Josh Duhamel isn’t exactly roughing it these days. After getting his start on the popular soap opera All My Children, the actor has gone on to star in everything from the Transformers movies to Netflix’s short-lived superhero series Jupiter’s Legacy. But when he’s not in Hollywood, Duhamel likes to spend his time living off the grid at a cabin in North Dakota. What started as a small cabin with no running water has grown into an entire lakeside compound where the actor believes he could survive indefinitely — if it came to that.
“I’ve become a bit of a doomsday prepper, I guess,” Duhamel tells Inverse.
To be clear, Josh Duhamel isn’t predicting the apocalypse anytime soon. He’s currently promoting his new movie Buddy Games: Spring Awakening, a sequel to the original dude-bro comedy he directed and starred in. The movies are semi-autobiographical, inspired by the real-life competitions he and his friends organize; sometimes at the cabin.
“The whole intention behind the first movie and then now this one was just to have fun. I wanted to make an unapologetic hard-hitting comedy where people watched it and said, ‘Holy sh*t, I can’t believe they just went there,’” Duhamel says, adding that he was inspired by Todd Phillips and the Farrelly brothers. “Those guys don’t pull punches.”
He’s also hopeful that Spring Awakening, which pits his original crew against a crowd of young spring breakers, can poke fun at some of the most sensitive topics in society today.
“We just wanted to find the humor in some of the extreme wokeness out there without being mean-spirited,” Duhamel says. “It’s a difficult line to toe because we don’t want to offend people but we also feel like people can take themselves a little less seriously.”
Duhamel may not want audiences to take Buddy Games too seriously, but the actor is clearly serious about prepping for the potential end of the world.
“I’m learning how to hunt. I fish,” Duhamel says. His doomsday cabin even has Starlink internet and a custom water filtration system. “I’m building something so if things do go south, I have a place to take my family.”
Check out our conversation with Josh Duhamel all about the cabin he obsesses over below.
Geeking Out is an Inverse series in which celebrities tell us about their nerdy and niche interests, hobbies, or collections.
So tell me about this cabin…
I have a tractor. I have a skid steer. I’m changing tires. I’m changing oil. I’m fixing things. I’m moving dirt, I’m popping rocks.
There’s this 2-mile road through the woods to get out there. When you see that lake, it’s like your blood pressure drops by 25 percent.
What’s the origin story?
It started with one little cabin in the woods with no electricity and no water. We would go and we didn’t wanna stay for more than a day or two. You could tell the mice had overrun it. It was disgusting.
Then, the cabin on the property next to that one went up for sale, and I bought it for like nothing; this beautiful little idyllic cabin on the water. Suddenly I had 54 acres out there. So I had two cabins, one with no electricity or water. They both have wells and electricity now, but they’re both really small.
We shaped the land. We created trails through it. I’m actually growing crops out there.
“This year I’m gonna grow pumpkins and corn.”
What kind of crops?
Well, we started with clover and chicory and stuff, mostly just to feed the deer. It was my first time ever tilling, you know, clearing a space of land and tilling it and seeding it. This year I’m gonna grow pumpkins and corn.
Why would you want to feed the deer?
It’s called a food plot. My idea is that I want to be able to hunt a deer. I’m not a hunter by any means, but I have this crazy fixation on what happens if sh*t hits the fan in LA and I have to take my family out there and live off the land.
I’ve become a bit of a doomsday prepper, I guess. So I’m learning how to hunt. I have wells. We have water. We have fuel. I’m building something so if things do go south, I have a place to take my family. And I believe that we could live off the land out there. I’m not very good at it yet, but I’m getting there.
It keeps my lizard brain active.
How long could you survive out there without any extra supplies?
I mean, we could live out there just by fishing.
Eventually, you need fuel, and you want bread. I don’t make bread.
We’re so deep in the woods that, especially in the winter, if you run out of any of these things and you get snowed in, you’re suddenly Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
How did you get into doomsday prepping?
I read this book called Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse years ago, and it freaked me out a little bit.
And then there was a movie or book about these guys who had this little community where everybody had their own specialty. One was weapons, one was canning, one was construction, one was medical. And if you didn’t have something to bring to the group, you were out. I’m not saying I’m that crazy about it, but it is a comforting feeling knowing that I could survive out there.
“I read this book called Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse years ago, and it freaked me out a little bit.”
So you’ve got one of those skills?
I’m working on those skills. I wouldn’t call myself an expert or a survivalist by any means, but I’m getting better at it.
You mentioned hunting. Are you also studying how to butcher an animal?
Yeah, that would be part of my getting a deer. I’ve never shot a deer. I tried last year with a bow. It was totally unsuccessful. I wanna learn how to actually dress a deer and take the meat and freeze it and have the ability to feed my family if I need to. It’s not anything I did growing up. I don’t like the idea of hurting animals, I really don’t. But I’m OK with it if it’s allowing my family to eat.
I know you have wells, but how does the water system work? Did you design it yourself?
So we have three wells out there now. I had to dig one at each of the three cabins. (I didn’t personally dig the wells, but we had them dug out.) We have pumps at the bottom of them that pull the water up, but you can also do it manually. We’re independent with our water supply, which is great.
As far as the water filtration, some of it has a lot of iron in it. You take some of the water from the sprinkler and everything turns red, so you need some kind of a filtration system. We put a reverse osmosis filtration system on it. And it’s treated with salt, to make sure it’s drinkable.
“I still keep two outhouses just for nostalgic reasons, I guess.”
What about the toilets?
We recently got actual plumbing with actual flushing toilets. For the first 10 years, it was outhouses, which my wife did not love; to go outside in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, especially when there’s wolves and bear all over the place out there. So I still keep two outhouses just for nostalgic reasons, I guess.
Do you have television or internet?
We have TVs out there now. I have internet thanks to Elon Musk’s Starlink.
It’s been great actually. I don’t know if you ever tried Starlink, but that is like fast internet and it’s literally coming from space. Like I said, we’re not roughing it anymore.