What to Consider Before You Embrace an Off-Grid Lifestyle
By Elena Smith
Living an off-grid lifestyle is more than just a trend, it’s becoming an increasingly popular way of life.
Part of the appeal of living off-grid is reducing dependence on outside sources and relying upon oneself for food, shelter and utilities. The off-grid living is also less expensive, sustainable and reduces our carbon footprint on the earth.
However, there are several things to consider before you embrace an off-grid lifestyle.
Having a safe, dry place to live is essential for any type of lifestyle. Many people begin their journey of off-grid living in a tent, but soon fabricate a more permanent structure for shelter and security.
A structure that can stand up to the climate and wildlife in the area is essential for successfully creating a sustainable off-grid lifestyle. Shelter from rain, snow, heat and predators tops the list of things to consider before embracing an off-grid lifestyle. Predators may be human or animal when living in a secluded location and a safe shelter from either variety is needed when establishing a homestead.
The shelter does not have to be a new construction created from new lumber, off-griders think outside the box for the shelter needs.
Shipping containers, trapper cabins and tree houses are just a few of the solutions to shelter needs that off-griders have come up with.
Clean Water Source
Having a constant source of clean drinking water is another serious consideration. Each person living on the off-grid homestead will need approximately one gallon of water per day. That is not including water for livestock and laundry.
Before selecting a location make sure you will have easy access to clean well water or other type of natural water source. Constructing a water collection system for catching and holding rainwater is recommended for off-grid homesteads as well.
Power (Fuel) Source
Even an off-grid lifestyle requires the use of some type of power or fuel source. Cooking, heating and lighting are bare minimums that will require wood, coal, manure, solar power, water or wind power.
There are several alternative fuel sources that will enable you to live comfortably off-grid, just consider cost, installation and maintenance when choosing a power source.
Safety is another consideration when selecting a power source. Emergencies can and do arise on off-grid homesteads. Having a reliable means of communication and transportation will provide you quick access to outside help should an emergency arise.
Electric fences to protect livestock from predators; motion detection lighting; alarms, cell phones and other security and creature comforts can all be powered by the sun when embracing an off-grid lifestyle.
Now that you have considered shelter, water and power source, what will you eat? Being able to hunt, fish, grow and preserve your own food is essential for off-grid living.
Planting and maintaining a vegetable garden and fruit trees, plus knowing which native plants are safe to eat, is an ideal start towards having a sustainable food source for an off-grid lifestyle.
Knowing how to preserve fresh vegetables and fruits without a deep freezer will also be needful.
Having access to good hunting land and fishing spots is essential for garnering enough protein, unless you can maintain livestock.
Another thing to consider before embracing an off-grid lifestyle is raising livestock. By having chickens, goats and rabbits on the homestead, you can ensure an organic supply of fresh meat, milk and eggs.
We have become accustomed to having a waste management company pick up household trash and dispose of it for us. We are also accustomed to indoor plumbing and flushing the toilet.
Living off-grid makes you the waste management professional on the homestead and you need to be familiar with any regulations which may apply to waste disposal in your area. Trash and human waste must be disposed of properly to prevent diseases.
No matter where you live, security will always be needed. The crime rate in the wilderness is not as high as it is in the city, but it still exists.
Consider how to protect yourself and your belongings before embracing an off-grid lifestyle. Learn how to safely use a firearm for protection and research the security product brands like Simplisafe, August and Reolink for available options you can add to your remote homesteads.
Fencing will be a necessity around gardens to prevent wildlife from entering. And warning signs around your property will also deter human trespassers.
Experiencing nature at its best requires preparedness. Start small, then slowly build your homestead as you gain knowledge and experience until you achieve the dream of the desired off-grid lifestyle.
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