Surviving Off the Grid: Find Out What It Takes

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An estimated 200,000 people live off the electrical grid in the United States; and 750,000 people are making do without public utilities. If you’re want break away from the modern world, remember that the most valuable resource for people who want to live off-grid isn’t necessarily electricity or water, but rather ingenuity. Living off the grid takes a lot of imagination – and money.

If you’re thinking about living off grid in the sense of being entirely self-sufficient, you will first need to be prepared to invest in that kind of future. You’ll have to start by figuring out how to generate your own power. You can purchase small wind turbines and can have them installed for roughly $6,000, but if you’re looking for the kind of system that will power a typical home, according to the Wind Energy Foundation, it’ll cost around $30,000. You’ll have to put up a tower the height of a telephone pole, so you’ll need to pay attention local zoning regulations.

Next, consider the amount of water you’ll need for drinking, bathing, and washing various items. Ideally, you’ll set up camp near a lake or stream which will position you to pump out the water you need. Keep in mind, the water still needs to be cleansed before it can be used. Boiling water is an option, but a ceramic filter containing colloidal silver is ideal. It’s an inexpensive option, often used in the developing world. The filter has the capability to remove most bacteria without expending any energy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sanitation is another important variable you will need to work out. If you’re camping, this kind of thing may not be an issue, but since you’ll be adopting off-gridding as a lifestyle, you’ll want to opt for something more than a bucket or digging some sort of an outdoor toilet trench. The best choice is definitely a composting toilet. This will not only help you conserve water but it also produces fertilizer. This is likely to cost you an anywhere from $960 to $2,500.

If you are like many who want to disconnect but don’t quite have the funds to do it, there are other ways you can creatively detach.

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Find a community

If you want to go off-grid and still be around people, finding a small community that grows its own food, has its own energy, generates its own fuel and makes its own fabric to sustain its population, may be a good alternative. Being around like-minded people who contribute their skills toward a self-sufficient community could be a wonderful experience.

Move to a rural area

If you want that loner lifestyle, and communal off-grid life is not for you, then start with where you want to go. Look into rural areas that have a lot of natural resources. Locales with energy sources such as wind and sun, will be a start. If you can afford the set-up costs, you will eventually break even and save money on utilities from that point forward.

Grow your own food and refrigerate it

Many who are living off the grid, raise livestock and grow their own food. Invest in a one-burner propane stove top, or prepare a fire pit or a barbeque to cook what you produce.

Don’t forget that you’ll to need to store your food. You may be able to get by without a microwave, but you will definitely need something in place to keep your food from spoiling. A portable fridge that consumes minimal electricity is your best option. You’ll need to plan carefully though because things like your refrigerator, your water pump, and computer monitor (if you so choose) will burn the most juice.

Live life on the go

If none of the above is appealing to you, and you can’t imagine yourself doing any of these things, remember that living off the grid may also mean you just need to keep moving. Taking on the lifestyle of a modern-day nomad can be incredibly satisfying. Selling off your belongings and traveling the world in a van can be thrilling. It may even seem reasonable when you consider you can turn those accommodations into a fully-functional home. The comforts of a home while you travel, may just be the ideal first step to living off the grid.

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