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.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
10 Ways to Prepare to Live Off Grid
Here are some of the things I wish I had done (or done more of) before moving to our off grid homestead back in 2013.
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 and bushcraft 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. And 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 off grid energy and power system options in your area.
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.
You need to research your off grid or stand-alone renewable energy options for the area you're interested in.
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.
Pay special attention to the quality of available drinking water. We get all of our water from the lake that we live on. However, we filter it. Read my full Big Berkey water filter review for more info.
Read More: Our Off Grid Water System in Winter
5. Work Out How You’ll Provide Your Food Supply
Read up on the best prepper pantries and canning, preserving, and dehydrating food.
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 to learn everything you can about gardening.
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.
Some people sell their home canning and preserves. Others try their hands at soapmaking, making other natural products or woodworking to make extra money.
For example, my daughter forages for fireweed, labrador tea, and wild mint to use in natural beauty products. Recently she's been experimenting with a homemade natural beeswax lip balm recipe.
You might want to try opening your home to paying guests, continuing in your current profession either by working from home or from the nearest town, or freelance writing.
So 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.
Courses to Try
Depending on your chosen location, it could be hours to the closest medical facility. Do yourself a favor. Learn some basic first aid. And when you finish the course, buy a First Aid Kit.
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.
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?
Introduction to Gardening
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 person living off grid? 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, 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 shortlist will help organize your plans, there are many other ways to get ready to move off the grid. Do your research and start planning now.