Are you tired of living in an overcrowded and polluted city while working like a dog to pay your bills and mortgages? Off grid survival is an alternative lifestyle that provides a completely different perspective.
But, make no mistake; the word “survival” is there for a good reason. Getting off the grid comes with many benefits. You’ll see and feel the beauty that eludes urban dwellers. But, it’s not easy. Not even close. It is hard work and you’ll have to struggle at times. However, it is a more rewarding and fulfilled life. Or so they say.
“A man is born to work, to suffer, and to fight; he who doesn’t must perish.” If you believe these words of Nikola Tesla, you may embrace the off grid concept. I can’t promise you that it is a perfect lifestyle for you. We have detached ourselves from nature more than we are aware of. And some of us are just too hooked on the conveniences of modern life to be able to leave them behind. Every person has the right to choose their own path. Here are some of the reasons to consider going off the grid.
Why People Choose Off Grid Living
There are all kinds of motivations that drive people to search for self-sufficient, off-grid living.
These are the most common ones:
- Freedom and independence. Off-grid living allows you to take your destiny into your own hands. You’ll be in a driver’s seat. So, you will be responsible for all successes or failures.
- Preparedness. Things like rising instability and inequality, disturbed natural balance and climate, remind us how fragile our society is. If it gets ugly, off-grid survivalists won’t be helpless and exposed as city residents.
- Reconnecting with nature and tradition. Our lives are so fast and frantic that we lost our connection with our ancestors and nature. It’s the way to forget who we really are. If we use solar panels or scientifically tested water purifying systems, we don’t have to abandon the wisdom and skills of our forefathers.
- Distancing from the corrupt society. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. One of the most famous lines from Hamlet pretty much describes modern societies as well. You can’t change the planet or your country, but you can change your own life.
- Financial viability. For some people, living off the grid is the best available option to support themselves and their families.
How to Start Off Grid Survival
Talking about unhealthy life in cities and promoting rural and natural ways is easy. Taking decisive action is a whole different story. It takes some courage and serious planning to make your dream come true. I know a couple of people who have just dived straight into it and eventually made it. While they advocate their lifestyle, they recommend more planning to avoid unnecessary hurdles and setbacks.
Make a Plan
I’ll be honest: not too many things will happen exactly as you planned. Something will always go wrong. But the plan will provide a framework that will eventually work out for you. It will allow you to set priorities and focus on them.
One of the most common beginner’s mistakes is to spend too much time on solving issues of less important projects. You’ll always have a couple of projects going on at the same time. A decent plan will remind you to temporarily abandon low-importance projects and continue with top-priority ones. While there’s no universal perfect plan for everyone, you should base your plan on four basic human needs. These are:
Truth be told, some proponents of simple life avoid the use of power. It is possible, but it makes every aspect of life more difficult, from preserving food, to heating, and not to mention the lighting. Anyway, it’s all about freedom, so you are free to choose your own rules and conventions.
Pick the Location
Each and every location comes with some advantages and disadvantages. While the whole idea of off-grid survival is to be resourceful, you shouldn’t make it harder than it has to be. Consider climate, soil quality, possible water sources, distance to nearest settlements, and typical wildlife for the location. If you already own remote land, you still need to consider all these things before making a plan.
Truck and Carry-On Cargo Trailer
Unless you want to sever all your ties with civilization, a truck is a must. Ideally, it should be an older 4×4 model. Why older? You can maintain and repair it with a simple set of tools. As for the cargo trailer, it is obvious, isn’t it? You’ll need a lot of tools and gear to commence your off-grid adventure. It will be your storage and a backup emergency shelter.
Building, Gardening, Farming, and Hunting Gear
This is why you got yourself a cargo trailer. You want to be self-reliant, but you can’t do too many things with your bare hands. You don’t have to take all of your tools at once. So, prioritize and bring all necessary equipment to get started and you can complete the whole list later on.
Tent and Sleeping Bags
If you don’t have a cabin in the woods, you’ll need a shelter until you build your cabin, house, or whatever you’re planning. Tent and a sleeping bag are quite enough if you start your adventure in late spring or summer. Even if you have another solution, you will need these items for hunting, fishing, or something else.
A portable generator will provide power for your new home or equipment to speed up the building process. Whatever you plan as a long-term energy source, you will need a generator as a backup option.
Food Supplies and Water Containers
Growing food and raising animals takes time. In the meantime, you still have to eat. You can forage, hunt, or possibly fish, but you will lose precious time and your top priority projects will fall behind the schedule. That’s why you need some food supplies. With a propane burner, you can cook or rehydrate food pretty quickly.
You can’t live without water so you’ll need a lot of water containers for the early stages. Collapsible containers don’t take too much space so you can take plenty of them.
While you can run into the woods when you need to go to the bathroom, it’s safer and more useful to make a simple composting toilet. It’s easy to build and you can use it to fertilize the land.
Without one, you’re in for a risk that you can’t afford to take out there, in the backcountry. Unless there’s a doctor next door and a pharmacy store down the road, you should definitely try to keep those nasty bacteria safely buried under ground.
FAK or IFAK
You don’t want to run to the town for every simple scratch or wound. And you’ll get a lot of it, believe me. If you don’t treat these minor hindrances you risk infections, and it can seriously slow down your progress. So, bring a first aid kit as well as IFAK in case of more serious injury.
You can also use local medicinal herbs to alleviate potential health issues.
Start Building Your Dream House
Now, you’re ready for hard work. It’s a good idea to come up with the complete project in advance. It means that you should consider which power sources you plan to use, heating and cooling options, water system, waste treatment, and so on. If you miss any of these things, it may become cumbersome to adapt and make changes to fit everything.
The idea of being self-sufficient is attractive and appealing. But, make no mistake, you can never be 100% self-reliant unless you isolate yourself completely and choose a minimalist, simple, primitive lifestyle. For most of us that is too much.
But the off grid concept is not about isolation and going back to the Stone Age. It is about being pretty independent and capable of surviving on your own. The ability to watch the stars, breathe clean air, and produce your own food, makes this lifestyle beautiful and in many ways better than urban living. And if SHTF, urban dwellers will be helpless and vulnerable while you will be ready to survive, almost as if nothing has happened.