Living Off The Grid: Practical Considerations

Off Grid

In the modern world, civilization and industrialization have led to the invention of many utilities. All of these utilities are aimed at making life more comfortable, safer and more enjoyable. This is to be expected in normal conditions.

What many people may not know is that everyone who is connected to centralized utilities is vulnerable. Water, electricity, gas, and sewage can stop flowing, and that can cause severe problems immediately you go off the grid. Food suddenly becomes one of the most crucial considerations because grocery stores cannot operate.

But what can cut you off the grid? A variety of problems such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, EMP attack, infrastructure attacks, and civil unrest can interfere with the provision of vital services making life unbearable.

Can you do something, or you will adopt a wait-to-see approach?  Without adequate preparation, your future would look bleak because the basic needs would be in jeopardy (depending on the length of time the services will be unavailable).

That is the reason why many people prepare to go off the grid and become self-sufficient for the basic needs: food, water, shelter, waste, energy (or in the form of heat) and shelter.

How Do You Prepare For Off-Grid Life?

There are practical considerations to help you stay safe and comfortable off the grid. We will briefly describe how to prepare adequately for each of the basic needs:

  1. Water

Water is life. No one can survive for even a week without hydration. This makes it the most critical resource in a disastrous situation. For instance, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, salt-water infiltrated the municipal water supply system of the city municipal. Raw sewage and dead bodies soon followed. Before long, almost all water in the city was contaminated with disease-causing organisms.

The same could happen to your city. To become self-reliant and self-sufficient for water, you want to find practical ways to find safe water for drinking and cooking. You can harness rain water if the disaster happens during a rainy season. You can also learn about water filtration and purification systems. This will help you to keep adequate water supplies with you to last you through the period of emergency.

Furthermore, you can evaluate the water resources available on-site. Search for ponds, creeks, springs or rock crevices. It is also possible to create a water source if there is none on-site.  If there is a well nearby, work on ways to pull the water up without an electric water pump.

  1. Food

The human body requires food for fuel. You can survive without food for days or even weeks. But as the days progress, all the food reserves in the body are progressively depleted. You become weak and mentally confused. You lack the strength to do activities that can improve your chances of survival.

Furthermore, you fail to make rapid and rational decisions appropriate for the situation you find yourself in. When systems go down for more than two days, food should become your priority. So, you need to become self-sufficient by making food reserves even before an emergency.

You have many options. Opt for long-term food storage such growing a garden of planting a food forest, raising edible animals such as livestock and chickens. Implementing a barter system with friends, colleagues, and neighbors is a great way to access food in an off-grid situation. The meal, Ready to Eat (MREs) and canned foods are also great options.

  1. Waste

Sewers are commonly affected in off-grid cases. The human wastes sewers carry can be recipes for disasters. This is because septic tanks will clog without regular servicing. You cannot continue using your toilet.

The overflowing mixture of urine, fecal matter and soap water from kitchens and bathrooms can access your home leading to disease. The best way to deal with this problem in an off-grid situation is to stop using your toilet immediately and bury it.

You can then dig a pit toilet or trench toilet. Another option is to have a “humanure” system. This system composts human poop (fecal matter) into safe and effective organic fertilizer for your vegetable garden.

  1. Energy

Your home will always have room temperature when the grid is up and running. If it the grid goes off, the energy that drives the heating and ventilation (HVAC) system will be gone. So, you’d want to find the best way to have an alternative form of energy.

You will need something to provide you with energy in the form of heat. This means firewood to provide you with warmth and to aid you in cooking and purifying water. Make a decent reserve of fuel in your backyard. You should also have a few fire starting skills.

Other useful alternative sources of energy sources in off-grid situation include solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, miniature hydropower plant, and gasoline generators. However, these sources may need accessories such as spare parts, gasoline (fuels) and lubricants. They may also require maintenance that you may not be able to replicate in a complete off-grid situation.

  1. Shelter

A disaster that triggers off-grid situation can leave you homeless or send you off to live in the bush. If so, you would need some kind of shelter to provide you with a warm, safe and comfortable place to rest your back and sleep. In case, shelter becomes the most crucial consideration. We put it list only because most of us already have stable and permanent houses to live in.

But if you have to live off-grid outdoors, then a shelter should be the first thing to cross your mind. Have a tent of the right size to fit your needs. You can also learn the many ways to build a survival shelter in the wilderness. These skills may take time to master.


Living off-grid requires a well-thought plan. Your concern should be to make provisions for the basic needs including food, shelter, water, waste, and energy. We have discussed the most effective ways to ensure you have these items before and during the disaster to enhance your chances of survival.

Survival Corps

The team at Survival Corps prides itself on sharing over 70 years of combined knowledge. We enjoy showing, telling and doing all things survival and emergency preparedness.

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