Climate Change Resilience for Cabin Owners
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Climate Change Resilience for Cabin Owners

What should you know and how can you make relevant changes?

Written by Sam Bowman


 Photo: Yousef Salhamoud / Unsplash


Our world is changing and not always for the better. Evidence suggests that the onset of climate change can affect how frequent and severe natural disasters are. In the U.S., these can include strong storms, flooding and wildfires, among others. This is essential for cabin owners to understand. 

On one hand, owning a cabin can enable you to be more independent in a climate emergency, particularly if you have personal power and food supplies. It can also mean that cabin owners whose properties aren’t designed for extreme conditions can be at risk. We’re going to explore climate change resilience for cabin owners a little further. What should you know and how can you make relevant changes?


Making Climate-Informed Investment Choices

Whether you already own a cabin or are looking to buy one in the future, it’s important to factor the effects of climate change into your decision-making. What you choose to invest in—whether a cabin itself or improvements—is likely to be affected by these shifts. In particular, there are indications that the effects of climate change may influence property values. The factors that contribute to this include:

  • Extreme weather damage: People are starting to recognize that climate change means some areas may be at greater risk of damage from extreme weather events. This can lower property values of cabins in these areas due to the apparent danger and costs associated with repairs.
  • Access to resources: Climate change is threatening access to essential resources. Droughts impact food supplies while floods can contaminate fresh water. Cabins that are in areas that have good access to clean water and particularly renewable energy can see their property values rise as demand for climate resilience increases. Cabins that are self-reliant may be especially valuable.

If you’re looking to purchase a cabin, now may be the time to invest in a more climate-resilient location before demand drives prices too high. If you already own a cabin, your choices could be focused on making improvements to boost its robustness. This can both keep you safe during emergencies or make it a valuable investment opportunity if you want to sell and move elsewhere.


Addressing Immediate Concerns

Many people don’t have the budget to perform full overhauls to a cabin to boost its overall resilience to climate change. Prioritization is key here. It’s best to take care of the issues that are most immediately likely to be impacted by climate-related emergencies before tackling more complex projects that may be necessary in the years to come. 

What can some of these immediate concerns be? This will often depend on the condition of the property and the challenges the location faces. Some points of focus might include:

  • Roof upgrades and repairs: In extreme weather events having a strong and reliable cabin roof can keep you safe. Existing damage, including moved tiles or shingles, can result in leaks and the onset of mold. Making repairs to these or upgrading to more storm-resistant materials—such as metal and high-wind-rated asphalt— should be a priority. This is particularly vital in areas that are likely to see hurricanes and tornadoes.
  • Doors and windows: Improving your doors and windows can make a big difference with relatively little investment. Installing screens can keep glass intact during storms. Ensuring there is reliable sealant around windows and doors can also minimize your energy expenses during both extreme winter and summer conditions.

It’s worth remembering that your efforts to make priority changes can begin even before you reach the cabin. Given that climate change is driving demand for off-grid living, you might be moving cross-country to a cabin in a more resilient location. Alongside steps like sorting and decluttering to simplify the process, it is vital to consider the timing of your journey. 

Choosing a moving date during hurricane and stormy seasons is certainly a safety issue during long journeys. It also tends to dictate your ability to make repairs and upgrades when you arrive. Setting a date during drier weather can give you both clearer conditions and longer days to make essential improvements.


Planning for the Long Term

Once the immediate priority improvements are in place, you can start to make plans for more complex elements. These are often expensive but can help your cabin better withstand climate change years down the line. 

These could include:

  • Renewable energy systems: Power outages are already becoming more frequent. There’s potential in the future for electricity grids to shut down due to overuse in extreme heat or cold, system damage in storms and fuel supplies becoming strained. Upgrading your cabin’s power system to be renewable—such as solar power—is a project that can reduce dependence on grids. It’s also a more sustainable approach to energy consumption. 
  • Foundation upgrades: Your cabin’s foundations can affect your resilience during climate emergencies. It helps your property withstand extreme winds and prevents shifting because of floods. If its foundations weren’t designed for these types of conditions, you might consider upgrades. For flood areas, elevating the cabin and extending the foundation to raise it above the expected water plain can be effective.

Alongside the improvement plans for your cabin, it’s also essential to make emergency preparedness plans specifically for this property. Work with your family to establish the safest areas of the home to retreat to in each type of emergency. In case you must evacuate, identify routes from each room and where the nearest shelters are. It can also be wise to dedicate a cool and dry area of your home for storing emergency supplies, such as canned food, bottled water, first-aid kits and radios.



A climate change-resilient cabin can be both a vital safety resource and a valuable investment opportunity. It’s important to take a strategic approach to this, addressing the most pressing issues first while gradually making larger upgrades. 

It can also be useful to reach out to other cabin owners in the local area. You can share in nuanced knowledge of conditions, effective changes to make, and where to gain resources. Not to mention that having close community connections can be a solid source of support for you and your family during emergency situations.


See Also: Sustainable Gardens for Self-Sufficiency

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