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Living Off The Grid: The Ultimate Guide

Making It On Your Own

Is life too fast for you? Are you tired of constantly worrying about tons of irritating people, endless expenses, and other stressful parts of the modern world? Do you want to escape that?

Well, you might want to learn how to live off the grid. When you drop out of society, you get to live a more natural lifestyle. You get to be completely reliant on your own abilities, and you don’t have to deal with all the nonsense that comes with living in the modern world.

It’s not easy, though. It’s definitely not something that you should do on a whim. If you do take the time to think about it, you should start educating yourself with this ultimate guide.

In this guide, we will teach you how to live off the grid and thrive on your own. There’s a lot of information in this guide. So, pop yourself some popcorn, and get ready to read.

 

Why Would You Want To Live Off Grid?

There are a lot of different reasons for living off the grid. You might simply want a peaceful life that doesn’t include all the hustle and bustle of a conventional lifestyle. You might want to cut your living expenses. It’s also a good way to ensure that you’re in the safest position possible if a major disaster occurs.

barn in pablo montana with mountains in background

In the prepping world, most people want to live off of the grid for the last reason. When you switch to an off-grid lifestyle, you separate yourself from the majority of society, and you do things on your own. Obviously, having access to renewable resources without shopping, a safe location without neighbors, and the tools necessary to survive for long periods of time can be very useful to a prepper.

However, it’s not all glitz and glamour. Off grid living is incredibly difficult until you get used to it, and there are some legal concerns that you have to take into account. It can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared.

 

How And Where To Live Off The Grid

The more rural states are the best places for living off grid. After all, it’s a bit difficult to separate yourself from society in the big city.

Alaska is the state that most people tend to gravitate to. Its laws are beneficial to off grid living, and there’s plenty of water and wood that can be used freely. But, it’s pretty cold there. So, you have to prepare yourself quite a bit if you don’t want to become an icicle within a week.

States like Tennessee and Montana are also popular, but there are more laws that will affect you and your family if you plan on living in a legal manner. Education laws, property laws, and other things have to be taken into consideration more on the mainland. Yet, it’s a lot easier to survive in those states. The weather is a lot easier to deal with.

two homes side by side by lake in alaska off grid

 

Is Living Off Grid Illegal?

Living outside of society isn’t inherently illegal, but a lot of the methods that preppers prefer are illegal. You can’t expect to start living on government land or private property without getting in quite a bit of trouble. So, you can forget any daydreams of you living in an abandoned shack in the middle of some farmer’s woodland property.

That makes it difficult for you to truly go off the grid entirely. If you buy land the legal way, you’ll still be on the government’s books, and you’ll still have to pay property taxes like every other person who owns property. You can effectively cut out your utility bills and all your other connections to society, but you can’t get around the laws regarding property ownership unless you live like a nomadic hobo.

You also have to follow a few different laws if you have children. It’s illegal in most places to not enroll your child in some sort of educational program. Most preppers that live this lifestyle simply educate their children at home.

In Alaska, it’s a lot easier to do that. You don’t have to tell anyone that you’re doing it, you don’t have to fill out any paperwork, and you don’t have to give your children standardized tests.

Pretty much every other state will require you to do those things, though. Not doing that can not only result in hefty fines and criminal charges, but you might get your children taken away from you for neglecting them. However, you can still keep your family off of the grid for the most part. You just have to take the time to follow the government’s education laws, and your kids will have to prove that they’re being educated by taking standardized tests regularly.

The best way to remove yourself from society is to legally purchase a large plot of land in a remote area, and then follow any laws regarding your child’s educational needs. You’ll still be partially on the grid due to your property, but your connection to society will be minimal.

 

Is It Possible With Children?

It’s definitely possible to live off the grid with children. You have to abide by federal education laws, and that will keep you partially connected to the grid to a certain degree, but your connection will be minimal.

The key is to do what any good parent does. You want to ensure that your child is properly educated in a home schooling program, and you want to ensure that you can meet all of your child’s needs in an effective manner. Even if you’re relying on your own skills, you still have to give your child clean and comfortable living conditions.

Since you’re on the government’s radar, you may have your living area inspected at some point. Any good parent will provide the following things anyways, but here’s a list for anyone who’s a little confused.

You have to provide your child with:

  • Clean living quarters: that meet government standards. You can’t have a miniature army of children packed into one room, either.
  • Clean drinking water: It can be well water or another natural form of water, but it must be clean and plentiful.
  • Proper nutrition: You can’t starve your kid because it’s a slow hunting season.
  • Safe living conditions: You can’t have your child living in a bear’s den or another dangerous area without expecting law enforcement to step in to protect them.
  • Meet their educational needs: If you live in Alaska, this one is easy. You just teach your kid the same things they’d learn in school. You don’t even have to report it or have them tested. In other states, you’ll have to report your activities to the government, and you’ll have to bring your children in for proper testing every once in a while.

child eating apple as part of good nutrition in diet

If you can’t meet those requirements, you will face serious legal consequences. That’s the case whether you live off the grid or not. You’ll notice that all the requirements are pretty much the same ones that you’d have to meet in any other situation. In general, you just have to take care of your kids properly.

 

What Lifestyle Changes Are Required?

There are a ton of lifestyle changes that you’ll have to make to start living off the grid. Nearly everything about you will have to be changed.

First, you’ll have to get used to not having access to technology. After all, you can’t really separate yourself from society if you’re on Facebook or watching YouTube videos. You won’t even be able to read informational articles like this one without compromising your lifestyle choices.

On top of that, you’ll have to be a lot more careful with how you use your resources. Electricity will be an invaluable commodity, and you won’t want to waste it by charging phones, or powering computers. You won’t even want to leave your lights or appliances on for very long.

You can still have some of those things. Kitchen appliances, radios for communication and entertainment, and other electronics can easily be implemented into your new home. You just won’t be able to run them all of the time.

You have to remember that pretty much all of your electronics will be running off of a generator or a solar panel system. Those items are effective, but they’re nowhere near as powerful as society’s power grid.

Water is another resource that you’ll have to focus on conserving. You don’t want to dry your well up, and you don’t want to have to rely on boiling stream water or rainwater all the time.

This means that a lot of the things that you take for granted now will not be available when you drop out of society. If you have a proper toilet, you’ll have to limit your flushes to prevent wasting your water. You’ll also want to keep from using your drinking water for gardening or other things that aren’t for your own hydration needs.

If you have a modern shower installed in your home, you’ll want to keep it off unless you’re rinsing your body. You won’t want to keep it on while you’re lathering soap, and you certainly won’t want to just stand around in it to relax.

However, a lot of things rely on water. So, you’ll want to learn how to properly collect non-potable water to take care of non-essential tasks. You can collect non-potable water to water your garden, wash your clothes, and for other things. That will help you conserve your clean water.

You’ll also have to learn how to deal with solitude. If you’re reading this, we assume that you’re still a part of society. You can walk right outside your door if you want to find someone to talk to, or you can walk over to your neighbor’s house if you need a cup of sugar.

That will not be the case once you decide to go off on your own. Besides your family, you’ll likely have very limited interactions with other people. That’s a positive thing for a lot of people, but it can wear on your mind if you’re not 100-percent ready for it.

Finally, you’ll have to do things the hard way. You won’t have the option of driving to a restaurant if you don’t want to prepare your own food. You won’t be able to rely on a mailman to deliver things to your door, and you won’t be able to have a trash company take your garbage away. You’ll have to do all of those things the hard way.

You’ll have to grow, hunt, or raise your own food, and then you’ll have to process it yourself before you cook it. That’s a lot of work just to stay fed.

male and female in garden tending to tomatoes living off grid

If you still want to receive mail, you’ll have to set up a P.O. box at the nearest post office. Then, you’ll have to travel there to check your mail.

Getting rid of garbage is an entirely different process when you live off the grid. Trash companies won’t be driving by your house once a week to collect your trash. You’ll have to actively avoid using anything that generates garbage, and you’ll have to learn how to turn your food waste into compost. Recycling will also become a major part of your lifestyle. Metal, plastic, and other items that are difficult to replicate in nature will be hard to come by. You’ll want to learn to reuse things as much as possible.

If you still go to the store to buy a bunch of soda or other drinks as occasional treats, you’ll want to melt those cans down, and you’ll want to turn them into something useful. If you have plastic containers, you’ll want to wash them out and reuse them. Those sound like small lifestyle changes, but you would be surprised by how difficult it can be to truly use things until they can’t be used anymore.

Most of these lifestyle changes will simply require you to think a bit more before you waste resources, but they will be difficult to get used to. In a single day, how much water and electricity do you waste? Think about that, and then think about all the things that you’ll have to do to stop those wasteful behaviors.

 

How Much Money Will You Need To Live Off Grid?

This one is almost entirely dependent on how much work you’re willing to do on your own. If you want to bring the majority of your current home’s modern conveniences with you, you’ll have to invest quite a bit of money into properly outfitting your home.

However, washing your clothes and dishes by hand, utilizing wood-fire stoves, and doing other things that remove the need for modern appliances will greatly reduce the initial price of living off grid.

The amount of land that you buy and the state that you buy it in also greatly impacts your initial investment. You’ll want to carefully balance your budget with the amount of land that you need to set up all of the systems that you’ll need to properly live on your own.

States such as Alaska, Tennessee, and Missouri are the best places to buy land without spending all of your savings. You will want to have money left over to buy the other things that you’ll need.

Over the long-term, you can live very cheaply. If you truly drop out of society, you won’t have things like utility bills, trash services, cable bills, phone bills, and other things draining your wallet. You’ll only really have to pay your property taxes and any fees that come with owning a vehicle in your state.

You’ll also need money to pay for the resources that you can’t make on your own. You’ll need gasoline for your vehicles and any gas-powered generators that you use. You can lower that by relying on solar power or windmills, but those systems can be expensive to install. They’ll pay for themselves in the long run, though.

Learning to make your tools last will make your money stretch a lot further, too. Your tools and equipment will wear after a while, and you’ll need to replace them. If you learn the skills necessary to properly repair or make them, you won’t have to spend much money trying to keep everything in working order.

man repairing tools in workshop at home

Your savings really start to add up when you consider that you won’t be paying for water, food, and bills. All of that money can be used for the things that you can’t make or grow. Your initial investment should be the most expensive part of dropping out of society.

In general, you can realistically expect to pay between $30,000 and $300,000 for your initial investment. The higher end of that range is what you should expect if you want to live in a really nice home with a lot of complex systems helping you out. On the lower end of that, you can reasonably expect to own land and maybe live in a small shack that you can build on your own. It all depends on your living standards.

We suggest starting out with a minimalist setup. Most people won’t have $300,000 to throw at a home at random, but pretty much anyone can afford to save up for a plot of land and a few basic necessities. After you get started, you can slowly save up to increase the quality of your lifestyle. You should know that it’ll be rough in the beginning if you don’t invest a decent amount of money into your homestead. Don’t worry too much, though. You’ll save a lot more money in the long run.

 

Is Employment Necessary?

This is a difficult question to answer. Do you have to be employed in a traditional way to live off grid? The answer to that is technically no. You do have to have some sort of income, though. If you own property, you have to be able to pay property taxes. You also have to be able to buy fuel and replace broken equipment. If you get hurt, you might need to pay medical bills. You can’t live 100-percent freely.

So, you’ll have to find some sort of way to make money. You can get a conventional job, or you can go the self-employment route. The good news is that you won’t need a high-end job to afford your new lifestyle. After you make that initial investment, you can live very comfortably as a minimum-wage gas station clerk. You don’t need much to thrive when you do everything yourself.

Making money on your own can be a bit difficult at first. So, we suggest starting out with a conventional job if you’ve never been self-employed before. There are a lot of different rules you’ll have to follow, and it can be stressful to manage that while running a homestead. In the future, you can phase your way out of conventional employment, and you can do everything yourself. We just don’t recommend doing it all at once when you first start out.

That’s true about most of the things you’ll have to do when you first start separating yourself from society. Diving head first into a completely different lifestyle can be extremely difficult at first. Take it slow, and phase your way out of normal society.

 

Education Needs

You don’t just have to worry about your kid’s education when you go off grid. You’ll need to be educated, too. Pretty much everything you do in your normal life will be completely different in an off grid living situation. If you don’t educate yourself before living that way, you’ll have a really hard time staying alive.

First, you need to make sure that you properly educate your child. Not only is it a requirement by law, but you really don’t want to raise a kid who can’t make it in society when you’re dead and gone. We covered that in a previous section, though.

After that, you should focus on learning about the different tasks that you will have to do. Have you ever hunted before? Have you ever raised chickens or goats? Have ever tended a garden without killing every plant in it? Do you know anything about irrigation systems and well water? Can you keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter without using a ton of electricity?

All of those things will be necessary for your survival, and we left quite a few out. You can’t go into this blindly.

Now, we’re not saying that you need to spend tons of money and time getting several college degrees before you run off to take control of your own life. You just need to know how to sustain yourself.

There are plenty of internet resources that can help you learn how to do these things, and you can practice a lot of them before you make the switch to an off grid lifestyle.

However, you need to take your first aid skills seriously. You’ll likely be in a remote area, and you won’t be able to call an ambulance all of the time. Even if you do get to call an ambulance, it might take them more than an hour to reach you. To put that in perspective, most people who are seriously injured only have three minutes before their injuries will most likely kill them.

You don’t have to become a doctor, though. Most colleges offer first response classes, and a lot of preppers with nursing degrees offer comprehensive classes as a way to help educate people. Just look around for a class in your area.

You’ll want to know how to perform CPR, treat heart attack victims, stabilize people with major injuries, and take care of broken limbs. You’ll want to know how to keep your family and yourself alive until you can get some help. Luckily, the courses that cover all of those things are typically pretty cheap, and you can receive a first response license by completing them. That’s not a requirement, though.

people learning first aid skills and cpr in class for survival

 

Hospital And Medical Care

Hospital bills and medical care are other expenses that you have to take seriously. We all get sick or injured at some point. It’s an inevitable part of living. You might qualify for Medicare or other government programs, but the point of being self-reliant is to survive without those things. You’re not truly self-reliant if you need Uncle Sam to pay your medical bills.

That’s where this topic gets complicated. You can always save money to pay for decent health insurance, or you can choose to forego healthcare entirely. If you have enough money saved up before you start homesteading, you might be able to just pay your medical bills off yourself.

Beyond that, this is a personal subject. Some people will be willing to use the social safety net that the government has put in place, and others will see it as a form of dependence. If you decide to go without it, you should look at your finances to decide how you’ll handle a medical emergency. While you’re off doing your own thing, the world will keep turning, and society will expect you to pay for services.

 

Activities And Things To Do

You’ll have plenty of things to do if you actually follow through with living a self-reliant lifestyle. There’s a reason people in the 1800’s and early 1900’s would work from dawn until dusk.

However, you’ll probably find yourself with a little bit of free time here and there. Are you ready to keep yourself entertained? Remember that you won’t have the luxury of watching television or playing computer games. You won’t have those things in your house.

So, what will you do? Well, you’ll probably end up doing the same things that people did before we invented modern entertainment mediums. If you’re particularly savvy, you might use your new hobbies to create things that you need or want.

Whittling is an old pastime that can be useful. You can learn to whittle toys for your children, or you can whittle more useful items like gun stocks and tool handles. If you can think of it, you can whittle it.

Twisting rope is another old-fashioned skill that is useful. It’s also relaxing, and it’s good for arthritis sufferers. To twist rope, you have to collect plant fibers, twist them at one end, and then overlap the fibers. After a while, you’ll have plenty of free cordage.

Another activity that can be useful is fishing. Obviously, you need food to survive. Fishing will allow you to add to your food stockpile, and you can have a lot of fun doing it.

Of course, you can buy a bunch of fancy fishing equipment, but you can also use more primitive tools if you have a body of water on your property. Any type of cane plant or even a sturdy stick can be turned into a fishing pole. You can use handmade cordage as fishing line, and you can fashion a hook from just about any piece of metal. If you want to act particularly primitive, you can sharpen both ends of a one-inch twig, and you can use it as a gouge hook.

There are tons of things that you can do to keep busy. All you have to do is get creative. That’s one of the most fun parts of off the grid living. You’re forced to do something more than just sit in front of a TV. You have to learn new things.

 

How To Create Energy For Survival

You can technically survive without electricity. People did it for thousands of years, and they did just fine. The Amish continue to do it. However, you’ll probably want to have at least limited access to electricity. It’ll make your life a lot easier.

Here are six ways that you can create electricity. We suggest using several methods in case something goes wrong. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

Solar

Solar power is the most reliable way to create electricity in a homesteading environment. It won’t allow you to run all of your electronics all day, but it will provide you with plenty of power to use your appliances and keep your home lit.

However, it can be fairly expensive to install. A lot of people don’t think about that when they get the bright idea to cover their home in solar panels. They’re not cheap.

If you have a lot of money to pour into your homestead right off the bat, you’ll get a lot of use out of a completely solar electrical grid. If you’re just starting out, it might be a better idea to create a small solar-powered system, and then supplement that system with gas generators and other forms of electricity. As you save money, you can upgrade your solar panels, and you can use the other stuff when you need a little extra power.

Building a decent solar-powered system should definitely be one of your long-term goals, though.

Wind

Windmills are great for producing electricity without using up any resources. They can be expensive at first, but they’ll save you a lot of money in the long run, and some places will give you a tax break for using them.

However, there is one major drawback to using windmills. They require a steady supply of wind to generate electricity, and it’s not always windy outside.

If it’s not windy for a day, you’ll quickly burn through the power reserve of your windmill. You should have backup options available in case that happens.

Water

Hydroelectricity is another option that uses the natural environment around you to make electricity. To use it, you’ll essentially have a small dam on your property. Obviously, you’ll have to have a running source of water to utilize hydroelectricity.

old retro water mill for generating electricity off grid

This is a great alternative to a windmill because you’ll have power as long as the body of water that you use doesn’t dry up. The problem is that you’ll have to have access to a running body of water to even consider it, and you have to own the property that the water is on.

If you can’t meet those requirements, you should look at a couple of our other suggestions.

Batteries

Batteries are only good for flashlights and other items that you won’t use all the time. You want to be self-reliant. That means that you don’t go to Walmart everyday to stock up on batteries.

These should be a part of any survival kit that you have, and you should stockpile some on your homestead, but you shouldn’t rely on them for everything.

Fuel

Gas generators are reliable, relatively cheap, and long-lasting. They’re also the primary way that you’ll utilize fuel to generate electricity. However, we have an entire section dedicated to generators. So, we’ll talk about the other ways that you can use fuel.

Obviously, fuel can power your car, and you can use your car to access the radio, air conditioning, and any other systems that your car uses electricity for.

If you’re a particularly savvy prepper, you can purchase a diesel vehicle that is compatible with bio-fuel. Bio-fuel is a type of diesel fuel that is made from vegetable oil. You can use it with some generators, and some of the better diesel vehicles can use it instead of normal diesel fuel.

You can make bio-fuel at home if you’re capable of accepting the risks involved, and you might even get a tax break for doing so. However, it can be dangerous to make and store it. You have to distill vegetable oil, and vegetable oil is flammable. Make sure to learn as much as possible about it before you make it, and follow every safety protocol possible to keep from burning your homestead down or blowing yourself up.

Generators

Generators are great for producing electricity when your other systems fail, and they’re a good way to power your lights and appliances when you’re first starting out.

They’re also pretty cheap. A good generator will only cost you about $2,000, and you can get a huge generator for about $10,000. That’s a lot cheaper than a windmill or solar panels.

However, you’re not truly self-reliant when you use generators all of the time. You have to fuel them. You can use bio-fuel with some generators, but we’re willing to bet that you won’t have a large stockpile of that when you’re first starting out, and by the time you do, you’ll likely have a more reliable power system installed.

Use these when you’re first starting out, and then use them as backups when your main power system fails. You don’t want to have to buy gasoline everyday.

 

Water And Sewer Off Grid

You need access to drinking water. You can’t expect to live off of stream water and rainwater for very long. The best way to solve that problem is to dig a well. You can do this yourself fairly easily, or you can hire a contractor to do it.

If you do it yourself, it’s pretty cheap to make a well, and it shouldn’t dry up unless you abuse it. A contractor may charge as much as $10,000 to build you a well. That’s still fairly cheap if you consider the fact that you won’t have to pay a water bill ever again.

That solves your drinking water problem, but you’ll need a different resource for gardening and washing clothes. For that, you’ll want to collect non-potable water. You can do this very easily if you just put some large cisterns on your property. You won’t be able to drink the water without purifying it, but you can use it for all of your other needs.

Make sure to check your local laws before you set up a bunch of cisterns, though. Some states don’t allow you to collect rainwater due to drought risks. If that’s the case, you’ll have to rely on streams and other natural sources of water. Whatever you do, don’t use your well water for all of your water needs. You’ll regret it when your well dries up.

Sewage is something else that you’ll have to take care of. It’s also something that a lot of people forget about when they think about starting a homestead. You can’t defecate all over your lawn. It’s disgusting, and it will taint your garden and your water supply.

You can solve that problem fairly easily, though. Just have a private septic tank installed before you move in. It’s a little expensive, but you only have to have it cleaned out once every three years, and you can do it yourself if you buy the equipment.

You can rely on more primitive methods for dealing with sewage, but you’re better off just doing it properly.

The military often utilizes outhouses with metal retrieval buckets. They pour oil into the large buckets, and they set the human waste on fire. That’s illegal in some areas, and there aren’t many people who will be willing to stand around as their fecal matter burns. It’s an option, though.

 

Heating And Cooking

Most of the United States experiences cold winters. As you move further north, you’ll experience colder winters. You’ll want a heating system. Obviously, you won’t be hooked up to a public gas supply, and creating your own natural gas isn’t practical. The next best thing is a fireplace.

If you build your house yourself, you can build your fireplace out of stone or bricks fairly cheaply. If you have a contractor build your house, you’ll have to pay a premium price for it. However, it’ll be worth the investment. You can heat your house with nothing more than a little bit of firewood, and you can get plenty of that for free if you buy property with trees on it. Just be careful with how you utilize your trees. You don’t want to strip your land of trees when you don’t have to.

Cooking should be done in a similar way. A wood stove and a large pot over your fireplace will allow you to cook just about anything. If you want to grill or smoke foods, you can easily set up a charcoal grill and a smoker outside.

food cooking on a wood stove in the kitchen

You can even make your own charcoal for your grill. Just start a campfire, put small chunks of wood in a fireproof pot, put the lid on, and toss it on the fire. The wood will get hot enough to char, but it won’t catch on fire. You can also use the leftover coals from any fire you make.

 

Calculate Your Energy Needs

You can waste a lot of money trying to set up an elaborate energy system that you won’t fully use. You have to remember that you’ll be busy taking on a lot of tasks around your homestead. You won’t have time to use as many electronics as you did before you dropped out of society.

You can also get yourself into a mess by underestimating your power needs. You’ll want to calculate your needs beforehand.

To figure this out, you need to know how much energy your appliances use on an annual basis. Then, calculate the output of your energy system over a year. If the amounts are equal, you’ll have just enough power to get by. It’s best to have a little bit more than what you need.

Calculating your energy needs can also refer to your caloric needs. You need energy, too. Your needs are based on your BMI and your usual food intake. You can use one of many different online tools to calculate your daily needs, and that will allow you to know how much food you need to stockpile. This will affect the size of your garden, the amount of animals you keep, and the amount of hunting and fishing that you have to do.

Keep in mind that you’ll likely be doing a lot more physical activity when you become self-reliant. You’ll need more food than what you currently require throughout a day.

 

Communication

You’re unlikely to want a cellphone if you’re trying to separate yourself from society. Furthermore, cellphones aren’t likely to work in the areas that you’ll have to choose from when purchasing property. You’ll need alternative means of communicating with the outside world.

You might be wondering why you’d want to communicate with the outside world at all. After all, you’re trying to escape society. Well, you might need help sometimes. You might want to keep tabs on the outside world. You might even have family members that you still want to keep in touch with. There are a few options that will allow you to do those things without paying a phone bill or compromising your new lifestyle.

First, HAM radios and CB systems can allow you to communicate over long distances. Using them is a bit different than simply dialing a phone number and calling someone, but it is a good alternative.

If you want to use HAM radios, you’ll need to get a license by participating in a certified program, and you’ll have to prove that you’re capable of using them legally. HAM radios can be used for intercontinental communication, and the government does not need random citizens saying messed up things to military officials in foreign lands. Anything like that will get you into massive amounts of trouble.

CB systems are a little easier to use, but they don’t reach nearly as far. You certainly won’t be able to speak to someone in Japan or Europe with one. We suggest starting with one of these before you upgrade to a HAM radio.

If you just need something to use on your property, you can buy Walkie-Talkies. They’ll allow you to communicate with your family members when you’re on a different part of your property, and they’re really easy to use.

You might want to keep a cellphone around for emergencies, though. If you need to call the police or an ambulance, you can do so without paying a phone bill. That’s a federal law. Phone companies have to let you make emergency calls whether you have a phone plan or not. Of course, you’ll probably have to drive a bit to get near a cellular tower.

 

Food And Food Storage

Gathering food is a little different when you’re self-reliant. Since your goal is to stay as far away from stores and consumerism as possible, you won’t have the luxury of loading a cart up at Kroger’s every few weeks. You’ll still have to purchase products that you can’t produce yourself, but most of your food should be grown or killed on your own property.

For this, you’ll obviously want to start a garden that is large enough to produce food for everyone in your family, and you’ll have to learn how to produce food with it year-round. A simple windowsill garden won’t cut it. You’ll want to dedicate a rather large chunk of your land to cultivating produce.

Initially, you’ll have to buy seeds or saplings at a store. We suppose you could spend forever searching the wild for things to plant in your garden, but that’s extremely impractical.

If you buy some perennial plants, you won’t have to replant them. If you buy a lot of annual plants, you can save your seeds for when you do need to replant them. Also, plants such as potatoes can produce new plants if you simply bury a portion of one of them. Plants that develop eyes as they rot are what you’ll want to look for to do that.

Protein is going to be a valuable commodity for you, and it’s almost entirely necessary for you to get it the traditional way. You’ll have to use animal products.

With veganism growing in popularity, that might be an issue for you. If you eat a plant-based diet, you might want to reconsider going off the grid. It’s just not practical to get all of your protein from plants in a self-reliance situation. You won’t be able to reliably cultivate the protein-rich plants that you’ll require, and you can’t go out and buy them. You also can’t expect to survive without protein repairing your muscles and fueling your body.

Now that, that is out of the way, we’ll talk about how you can reliably add protein to your diet. Hunting will likely be a large part of your life. Even if you raise livestock, hunting will allow you to spare the lives of your animals until they’re ready to go, and it’ll add a ton of meat to your stockpile.

Targeting larger animals like deer and elk can keep you from having to hunt a lot. A single deer can feed a family of five for as long as two weeks if you use the animal properly.

You want to do that for anything you kill. Don’t just strip it of its high-quality cuts of meat. Use every bit of meat on the animal, and learn to use its other parts to create things that you’ll need.

Hides can be tanned and turned into useful items, or they can be sold to supplement your income. Bones can be made into a lot of different primitive tools, and they can be used to make stocks for soups. Most organs are edible, and even though a lot of people don’t like them, they’re packed with nutrients.

Intestines can even be used to make cordage. You just have to cut them into thin strips, boil them, and then let them dry. When you need to use them, you can soak them for 30 minutes, and then you can wrap them around something tightly. They’ll shrink and tighten as they dry out.

You can also raise your own livestock. While it might seem like a great idea to buy a bunch of cows, you should know that it’s extremely expensive to do that, and they take quite a while to grow. A dairy cow is a good idea if you have the money, though.

Animals such as rabbits, goats, pigs, and chickens can easily be used for meat, and some of them are useful for things other than meat. They also grow a lot faster than cows and other large animals.

woman feeding livestock at home

Of course, you’ll have to store everything that you harvest. It’s unlikely that you will be able to eat an entire goat or deer in one day, and that’s pretty wasteful if you can.

If you have access to electricity, you can just buy a freezer and a refrigerator. They have to be on at all times, and that will limit the amount of other electronics you can use before draining your power supply, but they’ll keep your valuable food items from spoiling.

If you don’t have a refrigerator or a freezer, you can cure your meat with salt. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find or create salt in one of the states that you’ll pick for your homestead. So, it’s one of the items that you’ll have to buy from the store. Luckily, it’s cheap. If you are able to make it, you should definitely take the time to do so, though.

Your produce can also be stored for long periods of time if you learn how to can your produce. Canning is an easy process, and it’s extremely cheap to do. You’ll need Mason jars, lemon juice, and salt for most of the things in your garden. You can find guides all over the internet for each of the plants that you plan on planting.

Whatever you decide to do, you should do your best not to waste anything. If you have leftover tomatoes from one of your harvests, you should immediately can them. If you kill a deer, you should use all of it, and you should properly store what you can’t immediately use.

 

Having The Correct Gear

Living off the grid is a lot different than throwing together a survival kit. You’ll need a lot more than just a backpack full of gear that is designed to get you through a few days of rough circumstances. You have to focus on long-term survival.

Camouflage fatigues, fancy tactical knives, and MREs are a lot less useful when you’re trying to run a homestead.

Instead, you’ll need high-quality felling axes, large carbon steel knives, saws, clothes that are functional, gardening equipment, fire kits that can be used indefinitely, and tons of other tools that will allow you to create the things you need. Your choice of firearms will also be very different, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

You might even want to learn how to build and use a forge to reuse metal from tools and items that break over time.

When you’re purchasing your gear to prepare for your new lifestyle, your main focus should be on long-lasting tools that allow you to make things. You’ll be living similarly to how people did before we developed a modern civilization. It’s not about surviving extreme situations. It’s about relying on yourself for everything that you need.

You’ll still want to keep a survival kit around, though. You’re actually more likely to use it when you move off the grid. Without modern safety nets like the police and first response teams, you’ll have to save yourself if something goes wrong, and since you’re in the middle of nowhere, something is more likely to go wrong.

 

Defense And Protection

Separating yourself from society decreases your chances of being victimized by unsavory individuals, but you’ll still want to have defensive measures in place. If someone does decide to mess with you, you’ll be isolated from pretty much anyone who can help.

You’ll also want defensive measures in place to keep natural threats at bay. You’ll likely be in a remote location, and that leaves you open to animal attacks.

Here are the things that you should get to defend your new home:

Alarms

Alarms can warn you that someone is trying to take advantage of your isolated position, and they can help if wild animals try to attack your livestock. Without alarms, none of your other defensive measures will be worth much. You simply won’t know that something is happening until it’s too late.

You should have alarms set for every window and door of your home, and you should have alarms on any other buildings on your property.

Lighting

Lighting does two things. It helps you see threats at night, and it deters people from messing with you in the first place. After all, criminals are often cowards. They’re less likely to do anything if they know they can be seen.

We’re not talking about little porch lights, either. Get lights that can illuminate large portions of your property. They’ll allow you to see anyone or anything that you might have to defend yourself against, and they’ll let would-be intruders know that you mean business.

Guard Dogs

Dogs are man’s best friends for a good reason. They don’t just keep us company. They’re powerful companions, and they won’t hesitate to fight for us. Humans have been relying on dogs for protection, companionship, and the acquisition of food for thousands of years.

security guard dog pug wearing a hat that says security

A few guard dogs will make your homestead feel a lot less lonely, and they’ll keep your property safe. They’re worth every bit of food and water that you give them. They can also function as alarms. Their barks can be heard over relatively long distances, and if you train them, they’ll let you know anytime someone sets foot on your property.

However, you’ll have to treat them like family. Before you adopt a bunch of big dogs, make sure you’re willing to treat them with respect and kindness. Make sure you can provide them with a steady supply of food and clean water, too. They’re living creatures.

Barriers

Barriers will keep the majority of people from entering your property in the first place. They’ll keep you from having to use the majority of your other defenses, too.

If something bad does happen to the rest of society, your barriers and fences will give you an advantage against people that aim to harm you. They’ll give you a chance to prepare yourself.

CCTV

Having a closed-circuit television system does two things. It allows you to monitor your property, and it gives you irrefutable evidence if you’re forced to defend yourself. You may be off the grid, but if you’re forced to shoot an intruder, you’ll still have to face the United States judicial system, and you’ll need evidence that proves that you’re innocent of any crimes.

Set your cameras at key points on your property. You’ll want to cover any entrances or exits, and you’ll want to keep an eye on any buildings you put up. You don’t have to cover every inch of your property with cameras, but you do want to cover the important spots.

Of course, you’ll also want a way to store the recordings that your cameras capture. Most modern CCTV setups can utilize digital storage methods. If you buy one, make sure to keep a stockpile of storage items around, and regularly delete useless recordings.

Traps

Traps are a little controversial. A lot of people seem to think that a no trespassing sign gives them free reign to turn their property into something from the Saw franchise. That is not true.

Police officers and other government officials have the right to enter your property to investigate complaints or potential crimes. And they might even come by to do wellness checks if someone says they’re worried about you. If they have a warrant, they can come right into your house.

Some states also allow civilians to come onto your property, but they must leave when they are asked to. So, you can’t harm someone for simply asking for directions.

That’s why it’s a good idea to be very cautious with traps. Your ‘no trespassing signs’ don’t prevent certain people from entering your property. For the most part, they give you the ability to remove people from your property at will, and they give you the ability to defend yourself legally if a malicious person messes with you.

If you do set traps on your property, and someone enters your property without breaking the law, you will be responsible for whatever happens to them.

We don’t recommend setting traps to protect your property until you have a reason to. In a SHTF situation, you might have very legitimate reasons to set traps, and you’ll be within your rights to do so. You should be extremely careful with traps unless that happens, though. Also, you should check your state’s laws before creating a plan to deal with unwanted visitors. Every state has different trespassing laws.

Here are some of the things you can place:

  • Bear traps
  • Pitfalls
  • Snares
  • Log traps
  • Etc

Weapons

You’ll be on your own when you drop out of society. That’s the whole point of doing so. That means that you’ll have to defend yourself if a wild animal attacks, and you might have to defend yourself from malicious people.

A firearm is your best bet for self-defense. However, you still have to follow firearm laws. Being in a remote location doesn’t put you above the law. It’s easier to properly protect your property in gun-friendly states like Alaska, and that should be taken into consideration when you decide where you want to build your homestead.

You should definitely have a selection of hunting rifles and shotguns available. You’ll have to hunt a lot. Preferably, all of your hunting weapons should use ammo that you can easily recreate on your own. A lot of bushcraft enthusiasts have taken to using black powder weapons. Bows are also good choices for hunting.

When it comes to defending your property, you’ll want something a little more modern. Obviously, you’ll have to abide by the gun laws in your state, but you still have plenty of great options available to you. AR-15s are popular among preppers, and so are AK-47 variants. Both of those rifles are extremely reliable, and they’re not too expensive.

Shotguns are also valid choices, and you don’t have to be very good at aiming to use them. The shells that they use are also fairly easy to make if you know how to reload ammo.

However, a small sidearm is something that you should learn to love. Rifles and other large weapons are obviously more powerful, but a Glock 17 or a Beretta can be kept on your body at all times, and they’re efficient.

man holding glock 17 firearm in hands

Of course, you’ll also want to have weapons that don’t rely on bullets. Knives, weaponized axes, and other close-range weapons can help you defend your property when you don’t have ammunition. They’re just not as effective. Crossbows also give you the range of a firearm, and it’s easy to craft your own arrows if you practice a bit.

Before you try to stockpile weapons, make sure that you follow any laws that restrict what you can buy. You should also be aware that the police will know if you legally purchase weapons, and you might draw their attention if you own too many. Try to be reasonable, and cooperate with law enforcement officers if any issues arise. You’re an off grid prepper. You’re not a psychopath.

Finally, build a stockpile of ammunition for all of your firearms. They’re useless without bullets, and making your own modern ammunition from scratch isn’t easy. You’ll want to have a good supply in case an emergency happens.

 

Do You Need A Backup Plan?

Of course you need a backup plan. If you think that you’re going to buy some remote property, build a bunch of stuff, and do it easily, you are sadly mistaken. Dropping out of society is hard, and it’s not for everyone.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try it, but you should definitely have a backup plan in case it doesn’t work out.

Having a backup plan can mean a lot of different things. You might have a relative who is willing to let you stay with them if you have a really bad harvest. You might want to learn how you can sell your property if you decide that the lifestyle isn’t for you. You might just want to have a savings account in case you have a medical emergency that you can’t handle.

You should have a backup plan for everything that you do when you drop out of society. It can be dangerous, and it can be extremely difficult. If your main plan doesn’t work out, and you don’t have a backup plan, you might just end up broke, living on welfare, or struggling to survive. In some circumstances, not having a backup plan can kill you.

This isn’t something that you should just jump into. Take the time to think about everything that can go wrong, and plan out how you’ll handle those things if they happen.

 

Additional Reading

We’ve done our best to make this article as comprehensive as possible, and we’ve tried to let you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. This wouldn’t be the ultimate guide if we didn’t. However, we can’t possibly cover everything, and there are several books that you should buy and read before you decide to run off into the wilderness.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living
573 Reviews
Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living
  • Prepper s Long Term Survival Guide Food Shelter Security Off the Grid Power and More Life Saving Strategies for Self Sufficient Living
  • Cobb, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 03/25/2014 (Publication Date) - Ulysses Press (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 2
Going Off the Grid: The How-To-Book of Simple Living and Happiness
102 Reviews
Going Off the Grid: The How-To-Book of Simple Living and Happiness
  • Gary Collins (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 165 Pages - 01/15/2017 (Publication Date) - Second Nature Publishing (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 3
How to Survive Off the Grid: From Backyard Homesteads to Bunkers (and Everything in Between)
28 Reviews
How to Survive Off the Grid: From Backyard Homesteads to Bunkers (and Everything in Between)
  • How to Survive Off the Grid From Backyard Homesteads to Bunkers and Everything in Between
  • MacWelch, Tim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 10/04/2016 (Publication Date) - Weldon Owen (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 4
Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
737 Reviews
Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
  • Mini Farming Self Sufficiency on 1 4 Acre
  • Markham, Brett L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 04/01/2010 (Publication Date) - Skyhorse (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 5
40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Creative Homeowner) Includes Fences, Coops, Sheds, Wind & Solar Power, Rooftop & Vertical Gardening
176 Reviews
40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Creative Homeowner) Includes Fences, Coops, Sheds, Wind & Solar Power, Rooftop & Vertical Gardening
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Toht, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 08/06/2013 (Publication Date) - Creative Homeowner (Publisher)

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Final Thoughts

After reading this guide, you should be well on your way to being ready to live an off the grid lifestyle. You should also pick up some of the books that we’ve mentioned to ensure that you’re ready for it.

However, off the grid living is not an easy thing to do. It presents endless challenges, and it can get the best of even the strongest individuals. Before you decide to jump into this new and exciting lifestyle, you should properly prepare yourself, and you should think long and hard about whether or not it’s the right thing for you.

Chief Disruptor
Hi There! We are a team of self-reliant experts and action takers and we hope you've enjoyed our article and found it informative. If you have please feel free to leave a comment below, it would make our day!

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