A log cabin in its' most simple form is simply a series of logs stacked on top of each other to form 4 walls. Log cabins have been refined and technology has made modern log cabins vastly different from the cabins that the pioneers built and lived in. Today you can by exotic log cabins that have vaulted ceilings, multiple levels, granite coloring, and thousands of square feet of living room. Even though modern log cabi9ns can be very elaborate and fancy, the basic log cabin is still a very viable solution for many people.

The cheapest and most simple way to build a log cabin is very similar to how our ancestors built log cabins. You can choose to build a basic log cabin for very little money. This log cabin you build can be used as a home to live in, a vacation home, a hunting cabin, or simply a rural place to retreat for the pressures of modern civilization.

The simplest way to build a log cabin follows methods used by our pioneer ancestors and adds a few modern twists onto the development of your basic log cabin structure.

Cheap Land

If you do not already own some land you can buy cheap land in places such as Northern Nevada. The cheapest land will be located at least a few miles from the nearest paved roads. The cheap land you buy to build your simple cabin on also will not have power or a well drilled. That is OK because we are making a simple log cabin project.

An acre or two of cheap rural land can easily be bought for less than $2,000. The property taxes on this type of land is often less than $40.00 per year. If you are looking for a cheap way to get away from the world for a few months then Northern Nevada is a great place to find cheap land to build your cabin on.

In theory you may need to buy building permits for your cabin, but in Northern Nevada your land will we so rural and away from everybody and everything that the officials will not know and probably not even care. As long as you are not producing meth or doing some other illicit activity the officials in Northern Nevada will leave you alone.

Concrete Slab

Level out the ground where you want to build you cabin. Once the land is level lay concrete to make a slab. A basic log cabin is easier t build if it is small, so that is what we are striving for. You can choose any size of log cabin you want such as 8x10, 12x20, or any size you want. I suggest you make the slab larger than the size of cabin you want so that you have at least a foot of concrete around the edge of your cabin once it is built.

Calling in a semi-truck to lay you a slab of concrete will be very expensive so you will do the work yourself and lay a concrete slab in sections by hand. You can learn how to build a basic concrete slab for free with free classes from home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot.

When laying your concrete slab you will also want to integrate some rebar into the concrete that extends upwards a foot or so from the base of the slab. These pieces of rebar will be strategically placed so that when you begin laying your initial logs onto the slab to build the cabin you can have the rebar run through the middle of the logs to help support them.

Cheap Logs

Northern Nevada has a lot of cheap land but most of it is high desert land. The logs you need will probably not be found on your land. If you can get use of a long bed pick-up and trailer you can often buy a permit to retrieve fallen timber from public land.

Many people here in Southern Idaho where I live buy a cheap permit that allows them to collect fallen and dead timber to use and sell as firewood. You can find many quality logs that will work great for building a simple and basic log cabin. Your only cost is the permit, the fuel for the truck, and some effort on your part.

Dry Logs

If you use fresh timber logs to build your cabin then you will want to set the logs out and let them dry for 6 months to a year. If you let the logs dry first then they will make your log cabin last longer and you will not have to do as much upkeep in the future.

When you collect fallen and dead timber from public lands with a permit you can pick and choose the logs that will work for you. You can oftentimes find all the logs you need and they are already dried out so you will not have to put your cabin project on hold as you wait for the logs to dry.

You can always buy logs from a lumber mill to use for your log cabin. There are many benefits from buying your logs including not only making your project simpler, but you can also choose to have the logs cut to your specific dimensions.

If our goal is to build a basic log cabin and keep the costs as low as possible then ask around and do some research to see if it is a possibility to buy a permit and collect dead and fallen timber from public lands.

Cabin Assembly

You can learn how to assemble and notch the logs by reading online and even watching videos on YouTube. There are many ways to cut and notch your logs, but use one of the easier methods. You can cut and assemble all your logs. We are building a basic log cabin so assembly of the logs is actually pretty simple.


After your cabin is assembled you may need some labor help from a friend. Assemble the roof braces in a reverse v-Shape so that you can lay sheets of wood for the roof. You can always simply lay a flat roof but a traditional v-shaped roof will work much better because Northern Nevada can get a lot of snow falling. With a flat roof you would be forced to have to remove the snow by hand to keep the roof on your cabin from collapsing. A traditional roof will allow much of the snow to slide off.

Log Crack Sealant

Find a quality caulking or sealing substance to use and place it in between the logs where the logs meet. This will help to keep moisture and cold air out of the inside of your log cabin.

Log Cabin Stain

Buy a high quality log cabin wood stain and heavily coat all of the interior and exterior of the logs with the stain. This not only makes the cabin look better but also will allow the logs to last for many years as it will help protect them from mold, mildew, water, and insects such as termites.

Other Notes

This is a basic log cabin that can be built dirt cheap. You will also need to build an outhouse because your simple log-cabin structure does not have plumbing.

You can buy a water tank on a trailer and store it next to your cabin. You can use this water for drinking and showering. When you need more water simply hook the trailer up and drive into town to refill the water container.