10 off-grid living advice and tips to always have in mind
Living off the grid is a lot of people’s dream. And it’s a perfectly feasible dream. With today’s technology, opportunities, and communities, choosing a rural, off-grid lifestyle is within most people’s reach.
It’s isn’t exactly effortless either, however. Going off the grid requires a lot of preparation, know-how, and planning. It’s not something that can be done “in the moment”, at least not for most people. Instead, it can be a real test of your intellect, will, and mettle.
With all that in mind, here we’d like to offer our help. Below we’ve listed our top 10 tips and recommendations for living off the grid. We’re specifically talking about building or moving into a rural country home, away from civilization and most of the benefits it bestows.
Get all the know-how you’re going to need beforehand
We all have that feeling of sometimes wanting to just pack your bags and move to the country. It’s a tempting notion – you just buy a country house online and you go there. What can go wrong, right?
Lots of things. The internet is full of stories and testimonies of people who tried to go off the grid unprepared. Just like in most urban situations, there’s a lot that can go wrong in the country. The difference being that there, you’ll have to fix those problems yourself most of the time.
Being prepared in terms of your knowledge and skills is vital if you want your transition to be as smooth as possible. So, here are our five main tips for the skills and knowledge you’d want to acquire before going off the grid.
1. Get some working knowledge about off grid living power
We’ve all learned about electrical and gas power in school. Or, at least, we were taught about them. Having some basic understanding about off grid living power is not enough, however. Even if you’re not going “that much off the grid” and you’re still going to have electricity, you need to know your stuff.
Here’s a quick list of the power-related subjects you’d want to master before going anywhere:
- Power banks.
- Solar power.
- Off-grid home power systems.
- Generators, inverters, and other basic terms.
- Wood heat.
- Natural gas and propane gas.
- Off-grid toilets.
- Off-grid water systems.
And much more. Each of these topics is worth not just its own article but its own book(s) so we won’t even attempt to brush over them here. Grab some books and start learning.
And if this sounds tedious and boring, sorry, but chances are you’re not cut out for off-grid living. If you truly want to embrace the rural and off-grid life, you ought to be passionate about these things. Or at least – you ought to get passionate about them as they are an unavoidable part of the off-grid life.
2. Work toward becoming a proficient gardener
Gardening isn’t an absolutely necessary part of off-grid life but it’s a highly recommended one. Even if you know you’re going to have a farmer’s market or another supply of fruits and veggies near you – it’s still worth it.
Gardening is a great way to both get free food and resources as well as to manage your property. With some basic gardening & farming skills, you can turn your yard and property into a sight to behold. Plus, you can easily supply 75%-100% of your family’s food in the process.
We’ve already covered survival gardens here but off-grid gardening and farming can go even beyond that. With the right skills and know-how, you can even turn it into a source of income or at least a bartering tool.
Getting to know as much as possible about gardening is therefore highly recommended. If you have even a small yard in your urban home or even just a mid-sized balcony, you can start practicing right away.
3. Hunting and fishing are worth considering
Hunting and fishing aren’t for everyone. Plus, not every place offers good opportunities for either of them. Nevertheless, even if you haven’t had a passion for them before, it’s usually beneficial to learn at least a bit about both.
Hunting and especially fishing can be excellent sources of food when you’re off the grid. Plus, they are essential survival skills if something bad happens. Fishing, in particular, is an easy, efficient, and great source of healthy food. It’s also usually legal in most places (get familiar with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s guidelines).
Learning how to fish at least somewhat effectively is also relatively easy – it requires minimal time and financial investment.
4. Start prepping yourself for your future homestead
Starting a homestead doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a cowboy. We’re not talking about creating your own cattle homestead here. However, if you’re going to live off the grid, it’s a smart idea to consider getting at least some animals.
How about a chicken coop, for example? Or a hare house? Maybe a couple of pigs or sheep? Getting at least some farm animals on your rural property is a great way to guarantee yourself a lot of quality produce. Eggs, milk, even meat, and wool. Not only are these great products to have at your disposal, but they’ll also be 100% healthy and home-grown.
Plus, taking care of animals can be a lot of fun when you’re off the grid. They are a great company and can offer a lot of entertainment. And, if you’re aversed to killing animals, chickens, cows, sheep, and goats can be kept just for the eggs, milk, and wool and not necessarily their meat.
Whatever homestead you choose to go for, however, it will require a lot of preparation and know-how.
5. Research and plan out your finances
Something a lot of people ignore is the state of their finances before going off the grid. It’s assumed that your expenses will be lower once you make the full transition from urban to rural life. And that’s usually the case – a lot of your bills will drop significantly and some expenses will disappear altogether.
However, other bills and expenses will increase too. Plus, a lot of unexpected costs can catch you off-guard. So, making a thorough research and financial planning ahead of time is vital.
Things to do before going off the grid
As important as research and know-how are, there are also a lot of practical matters you’ll need to take care of. Knowing what and how to do is not enough when you intend to uproot your entire life and move away from the urban environment.
With that in mind, below we’ve listed several more tips and advices of a more practical nature.
6. Prepare your finances
Planning out your finances is one thing but it’s also important to give yourself some buffer. Going to live in the country can be expensive even after you’ve got your house and property. This means saving up quite a bit of money. For most people, this can take years of work and savings. Especially when you consider that it’s wise to save up a little extra.
When living off the grid, the risk of high-sum expenses increases by quite a lot. Sudden house or property repair work can literally appear overnight so you need to always be prepared.
7. Get in (or near) your top physical shape
Even if you don’t plan on doing a lot of farming, gardening, or fishing and hunting, being in top physical shape is crucial. Even if you intend to stay well away from most physical activities and keep working from your computer.
Regardless of your plans, living a rural lifestyle simply requires certain physical prowess. There’s housework that will need to be done as well as quite a bit of yard work. Ensuring that you’re in a great physical shape ahead of time is a great way to make your life easier. Plus, it’s crucial for avoiding any physical injuries which can be quite problematic when you’re far away from a hospital.
This doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym, however. The type of physical fitness we’re talking about can easily be reached at home, in the park, and in your yard. All you need to do is shed off the unnecessary weight and build up your stamina and muscle mass.
Practicing some of the activities you intend to do in your country home is wise too, whether it’s farming or homesteading.
8. Networking is even more vital when you’re living off the grid – don’t ignore it
When most of us dream of getting off the grid we usually do so out of a desire to get away from people. Our noisy neighbors, annoying extended family, obnoxious co-workers, and so on. And while living in the country can help with that it also doesn’t mean that you should live a 100% asocial lifestyle. To the contrary.
Having good relations with other people in your rural community – regardless of the distances – is absolutely crucial. When you’re living off the grid you give up a lot of the benefits of civilization. These can include anything such as the near-instant healthcare, firefighting, plumbing, electricity, and so on services. Having a helpful community of people near you is the best way to make up for that loss.
9. Choose your off grid property wisely
What property and land you’re going to choose for your off-grid life is as essential as everything else. Remember, this is more than “just” a major long-term purchase. This is something your whole life will depend on and revolve around. As such, you should spend as much time, effort, and money as necessary to ensure your future off-grid property is everything you need it to be.
10. Prepare and build up your property with a lot of care and forethought
There is – or at least should be – quite a significant window between getting your new countryside home and moving into it. Most of the time there’s a lot of stuff to be done to prepare it. From structural maintenance and fixing/establishing the power and water infrastructure to prepping the rest of the property.
The more time you set apart for such things, the smoother your transition to rural life will be. Trust us, there will be plenty of things to do when you move in anyway. You don’t need to “save” some repair or prep work for after moving. Get as much done ahead of time as possible, you’ll be glad you did later.
Bonus 11. Prep your survival kit and reserves
As a bonus tip – make sure your survival kits and reserves are good and ready to go. By that, we don’t mean only a basic survival backpack either. That’s always a must but you should also take care of some food and water reserves just in case.
Other key items to store somewhere can include back-up power sources, communication devices, hunting gear, etc. Simply put – everything that can come in handy in a survival situation in your off-grid area. Having some financial buffer is also wise as we pointed out above.
Making the move to an off the grid country life can be daunting, expensive, and complicated. It is also more than possible, however, for virtually anyone with at least average professional, financial, and cerebral capabilities.
The financial side of the endeavor can take some time but that can be beneficial too. The extra time is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for the switch from urban to rural life. Things such as choosing, planning, and preparing your new off-grid home will take time too. As will getting your body into shape and getting all the know-how you’ll need. Gardening, farming, homesteading, as well as hunting and fishing, are all things you’d do well to get good at.
House and yard work are also crucial and are something most people coming from the inner city aren’t good enough at. Even if you’ve lived in the suburbs and you know how to take care of your lawn, living off the grid is a whole different experience.