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How To Go Off The Grid [Starter Guide]

Going off the grid means opting for an autonomous life away from the city. It entails living without relying on municipal utilities, community utilities and without public sewerage and garbage disposal services.

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Which citizen of the 21st century does not enjoy the good life of urban living where power and water are yours at the press of a button and sewerage systems and garbage collection agencies take care of your trash?

Who doesn’t enjoy stopping by the grocer’s to pick provisions for a home-cooked dinner without having to break their back to till the land and grow their own food?

Did you say “no one?”

Well, it seems that plenty of the 21st-century city dwellers have had it with urban living and prefer living off the grid.

What is going off grid? Going off the grid means opting for an autonomous life away from the city. It entails living without relying on municipal utilities such as power, gas, water, and other community utilities and without public sewerage and garbage disposal services.

While self-reliance constitutes the widespread approach to going off the grid, there are other choices that can create a difference in how a prepper or anyone going off the grid decides to distance themselves from society.

  • Some people may decide to completely delink themselves from technology, communication gadgets, and social networks
  • Vegans and people who cherish eating organic food may completely or partially remove commercially processed foods from their diet and produce their own food naturally.
  • Others may enhance self-reliance by producing their own power, creating their own water sources, and improvising their own methods of waste management.
Person enjoying the benefits of living off the grid out in nature

Although moving to the city in search of better social amenities marked the 17th and 18th centuries, it seems that the 21st-century city dweller doesn’t want to keep relying on public utilities and is nostalgic for the peaceful natural life that was before the onset of urbanization.

If you are among the city dwellers who are tired of the noises, the weighty bills, and the survival risks associated with urban living and you yearn for the natural off-grid living, this article will give you crucial answers about “off the grid living” and “off the grid survival.”

Specifically, the rest of the article will answer for you these 4 main questions:

  • Why live off the grid?
  • What are the benefits and downsides of living off the grid?
  • How do you survive off the grid?
  • What are people asking about going off the grid?

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Table Of Contents show

Why Live Off The Grid?

There are several personal and humanity-related reasons preppers and other people want to distance themselves from the comfort of city-living and adopt an isolated or semi-isolated way of life in the land.

Here are 6 of the main reasons:

  1. Living an autonomous life without huge utility bills.
  2. Escaping the noise and stress of city living.
  3. Dodging the strain of a 9 am-5 pm job.
  4. Participating in environmental conservation.
  5. Adhering to personal/spiritual reasons.
  6. Being a diehard prepper.

1. Living an autonomous life without huge utility bills

We’ve anticipated (in the first section) the core reason why anyone would want to live off the grid: to be autonomous and not rely on public utilities and services.

Setting up your living space off the grid will sure cost you a good amount of money. But once you have done that, you are free from the huge utility bills.

Living off grid also frees most of your time since you don’t have to work extra hard to make ends meet, you just need to work enough to survive.

This video gives you an idea of what is it like to live off the grid on a tiny house while growing your own food, hauling water, and using wood to heat your home.

2. Escaping the noise and stress of city-living

I don’t know about you but one of the things that serve to revive my spirit when I’m exhausted is escaping the noise of the city for a while.

Some people have had their doctors advise them to take a long break away from everything if they wanted to stay sane and keep living.

Being away from the noise of cars, machines, and all the activities going on in the city and reconnecting with nature comes with inner peace. You get to remind yourself with Max Ehrmann in Desiderata that “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here”.

3. Abandoning the strain of a 9 am-5 pm job

According to the “Stress in America” surveys conducted by the American Psychological Association, work and money have remained the two major personal sources of stress among Americans year after year.

This explains the significant numbers of Americans who opt to abandon their corporate jobs in exchange for a calm and peaceful life off the grid.

A story on Reddit by someone with the handle “simple-living-ama” narrates how the author gave up his 6-figure job to live in a cabin with no running water and electricity. The story is a clear example of how work can cause extreme stress and rob you of everything, including your family. In the writer’s words:

 “I majored in business, and by the time I was 35 I was making six figures in the corporate world. I was also on three different meds for anxiety and depression. I was often expected to work 60+ hours a week, and upper management constantly pushed us to do more and more. The stress was unreal. I made good money, but never got to spend time with my wife or daughter.”

Read the rest of the story here to find out how living off the grid changed his life for the better.

4. Participating in environmental conservation

Going off the grid has a significant impact on the reduction of fossil fuel CO2 emissions. With renewable energy sources becoming more affordable, off-grid smaller houses with minimal consumption of power can help reduce national and global power consumption and CO2 emissions.

According to LG Energy, every kWh of electricity produced from conventional sources generates about 1kg of CO2. Instead, using a 6.6kw solar system will save the environment 234 tons of CO2 in 25 years which adds up to 9.36 tons (8491kg) a year.

So, even though some people may downplay the contribution of off-grid citizens in environmental conservation, their reduced power consumption makes a significant input for a greener world.

Small solar panel in an off grid environment

5. Adhering to personal/spiritual reasons

Going off the grid to conserve the environment is already a spiritual reason. Other personal and spiritual reasons that people give for “dropping out” include:

  • Connecting with nature.
  • To improve one’s mental and physical health.
  • Be part of communities of like-minded people such as Ecovillage Ithaca (New York) and Earthaven (North Carolina).

6. Being a diehard prepper

If you belong to the preppers’ club and are actively preparing for survival in case SHTF, living off the grid can be an optimal way to stay away from the disaster hotspots such as cities. Think of an off-the-grid life in the coronavirus era of social distancing, the chances of being infected are almost zero.

As a prepper, you can also consider living off the grid as a long term disaster preparation move with a ready cabin home for bugging out when Shit does actually Hit The Fan.

Whichever of these is your reason for going off the grid you’ll enjoy the benefits of a minimalist life. But you need to toughen your skin to battle a few downsides as well.

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The Benefits and Downsides of Living Off The Grid

Despite the difference in the reasons that drive people to live off the grid, there are some universal benefits associated with living off grid.

The benefits of living off the grid

The benefits of living off the grid are related to personal wellbeing to the welfare of humanity:

  • A greater sense of personal satisfaction.
  • Reduced levels of stress and anxiety.
  • Lower costs of living.
  • You got your freedom!
  • You help reduce the carbon footprint.
  • You live a healthier life.

Let’s see what each of these benefits really means.

A greater sense of personal satisfaction

Whether you abandon the city to be self-reliant or to conserve the environment, doing so comes with greater personal satisfaction. And who doesn’t want to feel happier?

Some of the experiences that enhance your sense of fulfillment include:

  • Solving your own survival needs without relying on public resources.
  • Tilling the soil and growing your own food.
  • Creating stuff with your own hands like building your tiny house or cabin.
  • Learning new skills such as natural methods of food preservation, carpentry, animal husbandry, and the like.

All these reveal how much you are capable of achieving and how creative you can be, all of which empower you psychologically.

Reduced levels of stress and anxiety

People who found urban life to be overly stressful will always quote getting away from the noise of the city, the fatigue of sitting in traffic, the strain of a 9-5 job, and over-dependency on technology as some of the reasons for ‘dropping out” of society and living away from the city’s hustle.

Once of the grid, you drop the exaggerated sense of time in the city and you can simply move at your own rhythm: wake up when you want, take a walk into the woods any time of day, and do what you enjoy doing.

Lower costs of living

This is probably one of the top benefits of living off grid. You do not have to freak out at the site of high utility bills because you can improvise natural ways of getting your water and tapping reusable energy.

You also don’t have to pay high mortgages for your tiny cabin and you can minimize the cost of food by growing your own organic food, which also comes with health benefits.

An off grid log cabin in a forest clearing

You got your freedom!

They say freedom is the one great treasure no one wants to trade for anything in the world. Living off the grid gives you back your freedom by:

  • Eliminating the strain of building up bad debts with a credit card through high-interest rates and minimum payment rates. There’s no greater relief than being debt-free!
  • Establishing your own life schedule: wake up, work, relax, and sleep at your own rhythm.

You help reduce the carbon footprint

Did you know that electricity and heat production tops the list of the 6 largest global greenhouse gas emitters?

Living in tinier houses without high power and water consumption, eating non-processed food, producing less waste, using renewable energy, recycling stuff, relying on public transport, or doing more walking are all lifestyle options in off-grid living that help reduce carbon emission.

In a way, you are saving the natural resources for future generations; you are humanity-conscious!

You live a healthier life

Researchers and health experts agree that the sedentary life associated with urban homes and offices is responsible for most of the cardiovascular diseases that cause uncountable deaths annually.

An off-the-grid life saves you the justifiable evil of sitting at a desk for 8 hours daily to earn a living. It also saves you from sprawling on a couch for hours on end to watch television or amuse yourself on social media.  

Instead, being off the grid gives you chances to walk and carry out errands rather than ride an automobile. You can simply take a walk to a neighbor’s place or go on a hike in the woods. Working in your garden or creating stuff for your home also counts as physical activity.

The downsides of living off the grid

The benefits of living off the grid are good enough to persuade you to make your move towards an off-grid life. But it’s important to note some of the challenges that you might encounter. Let’s mention the two most prominent.

High initial costs of settling down off the grid

We will give you some cost estimates for going off the grid later in the article. You will notice then that the initial costs of settling off the grid can be extremely high.

Just the basic expenses of buying land, building a shelter, and installing a solar system can break your bank.

Of course, you’ll need to consider your expenditure estimates and purchase within your financial limits.

The harshness of extreme weather conditions

Depending on the zone, you chose to live in, be ready to brave extreme weather conditions. A state like Utah is listed among the best places to live off the grid but it also has one of the harshest winters.

Likewise, Hawaii is among the best states to live off the grid but is also listed among those with the worst summers.

You’ll, therefore, need to consider how you’ll keep yourself warm in the extremes of winter and how to find some cool solace in the extreme summers. Ensuring good insulation for your tiny house is the first step.

Off grid cabin used as shelter for the winter

To reap the benefits and mitigate the downsides of going off the grid, it’s important to know how to survive off the grid and what the necessities for living off the grid are.

How to Survive Off The Grid in 10 Steps

Now that you know the pros and cons of living off the grid, it’s time to know how to live off the grid. Our checklist for living off the grid discusses 10 things you must do or must have to survive off the grid.

Here’s a summary of the checklist for living off the grid:

  1. Prepare to go off the grid
  2. Figure out how much money you need to go off grid
  3. Acquire land in a suitable location
  4. Build an off the grid shelter
  5. Find a source of water
  6. Farm and keep animals for food
  7. Tap renewable energy for your power supply
  8. Devise a waste disposal management system
  9. Have a tools and equipment garage
  10. Other off grid survival practices

Prepare to go off the grid

A lot of people have expressed their struggles about off-grid living and admitted they made one big mistake: embarking on an off grid life without preparing.

Preparing to live off the grid means being ready in all the off grid survival areas we will be discussing.

This ‘to do’ list will help you prepare better for off grid survival so that your life does not become a nightmare:

  • Start saving up for your transition to an off-grid life as soon as you are sure you want to abandon life in the city and go off the grid.
  • Read about how to go off the grid from reliable blogs and web sites or free ‘off the grid living’ books on kindle unlimited. You could also opt to buy print versions from Amazon. See for example this “How to go off the Grid” bestseller that you can purchase as a paperback print version or read free on Kindle Unlimited.
  • Explore available land, weighing its suitability for your off-grid dream life. This means exploring factors such as availability of water, the possibility of taping natural energy, and safety from flooding among other factors.
  • Study shelter options based on your identified location. You could buy a readymade tiny house, have one built for you, or make one yourself on location.
  • Talk to people who are already living off the grid to have an idea of what it is like.
  • Decide how you are going to feed yourself; whether you’ll stock up a long-term supply of canned and freeze-dried foods or you’ll grow your own food.
  • Take a fitness course if you need to. Your off-grid life is going to be active and will involve building a shelter, hauling water, chopping and stacking wood, doing laundry, and gardening among other activities. If you can’t take a little fatigue you’ll be in for a huge surprise.
  • Gradually build your off the grid essentials list. That may include canned and dried food at least for the months before you grow your own food, clothes, beddings, essential furniture, kitchenware, a medical kit, tools for hunting, fishing, gardening, wood chopping and other tactical jobs, and self-defense tools among others.
Axe and chopped wood prepared for off grid living

If considering these preparatory tasks has not deterred you from going off the grid, you can now figure out how much it will cost you.

Figure out how much money you need to go off grid

Whereas life is going to cost you less once you are already living off the grid, you’ll have to pay a good amount to get yourself started.

So, how much money do you need to go off the grid?

We’ve sourced info from different reliable sources including Fixr (an online marketplace that provides cost guides, comparisons, and cheatsheets for installation remodeling, and repair projects), Lands of America (a property advertising site), Bushmans (a tank manufacturer), and Amazon, just to give you a realistic estimate.

Off Grid NeedsAverage Cost
Land$4,000-$10,000 (per acre)
Shelter$10,000-$150,000
10kW Off-grid Solar System$70,000
Poly Water Tanks (10,000L)$1,900
Rainwater collection system$18.26
Composting Toilet$960
Vegetable & fruit garden$2,500
Chicken coop construction$650
Tools shed$350
Total$236,378.26

Note that this is an extremely rough estimate of the main costs. You’ll need to factor in other costs like transportation, the cost of furniture and home appliances, as well as construction costs if you hire the services of a professional.

Acquire land in a suitable location

When looking for land, ensure that it is in a suitable location and that acquiring and using it for off-grid living is within the law.

The suitability of land for off-grid living should be gauged on the following factors:

  • Availability of water, sunlight for solar energy, and land that’s not in a flood plain. You can check FEMA flood maps for the state where you are going to live to know the probability of having to deal with floods.
  • The possibility to choose owner financing options, which allows you to spread the cost over several monthly installments. You can also agree with the seller to offset some of the payment through other means.
  • The land should be properly surveyed to avoid getting into legal battles later. Ensure that no state laws are violated in the sale and purchase of the land.
  • You should be able to check from public Courthouse records that the land belongs to the seller. Beware that sometimes people fence and offer for sale land that does not belong to them.

While most people will have to buy property for their off the grid living, you can also acquire free land to live off the grid through one of these options:

  • Receive a gift from someone that’s simply giving out free land.
  • Someone offers you to live free on their land in exchange for services, say as a farm caretaker, or doing some carpentry or stables work.
  • Using the adverse possession principle (squatter's rights) option to acquire some strip of the tracks of land that sits furrow and unused.
Location being prepared for off-grid living conditions

You can also join one of the free off-grid living communities. Of course, most of them will have regulations to adhere to and will require you to lender services to contribute to the community’s sustenance.

Build an off the grid shelter

Unless you plan to become a wandering off-the-grid liver, shelter is still going to be a basic need when you go off the grid.

You have different options for an off-grid shelter including:

  • A tiny permanent home
  • A log cabin
  • An RV
  • A yurt
  • A shipping container

Decide on your shelter option depending on the specifics of your off grid life. If you don’t want to stay in a single location, an RV will be your best bet. But, if you intend to permanently disappear from urban life, a tiny permanent home should be your choice.

Bear in mind that one of the reasons you are going off grid is to cut on living costs. So, your shelter should be:

  • Tiny, containing just the essentials, and easy to heat during winter without using an enormous amount of energy.
  • Insulated to preserve heat in winter and stay cool in summer.

Some states will require you to adhere to the set code on construction so you need to be informed about that as well.

Find a source of water

If you ask anyone whether they would prefer to be in a place without water or power, they’ll certainly vote in favor of having plenty of H2O.

We’ll assume that you had ensured your off-grid living location has a reliable source of water when you were weighing your option in the preparatory step.

Nevertheless, here are some ways you can get water for your off the grid living:

Rainwater: this is not only free but clean and may not need any purification unless your collecting gutters are contaminated. You can opt for a rainwater collection system to direct water from downspouts into storage barrels so it lasts you for a while. See this best seller Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection System on Amazon.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dig a well: Well, maybe not you digging the well yourself but employing the services of professional drillers. The cost may be around $1,500-$12,000 but having one may also make water a trading commodity for you in exchange for services or commodities you do not have from other neighbors who need water.

Haul water into a tank: if you have neighbors with water or are near a natural water source such as a river, spring, stream, or pond, you can haul water into a tank or barrels, at least until you have a more efficient way to get it to your little home.

Use gravity to flow water to your property: if there’s a water source that’s on higher ground than your location, you can flow in water by gravity to fill your barrels or even irrigate your garden in the dry season. You can also pump water directly from a natural source if gravity will not do.

Municipal water: if you are going off grid partially and live close enough to the city, you can still opt for the public water supply. Make this your last option though, since an economic disaster in the city would still leave you without water if you have no supplementary sources.

Farm and keep animals for food

Being off grid is an opportunity to abandon the unhealthy fast foods and preserved foods consumed in cities. Having your own garden and rearing animals will give you healthy organic food.

So, what foods should you grow and which animals should you keep?

Well, it will all depend on the amount of space you have, the energy you can invest in gardening or animal husbandry, the crops that grow well in your location, and your food needs and preferences.

Crops and vegetables from a survival garden

Grow seasonal vegetables: these are quick to grow and are optimal options in winter as well as other seasons. They include:

  • Sunflower shoots
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Turnips
  • Beets
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber

Grow perennial vegetables: these are low maintenance, have an extended harvesting period, act as a soil conditioner, and can give your property an aesthetic element. They include:

  • Rhubarb
  • Sorrel
  • Chives
  • Asparagus
  • Wild leeks (Wild onions)
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Jerusalem artichokes (Sunchokes)
  • Ostrich fern (Fiddlehead ferns)
  • Daylilies
  • Scarlet runner beans
  • Bunching onions (Egyptian onions)
  • Radicchio

Grow starchy root tubers: these count as vegetables for some but are excellent sources of starch. They include:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Jicama
  • Yams

Grow perennial herbs: some culinary herbs also double as medicinal options. They include:

  • Sorrel
  • Curry plant
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Ginger
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Lavender
  • Rose

Grow perennial nuts and fruits: these are good sources of your vitamin needs and once planted require little extra care. They include:

  • Mulberries
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Lemons and limes
  • Mandarins
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Papayas
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Almonds
  • Walnut
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
Mix of nuts that would be good survival food for living off-grid

Rear easy-to-feed animals: they will cater to your protein needs from eggs, meat, and milk. They include:

  • Pekin ducks
  • Chicken
  • Geese
  • Turkey
  • Rabbits
  • Fish
  • Goats, cows, and pigs (if you have plenty of land)

Note: you have to be informed about what grows best in your zone to make your best choice of what to grow from the list.

Tap renewable energy for your power supply

Power supply is one of the key necessities for living off the grid. When you live off the grid, you’ll need energy for lighting, heating, and cooking. You can generate energy from 4 main options:

  • Solar energy
  • Wind energy
  • Hydraulic (water) energy
  • Wood energy

Solar energy

The best way to tap solar energy off the grid is to install an off-grid solar system. This is a multipart setup that produces energy by harnessing the sun’s energy using solar panels and charging batteries through a charge controller. The batteries store the energy which is then converted by an inverter into electricity for use when needed.

According to Fixr, off-grid livers in extra sunny zones have sufficient energy with a 3-4kW system. A reliable solar system for most homes will be 5-7kW while off-grid homes with high energy use can opt for a 10kW system.

You can gauge your energy uses from these estimates or consider the price of each option.

Solar System Energy ProductionAverage Price
1kW$12,000 - $15,000
2kW$20,000 - $25,000
3kW$30,000 - $35,000
4kW$35,000 - $40,000
5kW$40,000 - $45,000
10kW$70,000 - $80,000

Wind energy

If you live in zones where there is plenty of wind, you can opt to generate your power or at least some of it using wind turbines. You’ll still need energy-storing batteries to store the energy and convert it into electricity.

One drawback of wind turbines is that they easily wear or get jammed with the rotating and need regular maintenance or replacement.

If you are not up to the task of servicing the turbine and don’t want the hassle of calling an expert every time at an extra cost, you are better off sticking with solar energy.

A safer option for tapping wind power off grid is to set up a micro wind turbine and use it as a backup in combination with solar energy. That covers you for the period when you do not have sunlight and the winds are blowing in your favor, but it will also cost you a good amount to set up.

This video is a bit technical but it answers well the question of whether setting a micro wind turbine is worth it.

Hydraulic energy

If we had to vote for solar, wind, and hydraulic energy in terms of reliability, the latter would take the day as long as your source of water is reliable.

A micro hydraulic energy system is viable for people who live near a reliable water source. This could be a river, a stream, a large creek, or even a waterfall.

Unlike the sun that comes by day and the wind that comes when it comes, a source of water with reliable running water can provide energy consistently.

You need to set up a water turbine that directly converts the energy from flowing water into electricity, and then it’s transported to your tiny home through electrical wires. You can also tap the energy into storage batteries to be on the safer side.

This is how easy creating energy from a micro turbine can be, even though you’ll need a little more work than this to get enough power for all your needs.

The greatest challenge you may have with opting for hydraulic power is finding a property that’s near a reliable water source. And even when you do, it can be extremely expensive that you may not want to invest in it.

Wood energy

While you will not light your tiny house or charge phones with wood energy, it is your cheapest option for heating and cooking especially if you are going the survivalist way. Wood is also a good energy backup in zones where there’s little sunlight all year round and your wind/hydro energy is not sufficient.

For home heating:

  • Choose one of the new generation wood-burning stoves such as the Drolet HT3000 Wood Stove. This stove will produce a maximum of 110,000 Btu/h (32.2 kWh) which means it can be controlled to produce the amount of heat your tiny home requires.
  • Ensure that the stove is the right size for your home. One that is too big will require you to burn wood at a low smolder so the house does not overheat, and that’s a waste of fuel. An under-sized stove will not produce enough heat.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The rule of thumb: a stove rated at 12.30Kwh (42,000Btu) is good for a 1,300 sq.ft house while one rated at 17.58Kwh (60000Btu) is good for a 2,000 sq.ft home.

For cooking:

  • Opt for an environmentally friendly rocket stove such as the Envirofit M-5000 Rocket Stove. This will consume less wood and you can also include the GoGrill Accessory that is sold separately for your barbeque evenings with visiting friends or neighbors.

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can look at other rocket-stove options in our article on Best Rocket Stove where you also have practical guidelines for making your DIY rocket stove option.

Note: Familiarize yourself with the wood-burning regulations of the state where you are located before purchasing and installing wood-burning systems. Also, seek the services of an expert for installation to avoid errors in heat distribution and carbon dioxide elimination.

Devise a waste disposal management system

Waste disposal can be a headache when you live off the grid, but it is one crucial sector that must be managed properly. You have three types of waste to get rid of:

  • Black waste
  • Grey waste
  • Trash waste

We’ll look at each and suggest ways of disposing of the waste from each category.

Black waste

This is human waste that comes from urinals and toilets. You can get rid of it using one of these methods:

  • Build a septic tank: this is a costly choice since it requires plenty of work and you have to find a way of getting all the material and equipment to your location.

One indisputable advantage is that once it is installed, you do not have to worry about where your waste goes. You only need to have it emptied by professional agents every couple of years.

  • Purchase a composting toilet: this is a dry toilet that composts/treats human waste through a biological process and converts it to compost-like material. It is clean and odor-free when well maintained. You’ll need to empty it after the recommended number of uses and/or use a microbe and enzyme liquid to accelerate decomposing.

See Nature's Head Dry Composting Toilet which is easy to install and has a hand crank agitator in the base for faster composting.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Dig a pit latrine (outhouse): the old way for disposing of human waste can still do if you are settling off grid for the rest of your life or are a group living together, plus it’s cheap and easy to build. You can also use it as a disposal pit for your composting toilet.

Just ensure that your state’s regulations allow you to use a pit latrine.

  • Other methods: other possible ways to dispose of human waste include using a bucket toilet, using a biogas digester, using an incinerating toilet, or a portable toilet with a detachable flash tank.

Grey waste

Grey waste is the dirty water from bathing/showering, laundering, kitchen sink, etc. The classical way to dispose of gray water is to throw it out on the earth once you are done with your chores.

A more convenient way to get rid of grey waste is to pipe it out so it can be naturally absorbed into the earth. That could also mean directing it to water your plants. Bear in mind, though, that chemicals in detergents can be toxic and could harm your plants if absorbed in large amounts.

Trash waste

This is usually trash from the kitchen but also from other sources like food wrappings, bottles, cans, and other types of paper waste.

Compostable waste from food leftovers and peelings can be simply thrown into a composting pit.

Non-composting waste can be managed in one of these 4 ways:

  • Put them into garbage bags and dispose of them at the nearest landfill for proper waste management.
  • If you have enough space, dig a hole to dispose of all your non-composting waste and bury it once it’s filled up.
  • Collect flammable waste like paper and food wrappings in one place and burn it to ashes once you’ve collected a good amount.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle: convert glass jars into glasses, glass bottles into drinking water storage vessels, cans into plant pots, and return plastic bottles for recycling.

Have a tools and equipment garage

To do some gardening and landscaping and repair or fix stuff in the house or around your off-grid home, you’ll have to make a miniature off-grid garage or tool shed.

Shed full of off grid tools

Here is a tools and equipment list from which you can choose what you think you’ll need to have in your off-grid garage/tool shed:

  • Hand tools: including a tape measure, folding and fixed-blade knife, multi-tool knife, hand saw, hack saw, bow saw, multi-purpose ax, 4-foot level adjustable wrench, a set of pliers, chisel set, a set of screwdrivers, socket set, general-purpose claw hammer, crowbar, adjustable bench plane knife sharpener, and duct tape.
  • Power tools: including angle/hand driver, nail gun, outdoor extension cord, circular saw, drill & impact driver, and reciprocating saw.
  • Safety tools: including work gloves, safety goggles, work boots, and headlamp.
  • Emergency tools: including a snow shovel, scissor jack, fire extinguisher, and emergency lamp/flashlight.
  • Gardening and landscaping tools: including a push broom, folding ladder, wheelbarrow, carpenters belt, garden rake, shovel, mattock, garden hose, brush ax, and garden shears.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

To make your work easier, you can opt to buy a prearranged toolbox and complete your tools collection with what you think you’ll need.

Here’s our best toolbox pick from amazon: Cartman Pink 39-Piece Tool Set

  • Contains 39 tools you’ll need for small repairs in and around the home.
  • All pieces are heat treated and chrome plated to prevent corrosion.
  • Housed in a plastic storage case for safety.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other off grid survival practices

There are a few other things you can do to survive off the grid.

Opt for barter trade with neighbors

You can exchange things you have for others that you don’t or offer services in exchange for things you do not have. For example, you could work in a neighbor’s garden or make repairs for them in exchange for water or vegetables from their garden.

Create an off-grid social support system

As much as you are escaping the noise of the city, you’ll still need the social connection with others. Knowing your neighbors and creating a social support system is not only good for the company but also a security measure; knowing who is living around you.

Connect with nature

Your first best friend in your new off the grid life is going to be nature. You can make your encounters with nature relaxation moments to break the monotony of being always around your tiny home or compound.

Doing so can also be a discovery of the richness in the natural environment around you. For example, if you have access to the internet, discovering new plants and learning their botanical names could become your new hobby.

Mind your safety

Being off the grid is not a 100% assurance of safety from danger and disaster. You can encounter dangerous wild animals or people with ill will. Ensure you have self-defense tools both in your tiny house and in your pocket/backpack when you move around.

Read about ways you can defend yourself and about tools you can use for your self-defense in these articles:

How to Go Off The Grid FAQs

Many people who are not sure if it is possible to live off the grid and what the legal implications of living off the grid are asking these questions:

Is it legal to live off the grid in the US?

It is generally legal to live off the grid in the US. But you have to be well informed about zonal and state regulations regarding what you can do or not on your off-grid property.

Some states may prohibit living off-grid without proper waste management systems while others require you to strictly follow existing construction statutes when building your off-grid home.

What states allow you to live off the grid in the US?

While there is no formal decree that prohibits living off the grid in the US, some states are more proactive in providing guidelines and standards for living off the grid. They include Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Other states allow off-grid living but are more costly to live in or have tighter regulations for living off the grid. They include Alaska, Hawaii, California, Vermont, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Which are the best states to live off the grid In the US?

The best states to live off the grid in the US include Utah, Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, California, Maine, Vermont, New Mexico, and New York.

The best states are listed by considering key factors such as climate, off-grid laws, land price, and availability of water and renewable energy among others.

How to Go Off The Grid - Summary

Going off the grid is becoming a trend among people who no longer want to put up with the noise and stress of urban set-ups or depend on public utilities. Instead, off-grid citizens want to be self-reliant by tapping renewable energy to meet their power needs.

Even though you will pay a good amount to acquire land, build a shelter, and purchase all that you need to settle off the grid, the benefits of doing so outweigh any challenges that might come with it.

Besides, these challenges can be mitigated by preparing beforehand for your transition from city-living to off-grid living. You can also opt to make off-grid living less cumbersome and costly by producing your own food, generating your own energy, having a reliable water source, and creating a social support network with other off-grid neighbors.

If you treasure conserving the environment, living a minimalist life is an excellent way to do so.  Nature will also thank you for being part of the global initiative to reduce CO2 emissions.

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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