Choosing the Right Kind of Storage Container for Your Cabin

Shipping containers are becoming increasingly more popular for the construction of homes, especially cabins.

Though, it’s important that you do your research and ensure that you get the right storage container for your cabin. Choosing the right kind of storage container for your cabin isn’t difficult, it just takes a little bit of time.

Storage container cabins are getting more and more advanced every year. These cabins are becoming more and more comfortable, as well as larger and more luxurious. It’s a viable way to live without much compromise nowadays.

The use of shipping containers for cabins can be a lot cheaper than building a log cabin. It’s also very economical and good for the environment as it gives storage containers a purpose rather than being abandoned and left to rust.

Building your own shipping container cabin one time is much more cost effective than renting a cabin. If you’re interested in the cost of renting a cabin, check out my guide by clicking here.

So, what type of shipping container should you purchase for your cabin? You won’t realize it till you start searching, but there’s tons of different options available. To be honest, most storage containers should be fine for your cabin though there are a for exceptions.

You should purchase a container built from Cor-Ten Steel.

Any other material probably isn’t suitable for a cabin.

Let’s take a deeper look into what kind of storage container you want to buy.


Firstly, lets talk about the type of material you should be looking for.

As I mentioned previously there a specific type of steel that your storage container needs to be built from. Just being made from any steel isn’t good enough.

You need a shipping container built from a material called Cor-Ten Steel. This type of steel is often referred to as weathering steel. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a storage container made from this steel, it’s very common. Just ensure that you do verify this before purchasing a storage container, sometimes scammers will try to sell a poor-quality material shipping container to unsuspecting victims who are unaware of what material they really need.

The reason why you want a container made from Cor-Ten is because this type of steel is known for its resistance to the weather and rust. It’s a lot tougher than other shipping container materials. Not that other materials won’t last a long time, but it’s always best to get your moneys worth and protect your investment.

In conclusion, Cor-Ten steel is the material that you need. It’s not hard to find but it’s important to confirm that you’re purchasing what you need. Cor-Ten is the steel of choice as it’s a lot tougher, rust and weather resistant.


Now let’s talk about the size of cabin that you should be looking for.

To be honest, this is completely preference. You can get whatever size storage container you want. If you’ve got a large family, then you’ll obviously want a larger storage container. If its just for you and your significant other, then a smaller shipping container will do the job.

Keep in mind that the larger the container, the heavier it will be. This will also make it harder to transport. This is something which you’ll need to take into consideration. A large heavy shipping container will likely cost more to transport.

Storage containers tend to be about 8 feet wide though there are extra wide storage container which can go all the way up to 10 feet. Though these are rare. I highly doubt you’ll need a container so wide, 8 to 8 ½ feet should be enough.

When it comes to lengths, shipping containers tend to be either 40 or 20 feet. Though it is possible to find containers from 10 feet all the way up to 50 feet long in length.

Bear in mind that if you have a winding road which leads to your cabin site, it may be extremely difficult or even impossible to transport an extra-large shipping container onto the site. Imagine purchasing an expensive shipping container only to have nowhere to put it.

If you need a large home but can’t transport a large shipping container onto your site, then another option would be to purchase small containers and build a modular cabin. This is essentially a few small containers but merged together to make a bigger cabin.


There are two main types of shipping containers when it comes to height, I’ll go into some detail on both.

Firstly, there is the standard shipping container which has a height of 8 ½ ft from out the outside and a height of slightly below 8 ft from the inside. If you decide to add a drywall and framing, the ceiling will be a bit lower, the height from the inside will decrease. If this bothers you then the second option may be better for you.

The alternative option is a high cubed shipping container. This is essentially a taller shipping container. It has an extra foot of height compared to the standard container. These containers aren’t too difficult to find, a simple google search will provide you with many options. I’d highly recommend this option; the extra space makes your container feel a lot more like home. You don’t want to feel cramped inside of your home.


Storage containers come in a wide range of different conditions. The condition of your container is extremely important, therefore it’s important that you’re diligent. There are a few terms used to describe the condition of a storage container, I’ll provide you with the definitions.

  • Factory Paint: Factory paint means that the container still has its factory paint (The paint it was manufactured and sold with). It has not been repainted or refurbished. This is positive as often repainted containers will suffer from peeling paint due to rust that was covered up. If a container still has factory paint, rust hasn’t been hidden below.
  • One Trip: This means that the container has only been used for ‘one trip’. Meaning that it’s only been through a single journey. This is a positive thing as it’s likely to still be in excellent condition. It’s nearly new. These containers are very desirable. One trip container is as close as it gets to purchasing a brand-new storage container.
  • Cargo Worthy: As the name suggests, these containers are in good enough condition to be used to carry cargo. A cargo surveyor has investigated and approved of the containers condition. This means that the container can be used over-seas.
  • Wind-Water-Tight: If a container has this label, it means that the seller trusts that the container is wind and water tight (sealed enough to prevent wind and water from getting/out). However, this don’t necessarily mean that this has been confirmed by a cargo surveyor. This label is somewhat misleading as it makes buyers think that the container has been confirmed to be wind/water tight however this is not true.
  • No Shipping Label: As the name suggests, this is just a shipping container without a shipping label. This means it won’t have the large logo on it which most shipping containers have. These containers are likely to be a single color.
  • As Is: An ‘As-Is’ container often means that a warranty isn’t offered with the purchase. In most cases, these containers are clearly used and often show signs of wear-and-tear. Not necessarily meaning that they’re rusted and battered, some are in very good condition. They are very economical as there’s a lot of them! This is a good thing for us, as it means that we can get great prices on them. It’s a good idea to utilize the huge supply of these to your advantage and do a lot of shopping around to pick-up a bargain. If you’re careful in inspecting the condition of these containers and do a lot of shopping around, I’m sure you can find a container in great condition at a great price.

The condition of the container you purchase really comes down to your budget. Ideally, a one-trip container would be the best option if you have a lot of money to spend. However, this isn’t the most economical choice and you could be over-spending.

My recommendation is to go with a ‘As If’ container and shop around. Not only could you find outstanding deals and bang for your buck bargains, but you’d also be helping the environment. By using these containers you’re giving them a new purpose rather than having them sit and rust.


Price is always a big factor regardless of what you’re purchasing. Obviously, I cannot give you exact figures however I can provide you with some estimates and price ranges.

An ‘As is’ container can cost a low as $1300. Any lower than this and the container is probably in bad condition. I’d stay away from any ‘as if’ container below this price range unless you really know what you’re looking for.

Containers in ‘like-new’ condition will be around the price range of $7,000.

If you’re looking to make the most out of your money, then there’s a few things you should do. The most important thing to do is to shop around and get multiple quotes. The more containers which you get prices on, the more likely you are to find a bargain. Every container you check out is another opportunity to discover a hidden gem.

To get the most out of your money you should inspect the containers carefully before making judgment. Not all sellers will be truthful and identify small flaws for you. It’s important that you examine each container make sure you know what you’re looking for (Rust, cracks, dents).

It’s also a good idea to haggle. This essentially means to attempt negotiating a lower price than the original asking price. It never hurts to try, and you really don’t know until you try. If they decline, then they decline and you either purchase at their price or move on to next.

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