordering a perc test and asking surrounding landowners about well depth. Even if you don't intend to build immediately, you could feel good knowing that you won't be surprised when you are ready to build. And it the meantime, you'd have a place for bugging out if necessary. Check on utilities, too. You don't want something so far removed from civilization that it would cost you a small fortune to run basic utilities to.

    It's difficult finding something that balances between secluded/defensible versus convenient/maintainable.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  6. pugman


    May 16, 2003
    Bingo and Bingo. I know nothing about Southern Utah so I am relying on wikipedia and picked the St George area.

    Average rainfall for the year: 8.77 inches (as a comparison, we had 8 storms here in Wisconsin last year which dropped this in a day) without a well I think you are in trouble.

    Let's face it...everything I read says at some point Las Vegas will run out of water. To Bd's point: I think if problems arose most people would drive west to the coast rather than east into Utah.

    Even snow is rare at less than 3" average per year.

    You are talking about an 5-10 acre will need a lot of water and it doesn't look like mother nature will help much.

    Upper Wisconsin has a lot of cabins...and a whole lot of burglarly; hence most people don't keep anything of value in their places even in secure storage. Give someone nearly unlimited time and any lock can be broken.

    Personally I like the idea of a camper or trailer.
  7. G29Reload

    G29Reload Tread Lightly

    Sep 28, 2009
    I understand far SW UT has a serious cancer cluster that appears related to the nuke testing in the 40s-60's. I would check out that topic.
  8. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    I obviously have a ton of home work to do still, which is expected. I just watched a youtube video of 2 guys who went out into the Southern California desert/hills to check on their bug out cabin/shed and it was gutted and destroyed by vandals. Security is going to be a head ache. Hopefully Utah is a far cry form SoCal?
  9. cyrsequipment

    cyrsequipment Angry

    Aug 8, 2004
    There are dirtbags all over the country...:steamed:

    It is sad when some destroys another person's hard earned property.
  10. bstock


    Jan 30, 2008
    my family just sold our cabin up in duck creek last weekend. we have been going up there for the last 15 years. it is a beautiful place with lots of options. you can find larger plots of land up there. more so off of hwy 89. check out duck creeks website they have links to all the reality offices up there, so you can check out what is available property wise. there is all kinds of camping up there and tons of atv trails. i do a lot of dirt biking up there in the summer. its a great place.
  11. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    Duck Creek? Ok I'll check them out. Thanks.
  12. bstock


    Jan 30, 2008
    mixflip pm me if you have any specific questions on area etc. its def worth a trip up there to check out. its only 3hrs if you dont stop and its a nice easy drive. duck creek is a little village. you can rent cabins there etc. they have a true value and a couple of restaurants.
  13. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    Thanks I'll PM you soon for sure. I just checked out the cabin rentals in the area and I think its time to spend a weekend up there and take a look around. Plus it would just be nice to get my wife and 2 baby boys out into the outdoors. I saw that it was 70 degrees up there today? Thats so nice compared to Vegas where its 105.
  14. wjv


    Jan 17, 2002
    Pacific NW
    As others have said:
    - Well or stream/lake
    - Septic in good condition
    - Heating (fireplace is OK but wood stove are more efficient)

    Look into adding solar power for things like LED lighting, radio and such.

    Secure storage for supplies and multiple cords of wood.
  15. Free Radical

    Free Radical Miembro Antiguo CLM

    Sep 11, 2005
    Four Corners
    In the pictures I am seeing Aspens and Douglas fir trees. That means it's fairly high in elevation. 7-8,000' I would guess. Not exactly farm country. People up there raise hay and with the help of a hot house or green house, maybe some other things. Look into the length of the growing season. Look around for other "self sustaining farms", whatever that is. All the farming I ever did required a hell of a lot of sustaining. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you actually expect to live off the crops that you raise on your place you are up too high there.

    Best of luck what ever you decide to do.
  16. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    Elevation? Ah good point. Those were just some sample pics of southern Utah. More home work needed.
  17. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    The thing about having property and structures far away is thefact that you just won't know what shape it's in when you need it and go there to use it. It could all be pristine, or it could be burned down and gone.
  18. Rob1109


    Jul 4, 2010
    For years I thought about a Southern Utah cabin to get out of the Las Vegas heat. But, the temp. that would I have liked for the summer would be inaccessible in the winter. What would be accessible in the winter was too hot in the summer. Catch 22. Also I felt that we would almost be forced to go there on vacations, since we were paying for it. Have a friend who has a Great summer cabin. In winter he chains up the 4wheel 'Burb and when that stops it's 6 miles by snowmobile! But, it is a beautiful spot to get out of the LV heat. For a SHTF I would choose a small community in Montana.

  19. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    2 babies. Ok.

    Now, I give you some feedback from an old time.

    1. My brother bought a time share condo for two weeks a year in Honolulu. It means another thing to look after. Buy a cabin in the mountains, and instead of making things easier, it commits you to vacation in that unit until you sell it.

    2. Don't buy thinking of retirement. Speak to a real estate professional. A professional recommends not buying anything until 18 months from retirement. Why? a. relatives and friends in town; b. one spouse or the other has medical problems and wants to remain in town near the doctor. Happened in myfamily. Will happen in yours.

    I knew a retired Marine Corp. Col. who retired to a ranch in the high Sierras. Great for defense. Great for wildlife. Only 120 miles from the nearest town with reasonably priced groceries and a doctor, if needed.

    Most people do things in reverse. They buy a "cabin". Now, out of money, they don't spend the money for a well, fire protection, a backhoe installed subsurface sea cargo container that is secure and contains the goodies that you would want for shtf.

    You can get the same experience by buying a decent US Army surplus command tent and setting it up when you need it. It can stay stored on site.
  20. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    +1 on cochran. It's an easy mistake to jump in too early before you are ready for that type of long term commitment. So don't get marred... Ummm... I mean, buy a cabin.