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Old 11-21-2007, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
815 posts, read 1,553,802 times
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Default How does it work when you have a dry cabin?

I've been considering moving to Alaska for a while now, and I'm just waiting to finish up with college and hopefully get up there. I'm looking at Fairbanks mostly, but am not really sure yet.

I've been looking at a lot of rentals up there, and many of them say "dry cabin." I know this means that they don't have running water, but how do people live without it? How do they take showers? How do they do the dishes? How do they DRINK?

I'm sure that I sound really uninformed and dumb to the Alaskan, but I can't help but wonder what they do. Do they have a bunch of water containiners that they fill up with water or something?
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Palmer
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In Fairbanks you go to Fox to get your drinking water. It is a spring that bubbles up out of the ground. A lot of people on city water go out there for drinking water.

You have a 5 gallon jug or two in the house to drink and wash dishes. You have a plastic basin to wash your hands and dishes in. You can wash your hair that way too.

If you absolutely have to use a shower rather than a bath, there are a lot of places in Fairbanks where you pay your money and take your shower. Also, if you go to the University, they have showers there.

Most of the world lives without running water...you can too.
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
815 posts, read 1,553,802 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Van Diest View Post
In Fairbanks you go to Fox to get your drinking water. It is a spring that bubbles up out of the ground. A lot of people on city water go out there for drinking water.

You have a 5 gallon jug or two in the house to drink and wash dishes. You have a plastic basin to wash your hands and dishes in. You can wash your hair that way too.

If you absolutely have to use a shower rather than a bath, there are a lot of places in Fairbanks where you pay your money and take your shower. Also, if you go to the University, they have showers there.

Most of the world lives without running water...you can too.
Thanks! Do you have to boil or filter the water some way, or is it clean enough to where you don't have to do that?
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Palmer
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I'm not going to tell anyone not to filter their water. But most people in Fairbanks don't filter the Fox water, it is some of the best water you will taste anywhere.

Fox is just NE of Fairbanks on the Steese Highway. You generally have to stand in line to get the water and in the winter it's a good idea to have cleats on your shoes because the area is all glaciered.

I have lived in dry cabins in Fairbanks. Actually grew up without running water on the Innoko so it's no big deal to me. Baths every Saturday whether you needed it or not.

Lot's of people who live without running water use steam baths. If you have never used a steam bath you don't know how clean you can get. The last one I used had an oven thermometer on the wall...it was HOT!
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Alaska
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Can't you set up something to have more than 5 or 10 gallons on hand?
When I lived down south we had cabins with 55 gal blue (food grade) drums with a small hose and pressure on/off valve. The water would easy last the 4-5 days we were there.
Now I know having it outside exposed would give you a large block of ice in the winter, but you see what I getting at.
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Alaska, baby!
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You can also go to the water station on Old Steese Highway just off of College Road. That is in Fairbanks and so is more convenient to some folks than driving all the way out to Fox but it depends on where you live in Fairbanks. You will have to pay for the water at the Old Steese Highway station but it is pennies per gallon - or was 2 years ago. You don't have to purify it either but yes, do where shoes with traction in the winter as the run off from the water spout makes the already icy ground treacherous. It is a drive thru type of thing and is coin operated.

You can also often find what is called a "gray water cabin" which means the cabin does NOT have running water but does have some (if not all) plumbing for it. This means no water runs into the house but you might have a toilet which you will have to add water to in order to flush it/use it. It also sometimes means you might have a sink and/or a shower stall but water just doesn't run to them. You can still use the sink if you add your own water.

We lived in dry cabins and gray water cabins. With the dry cabins we showered at the local laundry-mat while our clothes were washing and drying. Most local laundry-mats in the Fairbanks area have coin operated showers and some even have coin operated water filling stations.

With one of the gray water cabins we had a shower stall but, since water didn't run to it, we rigged up a camp shower inside the stall. This worked great unless we forgot to leave the shower water by the wood or toyo stove before we wanted to take a shower. That meant a very cold shower which is no fun - but is better than no shower.

As Marty said, you can do it. Especially if you are young. It'll be an experience you never forget.

Good luck.
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Old 11-21-2007, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Wow there are so many things on here that I've never heard of! A steam shower! I'll have to research that. Does it do as good of a job as a shower? I think it would be worth it to me to take a couple trips so that I could take a shower more than just on a Saturday.

User 2, Are they dumping honey buckets into ponds? I can't imagine that there wouldn't be some kind of dumping law on that, especially in Alaska.
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Old 11-21-2007, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
1,675 posts, read 4,339,081 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sobefobik View Post
Wow there are so many things on here that I've never heard of! A steam shower! I'll have to research that. Does it do as good of a job as a shower? I think it would be worth it to me to take a couple trips so that I could take a shower more than just on a Saturday.

User 2, Are they dumping honey buckets into ponds? I can't imagine that there wouldn't be some kind of dumping law on that, especially in Alaska.
Rule number one for people asking questions of Alaskans. Don't believe everything your hear or read! Some are pulling your leg (s)!

Think of steam shower more as a sauna. lots of those up here..
Dry cabin is no running water or sewer system but has outhouse.
Graywater cabin should be some water and drain piping, but no toilet (black water), includes outhouse.
You can have a graywater system and not dump it out on the ground. Similar to a leach system.

I have a cabin for summer use that has a graywater system for the kitchen sink, we draw water from a lake, filter it and run the hot side through a 6 gallon hot water heater. Hot and cold running water

A smaller scale system can be done if your hauling your water in 5 gallon jugs. A friend used an RV pump to draw the water from the jugs and into the faucet. Pretty simple.

A side note on the Fox springs. The actually drilled a well several years ago to provide the water.
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Palmer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcticthaw View Post
A side note on the Fox springs. The actually drilled a well several years ago to provide the water.
Aha...it's been awhile since I was there.

A steam bath is like a sauna only it has it's own little outbuilding. It usually has a wood stove completely surrounded by large rocks. The room is usually small, maybe 6X10 or so, and heats up quickly. Then you pour water on the rocks which fills the room with hot steam. It can be very, very hot.

If you are next to a river or lake you run outside and jump in when you get too hot. In the winter you just roll in the snow and then go back in.

When user2 talked about honey buckets, I have never used one...and I don't think I could. I would rather take the cold walk to the outhouse instead.

There are dry cabins all over Alaska but there seems to be more in Fairbanks.
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Old 11-21-2007, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
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Haha...dry cabin needs a humidifier all the time.
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