It’s not so much a place to escape. It’s different than that. A man cave – for the outdoorsman – is a place to wrap all the goodness that is our pastime into one place making it more of a sanctuary than it is an escape!
Faced with the opportunity to create my own man cave last year, I hit some of my favorite hunting forums and blogs for inspiration on how to resurrect what would become my own Man Cave.
There are some amazing versions of man caves out there. For example, one gentleman I connected with from Ohio created a spectacular room that includes all of his mounts, top-quality furniture and top-of-the-line electronics for him and his boys to watch football on weekends. Others have the beer fridge and a chair … with nothing else! For them, their man cave is a place to chill following a hard day’s work.
Above all things, I learned in my research that a man cave needs to serve its owner’s purpose. In short order, I realized that I wanted the Cavo de Culbert version to be:
• a place to display some of the various game mounts I’ve compiled
• a place to be able to tinker with all my guns, bows and other hunting equipment
• a safe environment to house all my gear away from kids while also protecting it from intruders
• a place for my friends and me to kick back for a cold one and share memories from afield
The first thing I did to the empty room was to paint the floor with a Rustoleum epoxy floor coating. I’ve used it to paint the garages in my current and former home and thought it would be perfect for helping keep the floor of my man cave clean and bright. It’s worked great thus far.
The gun safe was the next “must-have.” I wanted my guns to be protected and safe while at the same time having something that was aesthetically pleasing. In addition to the home security system that is activated throughout all areas of my man cave, the safe gets security checked off my needs list.
Tongue-and-groove knotty-pine boards moved to the top of the list as the backdrop for the game mounts. Everyone I spoke with seemed to agree that it was easy to install and looked good following years of being in place. Framing alongside the knotty-pine wall allowed me to easily wire the entire room with 110v electricity. Luckily, my house’s breaker box happened to be in my soon-to-be man cave, making all the wiring a snap. A coat of polyurethane went over the mounted tongue and groove to add a little life to its rough color.
It took at least two nights worth of cold beer and deep thinking to decide exactly what to do with the work bench. I opted for the “bigger is better” approach and ended up making a 16-foot bench with shelves underneath for storage and peg board above for hanging tools, etc. I had initially opted to build a clothing closet until I was walking through Lowe’s and decided to purchase instead. Made out of particle board, it ended up being half the price it would have cost me to build from scratch. I keep cedar shavings in the closet to keep my hunting clothes from smelling like particle board.
Finally, I added corner shelving to the corner of my cave that filled up far quicker than I anticipated (Read: Too much stuff)! The shelves hold treestands, layout blinds, decoys and the like.
I spent the better part of three weeks working evenings on the man cave. The return has come quickly as in its first year I’ve spent far more hours in the cave than it took to build it.
NOTE: The one thing my man cave is missing is a good name. One buddy refers to it as the “He man Woman Haters Club.” I think that’s a bit harsh. Any thoughts? Leave them in the comments below. Oh, and tell me what you think of my personal version of a man cave.