The Backcountry Hut Company

  • 2023

  • Architectural
    Architectual Design

The Backcountry Hut Company was founded in 2017 to empower people in the construction of remote cabins. The prefabricated ‘kit-of-parts’ systems are assembled quickly with minimal site impact – ideal for remote locations. The systems are all developed with user participation in mind – with an emphasis on self-assembly and communal construction.

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Image: Kyle Chappell
Image: Russel Dalby
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  • When building in remote locations, traditional building methods are neither efficient nor sustainable. Materials and services are difficult and expensive to transport. Long construction processes necessitate dwellings and goods for construction crews. Increased risk is inevitable, and should anything go wrong on site, receiving assistance can be difficult or impossible. Additional distance means additional fuel, and as sites become more remote, the impact grows exponentially. Due to inevitable difficulties with storage, materials must be shipped in stages throughout the building process, greatly increasing the embodied energy construction. These are the challenges The Backcountry Hut Company is trying to solve.

  • Our goal is to provide clients with a highly coordinated structures – enduring materials and precision craftsmanship, with reliable costs and scheduling. Rather than design specific ‘models’ for cabins, we have developed cabin ‘systems’ that employ a component-based kit-of-parts approach to design and construction. The systems are scalable and customizable – adapting to a wide range of potential use scenarios. With assembly by groups of volunteers or homeowner builders, we empower people to have agency in the design and construction of small scale architecture. People who are willing to apply a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach can achieve phenomenal value compared to market construction rates.

  • The ‘kit-of-parts’ building system is intended to allow individuals and groups to have more agency in building their own structures, and in doing so, ultimately afford people increased power and opportunity to shape their own communities. The people that use our product are deeply involved in the process - not only the process of designing a piece of architecture, but in the actual planning and construction of the spaces they will inhabit. We have delivered over 30 kits to date throughout North America, and we are starting European manufacturing this year, and plan to expand into Australia in 2024.

  • The BHC system is based on the following key principals: Prefabrication We use a post-and-beam frame to support a building shell comprised of prefabricated insulated panels. All building components are factory-built, consolidated, flat-packed, and shipped to site. This front-loads specialized labour, allowing work on site to be done with simple tools and minimal skill sets. Modularity Our system is based on a 10-foot by 16-foot module. We design each module to address a specific architectural program/use – entry, living, eating, sleeping. Our systems can easily accommodate spaces from 100 square feet to 3000 square feet. Customization The structural shell acts as shelter for domestic life, allowing users to customize the interior space based on functional requirements whether it be bunk rooms, communal areas, living spaces, kitchens, bathrooms, or bedrooms. Ease of Assembly Our building components easily fit together with pre-engineered connections encouraging assembly by people with limited construction experience. Sustainability Site preparation is minimal, avoiding substantial site disturbance. Environmentally sensitive products are used for all materials, including FSC certified lumber, sustainable engineered wood products, and 100% recyclable components. We employ a zero-waste philosophy in the design and implementation of our products.