man cave illustration
Photo by Mike Del Rizzo illustration

Pop culture has found the need to define the personal meeting place of manly men as a “man cave.” Evidently, words like backwoods cabin, barn, garage, gym, workshop and trophy rooms didn’t have enough pizazz. Man cave is for preppy marketing wizards who wish to only sell to the population capable of growing beards. Of course, it could be the logic of lumping backwoods cabins, barns, garages, gyms, workshops and trophy rooms into one simple category. My rational manly-man mind doesn’t think so. I highly suspect that the term “man cave” was conceived by a manicured, skinny-jean-wearing urbanite who drives to work sipping a latte in a prissy pink Prius that has a PETA sticker. If you think otherwise, then I will gladly sell you some T-Rex jerky or a pair of dinosaur-skin cowboy boots!

Right now, while you are reading this, merchandise is rolling out of Asian factories geared for the single purpose of “decorating” your man cave. Unfortunately, some of it is arguably tempting to buy, but in a real man’s world, shouldn’t the items chosen for display have functional capabilities? I think so! For example, a hand-crafted gun rack and/or safe would fit the bill. Since these items aren’t just for looks, there should be an adequate supply of guns included. Every real man needs the essentials: shotguns, .22s, high-powered rifles, an assortment of handguns and at least one black gun if for no other purpose than to tick off any anti-gunners that have, God forbid, stealthily slipped into your group of friends.

Passing The Test

Anything entering your room of manliness must pass the following litany test, Would Phil Robertson approve? Cleavers, bayonets, machetes and pearl-handled knives are approved; light beer logos and designer anything are out. Meat freezers and ice coolers are in. Woks, wine racks and foo-foo drinks are out. Fire is definitely in. Anything utilizing fire for cooking meat, including but not limited to grills, pizza ovens, blowtorches and fireplaces, are in.

Wall Space

Wall space that is not used for functional purposes should proudly display taxidermy personally acquired through hunting and fishing excursions. Variety is preferred, and at least one piece should be acquired from an out-of-state expedition to show that you are indeed cultured! European mounts (skulls with attached antlers, fangs or tusks) will also sufficiently serve this purpose. Bears and wildcat taxidermy help display the risk of going from predator to prey—a quality greatly appreciated by most descendants of Adam.

Man Cave Floors

Man cave floors should be made tough enough to withstand power washing and have adequate drainage for spilled blood, mud, grease and in general, manly grime. Restored weathered barn wood, logs and field stones personally collected off of property that you own are considered highly-preferred building materials. Personally hand-welded rebar steel is also acceptable.


Seating should recline or be on wheels. Exceptions to this rule include converted treestands, upright logs, stumps and handmade barstools. Big-as-a-billboard, high-definition TVs are allowed as long as they stay tuned to sporting events or outdoor programming. Any movie collection must include Braveheart, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Jeremiah Johnson or anything by The Duke.

Dress Code and Attitude

Music should come from customized jukeboxes, stereos and antique radios. Hank Williams Jr.’s “Country Boys Can Survive” and Ted Nugent’s “Fred Bear” are considered manly anthems. They must be sung along to whenever they are heard.

Dress codes are not mandated for entry. Camouflage, denim, flannel and boots are preferred. Fancy pants and anything pierced can and will deny you access. If this ruffles your panties, then grab your purse and flit out of my lair!

One more thing: A sense of humor is mandatory for any and all inhabitants of the man cave. If this writing has in any way offended you, then you do not need to have your own man cave, and you should seriously refrain from entering mine. If you feel the need to be politically correct, then stay out! However, if you do agree with me, shoot something, satisfy that itch, light dynamite, split wood, spit or simply carry on at being a real man!

To read more from author Jerry Lambert, order his hunting short story books, Trophy White Tales, The Hunting Spirit or his outdoor mystery novel North of Wrong, visit

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