Are you a city dweller itching to move towards an off grid life? If so, you need to get started on off grid living preparation.
Maybe you enjoy dreaming of mountain retreats and idyllic homesteads. Yet while this may provide an enjoyable escape from traffic congestion and office cubicle blues, it won’t move you towards your goal of becoming an off-gridder.
There are many things you can do now as part of your off grid living preparation, no matter where you live. Here are ten to get you started.
1. Read Everything You Can About Off Grid Living Preparation NOW
Use the many free online off grid living preparation resources to learn everything you can before you make your move. And if you're really planning to be as self-reliant as possible, learn what you need to do to start homesteading today. You can also check out free off grid living books on Kindle Unlimited.
Note: even if you're living in the middle of the city, you can start honing your self-reliancy skills. Get started with apartment homesteading and make use of the space and resources you already have.
2. Look at Realistic Potential Locations
Think about climate, land availability, taxes, building code requirements, and landholding options (freehold vs leasehold) when you're choosing off grid homes.
Location is an important factor when you estimate the cost of moving off grid. And if you plan to keep working at your current job, you'll also need to consider commuting costs and time, plus possibly investing in a better vehicle (go for a pick-up - they're just plain useful when you're living as an off-gridder).
3. Study Shelter Possibilities
Based on your chosen location, dig around to uncover your options when it comes to off the grid homes. Could you buy an off grid cabin? Or will you have to build one? What kind of building materials would be best? And how big will your home need to be?
If possible, take a drive around the area and pay close attention to what others are using for building materials. Cost, climate, and transporting the lumber, brick, stone, or earth all impact your choices when it comes to shelter.
4. Examine Your Energy and Water Options
As part of your off grid living preparation, you'll need to know about the available energy options in your area.
Review solar power, solar panels, wind power, wind turbines, windmills, battery systems and generators. Keep in mind that depending on your location and the size of your home, some of these may work better than others, and some may not be an option at all.
And don't forget about water. Depending on where you're planning to live when you move off the grid, you may have to deal with water delivery, well drilling, pumping or hauling from a body of water. Look at the cost, labor and practicality of each.
Read More: Our Off Grid Water System in Winter
5. Work Out How You’ll Provide Your Food Supply
If you plan to hunt, fish or trap now’s the time to learn the skills and identify the hunting supplies, emergency supplies, and trapping supplies you'll need. Look up licensing requirements as well – and take note that in some areas (of Canada, anyway) hunting, fishing and trapping licenses are limited by season and even by your indigenous status. And don't forget learning everything you can about gardening. Learn how much to grow per person, low-maintenance gardening, and permaculture design to get started. And while you're at it, learn how to preserve that food - learn how to use a fermenting crock!
6. Explore Off Grid Money-Making Options
Unless you plan to live off investment or pension income when you move, you may want to look into ways to make money when living off the grid. Selling handmade crafts, woodworking, opening your home to paying guests, continuing in your current profession either by working from home or from the nearest town, and freelance writing or consulting are a few possibilities. Read up on how to boost your financial self-sufficiency so you're prepared for whatever the future holds.
7. Take a Course
Sometimes book learning (or website learning) just doesn’t cut it. Another way to prepare yourself for the realities of off grid life is by taking a course (subscribe to our Free Resource Library and get access to our big list of
75 90 online resources for homesteading and living off the grid - the link is at the bottom of this post).
Courses to Try
- First aid: Depending on your chosen location, it could be hours to the closest medical facility. Do yourself a favor, and learn some basic first aid. And when you finish the course, buy a First Aid Kit.
- Intro mechanics: In the spirit of self-reliance, someone in your family should have some basic mechanical skills. Fixing a car, truck, tractor, generator, etc. on your own will save you time, money, and aggravation. Especially if you’re miles from the nearest town.
- Basic carpentry: More useful skills that will save time and money. Carpentry may even develop into a productive hobby. Who knows, it could bring in a little extra cash or bartering power when you finally go off the grid. And how cool is it to say you built your table, chairs, and bed?
- Gardening 101: I'm a notorious black thumb who has managed to kill almost every houseplant I’ve owned in the past 20 years. And I really wish I’d taken a gardening course prior to our move. Or even learned some backyard gardening basics. The previous owners left a lovely garden patch and I’m determined to put it to good use next summer.
8. Network With Others Living Off Grid
Do you picture a surly mountain-man when you think of a typical off gridder? I did. Yet we've found that almost all of the people we have met who are living off the grid are friendly. They're usually willing to share advice, ideas, and assistance.
And don’t let the fact that you are still living in a city or suburb stop you from networking with other like-minded individuals. Search out Facebook and internet forums to find online communities of off grid people. Find great online communities with lots of discussions at the Mother Earth News Forums.
Keep in mind that certain parts of the world lend themselves (or require) an off grid lifestyle because they are remote. So most of your future neighbors, whether they’re down the road or miles away could also be off-gridders.
9. Get in Good Shape
If your ideal home includes the words “country, remote, wilderness, off the grid, or homestead,” plan on spending a good deal of time being active outdoors. Expect that your new lifestyle will probably be a lot more active than your current one. And it may include activities like chopping and stacking wood, hauling water, building a cabin, crafting furniture, hand washing clothing, and digging out gardens.
Get started with off grid preparation by starting a weightlifting and exercise plan now, so you will be strong and better able to handle the daily activities required to maintain your off grid lifestyle.
10. Start an Off Grid Living Preparation Supply List
Planning to move within the next couple of years? Kick-off your off grid living preparation with a supply list. This could include tools, safety equipment, dried and canned food, hunting, fishing, and gardening equipment, and clothing.
If your move will happen within the next year, start collecting essential off grid living items now. Begin with a first aid kit!
We are working on additional off grid living posts to flesh out some of the ideas in this one. Have any tips/advice? We’d love to hear from you.
While this short list will help organize your plans, there are many other ways to get ready to move off the grid. What are you doing? Let us know in the comments below.