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Old 03-03-2016, 10:06 PM
 
7 posts, read 11,981 times
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Just had a question.

Planning to move to the Fairbanks/interior Alaska area with my wife within the next year or so. We're primarily interested in dry cabins as we are neither picky nor demanding. We come from rural extreme northern Maine...we are used to isolation, rustic life and the nuances that go along with this...however there's one amenity my wife is fairly fond of. Baths. Beyond that a dry cabin is ideal/perfect for the two of us - small, self contained and 'private'. By ideal what I mean to say is that it is specifically what we want to the exclusion of other more 'modern' and 'inclusive' options. As such, we'd rather not forego those positives just to fit in something as otherwise inconsequential as a 'bath'.

So my question is this: is it feasible to consider a hot tub within the context of an otherwise 'dry' cabin? That's literally the only thing that would prevent a dry cabin from being not just doable but our dream/'ideal.'

I guess my thoughts/concerns re: this are vaguely - 1...do people do this, such that a landlord would not get pissed so long as we maintain it, clean it, and not damage anything, & 2...is there any less than obvious/intuitive 'arctic'/permafrost/Alaskan consideration and/or set of contingencies that would make such a plan more difficult than it seems on first blush?

Also, 3...is there anything else that I'm missing about such a thought process which I am either just too naive/uninformed about whatever variable

Thing is, like I alluded to above, the whole style and nature of the dry cabin is ideal to us. It's not just 'cheap' or something we'd be settling for - it's the life the two of us feel most drawn to.

So yeah...insofar as baths, hot tubs, etc are considered - what options are there?

Thanks so much for any advice at all.
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Old 03-04-2016, 04:34 AM
 
Location: interior Alaska
5,760 posts, read 4,081,413 times
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If it's a dry cabin, how do you intend to fill the hot tub? The definition of a dry cabin is that it doesn't have water.

Well, some more developed "damp" residences do have holding tanks for hauled water (Fairbanks doesn't get enough precip for a catchment system) that allow for a degree of indoor plumbing despite the absence of a well, but they're basically set up to let you conservatively wash dishes and give yourself a quick rinse shower, not fill a hot tub or even a regular tub. Plus that's not the norm for dry cabins - dry usually means dryyyyy, especially for cabins. You'd probably be better off just staying at a hotel occasionally or something. Or join the Alaska Club, they have a sauna.

I suppose if it was next to a river or lake you could maybe rig some kind of bath with water from that, in summertime. Marinating in beaver fever doesn't sound very appealing to me, though.

Last edited by Frostnip; 03-04-2016 at 04:49 AM..
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Old 03-04-2016, 04:51 AM
 
7 posts, read 11,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
If it's a dry cabin, how do you intend to fill the hot tub? The definition of a dry cabin is that it doesn't have water.

Well, some more developed "damp" residences do have holding tanks for hauled water (Fairbanks doesn't get enough precip for a catchment system) that allow for a degree of indoor plumbing despite the absence of a well, but they're basically set up to let you conservatively wash dishes and give yourself a quick rinse shower, not fill a hot tub or even a regular tub. Plus that's not the norm for dry cabins - dry usually means dryyyyy, especially for cabins. You'd probably be better off just staying at a hotel occasionally or something. Or join the Alaska Club, they have a sauna.

I suppose if it was next to a river or lake you could maybe rig some kind of bath with water from that, in summertime. Marinating in beaver fever doesn't sound very appealing to me, though.
I'm literally thinking of a soaking tub more than a unit for bathing...such as many other hot tubs which are like mini pools utilizing chemicals to keep the water 'fresh'...rather than relying on constantly refreshing the water outright.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Interior Alaska
2,207 posts, read 2,196,937 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick8281 View Post
I'm literally thinking of a soaking tub more than a unit for bathing...such as many other hot tubs which are like mini pools utilizing chemicals to keep the water 'fresh'...rather than relying on constantly refreshing the water outright.
His points stand no matter your intended purpose for the hot tub, which he did not even comment on. Some people who live in dry cabins do that sort of thing... I have a friend that lives in a damp cabin who gets a hotel room once a month so she can shave her legs and soak in the tub. A dry cabin is dry... no water. You haul water in 5-gal jugs to wash your dishes and your hoohaa, so I am curious how you thought to fill this soaking tub or whatever. How would you heat it in the winter?? I can't even picture this whole affair in my mind.

Maybe you should just consider getting a place with water.

I am curious what these mysterious positives are of living in a dry cabin, if cost is not one of them.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Deltana, AK
864 posts, read 1,807,781 times
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The option of getting a "damp" place with a holding tank, plumbing, and a septic is more common in Fairbanks than Frostnip made it sound. There are lots of places like that where people live with pretty normal water consumption, and either have a large water tank in the bed of their pickup which they fill in town at the "water wagons" or have water delivered. That might be more civilized than you're looking for, and the suggestion to stay in a hotel every now and then makes a lot of sense, especially in winter when hotel rates are low. The savings in rent/mortgage in a dry cabin would easily pay for it.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:58 AM
 
Location: interior Alaska
5,760 posts, read 4,081,413 times
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That's REALLY not a dry cabin, though. It's not what anyone means by the term. It's just house with no well. And a hot tub would still use a prohibitive amount of water in such a set up, if that water has to be hauled.

Anyway, where do you put the thing, if you intend to keep it always full? Setting one up indoors at a rental is absurd on the face of it, and outdoors has an obvious problem with standing water the majority of the year, unless it's always on, and I can't even imagine the energy cost of that.
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Old 03-04-2016, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
17,471 posts, read 31,200,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
That's REALLY not a dry cabin, though. It's not what anyone means by the term. It's just house with no well. And a hot tub would still use a prohibitive amount of water in such a set up, if that water has to be hauled.

Anyway, where do you put the thing, if you intend to keep it always full? Setting one up indoors at a rental is absurd on the face of it, and outdoors has an obvious problem with standing water the majority of the year, unless it's always on, and I can't even imagine the energy cost of that.
You are right, Frostnip. A dry cabin is just what the name implies (dry). My oldest son has lived in a dry cabin for a couple of years, by Birch Hill: he gets drinking water at the Fox water hole, or buys it at the store, takes showers at work, buys heating fuel for the stove in Fairbanks, and so on. A damp cabin is not a dry cabin, and it costs more to live in (unless you own it).

One can make a dry cabin damp by adding a shallow well, and a septic system. All depends on the area the cabin sits on, and who owns it. If one is renting, it is a lot more difficult to make changes unless approved in writing by the landlord.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Interior Alaska
2,207 posts, read 2,196,937 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heathen View Post
The option of getting a "damp" place with a holding tank, plumbing, and a septic is more common in Fairbanks than Frostnip made it sound. There are lots of places like that where people live with pretty normal water consumption, and either have a large water tank in the bed of their pickup which they fill in town at the "water wagons" or have water delivered. That might be more civilized than you're looking for, and the suggestion to stay in a hotel every now and then makes a lot of sense, especially in winter when hotel rates are low. The savings in rent/mortgage in a dry cabin would easily pay for it.
While I didn't get the idea from frostnip's post that he was saying damp cabins weren't common, I agree 100% that they are very, very common here. I live in one and it seems like most everyone I know does as well, but I live in Fox and that's kinda part of the program here. Actually now that I think about it, even most of my friends who live outside of Fairbanks technically live in damp homes. The only reason my water consumption is not "normal" is because my hot water heater is only 5-gallons, but after living in a dry cabin, even that seems luxurious, haha.

Seems like every other pickup has a Greer tank in the bed.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:17 AM
 
7 posts, read 11,981 times
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Hmm.

I apologize if what I'm about to say sounds cynical/sarcastic/rude...I don't mean it that way. I'm just trying to be as utterly prosaic about this topic as I can because I just, honestly, do not know what I do not know in the worst way possible...and I don't know why the answers given to me have anything to do with my question. You guys are acting like I'm missing something so fundamentally simple and basic that you take it so utterly for granted that you're not even conscious that its necessary to answer my question.

That said...I still don't know what it is and I'm fully aware that this is likely on me...but it's important to me that I figure this out. I apologize if I sound condescending...I'm not, I'm just backtracking because I don't even know where to begin. ><

1. 'If it's a dry cabin, how do you intend to fill the hot tub?' I'm either retarded or far too ignorant here. A hot tub takes, perhaps, 30 gallons of water. Acquiring this water in person from a third party hardly seems like an insurmountable obstacle to me. In my mind this could be done, worst case scenario, through perhaps 5-10 five mile trips in a car using large jugs. That would take, perhaps, 1-2 days if I didn't rush it.

2. 'dry usually means dryyyyy, especially for cabins.' My understanding of the distinction between dry, damp and wet cabins in this context is totally basic. I'm imagining it has no relevance to the thermodynamics of water as a chemical molecule and/or its stability in that context...rather it's just a way of saying that the building, for whatever reason, is not connected to the state/city water source...nor to its own source of water on 'demand.' As such I'm not sure why this would have anything to do with me filling water jugs somewhere else and driving them to my house to fill a hot tub with them.

3. 'How would you heat it in the winter??' There is concern here regarding how one would heat a hot tub. Um...electricity? Am I missing some reason why access to electricity (there are even hot tubs which can be heated by gas/oil/etc) is something I need to consider?

4. 'Setting one up indoors at a rental is absurd on the face of it' It is pointed out that having an indoor hot tub is 'absurd on its face.' What does that even mean? A subjective valuation regarding a bathtub has nothing to do with any empirical objective value on that same bathtub. If having a hot tub isn't all that important to you I can assure you that I will drop any previous plans I had regarding acquiring one and setting it up for you.

That said...my wife would still like a hot tub (even after I pointed out to her that you personally don't want one.) In fact...she -really- wants one. She still loves soaking in hot water while reading, etc. In light of her preferences on the matter here is my assessment on the related logistical problems: a. I can afford a hot tub on its own, b. can arrange the trips necessary to acquire the 30-50 gallons of water to fill it and, finally, c. afford the electricity and/or oil necessary to heat it all.

What am I missing? Does that cover everything? If it does, is it still absurd to do so? Will people laugh at me and pick me last at recess?

I don't mean to sound rude, I'm just having a lil fun, but in all honesty I'm fully aware that I could be missing the most obvious and game changing consideration here. That's why I'm posting this in the first place. I don't know what I don't know so I'm laying out my idea, laying out my thoughts on it...and then asking what I'm missing and where I'm wrong. There are plenty of things about life in Alaska specifically, about life on the permafrost...on and on...that a person from thousands of miles away living in an entirely different situation may not know about. Most of these are not immediately intuitive, either...hence my concerns.

I apologize in advance for being utterly obvious and tediously prosaic...but I see you guys dismissing my question out of hand like I'm missing something so laughably obvious that you've taken for granted the notion that it even exists.

I really am that naive. I apologize.

--- @riceme: You said: 'I am curious what these mysterious positives are of living in a dry cabin, if cost is not one of them.'

You said you're curious so I'll overshare a bit. This'll get a bit wishy washy and philosophical...but I'm just putting my personal preferences down with vague reasoning. I don't mean to sound arrogant or judgemental - this is just what I think I'd like. People are welcome to do what works for them and I don't pretend to think I've found anything better, lol.

I don't mean to say that cost has nothing to do with it...just that the cost of it isn't necessarily the determining factor. Beyond that, here's a quick rundown of my thoughts on it:

1. I love the aesthetic appearance of most cabins. Not just their structural issues but the tendency for these cabins to have a really nice location in a forest. It goes without saying that virtually any house could have the same location and aesthetic style, but the issue to me is that this would also impact the cost/value ratio to a degree where...it's not so much cost prohibitive, it's just that it isn't a wise use of money. If I can get essentially the same thing for $1500-$2000 dollars a month that I can get for $400...it would be dumb not to take the cheaper option and save that extra money.

2. The logical next step from there is the fact that the issue here isn't purely about money saved. The difference in cost accounts also for more amenities. That's nice and all...but for that to be something worth considering...those amenities should be important to me. Things like running water, larger yard, more bed rooms, etc...these are not something that would make an impact on my life such that spending that much extra money on them would be the mature thing to do. I'm not picky, I don't care about having a large living space, etc. I just don't.

3. There's a third less intuitive positive I didn't get into as well. That positive is that the way I imagine life in a dry cabin to be would have the eventual impact of teaching me about making do with less. One of the side effects of modern life in the lower 48 is that career, etc, is accomplished necessarily through a process where our individual contribution is incredibly highly specialized. This is great in that it is exceedingly strategic and efficient...allowing us to create that abundance which differentiates our culture to such a degree that we can transcend not just our own nature, but also transcend our environment. The downside, though, is that this strategic focus on being utterly efficient means that the direct product of our work becomes so highly specialized that when we consider it against our lives...we feel a sense of utter disconnect and alienation between what we do all day and who we feel we really are and what we think we could actually contribute to our own lives or to the world at large.

To me personally...this is motivation to want to strip things back a bit and simplify my life. For at least a little while I'd rather forego some of this faceless abundance by having a more direct and personal connection between the work I do every day and its impact on my experience of life itself. Of course there's nothing out right wrong with modern life itself, or at least it's not something I feel qualified to judge in that sense, it's just that I think it would be a healthy experience to rely more directly on my own actions than just mindlessly partake in the obscure abundance afforded all of us in modern society.

That sounds wishy washy...and it is...but to me it just means that that more stripped down and simple life looks fun to me. To that end I'm just saying I'd like to give it a try for a year or two and see how I like it.

Last edited by Nick8281; 03-05-2016 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,992 posts, read 3,348,243 times
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Any decent sized hot tub is going to be more like 200 gallons or more. You say you want to simplify but having a hot tub at a dry cabin is really complicating things as mentioned above. You'd have to haul a lot more than 30 gallons in unless you're a tiny midget. Yeah, You could theoretically do it. You would also have to keep it plugged in.

A better option for a dry cabin would be one of those nice wooden tubs with a submersible wood heater (not cheap) and drained after use rather than it's continually filled electric heated counter part. A lot of dry cabins I've seen also aren't necessarily wired up for these things.

You would also have to find a landlord that doesn't mind you bringing a hot tub in. I'd imagine most are going to be confused when you ask but you should be able to find someone.

If I was in your situation I'd get an on demand propane water heater from amazon and a small Tupperware bucket and tell my wife it's the closest thing to a hot tub she's getting and I'll take her to the Hampton inn to use the real hot tub once a month.
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