(Shared from Ammo.com)
Do you dream of living off-grid? You might want to live off-grid to be prepared for economic collapse or a viral pandemic. Perhaps you’re worried about a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake or tornado. Maybe you’re fed up with the rat race of life in the concrete jungle, and just want to try your hand at living off the land, as our ancestors did.
It’s a romantic notion, however, the realities of it can be much more difficult than most people realize. Modern society has let us specialize in such a way that most of us lack many of the basic skills necessary to survive off the grid for an extended period of time.
Before you make the jump, consider how far off the grid you truly want to go. Keep in mind that going off-grid is an on-going process, so you’ll need patience and resourcefulness to make it work.
Written by an Eagle Scout who helped his father build his own log cabin off the grid in Eastern Washington, the family then lived in the cabin for six years in the ’80’s, and the son returned to live from 2007 to 2012. Our guide gives you a realistic assessment of what it takes to thrive off-grid, and how to acquire the skills to succeed.
- How to Choose Where to Live Off-Grid
- Primary Factors
- Secondary Factors
- Food Production
- The Off-Grid Home
- Food Storage
- Heating and Cooking
How to Choose Where to Live Off-Grid
Off-grid living experiences vary along a continuum of intensity. At one end of the spectrum is a longer commute into town, part of which is on a dirt road. At the other end is a house only accessible on horseback or by float plane that restocks provisions once a month or less. Consider these factors to determine where on the spectrum you want to be.
General Region – Think first about the general area of the country where you’d like to live. Each region has pros and cons from weather to wildlife or the people who live there.
- Northwest – large game animals, like-minded individuals, and natural splendor, but a cold climate
- Southwest – warm weather, game animals, freedom-loving people, but risk of drought
- Great Plains – space and climate for growing your own food, but risk of tornados and limited self-defense options
- Mid-South – mild climate, variety of game animals and low-population density, but risk along New Madrid fault
- Mid-Atlantic – mild climate for growing your own food, and friendly people, but risk of hurricanes and flooding
- Alaska – long regarded as the final frontier, it has a deserved reputation for difficult living conditions, but the hardiest do make it happen
Annual Weather – Season weather variations will have a daily impact on the off-grid living experience.
- Harsh winters mean extensive preparation for staying warm. Longer periods of cold also shorten a garden’s growing season.
- Hot summers mean dealing with the heat. Off-grid power systems are not able to supply air conditioning.
Natural Disasters – What is your risk tolerance for these sorts of disasters? Are you willing to take the extra steps necessary to prepare for these possibilities?
- Is the location you’re considering prone to hurricanes or tornadoes or flooding?
- Is the location safe in the event of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions?
- Are you willing to accept any danger from wildfire in the summer months?
Terrain – This is related to the specific piece of property you’re considering.
- Do you want flat land or hills? Steeper hills will add a level of challenge every day.
- Do you want to live on the plains, or in the woods? In the northern hemisphere, the north facing side of a hill will see less sunshine and be cooler than a south facing hillside. Conifers grow more densely on northern slopes.
- Do you want a stream on your property? Do you want to be near a lake or a pond?
- How close do you want to be to your nearest neighbor?
- Do you want to find a likeminded community or live in complete isolation?
- How far do you want to be fro the nearest town? You will most need to obtain some provisions – what level of convenience do you require?
- Is your location defensible?
After you’ve decided on the general and specific requirements you want and need for your off-grid dwelling, your search will be more efficient. Remember, however, that you will likely need to be flexible and make some concessions on smaller issues in order to get what you want on the bigger issues.