How exactly does one go about living out in the wilderness?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
I've seen countless programs on TV about people who have decided to move to some remote corner of the Alaskan wilderness, build a cabin and live off the land.

It sounds so straightforward.

Like, if you have the skills, you can just do it.

Do people just go somewhere incredibly remote, set up camp and say "OK this is where I'm going to build my home" and build a cabin and live there? It seems as if there are huge tracts of land where someone can just settle down without worrying about buying the land, paying taxes, etc.

What is the reality of the situation? I tried to find information on the web, but my searches proved fruitless. Any help would be appreciated. This thing has been nagging at my brain for some time.


  • Reply 1 of 13
    I don't know if you can do it legally, but if you get far enough out into the middle of nowhere the federal government effectively does not exist. If you wanted to invest the time and money you could probably set up a nice little self-sufficient (energy wise) cabin somewhere with a satellite link and rake in the cash as a porn webmaster or something. Keep your money out of domestic banks, and you don't have to worry about taxes or anything. As far as the government would be concerned you wouldn't even exist anymore.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    There was a book I read a *loooong* time ago that was about a kid who did that. It seemed pretty plausible, but I can't remember what it was called.... dangnabit. The kid lived in a hollowed out tree, had a falcon.... Anyone know what the heck I'm talking about?
  • Reply 3 of 13
    [quote]Originally posted by Solishu:

    <strong>There was a book I read a *loooong* time ago that was about a kid who did that. It seemed pretty plausible, but I can't remember what it was called.... dangnabit. The kid lived in a hollowed out tree, had a falcon.... Anyone know what the heck I'm talking about?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    I think my wife read the same thing. The one she told me about the kid set up in some broken down school bus way out in the middle of nowhere. He lived out there for a year or two but then died.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    [quote]There was a book I read a *loooong* time ago that was about a kid who did that. It seemed pretty plausible, but I can't remember what it was called.... dangnabit. The kid lived in a hollowed out tree, had a falcon.... Anyone know what the heck I'm talking about?<hr></blockquote>

    My Side Of The Mountian
  • Reply 5 of 13
    That's fiction right?
  • Reply 6 of 13
    There are plenty of people in the rural West (especially Montana & Idaho but also Oregon, Washington, etc.) who do this sort of thing. Often it's not quite as primitive as what some of you are talking about above. You can build a cabin, dig a well for water, put solar panels on your roof for electricity, and have a relatively "normal" existence. An acre or two of land could easily be farmed to support a small family. If you've got a little cash you could even get DirecTV and satellite internet. Pay-per-view porn on the widescreen HDTV out in the middle of nowhere, now that's what I call livin'~!
  • Reply 7 of 13
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    [quote]Originally posted by DoctorGonzo:


    My Side Of The Mountian</strong><hr></blockquote>

    I loved that book! When I was a kid I read three or four times. And yes Scott, definitely fiction. As to the original question, sure it can be done. If you're talking about Alaska or some other remote place where the governmnent wouldn't come find you, you need three things:

    1. Toughness

    (the odds are, you wouldn't have electricity or running water, and unless you have family that went with you, you'd be pretty lonely too).

    2. Wilderness Survival skills

    (know how to idenitfy and fell certain trees, start fires with natural materials, hunt, fish, cure meat, plant wild crops, harvest and preserve berries, etc. etc.)

    3. Building skills. You have to know how to build a cold-proof, water-proof irrigation system, and any number of other things most people have no clue about. It ain't like building a tree fort.

    [ 11-27-2001: Message edited by: Moogs ? ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 13
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    [quote]<strong>you need three things:</strong><hr></blockquote>

    You mean I need more than copies of On Walden Pond and The Catcher in the Rye?

    But Holden Caulfield said it would be a good thing. . .

  • Reply 9 of 13
    ac2cac2c Posts: 60member
    Pick the worst weather weekend of the year and go camping (and I don't mean in your SUV, camper or 40 foot all inclusive trailer). Take a tent, food (I recommend dehydrated) and water. Walk back into the woods 10 to 15 miles and set up camp. Suffer through the rain, snow, cold, lack of heat, lack of satisfying food, lack of TV and the internet. When you hike out Sunday night and if you don't get lost and you actually enjoyed it - then you are ready to actually start thinking about it.

    At this point go online, to the local library, contact survivalists and learn all you can. Be prepared to spend lots of money on survivalist gear sold by survivalists. (Everyone has to make a living.) Once you have read everything that you possibly can stomach, you continue to practice by camping with minimal gear as often as you can. Start thinking about where you are going to headquarter when you finally take the plunge to leave civilization behind.

    Or you can do it the easy way - join the Army or Marines and volunteer for infantry. You will get all the training and they will even pay you to do it. :cool:

    [ 11-27-2001: Message edited by: ac2c ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 13
    ferroferro Posts: 453member
    And get used to wiping your butt with leaves...

    No TP...

    You can count me out...



  • Reply 11 of 13
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    That's true Ferro...however one thing I didn't mention is that it is also likely (and smart) to stock up on a few modern necessities every few months (presumably you still have the transportation part covered - even hill billies need a truck or snowmobile or some mode of transport).

    Aside from all the survival gear (medical supplies, hunting knife, good compass, clothes, etc.):

    + Kerosene Lamps and Fuel

    + TP (unless you want to walk around with a rash on your ass all your life)

    + Salt

    + Sugar

    + Possibly Corn Meal or Flour

    + Big Glass Jars for preserving food

    + Books (yes, I said books)

    Probably a few others too. So it wouldn't / doesn't have to be totally neanderthal, but still pretty rough compared to modern living. Not at all bad though if you're cut out for it. Have to love the wilderness and love the prospect of constantly foraging / hunting for food, wood, etc. No different than any other creature in the wild.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    I wanna be a Winnobego Warrior. Travel the country and hang out at trailer parks...sounds a lot more exciting.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Actually, it wouldn't be in a huge Winnebago but my woman and I have considered doing just that. Saving up some funds, selling our town house and spending a year travelling across country in a small house camper thingy. Find a place we like where we can also find work, and set up shop in some small mountain community...still requires a lot of planning if you want to do it right though - and not end up in Deliverance City.

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