3 Years Alone In The Forest Building A Log Cabin

Erik Grankvist, a young man from Stockholm, Sweden, finds himself lost at the age of 17. This is despite society’s clear path for him.

His life changes when he watches one of my favorite documentaries (which I reviewed here with free links to watch!: “Alone in the Wilderness” by Dick Proenneke.

It ignites an obsession to venture into the vast Swedish forest. He wants to live off the land and build a log cabin.

Watch “3 Years Alone In The Forest Building A Log Cabin”


  • My Rating: 92/100
  • IMDB Rating: na
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: na

Summary Review of the Documentary

With no prior knowledge, Erik spends weekends at his grandparents’ forest. He wanders, dreams, and seeks advice. On his 18th birthday, he announces his plans. He receives a GoPro camera from his parents to document his adventures. He hasn’t initially considered this but is now grateful for it.

The journey is arduous. It is filled with hard work, pain, cold, and countless mistakes. But Erik perseveres. He builds the cabin alone after three years. He also discovers a passion for filmmaking. He invests in a better camera.

Like Proenneke, he films the entire journey on a tripod by himself.

He describes this challenge as “insane.”

Some may doubt his solo efforts. But Erik takes it as a compliment. He knows his journey. He hopes to inspire others just as Dick Proenneke inspires him. The first 30 minutes of the video showcase Erik’s log cabin construction. It starts with finding the perfect site and felling the first trees.

As spring arrives, he splits the foundation log. He builds a stone foundation. The cabin begins to take shape as Erik skillfully stacks the logs. He showcases his ingenuity in lifting them alone. He cooks “K√•lbullar.” He installs windows and a door. This makes the cabin feel more like a home.

With winter approaching, Erik focuses on the roof structure. He battles against time. He splits stones under the cabin. He employs an old wood preservation technique to protect the logs. Throughout the process, he enjoys the company of his first dog. He also enjoys the beautiful Swedish wilderness.

The video captures sweet footage of wild animals. This includes an owl (3:43 and 5:56), a beaver (6:45), a baby fox (10:00), and a bear (46:27).

He also kills a wild boar (more on that below).

Erik’s self-sufficiency extends to growing his own food. He grows beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, mushrooms, and lingonberries for jam.

The wood preservation technique demonstrated at the 21-minute and 45-minute marks is particularly fascinating. By burning a layer of char on the wood’s surface, a protective layer of carbon is created. This shields the wood underneath from rot.

Erik’s skills also include ice fishing (59:33). He smokes the caught fish (1:02:00) using a teepee-like structure made of branches and brush. The smoked fish looks delicious. It is undoubtedly a rewarding meal after a successful catch.

In a dramatic moment, Erik shoots a wild boar (1:20:55). This showcases the challenges and realities of living off the land. As his family arrives (1:27:00), they gather for a feast. However, their reaction to Erik’s accomplishments seems somewhat subdued.

While Erik built his cabin a lot faster (in 3 years) than I could. He wasn’t nearly as productive as his inspiraiton — Dick Proenneke built his cabin in Alaska in less than 6 months. But Pronneke was a more experienced builder (Erik said he had “no experience” building).

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly

Chief Maniac, Daily Doc