With the proliferation of technology and myriad screens into almost every facet of our lives, it comes as no surprise that many people are beginning to look more seriously at putting all of the digitization aside, along with the massive consumerism that accompanies it, and moving off the grid. This is especially true as the Millennial generation looks more favorably toward age-old practices, such as farming, harvesting and horticulture, than even their parents did.
Yet, while it might sound ideal to leave your smart devices at home and move into the woods to live for a little while, removed from all the pressures of society, doing so could be unwise and dangerous in some conditions. Even if you’re just trying out this new lifestyle and don’t intend to commit indefinitely, there are still some key tips to keep in mind. Today, let’s take a look at five essential considerations to know before making the switch.
1. You’ll need water.
Water is a basic need to survive and even in the most remote, off-the-grid locations, you’ll need access to a clean supply of it. To this end, you’ll need to prepare for how long you’ll be living on your own, and how you’ll ensure that access. If you’re only going for a few days or weeks, you may be able to pack a supply of distilled or bottled water to last you. Otherwise, you’ll need to seek out a steam or other source of fresh water, and bring along a portable kit that can help you purify it as much as possible before you drink it
Sometimes, you might have a basecamp wherein you store your survival materials. For some, this might be your old home. You can haul water from here, if required, but make sure you have the tools to do so, especially if the walk to and from the locale is a long one. This equipment might include a bucket or a ramp that runs on solar power.
2. Find alternative power sources.
There are a few degrees of living off-the-grid. You don’t have to live in total seclusion, with zero access to amenities or electricity. Rather, you might opt to utilize solar power, hydropower, or even wind power to help provide you with light, heat and hot water. The only thing is that you will not have access to a public electric utility provider, so you’ll be reliant on those renewable energy resources to power all of your daily and nighttime activities.
To supplement this energy, especially when natural elements aren’t working in your favor, you could invest in a backup diesel generator that will kick in at times you need it the most, ensuring that you’re always covered. Also, be sure to pack plenty of batteries in all sizes, as you never know when you may need one
In addition, you can rely on alternative sources, such as oil lamps or even headlamps, that can run when you just need a little bit of light to read or cook by and don’t require much else.
3. Know how to heat and cook.
While raw diets have gained a popularity in recent years, you’ll still want to have access to a means by which you can heat your food. This is especially important if you plan to hunt or forage for all of your food, in which case all meat will need to be heated to a safe internal temperature.
You can approach this a few ways. First, you could build a fire with wood and use that heat to cook your food. Or, you could bring along a propane or wood stove. In either case, bring along some cast iron cookware, as it’s the easiest type to maintain and can be used on multiple heat sources, making it an essential part of your off-the-grid kitchen. The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to find some great cast iron pieces. Older family members might have some they’re more than happy to share with you, or you can often find excellent-condition pieces at garage sales and antique stores!
4. Determine how you’ll wash clothes.
If you’re living in a home while off-the-grid, you may harness enough solar power during the day to run a load of laundry. Otherwise, if you’re surviving in nature, you’ll need to find a source of clean water to wash your clothes in. Of course, if you’re up for the challenge, you can also take your loads of laundry up to the local laundromat, being wary of how long the trip is and how much you’ll ultimately pay out in gas money.
To that end, be sure to pack plenty of clothes as you make your move so you aren’t having to wash them every day or so. Think about your outdoor climate while packing to make sure you have enough pieces to last you outdoors in the climate, even if it’s extremely hot or cold. You may also need to wear your clothes more than once to make them last as long as possible.
5. Make arrangements for your pets.
If you plan to bring your pets with you as you move off the grid, it’s important that they’re taken care of to the greatest extent possible. You’ll need to bring all of their food, grooming tools, toys, water bowl and any medications they may require. If you’re only going for a short stretch of time, you can board them or have them live with a friend or family member in your absence. Either way, don’t forget them amid the planning process.
All of that said, does moving off the grid still sound like an ideal setup? If you’re ready to make the move, take the time to do your homework, gather your supplies, discuss the plans with those impacted by them, and secure the power sources you’ll need to keep everything up and running. Then, you’ll be better able to take that first step into the unknown with confidence.