How to live off of the grid: 20 things you need to know

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.
pexels max mishin 9960706 How to live off of the grid: 20 things you need to know

The decision to live off-grid isn’t one to take lightly. 

But if you’ve decided that this is the path for you, there are certain things you need to know. 

Here’s how to live off-grid successfully, and avoid common mistakes that others make. 

1) Choose your location carefully

Going off-grid means that you’re producing your own power and living by your own rules. 

You can do it almost anywhere, but many people choose to do so in more remote and natural locations. 

Choose carefully. Study the weather in that area as well as how much rain and sun and wind it gets. 

This will all make a difference to how your new venture goes. 

You also want to find somewhere that has enough resources you can use and which can be easily entered by road. 

Check the zoning laws and your property and resource rights as well. 

Talk to other folks who are interested in going off-grid and check out meetup groups, online forums and chatrooms. 

Find out about your various options and be sure about what kind of climate you want to be in.

Do you want to be close to a community or truly in the boondocks?

Do you prefer a climate that’s a bit colder or a bit hotter?

Are you prepared for the challenges and drawbacks of where you want to move and not only focusing on the positive aspects? 

2) Get your dollars and cents in order

Going off-grid requires money. 

The amount varies: you could stay in an RV or tent for less than $500, and you can buy a small parcel of land and build a basic shelter for $20,000.

Generally, however, you’re looking at least at $50,000 or more for a small home and land. 

You’ll need more money as well to keep the property maintained, have a vehicle, do repairs and wash clothes, run energy, grow food and so on. 

Make sure you have a budget. 

You also want to make sure you have savings and some source of income (which I’ll get to a bit further down here). 

Don’t just do the bare minimum. 

You’re going to want some money in the bank (or silver bars under the bed) once you are in your dream hideaway. 

3) Allocate jobs depending on skills and interests 

If you’re going alone to live off the grid, decide on what your main responsibilities and job will be. 

This can include how to earn money, but also the main duties you will have on your property. 

If you’re going with others, then allocate jobs and roles based on each person’s skills and interests. 

If you’re a family of two teen boys, a mom and a dad, for example, you as the mom could handle preserves and canning as well as maintaining the energy system…

Your husband could handle heating, home repairs, machinery upkeep and food gathering…

The two boys could handle other things such as garbage recycling, cooking and more. 

Ask people what they like to do and give some freedom of choice to the team members, family or friend group who is going out on this adventure. 

If you’re a couple, have a frank and honest discussion about what you’re good at and what parts of the duties would appeal most (and least) to you.

Dividing up responsibilities makes it easier for everyone! 

4) Set up a weather-proof shelter

If you’re going off-grid, you want a decent place to live

Many people will buy a home in a remote area that can be taken off-grid easily, while others may buy property and build a cabin or basic shelter on the property. 

Another option, for example, is to live in an RV or large tent. 

Pay attention to the materials you use for your home as well. In general, lightweight and durable is better. 

Building or buying a portable tiny home is becoming increasingly popular as well due to minimalism gaining ground and being cost-effective and convenient. 

Make sure your roof, windows and door frames are solid and that you are anchored and weighted firmly and won’t blow away in the wind or in heavy rains. 

You want this structure to last and stand the test of time, not to get washed out in a mudslide in your first week off-grid…

If you want to go off-grid but don’t want to go it alone, you can also consider joining an off grid community. This is something I’ll discuss more a bit further down. 

5) Get your energy needs taken care of

So you have a shelter or place to live, great!

Now you need energy. 

Popular options include solar, water turbine power and wind power. 

Your choice may depend partly on what environment you’re going to be living in. 

Buying a generator or running off photovoltaic power are definitely two mainstream options, and you can also consider other ideas like running a copper wire energy generator, for example. 

There are a lot of options out there if you do your research.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCZGCEiYNQM 

You should also try to use as little energy as possible and put high quality and effective insulation into your structure as well as air conditioning and natural cooling options like orienting your windows towards the common wind directions. 

This all makes a difference! 

6) Unchain your mind

The freedom that can come with off-grid living is significant. 

But if you’re like me, you also want to free your mind at a deeper level. 

For many of us, that’s where spirituality and seeking a spiritual path comes in. 

But there’s a problem:

So many gurus and teachers out there are full of sh*t.

They tell us to raise our vibrations or take more and more money for courses about the Law of Attraction and other popular ideas. 

Instead of that, I recommend a different approach to free your mind: 

This free masterclass from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé.

Rudá isn’t your typical shaman and he doesn’t pretend to be enlightened or morally superior. 

But he’s authentic and sincere. He cuts right to the chase. And he’s experienced the best of the ancient tribal world and modern life in a way that’s brought him very unique wisdom about how to find spiritual truth and free your mind from social and conditioning traps.

If you’re interested, click here to watch the free video.

7) Keep a link to the outside world

As you build your new and more independent life off-grid, you still want to keep some connection to the outside world. 

Why?

Medical emergencies and unforeseen situations for one. 

Natural disasters or major breakages and problems with your home for two…

I recommend buying a satellite phone or getting satellite internet such as Starlink installed. 

8) Make a drinking water system

In your new shelter the first thing you need to make everything function is water. 

Your body needs it and you need it for washing dishes, showers and other necessities. 

I recommend rainwater collection as one option, and looking into getting a well drilled is another choice, although more costly. 

Remember that iodine and water treatment can disinfect water, but boiling is also often necessary to kill the germs. 

You can also look into installing a greywater system so that you can reuse water from dishwashers, showers and sinks for your sewer system or basic irrigation. 

Greywater is definitely optional, but can save a lot of water and money for you in your homestead. 

Definitely make water a major focus of your setup, having water systems that work makes your off grid experience so much better. 

9) Get your shower up and running

What about showering or having a bath?

You may have power running a water heater and do it that way, but if you want to go really old school I recommend the following: 

Have a gravity-fed, fire-heated shower. 

How does it work? 

A potbellied small stove with a tank above. You light the fire and let it heat the water, then open a tap on a showerhead after an hour or so of the water being heated and let it rain down on you. 

Presto!

10) Stay warm in cold weather

Heating is something you’ll need to consider if you’re living off-grid. 

Even in the desert or hot climates, nights can get quite cold. 

If you’ve installed solar power then this usually works pretty well for running a basic heating system via deep-cell batteries. 

But if your structure is bigger and you want more heat, make sure to consider options like having a fireplace or running a generator or water turbine system that runs a heater. 

Propane heat is also a great option for when the weather gets very nippy. 

11) Clean without the nasty chemicals 

Your off-the-grid headquarters is going to need cleaning. 

I recommend trying natural alternatives so you don’t flood it with harsh and nasty industrial chemicals that go into the surrounding water table and environment. 

Classic options?

Vinegar, lemon, baking soda and castile soap. 

Staying clean goes a long way when you’re off-grid! 

pexels pixabay 210245 How to live off of the grid: 20 things you need to know

12) Test the fertility of your soil

As you get settled into your off-grid dream, things like soil quality are going to come into play. 

If you plan to grow any crops, you’ll want to test the soil. 

There’s a natural way to do this that’s really easy and costs nothing. 

What you do is you get a glass jar and fill half of it with soil from the garden area at your homestead. 

Fill the rest with water, then shake it strongly and leave it for a day. 

You’ll see it settle into three layers: clay, silt and sand. 

Sand should sink to the bottom, followed by silt and clay at the top. You want about a 40 / 40 / 20 mix. If there’s a lot more or less than 40% silt or sand there are some issues, and if there’s significantly more or less than 20% clay the soil quality isn’t ideal and may need fertilizer and compost added to it.

13) Find and grow sources of food

Now that you know what’s going on with your soil, you can grow crops and get serious about ways to get food. 

For growing food I recommend the usual suspects of vegetables and crops, including things like corn. 

For livestock, you’re well off raising chickens so you can gather eggs as well as rabbits who can be slaughtered for meat.

Chickens are also useful because their poop makes really good fertilizer. 

Plus, a chicken coop is a fairly easy thing to put together and build, and you get a wake-up call every morning! 

14) Learn to hunt and fish

Hunting and fishing have become forgotten skills for many people living in cities and modern places.

But it’s never too late to learn. 

If you’re in the countryside then you can learn to hunt, trap, fish and get your own meat. 

This is extremely useful for yourself and your family or groupmates. 

If you get big game like an elk, for example, you can also slaughter it and store the meat in a deep freezer to keep through many months. 

15) Try beekeeping and making honey

Beekeeping in your off-grid home is an excellent idea. 

You can use jars to keep the bees in and with some basic beekeeping equipment you can have a source of fresh honey. 

Goodbye refined sugar and processed food!

Plus, the bees are super pollinators and will keep your garden and any fruit trees growing well. 

That’s what I call a win-win. 

16) Start to can and preserve food

Another of the essential skills which I recommend if you want to now how to live off the grid is food preservation.

Learning how to can and preserve food will take you a long way in your new life, and it’s quite a bit easier than you might think. 

Once you put together your canning abilities with lots of shelf and freezer space, you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. 

17) Plan what to do with your poo

If you’re living off-grid you’re going to need a sewage system. 

A septic tank is one option if you have water running, but it’s going to run you in the realm of around $5,000 at least. 

Other options include building an outhouse or installing composting toilets. 

Make sure you have a good plan for your septic system and sewage, otherwise your time in the woods can become a very stinky and depressing affair. 

18) Continue to make money

Like I was mentioning earlier in this article, going off-grid takes money. 

There are also all sorts of repairs and issues that come up and need more money. 

You want to have at least six months of income saved before pulling the plug and going off-grid. 

Think of it as a financial cushion. 

If you head off without one you might regret it very badly indeed…

In addition, keep working while you’re off-grid. 

I recommend trying out being a digital nomad, but you can also do crafts and make products or other services that you market in the surrounding area or online. 

19) Find some company

The story of how Kalle Flodin met his girlfriend Christine, for example, is a great inspiration. 

The two basically linked up over their shared love of living naturally and away from city life. 

They both wanted to go off-grid, and when Christine found a handsome young man who was living her dream she decided to meet him. 

She traveled 14 hours into the remote forest to meet at his cabin in northern Sweden. 

It apparently went pretty well, since they soon fell madly in love.

I’m not promising you’ll find a fellow homesteader cutie or hunk out there to marry right away. 

But it won’t hurt to keep yourself open to the possibility! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwbGAHCX0EY 

20) Make friends with other off-grid folks

The general picture we have of those who live off-grid is that they are fiercely independent and enjoy their solitude. 

That may be true in many cases!

But it’s not some kind of ironclad rule, and there are plenty of off-grid folks who like to form communities and get together for meetups. 

If you’re really wanting to go off-grid but also want it to be more of a community experience, do your best to make friends with other off-grid folks. 

A good starting point is to check sites like Meetup, where they have groups of Off Grid folks that you can join to start meeting like-minded people. 

So now what?

If you’re living off-grid, consider yourself among the lucky few. 

Not only have you garnered yourself some hard-won independence and self-actualization, you’ve also accomplished a very practical feat. 

You’ve managed to accomplish what so many of us don’t in this modern world:

Self-sufficiency and taking responsibility for your life at every level. 

What’s next?

That’s really up to you!

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer. His book Cultworld was published last year. Follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

Leave a Reply

What do you think?

female 3 10 things highly intelligent woman always do (but never talk about)

10 things highly intelligent woman always do (but never talk about)

pexels pixabay 206648 How to live off the grid and not pay taxes

How to live off the grid and not pay taxes