Here’s how to build a campsite on vacant, rural land. It’s a good first step toward building a cabin or permanent dwelling!
Probably the hardest part about buying a piece of vacant land when you don’t have a ton of money is figuring out what you’re going to do with it.
We bought our land with visions of watching the sunset over the ocean, friends gathered around, and kids cycling back from the beach. All of which centered around a building. Not a huge, fancy building, but one that could easily sleep 6 to 8 people, and had some indoor plumbing and solar panels for electricity.
Back to reality… and a piece of property that was only roughly cleared with a muddy driveway built to serve as a turnaround for the neighboring property. And no money to build with.
However, we didn’t need a cottage to have friends gather and enjoy the sunset. All we needed was a campsite!
Building A Simple Campsite
A campsite really only requires three simple things:
- Somewhere to go when nature calls.
- A cleared flat area to pitch a tent.
- Greywater disposal pit.
- A fire pit is also a nice addition, though not technically necessary.
Personalizing Your Campsite
Building your own campsite is actually pretty fun. It allows you to set things up so it’s a bit more personal, even if you don’t have a lot of money.
The first thing we did was start hauling stuff over to the island whenever we got the chance. Most of our extra income was going to paying off the line of credit-style mortgage that was all we could get for a vacant piece of property that didn’t even have an address. Luckily we got a lot of stuff used or free!
Here are some of the basic niceties that we picked up for our off-grid campsite:
- Storage: We bought a small plastic storage box so we could leave stuff on the island and a huge tarp to cover anything that didn’t fit in the storage shed.
- Eating: We brought over an old picnic table and a few plastic chairs that we found for free on the side of the road. (Road-side free piles are a thing in my community.) We also got our barbecue that way. My mom gave us her vintage Coleman stove. The only thing we had to buy was a cooler. We only owned a cheap fabric cooler, so we decided to splurge on a high-end cooler that was able to keep things cool for at least a week.
- Water: Not having easy access to water was a pretty big deal. In general, it’s a good idea to have at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. That includes water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. So one of the first things we did was buy a rain barrel for our outhouse. We also bought a simple water cooler nozzle and a bunch of water jugs. Even the ice in our cooler doubles as drinking water since all of our icepacks are reused 2 Liter soda bottles.
Enjoying The Campsite
We were pretty darn happy with our campsite. It was large enough to have friends come to visit. And gave us the chance to enjoy our wilderness while daydreaming about future plans.
We even got started on the garden with two compost bins to build up the soil and some wild strawberries, salal and blackberries.