Within the last decade, it has been estimated that a massive 1.7 billion people live off-grid worldwide. Interest is clearly growing in communities that are completely self-sufficient. Particularly as areas that need to rely on foreign gas imports do not have a definite future supply, as political relations deteriorate and place a strain on links to energy supplies.
Although the traditional form of living off grid tends to be a bit more back to basics, modern day off grid life can be incredibly high-tech. There are even specially made eco-villages with waiting lists because they are such a desirable living space.
For most people though, living off-grid is not accessible via these rather expensive eco-topias. Often people will use up their entire life savings to start from scratch, and to build their very own off-grid haven from the ground up. Part of this process does have to involve some tools and technology in most cases. Off-grid doesn’t have to mean that you’re recreating a period drama with your life. It doesn’t have to mean utility poverty, and ‘going without’. It is hard work, it will be being frugal and it will mean making some sacrifices, but eventually you can live a life that not only compares with the life of anyone still depending on the grid, but likely with more benefits, like incredible views, scenery, serenity, a sense of purpose, and the many other amazing benefits that come with being entirely self-sufficient.
1.3 billion people across the globe have no access to an energy grid, and they’re getting along just fine. You can not not only do just fine off grid, but you can thrive.
Want to know how to get started going off grid? Take a look at these essential tools and tech you’ll find very handy when you begin your new, self-sustainable life:
Of all the essential things you will need on your plot, the most important is water. If you can source land with its own water supply you can be independent of the government and the facilities they provide, with something that is essential to human life. Not just any water will do though, it has to be good for consuming, washing things and washing yourself all year round. It really wouldn’t be good to have a beautiful freshwater source in winter, only to find it dries up in summer! In all cases, to drink the water you must get a water purifier. Chemicals, animal waste and other nasties seep into natural water supplies so a water purifier is essential. If you’re handy, why not make one, like the one detailed in this handy article about how you can make a water purifier at home. Otherwise, there are many available to buy at all different price points.
Way To Generate Energy
It is absolutely essential to have a way to get emergency energy if you need it. There’s no loss of pride in having a backup supply of power for emergencies, particularly if you have children and a family to keep safe and warm. Diesel generators are an excellent option for a backup energy supply, and they come in all kinds of compact sizes so they won’t take up much space at all. Long-term however, you will want to generate your own constant energy via water, wind or the sun. Many people choose solar panels for the sake of ease, especially in hotter countries like Australia and certain states in America. 17.3% of Australia’s energy was generated using renewable sources in 2016, like solar panels. It is said to be the future of energy anyway, so you may as well get on board early!
Tree Management Equipment
The trees provide so much that you need for building a life off grid. They provide building materials and logs for burning. However, basic hand tools won’t get you very far with managing them, so you will need some more heavy duty equipment such as:
- A sawmill
- A chainsaw
- A mini-saw
- A winch
- A splitting axe
- Felling wedges
- A tow chain
- A draw knife
These are items you should not go and buy all at once, but as and when you find you need them. Try attending yard sales and neighbours garage sales to build your tool collection up. Most importantly, always use safety equipment with them. Hard hats, gloves and goggles are so important when it comes to protecting your health operating these kinds of tools, and working with unpredictable plants and trees.
You never know when you will need to get to the nearest neighbour or town, especially in the event of an emergency. A bicycle is the very least you should have, to provide you with the ability to get somewhere quickly. It is an eco-friendly way to move around and you can even get small trailers to attach to the back for carrying small loads.
Some people do also choose to have a vehicle because they need one to go to and from town for supplies they just cannot get from their land. Medication, for example, is something you cannot culture on your land. A small vehicle would be the most economical option, but if you live in rough terrain, and the weather can get bad, something large enough for snow tyres and chains is useful. It also means you have extra space for moving things around your land, especially if you have a truck. It saves a lot of back breaking work and a lot of time and energy moving heavy items in larger loads, so you can be spending time elsewhere growing veggies, feeding livestock and creating the perfect off-grid home.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world – John Muir
Going off grid is not something you should attempt without plenty of prior thought and consideration. It is not an easy life in many ways, although for some, it is easier emotionally and mentally because it is a much more simple life. What it turns out to be for you, is only something you will find out when you take the leap. With just 150 years of oil supply left, and a 70 percent increase in electricity demand by 2040, the likelihood is, you’re going to be in good company with many others choosing this self-reliant way of life in preparation of blackouts and energy shortages.