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Top 10 Essential Items For Getting Off The Grid

by Jonathan H. Kantor
fact checked by Jamie Frater

These days, it seems like there’s no way to remove yourself from society in a meaningful and permanent way. After all, carrying a cellphone places you inside a vast network, making you a blip of data hit with targeted advertising and more.

People looking to remove themselves from the grid can do so in several ways. Still, it’s going to require making some serious (and often expensive) changes. This list features the essential items you’ll need should you ever want to remove yourself from Big Brother’s watchful eye.

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10 Land To Call Your Own

Wooden house and river

If you’re looking to get off the grid, you will need a place to stay. There are few places left on this planet that aren’t claimed, so unless you want to become a squatter, you’ll need your own land.

Your best bet is to find a piece of land that’s undeveloped and in a part of the world that has a stable climate. You’ll also need to check with the local laws regulating how your land is managed. You may not be legally allowed to build on it whatever or however you want, so it’s best to check these things before settling on where you want to live off the grid.

You’ll want land that’s zoned for agricultural purposes so you can farm your own food. You also want to ensure you don’t have to pay much in taxes or be subjected to government meddling whenever possible.

The best land for keeping off the grid is undeveloped, gets a lot of sunlight, has moderate wind, and a water source. If you can get your hands on that, you can make a life for yourself off the grid.

9 Shelter To Keep The Elements & Wild Animals At Bay


One of the necessities of life is shelter since we humans aren’t especially adapted for living outside. We don’t like extremes of temperature and are susceptible to damage from the sun, so finding a place to stay is essential.

When it comes to building a shelter, there are several things you’ll want to consider. When you first go off the grid, you may be limited to something temporary like a tent, but you’ll want a more permanent solution.

Your shelter will need to provide security, protection from the elements, and a degree of comfort. You’ll also want to ensure it is placed near a water source on land that you own. If you don’t want to build a log cabin, there are plenty of alternatives people have used to get off the grid in recent years.

You can convert shipping containers into sturdy shelters, or you can purchase prefabricated houses to suit your needs. Recreational vehicles are pre-built for offroad living and can be made permanent with a few modifications. Assuming you have the means to remove yourself from society, your options for shelter are varied.


8 Power To Make Life Easier


Technically, you don’t necessarily need electricity once you decide to live off the grid. In fact, it’s far easier to get off the grid by abandoning electricity altogether. That said, few of us would be happy in a world without it. Electricity makes cooking easier, and it helps heat and cool our homes.

Supposing you don’t want to completely cut electricity out of your life, you’re going to need to produce around 850-900 kWh per month yourself. Fortunately, several companies have manufactured products for this very purpose, so you have options when choosing how you want to generate and store energy.

You can purchase/build small solar panels around your shelter to produce energy. These are often expensive and require maintenance, but once you learn how to manage them, they can suit your needs. Another option is wind power, which is easily attainable via a variety of wind-generated turbines.

Another option is generating power through a hydro-generator. You’ll need a continuous flow of water to make this work. If you settle by a river, your power generation needs will be met without interruption, as neither wind nor solar energy are constant.

7 Water To Drink And Clean Yourself With


Water may fall from the sky wherever you decide to settle, but it’s far more sensible to have a local source you can harvest whenever necessary. Unfortunately, simply having access to water doesn’t mean you have a safe supply of drinking water.

Because of pollution and contamination, it can be dangerous to stick your face into a lake, take a drink, and go about your day. You’re opening yourself up to numerous water-borne diseases brought on by viruses and bacteria, including leptospirosis, which comes from animal pee.

Living off the grid means knowing how to process and use the water in your environment. You can start by boiling any water you plan to consume, but this is energy inefficient. It’s best to invest in a water purification system. These can be expensive to maintain but will save you in the long run, especially if you plan on living off the grid for a long time.

Water purification systems include bio-filters, UV purification, ceramic filters, bleach, distillation, and boiling, which doesn’t require a filter. You will also want to have some water testers on hand to ensure you’re not ingesting anything dangerous.


6 Food, Livestock, & Agriculture


This may seem obvious, but having food for a camping trip and having it for a life off the grid are two very different things. If you genuinely want to live off the grid, you’re going to have to produce your own food.

You’re going to need to learn the basics of human needs since you’re not going to be making any runs to McDonald’s anymore. You’ll want to plant crops that provide the necessary vitamins to ensure a happy and healthy lifestyle.

You’ll also want to learn how to preserve food for the winter. Protein is another crucial part of our diets, so you’ll need to learn to hunt and/or fish. Once you have your protein, you’ll need to know how to preserve and store it.

You’re also going to need to keep livestock. Chickens produce eggs almost every day, and when they stop laying eggs… well, you know what to do. Cows will ensure you have a supply of dairy, and goats are always a good choice. You’ll have to learn the necessary skills to grow your food and tend to your animals, but it will make living off the grid far easier.

5 A Place To Poo


Once you flush your toilet, you don’t have to worry about your waste anymore. Of course, that comes at the cost of paying for a sewage or septic system, but it’s barely a consideration for most people.

When you’re living off the grid, you need to handle your waste by yourself. Fortunately, there are several options available to you. You can dig yourself a latrine or outhouse and repeat when it becomes full. This requires consideration of your local water table since you don’t want to contaminate your water supply.

Another option is to take your feces and use it to create fertilizer. This is the best option for recycling your waste, but it requires… well, recycling your waste. If Matt Damon could do it on Mars, you can do it in the backwoods of wherever you decide to settle off the grid!

Another option is to install a septic system on your land, but you’ll need to have it emptied, which keeps you on the grid. Another option is to use a portable septic system. You can empty this yourself, but you’ll need to do it at a special location.


4 Tools Of All Kinds To Build, Repair, & Construct


One of the most important things you’ll need to live off the grid is a well-stocked toolbox. Tools are what separates us from the other animals, and it’s how we’ve built society and the grid you’re looking to extricate yourself from, so you’ll need them to make that happen.

You’ll also need materials, including everything from nails and screws to pipes and wires and everything else in-between. Living off the grid means taking care of your own problems, and tools are how you make that happen.

Some of the tools you won’t be able to survive without are a hatchet, shovel, scissors, wire cutters, drill, drill bits, hammer, an assortment of nails, handsaws, a post hole digger, machete, voltmeter, plow, or tiller, and some wrenches. That’s the bare minimum of what you’ll need, so head to your hardware store and fill your toolbox.

You should also have the equipment needed to handle timber if your land includes trees. You can use them to make firewood or planks for building. Finally, and most importantly, you’ll need basic medical supplies and the know-how to use them.

3 Guns & Ammo Make Hard Living Much Easier


One of the most essential items you’ll need to have on hand is a weapon when it comes to surviving off the grid. Granted, you could keep a bow or crossbow on-hand if you want, and these are always a good option, but when it comes to hunting and protection, your best bet is a firearm.

One of the most important firearms you’ll need is a shotgun. These are best used for hunting birds, but they can also take down larger prey. They are also helpful in defense should a rabid beast wander onto your land.

You’ll want to protect yourself, but you also need to ensure the safety of your livestock, so a shotgun is vital. Another firearm you’ll want is a rifle. These are best used for hunting animals like deer and wild boar. Hunting is an integral part of living off the grid, so these weapons are a vital resource.

You’ll also need to have a great deal of ammunition and cleaning kits. Your best bet is to recycle and manufacture your own ammo. This will ensure you can remain off the grid for as long as necessary by making you self-sufficient.


2 Entertainment To Keep Cabin Fever From Crushing Your Spirit


When people think of survival off the grid, they often focus on everything listed above. Most people realize that they need a place to stay, clean water, and all the rest, but something that’s often overlooked is entertainment.

Separating yourself from society to live off the grid means you aren’t going to get online and watch YouTube all day. You won’t stream Netflix or anything else since logging on literally places you right back on the grid. While you can do this through a satellite linkup, you probably don’t want to since living off the grid is the whole point of your plan.

People need entertainment, and it becomes vital whenever we are alone. Even if you go off the grid with your family and friends, you’ll still want to have an escape of some sort to keep you from going absolutely mad with cabin fever.

Make sure to take a lot of toys, board games, & card games. If you plan on generating your own power, take a TV and a ton of movies. You can even play video games if you have enough energy, and there are always books, so be sure to keep something there to keep you entertained.

1 Books & Reference Materials Are A Vital Necessity


While you may have a library of books on hand to keep you entertained, you shouldn’t limit yourself to luxury reading. One of the most important resources humanity has ever created will be lost to you once you go off the grid, so you won’t be logging on to the Internet to watch a YouTube video on how to properly plant crops.

You’re going to need to stock up on several books that detail instructions on surviving off the grid. You should have texts on planting and cultivating crops, hunting and cleaning game, basic carpentry and maintenance, fishing, basic health care, and more.

References are a valuable resource we take for granted since every question is a Google away. That’s going to be completely absent while you’re living off the grid, so you want to ensure you have enough materials on hand to reference should a question arise.

The last thing you want to be dealing with is a solar power generator and battery without any information on making it work. Keep all of your instruction booklets safe, and be sure to have other reference material on hand to make living off the grid safe and practical.

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fact checked by Jamie Frater
Jonathan H. Kantor

Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, and writer. He is a Retired Soldier and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects.

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