An introduction to living off the grid.


Whether you’re taking a break from society for a month or for an indefinite time, going off the grid for an extended period of time requires thorough planning and preparation.

There can be several reasons as to why someone may want to stay away from civilization. But whatever reason it may be, the things you will need to survive out there on your own are pretty much the same.

Living off the grid requires you totally change your lifestyle. If you’re wondering how to go off the grid, check out the list below which discusses the most important things you will need to make your off the grid experience safe, sustainable, and maybe even convenient.

Food and Water

1. Long shelf stable food

There’s always the option to plant, hunt, and fish once you’re already out there but stocking on a sufficient supply of long shelf stable food is a safer option. And don’t worry, you won’t need to live off hard tack, oatmeal, or some free-dried beef for a month. It’s actually possible to maintain a standard pantry.

Take a look at what you currently have in your kitchen and you will see that a lot of the food you consume on a regular basis actually have far-out sell-by dates. Canned fruits, vegetables, beans, chicken, soups, and tuna; pasta; rice; and a whole lot of other food variations taste fresh once cooked.

Of course, don’t forget to bring plenty of cooking oil and cookware. 

2. Water filter

Without potable water, you won’t survive. Bringing several gallons of water upon your departure is an option. But you can only bring so much without sacrificing your load capacity for other essential items.

As you stay longer off the grid, you will eventually run out of water supply and will need to start making your own fresh water. Having a reliable water filtration device with you is the best way to do that.

I’d suggest skipping on the smaller personal-sized filters since you will be out for an extended period of time. Go for filtration systems designed for use by multiple people. 

There are brands that can produce up to 170 gal of potable water everyday that can last for several months and don’t require frequent maintenance. And as backup, you can also bring water purification tablets.

3. Hunting and farming equipment

Having the right equipment to feed yourself is crucial. As mentioned, bringing long shelf stable food is obviously the easiest option. But once you’re off the grid, you might need to grow your own crops, hunt, or even raise some farm animals to have good food supply. So bring some hunting and farming equipment just in case you get tired of your canned food. 

4. Grill that doesn't need fuel

Cooking over a campfire works only when you have time and the weather is good. Bringing a wood-burning grill with you is a better option to speed up the cooking process. 

For additional convenience, choose brands that can be used inside a large tent or cabin. These models usually come with a stovepipe attachment that sends smoke outside your tent. With this feature, you get to enjoy cooking indoors while staying warm and without worrying about the smell and smoke. On top of that, you won’t run out of fuel because it burns wood.

5. Collapsible containers

Bring large collapsible water containers with you - they’re functional, extremely useful, and don’t take up too much space. You’ll need these for water supply, of course, but you can also use them to store fuel.

Don’t forget to bring food containers, too. Boxes, sacks, and wooden crates are just some of the good options for food storage when you are off grid. And lastly, bringing an icebox will also be very helpful to keep your ingredients fresh.


6. Shelter that can handle elements

Building a log cabin is the safest and sturdiest option for shelter when you go off grid. But it takes time and until you have that built, you’ll need a reliable shelter that can protect you from the elements and serve as your home.

A big tent provides more space and comfort, but is also very risky during heavy snows or strong winds. The best choice is to bring a large tent and also a smaller, sturdier, and leaner one.

When the weather is fair, use the big tent and smash the small one inside. But when the bad weather starts to loom, pack up the big one and put up the smaller tent.

7. Good sleeping bag

A good-quality sleeping bag will keep you safe and warm even as you lie down there fully exposed to the elements. Safety is all about staying warm; but you also want to stay comfortable to get good sleep and live a tolerable life.

You’d want to bring a lighter sleeping bag to use during mild weather and another heavy duty, reliable winter sleeping bag. Don’t forget to also bring an air mat, a good cot, and a nice blanket for those in-between season nights.

8. Composting toilet

When you’re just starting to settle in your off-grid shelter, you may encounter some hygiene issues. You can’t easily go off to the woods whenever you need to use the ‘bathroom’. It’s unhygienic plus you might be contaminating the area where you’ll likely get food and water.

Solve this issue by building a composting toilet. It basically treats and composts human waste using organic matter. You might even reuse the composted material as fertilizers or soil conditioners if you do the process correctly.


9. Solar generator

Going off the grid means using much less technology. However, you will still need power for your headlamp, radio, etc. Buy models that have built-in rechargeable batteries and bring an electric generator so you can just simply charge these devices when they’re almost out of power.

You might also want to invest in a solar panel. These items can be expensive, but they’re very effective and will make your life much easier once you’re already out there. 

10. Reliable fire starters

The main tip for fire starter is to bring multiple varieties.

Matches are single use and are easily damaged by moisture, lighters run out of fuel, ferrocerium strikers work in any condition but don’t last forever, and solar fire starters don’t run out of burnable material but are not usable at night or on cloudy and rainy days.

Bring multiple fire starting tools with you and you’ll be good to go.


11. Lighting

Similar to the tip above, bring multiple lighting sources. It can get pretty dark at night and you want to maintain a good vision of your surroundings when you’re all alone.

Bring the ever reliable flashlight, a headlamp, and some lanterns. Several candles will work, too, with the help of some windproof clear vessel like a large jar.

Lighting is one aspect of securing your homestead but this topic is to broad to cover here. Learn how to defend your home using Target Hardening practices from our guide

12. Means of protection

Honestly, bringing a firearm with you is a good precaution if you will be staying out into the backcountry for an extended period of time. However, having a gun is not necessary to protect yourself from predators if you have other means of self-protection.

Aside from a firearm, you might also want to bring several cans of bear sprays and have them near you at all times. Bear sprays are non lethal but are reliable and effective in warding off animals that come too close. Plus, they will also work well on unwanted human visitors.

Also have a sharp knife near you if ever anything or anyone gets too close.

13. Comprehensive first aid kit

Set an appointment with your doctor and dentist weeks before you go off the grid. Make sure that your body is in the best possible condition to sustain the elements out there. 

Once you are off the grid, you become your own doctor. Do your research on basic first aid, plant medications, and bring your own comprehensive first aid kit. Buy a kit that’s designed for use by multiple people to make sure that you have enough supplies.

Learn more about how to survive a medical crisis while in remote areas here.


14. Tools and equipment

If you plan to build your off grid cabin using materials available on site, you need several tools and equipment. For those who are lucky enough to stay on a land with timber, bringing a small portable sawmill with you can help you save a lot of money.

15. Cash

Unless you intend to go out to a wilderness or some wild frontier, you’re going to need cash. There are some things that you might need to buy to help you survive or stay comfortable. In fact, you’ll need money to secure almost all other things in this list. Using credit cards is no longer an option since you intend to go off the grid, so the best solution is to bring cash just in case.