Have you decided to ditch the hustle and bustle of daily life and go off the grid? If so, there are a few things to consider before you jump into this lifestyle change. If you’re not prepared, you could potentially turn your off-grid dream into an all-out nightmare.
There’s no denying we’re all very accustomed to relying on the systems available to us. That’s why it’s essential to prepare for a life of self-reliance before you go packing your bags. To make it easy for you, we’ve explored some off-grid solutions for all your basic necessities.
When you’ve ticked these off, you’ll be able to successfully live a life of self-reliance off the grid.
Your off-grid land will play an important role in self-reliance. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just finding a piece of land and getting set up. How well your land supports your self-reliant lifestyle depends on three vital factors:
- Nearby water sources
- Soil quality
Off-grid land is typically regulated as urban land. You will need to purchase your land from what’s available before it becomes your permanent place of residence. The good news is you’ll get more bang for your buck with an off-grid property. The further you are from urban centres, the cheaper the land becomes and the more space you will have.
A (Tiny) Home
This is not a camping trip. Your shelter needs to withstand weather extremes and provide you with long-lasting comfort and protection. It doesn’t need to be big, but it does need to be functional.
Container homes, tiny homes, and cabins all offer a reliable off-grid living solution that compliments your self-reliant life while affording some essential creature comforts. Combining the solid structure of a modern home with minimalist living conditions, they provide security and function while living off the grid.
A self-reliant life means generating energy from sustainable sources.
Nowadays, electricity is a basic need.
Here are a few options:
Solar is great in regions with plenty of sunlight. If that doesn’t sound like the location you’ve chosen, go with a different power source. Solar panels are low maintenance, long-lasting, and can be made to fit any space, large or small. As it relies on the sun, solar can be somewhat inconsistent, so you may need a battery system during periods of limited sunlight.
Wind is a proven natural energy source, but, like solar, can be inconsistent. As wind comes and goes, you will need a battery system as well. In exposed locations with lots of wind, turbines can be very effective, providing plenty of energy to live comfortably. As wind turbines require regular maintenance, you will need to consider where they’re placed.
Drinking and sanitation are vital to our health and wellbeing. As we suggested earlier, choose your location based on the natural, clean water sources nearby. However you get your water, you will need a filtration system to ensure it’s safe to drink.
Living near rivers, lakes, and streams doesn’t automatically grant you a water source. They’re perfect for swimming and freshening up, but think again before gathering your water this way. In many parts of the world, it’s illegal to draw from rivers, lakes, and streams.
There are three common ways to access water while living off the grid:
Hauled water is instantly potable, requiring no treatment before use. But hauling water is the least sustainable option as it requires travelling to the nearest town to refill your tanks or paying a service to deliver water to you regularly. Hauled water is handy to have on hand, but it shouldn’t be relied on as your sole source.
Installing a well
If you’re thinking of installing a well, check that it’s suitable in your location before purchasing your property. A well comes with a high initial cost but will provide a consistent, reliable water source throughout your off-grid life. You will need a manual or solar-powered pump to access the water from your well.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a natural spring, you’ve hit the jackpot. As this is a rarity, you’ll most likely be collecting rainwater. Rainwater is a clean, naturally occurring resource that you can collect in catchment systems that flow from your roof to your storage.
Off-grid living means eating only what you grow and raise yourself. Your natural food sources must be capable of providing you with enough to live on, no matter the season.
Here are your essential food sources:
A successful off-grid vegetable garden will have plenty of easy-to-grow vegetables such as potatoes, beans, corn and carrots. Ensure you always have a good supply of seeds and learn how to preserve foods. This will minimise waste and provide you with fruit and vegetables outside the crop’s season.
While they take some time to get established, fruit trees provide an instant food source when in season. Plant a variety of fruit trees to ensure there’s always a range of fruits available each season.
A chicken coop will provide you with plenty of fresh eggs (and the occasional meal).
An established beehive will help pollinate your crop and provide an abundance of honey. You can also use the beeswax to create natural candles thatreduce dust, pollen and toxin levels in the air of your tiny home.
A sustainable life off the grid means having an off-grid alternative to modern-day comforts. This includes waste disposals and flushing toilets.
What will you do with your waste?
Establish a good home compost with kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, paper and grass clippings. This turns your food waste into nutrient-dense food for your soil, helping your garden thrive.
The easiest and most sustainable way to deal with human waste is to invest in a composting toilet and turn your waste into compost. To be clear, this is not compost for your garden but rather for other non-food plants on your property. Human waste is a great composting method but requires a good level of knowledge before committing to the journey.
An Off-Grid Lifestyle Isn’t For Everyone, But Everyone Can Live Off The Grid
While off-grid living is the ultimate solution to finding peace among nature, we still need to meet all our needs such as food, water, shelter, energy, and sanitation. With a little preparation, you’ll set yourself up for a successful life off the grid.