Family retreat at off-grid lake cabin with water-only access

As glaciers receded, a myriad of lakes amid forests & granite emerged in places across the , like northern . We visited friends whose remote off-grid cabin can be accessed only by boat or kayak. Surrounded by rock, trees and water, the home consists of a rather simple cabin and two tiny outbuildings for guests (one being a “”, tiny bunkhouse, in Ontario parlance).

Due to the granite floor, the plumbing and septic was reliant on the lake and composting. It begins with a pump in the lake bringing water into the home. Here it’s filtered by two sediment filters (of 20 and 5 micron), run through an and treated with UV light before becoming drinking water for the home, as well as flowing through the kitchen sink and bathroom.

Since the igneous rock under the home prevents any kind of septic, the house has a vacuum-flush toilet that sends the waste to a shed behind the home to be composted. This toilet is connected to lake water. The toilet in the backyard cabin uses the same vacuum-flush system, but the bowl is filled between flushes from a pitcher.


  1. I have mixed feeling about this video. Perhaps it’s because I’m currently horribly sick with unconfirmed covid19…but, seeing videos where people are able to escape our current pandemic, where ppl are dying, and act so carefree, really gets on my nerves right now. I really just can’t. It feels really inappropriate right now.

    Edit: for anyone who doesn’t agree: you either haven’t gotten sick with this virus or known anyone who has died…yet. Get back to me with your opinions once you have.

    • By not being On-Grid… Pretty straight forward, it’s a remote location that can only be accessed by boat or kayak… Composting toilet system, local water, etc.

  2. It’s so much easier to have a bucket compoost system where the waste is emptied into garbage bins with holes drilled in the bottom. Leave it for a couple of years and you can use that compoost under trees and gardens.

  3. I’m not really into this kind of excretainment. Ew 95% of video dedicated to documenting these people’s waste management system. Weird Kirsten.

    • I disagree, it’s just a part of what makes life in remote areas possible. Ignoring such details will fail in the point of explaining how people manage to do it and what makes their life different from other ways of living in other places.

      Otherwise people won’t have the right idea of how practical it would be for them and whether they can only do it part time as a vacation/retreat or consider it for full time living.

      Off-grid living is something people should fully understand before getting into and not confuse it with a glamorous and fantasized version that will ill prepare them for the actual reality…

  4. I love these videos but the low shutter speed clips make it really disorienting and hard to watch. I suggest upping the iOS instead of adjusting the shutter speed in the low light situations

  5. I’m not an expert, but it seems like they could add the kitchen waste to the compost for the toilets.Or at least throw it in with the outhouse waste. Am I wrong?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.