Do you have everything you need to go off grid? Do you know what it takes? Here’s a list of everything you need to go off grid. Before we get to the list lets shatter some myths about going off grid and define what that actually means. Without getting into a long drawn-out debate about what off grid living means (because it means different things to different people) but the general idea of what it means to be “off grid” means that you’re disconnected from the main power grid and/or you generate your own power via solar, wind, hydroelectric, or geothermal. Hence the term “off grid”. You hear a lot about people moving off grid for free, but it’s nearly impossible due to the fact you need a piece of land to move to and that is the number one reason because you can’t buy land without money (unless you’re lucky and someone gives you the land). It’s certainly not realistic if you live in the real world. So, the idea that you can move off grid for free is a myth. The other myth is that you can somehow minimize so much and that if you’re “Truly off grid!” you’ll have to live a “primitive life”. This off grid myth is propagated and spread by what I like to call “The Purists”. These guys are IN EVERY NICHE GROUP ON EARTH. They’re also the ones who whine the loudest about people using technology and the internet while they themselves are using technology and the internet to whine about people not being “Truly Off Grid.” The hilarious irony and hypocrisy is of course completely lost on them. It doesn’t matter what niche you’re talking about, whether it’s arts and crafts or knife making or cabin building there are always going to be those folks who fall into the purist category who love to tell others they are doing it wrong. Anyway, I digress…You know the kind of people I’m talking about. So let’s move on.
Off grid simply means being disconnected from the municipal power grid/utility company. Off grid living also means self reliance, self sufficient, sustainable, independence and freedom to most folks. To not be tied down to a mortgage or debt and to be able to live your life on your terms free from the confines of a system that has gone completely and utterly insane with greed. (I added that last part myself). I personally simply want to live my life without everyone dictating to me how I live my life and I think 99.9% of folks who want to live off the grid think that way too.
So, having said all that, here is the list of Everything you need to go off grid.
Money – First and foremost you need money. Money to buy the land, tools, equipment, pay for the legal fees, title insurance, closing costs, building permits and construction costs. Because let’s face it, most of us will need to hire out some of the work we need done on the homestead, like the septic system and the water well if there’s not a well already on the property you purchase. That can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the cost of the land itself. Which if you’re smart you shopped around for and found the best piece of land for your money. (I’ll give you a hint: Buy remote land! It’s cheap, plentiful, and sometimes is a great value, if you know what you’re looking for.).
Land – I could write an entire book on this topic alone. Finding and purchasing the perfect off grid property will take time and money and lots of homework. Do your due diligence. If you do you will be rewarded for the time and effort you put in with a nice piece of land for building your off grid homestead where you and your family can live for decades to come. The point being you need a piece of land (with water) to build on. To get that you need money.
Shelter – The next thing you need, of course, and it almost or should go without saying is shelter. You will need an off grid cabin. Whether you build it yourself or have the money to hire a contractor to build it for you you’re going to need shelter. It’s one of the basic 3 needs of survival (Shelter, Water, Food).
Water – You need water, and perhaps this should be #1 because without water you could die in 3 days, but I think most people realize and can agree that it’s imperative to have a clean potable drinking water source. You can filter and boil your water too for added safety. This is also where your due diligence homework comes in. If you researched your land well then you purchased a property with a well already on it. If not then you purchased a property in an area with live water in the form of a stream or spring, creek, stream, river, pond or lake. Ideally you want a property in the middle of nowhere with a year-round creek or stream running through it. This would put you in or near the mountains. Spring fed streams ponds are some of the purest water you can find, but keep in mind you will still have to filter it just to be safe from harmful bacteria that could have been washed into the water source by rains or snowmelt. You should also consider how to manage your wastewater. If you decide to build a septic system with the help of a septic services company, make sure that it well-maintained. Septic services like septic tank pumping or cleaning must be scheduled every 3-5 years to avoid any damages.
Food – Again, food is one of those things that go without saying, but it is part of the only 3 things you really actually need to survive. You’ll need to setup your garden, chicken coop if you want to eat chickens and eggs, a pig pen if you want bacon (and let’s face it we all NEED bacon!), and a barn/stalls/paddock area for cows for meat and milk. With all that you can eat drink and be merry with you family for now until the end of time.
Utilities (Water, Power and Gas and Internet) – Now for the nitty-gritty. Now we can live civilized! Water power and gas infrastructure and installation is going to cost you more money. Solar power can power your water pumps too, but you’ll need to be able to store the energy you collect from your solar panel array and win turbine so you can use it when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing. Oh yeah, and you’ll need propane. (A Note on Propane: Propane is NOT sustainable. It’s a fossil fuel and it costs money to keep it going. The idea is to be 100% self sufficient and if you’re paying for propane then it’s not 100% self sufficient, it’s actually a liability and a burden. There are other natural fuels you can GROW like Hemp. The oil from hemp can be refined into diesel and ethanol to run your farm equipment and your passenger vehicles. It’s also a sustainable way to provide fuel for your off grid homestead.
Tools – You’ll need a full set of tools. Hand tools like wrench sets, socket sets, specialty tools and such as well as power tools, saws, and maybe ever some blacksmithing tools as well if you’re into that kind of thing.
Equipment – This includes your tractor, ATV and/or UTV, blacksmithing forge and anvil, plus all the gardening/farming equipment like your tiller/plow (tractor attachments) a flat bed trailer, horse trailer, and cargo trailer. This is just to name a few things. I know I’m forgetting some things, if you’d like to let me know what I forgot comment below.
Materials – Ideally you’ll be sourcing all your building materials from your land. This means buying a big enough piece of land to supply you with all he building materials you need to build your cabin, barn, chicken coop, pig pen, and paddocks to hold other livestock like horses and cows. You will have to source you metal materials like fencing, nails, screws, connectors and other hardware from outside sources though and that will cost you some money out of pocket. but most of the major building materials you can source from on your own land.
Barn (Workshop) – You’ll need a place to store stuff and maybe house your animals during the coldest parts of the winter season.
Greenhouse – You need to grow food year-round so you’ll need a greenhouse. There are ways to heat your greenhouse without big costly propane heaters. There’s a way to heat any building on your property with the heat generated from compost as well. This is much cheaper and how I will be doing it once I build my off grid cabin and greenhouse.
*Internet – You’ll need internet to make a living and communicate with the outside world. This means satellite or wireless internet unless you have fiberoptic/cable broadband in your area. I would suggest you work online because you can work anywhere in the world you want as long as you have an internet connection.
That’s it. That’s everything you need. Is it ALL you need? Yes and no, depending on who you talk to. Semantics… The point is this is everything you need to live off the grid, and to live rather comfortably.
If you can think of anything that needs to be added to this list let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.