Flat Pack Cabin

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Flat Pack Cabin

Postby Cyclicpitcher » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:11 am

Last year I set out to try an idea of building a flat pack cabin that would be easy to move in the Bed of a pickup Truck. I wanted to use 4 x 8 sheets of luan. At the time Luan plywood could be purchased for about 10 dollars a sheet. I wanted to use two sheets bolted together and that would form the floor and then split some sheets to build an upper wall section to make the cabin 6 foot tall inside. I decided on a flat roof and covered with a tarp for water proofing. I wanted to build as cheaply as possible. I used exterior latex house paint. Green for the sides and light green for inside walls and roof. My idea was to put a cooler and some basic camp gear on top of the roof and that would create a lumpy roof that would provide better run off of water and snow.
Here is a picture show of the process.


No nails only waterproof carpenters glue, clamped into place, screws used on the inner 2x2 supports for walls and roof panels

Bolts are purchased at TSC because they sell nuts, bolts and washers by the pound! A great value for projects.
Note the 16 foot geodesic dome in the background covered with boat shrink, another project! :)
unit goes together fast and once all the bolts are tightened the unit is extremely sturdy.
Paint is exterior latex house paint, but if I was to do it over it would be oil based enamel. Latex stays soft for a long time and I dont think it penetrates the wood any.
Two people could stay in this cabin with a bunked bed setup.
Foam Core insulation could be used in extreme conditions , however I was too warm inside with a buddy dual element heater even during snow.
The front of the unit is made from a 4 by 8 sheet cut into a 6 foot section and made to total 93 inches wide.
The front door panel can use the horizontal bolts near the top of the panel to pivot like a hinge and create a garage door effect.
The window is a small shed window turned on it's side.
Depending on cost a window could be placed in each of the upper sections on all back and side walls.
Unit stacks very well with door and window panels nested with the other panels.
8 by 8 foot with a 6 foot ceiling is a good size for one person or two. Bicycle innertube could be used to water proof the upper panels as needed, however tarp was very effective in keeping the water out. Window had to be opened to prevent humidity buildup inside unit.
Haven't counted the bolts I used but, somewhere around 36 to forty bolts is my guess, 3/8 inch by 4 inch nut, bolt and two washers, I believe.
Hope you liked this build, thanks for taking a look! :thumbsup:
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Re: Flat Pack Cabin

Postby Redneck Teepee » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:15 am

Reminds me of the old style job site construction shacks we had years ago that came in panels like these. I would think you would need a pretty level spot to get the thing even bolted together. Looking at it loaded in your truck it appears you have no room left for the camping equipment. Could be that I'm not realizing it's intended use also.
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Re: Flat Pack Cabin

Postby Juneaudave » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:43 am

Reminds me of a knock down ice fishing cabin a friend had when I was a boy. That cabin used door latch hooks to hold the panels together and was stored on a small trailer.
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Re: Flat Pack Cabin

Postby Cyclicpitcher » Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:09 pm

First, Thanks for your replies, however I do not understand the critical tone. My son and I watched a documentary on Netflix about some homeless people in Nashville, who had a small community established under a bridge. They were in a flood area along a river and the local church offered to help them move to a new location because of the danger of a possible flood. Many moved but some stayed only to be flooded out, when the seasons changed. We saw all kinds of homemade shelters, and so the idea of a portable flat pack cabin came into discussion. If only to bestow the knowledge of the homeless plight on a young boy and to teach him and his sister to be industrious, innovative, as show them something can be done, it has served it's purpose. We placed treated 2x4s under the unit and could have used a few bricks to level it, not a show stopper to level it. If all I had was a few sleeping bags and a few backpacks I think i could have found room somewhere in the truck I was hauling it in. Overall this unit cost about $250 dollars with retail supplies and could easily be built in a garage and driven to a camp and setup. Does it look like modern art? No, Is it a lot of computer designed shapes, No, my son and I drew it on a sheet of printer paper. Is it old school, Yes, many solutions to our problems can be found from the past.
Based on the documentary, some people who are temporally homeless, prefer to have a stealth approach to where they stay. Would this small easy to haul cabin provide some stealth placed in the edge of some woods? Yes! We think this is a viable item to help someone in need.
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Re: Flat Pack Cabin

Postby bart » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:30 pm

If I were spending more than a night in it, I would like this a lot better than a tent. I really like the pragmatic approach for roof drainage. Put a cooler up there, put the tarp over it and you have slope....great ideas.
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Re: Flat Pack Cabin

Postby loaderman » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:25 pm

Build front wall higher then back wall. Gives slope for drainage. Side walls would need to be angled of course.
Or peak 2 walls and have roof in 2 pieces that join at the peak.

Saw this in a book once. For a semi permanent camp you are staying in for a while.

Great idea.
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Re: Flat Pack Cabin

Postby logman7777 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:01 pm

Simple, Effective and Inexpensive.. Who could ask for more? :thumbsup:
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