7 Things You Need to Live Off Grid and be 100% self reliant. Off grid living checklist. These 7 things are the only things you need. If you’re looking to make the move off grid then don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, this is a list of the only basics you really need to make the move to the off grid lifestyle. This is what anyone anywhere needs to live forever off grid, disconnected from the grid and the system. This is living a life of freedom and independence and what it takes to make that happen.
1) Land: A Place To Build Your Homestead & Off Grid Life
First and foremost you need a place to go and you need to own it outright. You need land. You need a place to build your off grid cabin or tiny home far enough away from the city and municipal services and jurisdiction of major city areas because these areas are overregulated and have too many restrictions on what you can and can’t do on your own land.
PRO TIP: Never ever buy land in a subdivision! As a general rule don’t buy land in a subdivision without first reading the “Covenants and Restrictions”! Seriously. This is a big one and if you mess this up you’re going to be miserable later because it can and will come back to bite you. The covenants and restrictions are explained as something that protects you the land owner, but that’s not true. Covenants and restrictions are written by the person selling you the property, their lawyers, and influenced by the banks and financial institutions that make the loans.
Pay Cash For Your Land, Don’t Finance If You Can Help It
PAY CASH! If possible pay cash. You don’t want a monthly payment! Do not finance your vacant land if you can help it. You want to live off the grid, not be tied to a monthly payment every month. You’ll also save money and have more leverage and negotiating power if you have money in the bank to pay cash.
Buy Land That Has All The Natural Resources You Need. Water! Trees! Rock!
This kind of goes without saying, but you’d be amazed at how many people will look for a place to build their cabin and not think about resources around them like stone and wood and water. Think how the old pioneers thought. You’re looking for a place to build your cabin but you have to survive. You need the natural resources you need to survive.
The most important is water. The next is shelter and lastly is food. Shelter water and food are the 3 things you need to survive anywhere on earth. So use that knowledge and think like the old pioneers when selecting a parcel of land for your off grid homestead. Don’t make the mistake of buying land in a subdivision or a small 1-3 acre property that’s got no trees or natural water. Seriously. If you can’t drill a well or there’s no trees or rock available to build then why would you want to live there?
Shelter water and food are the 3 things you need to survive anywhere on earth.
If there is an economic collapse and food and water become scarce, how do you expect to survive. Purchase land that has the natural resources to support life.
Buy Remote Off Grid Land
Purchase land that’s far enough away from everything to give you privacy and seclusion without infringing on your luxuries or making it very difficult to get to town and resupply with those luxuries or spend a day with the family enjoying the festivities at the local town events.
Buy Off Grid Land That’s Accessible Year Round
This seems like a no-brainer but you’d be amazed at how many people fall in love with a parcel of land up in the mountains or along a remote sparsely populated road in the middle of nowhere and realize too late after signing the mortgage contract that they can’t access their property after it snows or the road/driveway gets washed out due to a seasonal flood. Or worse, if you buy land sight unseen without doing your due diligence homework and realize too late that your new parcel of land is land locked. Meaning it is surrounded by private land with no roads or easements and there is no access at all. It happens. Do your homework.
Buy Land That Has Legal Access
Make sure once you buy or build you have LEGAL and PHYSICAL control over that access. If it’s a legal easement make sure there’s no way anyone can physically keep you from accessing the property. It happens. Angry landowners who don’t like neighbors are a real thing. Nosey people and people who are easily irritated or even crazy can make your off grid life a living hell if you’re not careful and pick your land wisely.
Buy Land That’s Backed Up To Or Surrounded By Public Land.
A lot of people don’t think about this when searching for off grid land but it’s a good idea to try to buy a parcel that borders national forest or national park land or public state land. This is good because it expands your recreational options and in the event of a collapse of society it makes it possible to have all the natural resources you need to survive and live your best off grid life.
Buy a large enough parcel of land that you can spread out and expand if you want to and so that your neighbors won’t be encroaching too closely. Privacy and seclusion is a good thing. Peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the big city is the goal.
Familiarize yourself with the local building codes and county ordinances regarding building on your land. Make sure you’re allow to build! This seems like a no-brainer, but don’t assume you can build on the property without check the local county ordinances and regulations first. This can save you a lot of headache later on down the line.
2) Water: Clean Potable Water To Drink & Bathe
You’re going to need water to drink, water to bathe, and water to clean with. Water is both life sustaining for all life and for sanitation to keep life clean and healthy. When you picked your off grid land you picked land with natural water or the ability to drill a water well. Right!? You’ll need a filtration system, and all the piping to run water to your bathrooms, kitchen, and your greenhouse and garden. You need irrigation for growing crops and watering the livestock you’ll be raising.
Water containers to store water for emergencies. Build a rain collecting system for the garden and greenhouse. (check local laws in your area to make sure that is legal; yes it could be a problem; do your homework) Chlorine and other water purification chemicals should be on hand too. A UV light is important for water purification along with filtration systems and backup filters.
Test The Water For Toxic Chemicals
If possible have the water TESTED BEFORE YOU BUY THE LAND! If your land has a pond or lake or stream or river running through it, have it tested. It’s an expense, and it can cost thousands of dollars, but it’s worth it if it saves you from buying old mining land that’s tainted with toxic mining chemicals or industrial runoff or runoff from a highway. All those chemicals could be in the water and if you don’t test it beforehand then that means your family and children will be drinking and bathing in that tainted toxic water. Don’t buy land without first making sure the water is safe and clean.
Build a cistern or a pool. Seriously. A pool costs money to maintain, but it also makes for a great water storage container. If you don’t want to dig a hole in the ground for a pool go to Walmart and buy an above ground pool. They’re only a few hundred bucks, they will be great fun for the kids, and it doubles as a water storage tank. You will have to filer and purify the water before you drink it, but it’s better than not have water at all. It’s only for emergencies anyway.
3) Food: Livestock, Fruits & Veggies
You need to feed your family! This starts with Livestock fruits and veggies grown in your garden and on your land throughout your property. Ideally if you plant lots of fruit trees and plants you’ll have lots of food, probably more than you can eat and that is a great way to make friends with your neighbors. Just be careful about telling your neighbors about your zombie apocalypse prepping. Don’t tell people what you have. Just saying.
There Are A Million Types Of Food You Can Raise And Grow On Your Land, But The Basics Are Always Good.
- Beef: Meat, Milk & Leather – Cows
- Bacon & Bacon & More Bacon & even MORE BACON! Gotta have BACON! – Seriously, pigs are a great source of food. They grow quickly and will eat just about anything. Within 6 months a domestic farm raised pig can be 250 pounds. That’s a lot of ham, pork chops and BACON!
- Chickens: Meat, Eggs & Feathers – This goes without saying. You’re going to want at least a half dozen chicks for a family of 4. A dozen would be better plus a rooster, if you’re willing to deal with the crowing at 3am.
- Goats: Meat, Cheese & Milk and Leather – Goats make great lawnmowers too. They’ll also eat ANYTHING so be careful because they will get in the garden. Be sure to secure the goats (LOL yeah right I know) or secure the garden from the goats.
- Rabbits: Meat & Leather – Rabbits might be cute little things but they make for a great food source. They breed quickly have large litters and provide good lean meat.
- Ducks, Geese, Turkey, Ostrich: All these birds make good food sources.
All these livestock animals can also produce an income for your off grid homestead during good times. If you are smart about it you can raise and sell the babies OR sell the meat. In the event of the zombie apocalypse, you’ll be good to go. Unless they all get infected then zombie rabbits don’t sound like a good thing.
4) Shelter: Off Grid Cabin Or Tiny Home
You need a roof over your head. You family needs a safe place to live. Shelter is imperative. Most homesteaders built a small cabin back in the day. You don’t need a giant house, just a place to cook, relax and sleep. So a small cabin or tiny home would be just fine. Unless you have lots of kids, and then you want a giant house or build a mother-in-law suite at least a mile away! 😉
If you did your research and picked the right piece of property when you purchased your off grid land then you have the natural resources to build your own little cabin. If you’ve got the money, then hire a contractor. But if it’s your dream to live off grid and build your own off grid cabin, then you can live in an RV or camper trailer until you build the cabin. Most counties in the USA allow for this on a temporary basis while you build your home. Again, check the local county ordinances on what’s allowed BEFORE you buy land.
Cabin, Tiny House, Or Traditional “Ranch Style” Home?
This is personal preference, but if you’re a True Homesteader™, then you’ll build your of log cabin. Just kidding. you can build whatever you want to build however you want to build it, as long as it meets the building code requirements, and EPA standards for environmental protection, and health and safety. There are always rules. You can’t get away from them. But you can minimize the affect of those rules on your way of life by choosing a piece of land that provides you with the fewest least restrictive regulations and local ordinances.
Log Cabins Are The Quintessential Ubiquitous Off Grid Dwelling For Most Homesteaders.
They’re simple structures and relatively easy to build from an engineering standpoint. From a time and labor standpoint building an off grid cabin takes a lot of time and labor. You must be in good physical condition if you expect to be able to build a log cabin yourself and be willing to put in the time and labor to build it, see it through and complete it. It will likely take you a year or two working nearly every day on it to build it. You can have the basic shell/walls done in a matter of a couple weeks of hard work, but the roof and all the little details is going to take a while longer.
You can save time if you have money to buy a prebuilt cabin or tiny house and have it moved onto your land. This incurs extra fees and permit expenses but it’s worth it if you want to speed the process up a bit.
A tiny house is a popular choice among those wanting to downsize their carbon footprint and live a minimalist lifestyle. A tiny house is also portable and can easily be moved to another property if you need to.
PRO TIP: Living a nomadic lifestyle off grid. If you buy multiple smaller vacant land properties and live out of an RV you can have all the comforts of home and be relatively mobile. You can travel with the seasons searching out 70 degree weather. You can plant and still have a garden if you’re staying on one property for 3-4 months out of the year, but you likely won’t be able to have livestock. If you want the ultimate freedom, you can just forego the land buying and live full-time in an RV, but that’s a whole other topic for another article.
Your shelter is your home, make it comfortable, make it nice, build it how you want or purchase one that you would love to live in for the next 20-30 years. Splurge if you want. It’s all up to you. The only question is what do you want? A cabin? Tiny House? Tradition ranch style home? A barndominium? (yes, it’s a thing; look it up). Regardless, get an RV. Live in the RV for a while, see how you like it. Travel around the country, find your land that way. Pick a place on the map and go! Look for land there. Actually get out and walk the property. See how it feels to you and your family and if you like it, if you love it, do your research on the land and buy it if it’s what you truly want.
Build your off grid dream cabin!
5) Power: Renewable Solar & Wind Energy System W/Battery Backup
You’re going to need solar and wind energy systems with a solid battery backup. Don’t do it without a battery backup. It will almost double your power system cost, but it’s worth the extra expense to have the backup power when you need it. Put the batteries and charge control system and panel in a shipping container. It’s the most secure, lockable and weather proof building structure you can buy and they are cheap compare to build a building from scratch. You can buy a 40′ shipping container for about $3000 to $3500 delivered to most places in the USA. Not sure about Canada or other countries or the laws there. (let us know and we’ll update this article with that information for other folks living in other countries)
Off Grid Solar Power System
Typically you’re going to need a system that’s about 1500-2000 Watts. You can get by with something less powerful, especially if you’re living in a tiny home or small log cabin, but most people don’t need more than about 2000 Watts of power at any given time. I’ve seen some large 5k and 10k Watt solar power systems with massive battery backups and think that’s kind of overkill, but to each their own.
Most homes will only need 1500-2000 Watts of solar panels and a battery backup.
Off Grid Wind Power System
This can be a small 500 to 1500 Watt wind turbine or multiple turbines all plugged into the battery backup system. It’s not for running your appliances on, it’s for charging your battery system.
Off Grid Battery Backup
Again, you’re going to want to invest the extra cash into a good battery backup system so you have power 100% of the time. There will be times you will be happy you made the investment.
6) Waste Disposal: Ecologically Friendly Septic System
Build a good septic system that is not just environmentally friendly but one that will last. Follow the local guidelines and regulations with regard to your septic system or you will have problems in the future from the local city and county officials and the EPA. It’s not sanitary to dump your waste into the local water supply, that’s also not cool. You will get fined for it, and rightly so for polluting the local environment.
7) Free & Independent Mindset: The Will To Live Off The Grid
Last but certainly not least you must have the will to live off grid. This is the most important factor to consider. You must understand that it’s going to be a lot of work. It’s not just a simple lifestyle, it’s a way of life and it’s hard work. You can alleviate some of that hard work with modern technology, but you still have to have the will to live off grid and stay free and independent. Living sustainably requires commitment and motivation, drive and physical health to maintain your property and lifestyle.
Living your life self-reliant, away from most modern conveniences, likely in a remote area, or a place far enough from civilization that you have to rely on your skills as a homesteader to make it a good place to live your off grid life with your family and to provide a safe and healthy life for them, off grid.
BONUS: COMFORTS OF HOME
Now that we covered the basics, let’s get into the comforts and luxuries part of living your life on your own terms. Most people like being comfortable. It kind of goes without saying. And it’s the little things that make life worth living, but it’s also the luxuries that make it even more comfortable. Living off the grid does not mean you must live your life primitively without modern conveniences.
That’s a personal preference and there’s always going to be debate on what “off-grid” really means to some individuals. So this part of the article is most likely going to ruffle some feathers of the homesteading and off grid survival purists. Sorry, not sorry. Some of us like our modern technology and conveniences.
Communications: Cell Phone, Satellite Internet, HAM & CB Radio, AM/FM Radio, Emergency GPS Beacon
In the modern world we have things like cell phones and internet and now satellite internet which is high speed comparable to broadband which allows you to stream Netflix from anywhere in the world. Get yourself a VPN and you’re good to go to watch any streaming service from just about anywhere on the surface of the planet earth. This also means that you’re can stay up to date on the latest and great technologies and news and information the world has to offer. You can stay in touch with friends and family and loved ones anywhere in the world.
If you did you homework before buying your land then you purchased land that has cell signal, or at the very least you picked land that was close enough to a cell tower to use a cell phone booster antenna to boost the signal so you can still communicate with your cell phone.
The Internet Is A Tool
The internet is a wonderful thing. Seriously. It’s a tool. It’s a utility. Use it like a tool. Don’t be afraid of it or say absurd stuff like “You can’t be off grid if you’re on the internet”. That’s just silly and completely untrue. Like any tool it provides you with the ability to get work done. The cool part about the internet is that you can also have entertainment and learning. Education is a good thing.
Off Grid Education
You can literally go to college and get a degree all online. You never have to step foot in a classroom again if you don’t want to. All your courses can be online and you can even attend the graduation via video uplink. How cool is that.
The internet allows you certain comforts and luxuries like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Paramount+, Showtime! Among other things. You can order food and supplies, seeds for your garden, you can shop for and purchase anything you can think of online on the internet. It’s limitless, so why would you limit yourself? Unless of course you like not being connected and disconnecting from the internet is part of your off grid plan. If so, then more power to you, that’s awesome! But if you’re reading this…you’re online.
Off Grid Internet Is Coming: Highspeed Satellite Internet
Starlink™ highspeed satellite internet, among other satellite internet companies will change the world with high speed internet connections accessible from any location on the planet. This is going to change the world as we know it.
It will lift people out of poverty because they will have access to education and jobs that they would not otherwise have access to. They can also sell their products and services online, which gets into business and jobs part listed below in more detail.
Satellite internet allows people to communicate with anyone at anytime from anywhere in the world instantly. This is going to be a BIG deal in a few years.
HAM Radio & CB Radio
I personally don’t know much about HAM. I do know a little about CB radio and HAM is basically like CB on steroids. Point being, you can communicate in an emergency. We have other communication methods now like the internet and cell phones. In an emergency scenario those services might be down, especially if there’s a solar flare and an EMP wipes out the grid. CB and HAM may be the only thing left if it wasn’t on during the EMP and wasn’t fried. A Faraday cage will work great to guard against EMP.
A CB or HAM radio system will allow your to communicate over distance and stay in touch with the locals and family members and provides some information from the outside world.
You need a radio to listen to the weather, local and national news, and music. It’ll keep you updated on things going on in the civilized world.
Off Grid Jobs: Remote Work
The next generation is going to be working from home. This is a good thing for those who choose the off grid lifestyle. It gives you the ability to work from home. You can make a living on your terms. More and more remote jobs will become available as technology advances. Satellite internet is going to be a big part of that change in how people work. There are millions of jobs that can be done from home online through the internet.
You Can Start Your Own Online Business
Start your own online business too. You can sell the produce, fruits and vegetables and livestock that you grow and raise on your land. Sell your arts and crafts. Build things and sell them on Etsy or Ebay or Amazon or any of the other many online marketplace platforms. Sell on Walmart.com if you had a solid business model.
Start a consulting company, you can sell soap or be an artist and sell your art. The number of things you can do online is insanely high. You can do just about anything you can think of online. You can ship globally and your customers can be anywhere in the world. The freedom and independence that comes from owning your own business is amazing.
Living Off The Grid Is The Old New Way Of Life
Life Is Better Off Grid
We have the ability to live our lives better, healthier, happier and have more fulfilling lives. Living closer to nature and our roots. We are human beings and humans even though we’re social creatures, we also love our independence and freedom. Off grid living gives us that freedom and independence to become self reliant. We want to live sustainably with renewable energy in a way that’s environmentally friendly. While also being personally fulfilling for ourselves and our loved ones.
This is the off grid dream, the off grid life!
It’s all about freedom and happiness.
Original Article: How To Live Off The Grid: 7 Things You Need To Live Off Grid