What life is like for a family living off-grid in a 160-square-foot wooden cabin in the remote Swedish forest with no electricity or running water

Sophia Ankel
·8 min read
Talasbuan Sweden
The Talasbuan cabin in the middle of northern Sweden. Talasbuan/YouTube
  • Mathias, Tova, and their son Ivar live in a 160-square-foot cabin in the wilderness of northern Sweden.

  • The family moved into their home, which has no electricity or water, eight years ago.

  • They spend their days working on their property while filming content for their YouTube channel.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Mathias, Tova, and their infant son Ivar live in no ordinary home.

The family moved into a tiny 160-square-foot wooden cabin in the middle of the Swedish wilderness eight years ago and haven't left since.

Living completely off-grid - with no electricity or running water - the family spends their time looking after their farm animals, developing projects on their property, and filming content for their YouTube channel, called Talasbuan.

Insider spoke to the family, who did not want to give their surname or reveal the precise location of their home, to find out more about their search for a sustainable, and independent life, almost completely detached from the rest of the world.

Scroll down to find out more.

Mathias, Tova, and their son Ivar live in a 160-square-foot wooden cabin in a forest in northern Sweden.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Mathias, Tova, and Ivar. Talasbuan/YouTube

Mathias is originally from Finland, while Tova is Swedish, and grew up in a village close to the cabin.

The couple met back in 2011 and one year later decided to move into the cabin, which is located on Tova's family land.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Mathias and Tova. Talasbuan/YouTube

Tova and Mathias were both seeking a more sustainable, free, and "resilient" lifestyle.

"Here we are able to provide for ourselves. We always have what we need close by and if something breaks, we want to be able to fix it and not be reliant on anyone else," Mathias told Insider.

But since the cabin is on Tova's family land, the couple also manages to save money by living there.

"We never really had any money in that sense. So it was nice for us to be able to live this cheap," Mathias continued. "This is family land so we have been able to do all this debt-free, which is really fortunate for us."

The cabin was originally a "fäbod", which in Sweden was historically used as a summer pasture for the grazing of livestock.

Talasbuan Sweden
The cabin during the summer. Talasbuan/YouTube

A fäbod, which is meant to be completely isolated, usually consisted of several other simple buildings, including a cattle shed, storage cabins, and a cooking cabin.

People stopped running fäbod's in the middle of the 19th century but there are still around 80 in use today.

Source: Swedish History

Historically, fäbod's were simple log cabins that were intended for summer use only, but Mathias and Tova live there all year round.

Talasbuan Sweden
The cabin during the winter. Talasbuan/YouTube

The couple told Insider they originally planned to temporarily stay in the cabin while figuring out what to do next.

"But eventually, we decided to stay and make something out of it because we really liked the place and saw its potential," Tova said.

It only took several months to add a few renovations to the house, which included changing the logs in the foundation, painting the walls to make it brighter, and cleaning everything out.

Since then, the couple has been bringing in furniture, building new appliances, and adding personal touches that make it look like a real home.

The cabin is isolated from society. It's 2 km (1.2 miles) from the closest village and 100km (62 miles) away from a city.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
The closest village. Talasbuan/YouTube

While the village has no shops and is only residential, it still provides a sense of community for the couple.

"So we have a larger extended family here, so to say, and we help each other out with all the chores on their place and all the building projects here as well," Mathias told Insider.

The couple also pops into the village from time to time, either to wash their clothes in a washing machine or to shower during the freezing winters.

However, they plan to build a sauna on their property soon, which would make it easier for them to do all of this on their own land.

The couple spends their days taking care of Ivar, working on projects for the expanding property, and filming content for the YouTube channel.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Tova attends to the family barn. Talasbuan/YouTube

The couple decided to get into YouTube after a friend suggested it to them.

Mathias, who has always had a passion for filmmaking, told Insider: "At the beginning, it was pretty hard because I was focusing on making these videos while also trying to work on other projects."

But since the YouTube channel's creation back in 2015, the family has amassed more than 11 million views and 174,000 subscribers, documenting everything from their day-to-day life, Christmas celebrations, and even their birth video.

"It's been interesting," Tova told Insider. "We get a lot more comments and emails. So it's been a hard time to answer it all. But we're not complaining!"

They also look after their many animals, which include sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, and chickens.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Chickens on a nearby barn. Talasbuan/YouTube

The cabin is completely off-the-grid, meaning there is no electricity or running water. Here it is in the wintertime.

An aerial view of the cabin. Talasbuan/YouTube

The family has a small solar panel and a battery to charge their phones or camera equipment, which Mathias uses to make the YouTube videos.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Mathias explains how the solar panel works in one of their YouTube videos. Talasbuan/YouTube

"We have surely made it harder for ourselves, we could probably have bought a place with electricity and so on," Tova writes on their website.

"But keeping this fäbod tradition, and guarding traditional skills is important to us, and so is the satisfying feeling of living a very resilient life."

The family's only source of water is a nearby freshwater stream. In the summertime, they also shower there.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Tova and Ivar. Talasbuan/YouTube

Their toilet is outdoors and attached to the side of their cabin. Tova told Insider that it could be "difficult" to go to the bathroom, especially when temperatures are below freezing.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
The outdoor toilet, which in Swedish is called "Dass" or "Utedass." Talasbuan/YouTube

But inside the cabin, it is homely and cozy. Mathia and Tova have added books, picture frames, plants, and candles to decorate the place.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
The family's library and dining room. Talasbuan/YouTube

Because there is no electricity, the family uses candles and an old kerosine lamp to light their home.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Mathias, Tova, and their son Ivar at their dining table. Talasbuan/YouTube

Their main source of warmth comes from a fire, which the couple lights first thing every morning.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
Tova gives a tour of the family home. Talasbuan/YouTube

Winters can get cold, as temperatures drop below zero and the family's cabin becomes encircled by deep snow.

Talasbuan Sweden
Mathias skiing with the couple's husky through the Swedish forest. Talasbuan/YouTube

In the winter it gets so cold that the couple can keep their refrigerated items in a kitchen cupboard close to the floor.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
The family's fridge. Talasbuan/YouTube

In the wintertime, the cupboard keeps the food cold at around 8 degrees Celcius (46 F).

But in the summer, they store most of their food in two holes they've dug in the ground, which keep a temperature of about 8 degrees Celcius (46 F).

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
The underground freezer. Talasbuan/YouTube

In the wintertime, the holes are used as freezers.

The family is currently also building an earth cellar that will become their new fridge. It will also act as a place to store aging cheese.

The family makes most of their food on their own. Nets in their roof store and dry different herbs they find in the forest.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
The herb net used on the roof of the home. Talasbuan/YouTube

Tova can also make artisan cheeses while Mathias has knowledge in butchery, smoking meat, and fermentation - all of which they share with their followers on YouTube.

cheese talasb
Tova making cheese. Talasbuan/Sweden

Tova and Mathias told Insider they rarely get lonely and have no plans to leave their cabin any time soon.

Talasbuan Sweden life cabin
The outdoor bathroom in the summer. Talasbuan/YouTube

They have a long list of projects they want to complete in the next few years, including building a bigger cabin, a creamery to sell cheeses, and a sauna.

talasbuan sweden
Construction of the earth cellar that will become the family's new fridge. Talasbuan/YouTube

Meanwhile, the couple hopes they can continue inspiring others to live more sustainably, while also teaching them about their way of life.

talasbuan sweden
A lake close to the family home. Talasbuan/YouTube

"Even though we would live a totally sustainable life, if those around us do not, our struggles mean nothing in the end," Mathias says on their website.

"Maybe we can ignite some thought through this not so sustainable content that we are producing."

Read the original article on Insider