An Introduction to Living Off-Grid

No matter who you are, there is little doubt that you’ve heard of the off-grid movement. You’ve likely heard of tiny homes and seen articles in magazines, at the grocery store check-out, that feature titles such as ‘self-reliant living’ and right now, it all seems more appealing than it ever has. 

When living off-grid, the conveniences of modern appliances are typically left behind as well, in favor of those that don’t use as much power. Running a solar system or a wind generator for power becomes your only source of electricity.  Are you ready to make the commitment? Here are some tips to help you make the jump. 

You might also find interesting our article about tips for living off the grid.

Essential Needs

The things that are essential to survival are what you must prioritize and have a plan in place to make them available to you as quickly as possible, once you’ve found your off-grid paradise. 

Step One – Find the right piece of land. You want a property that will sustain you. It needs to have a water supply that is somewhat reliable. This can be well, rainwater, or cisterns. 

Is the weather good for planting? Is the soil good? If the ground is full of clay and rock, you’ll be limited in what you can plant and need to create raised beds for a lot of the things you want to grow. 

Do you want to raise livestock? You cannot have 10 head of cattle grazing on an acre. It will not sustain them. 

Do your research and make a list of your goals, then shop for your land and take your time. Don’t jump on the first thing you see unless it is perfect. 

Know the zoning of the land and don’t buy anything that hasn’t been surveyed! This will save you a ton of grief! Not all zoning laws will allow for off-grid living. There are only a handful of states that do and some of them are only specific counties.

We also recommend reading our article about the best states for living off the grid.

If solar power is your plan, will there be adequate sunlight? If rain water is your plan, is there enough average rainfall to sustain you and the rest of your family? 

Step Two – You’ll need to work out your shelter. Is this property so remote that you can’t truck anything in? Without building supplies, then you’ll need to have what supplies are necessary already on the land to build your home. Will you? 

Step Three – Food needs. Refrigeration will be necessary at some point for you to keep food. It’s possible to can and cook with propane or over an open fire. You can even get a solar oven. How will you store food for the long term? Refrigeration can run off enough solar power, wind power, propane fuel, or generator. 

Now you have your land, you’ve got your shelter, you’ve determined your power supply needs and have it in place, you’ve got refrigeration, you’ve got a water supply too. 

The last thing that people tend to forget about until they are on their property for about two hours is … how will you use a bathroom when you don’t have one? 

Step Four – There are trash considerations, including human waste. Digging a hole and burying your waste is not allowed in many states and counties. It can land you a hefty fine. Plus, it contaminates your own soil. Why do that? 

Learn how to compost food, paper, and your own waste properly so that it returns to nature with the least impact as possible. Dry toilets work well as long as you understand the theory and practice. Food and paper can become compost for the gardens. All else needs to go to a dump, be burned, or disposed of properly so you don’t attract wild animals and vermin. 


If you strongly consider these things, you’ll be off to a good start. Try it out for size by doing some camping in remote places and see how you adapt. Ease your way into it and put thought into everything that you do. You’ll learn as you go and see what works great for you. Being able to adapt and roll with the flow are what makes someone a great off-grid survivalist. Do you have what it takes? 

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