How to Go Off the Grid

The Complete Guide to a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle

To go off the grid is the dream of many people who want to go living off grid and detach from public utilities. Off-grid living allows you to become self-sufficient using renewable energy sources like solar panels and generators. This guide covers everything you need to know to successfully go off-grid.

to go off the grid

What Does It Mean to Go Off the Grid?

To go off the grid means disconnecting from public utilities in order to live a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle using independent systems you control. This typically involves:

  • Generating your own electricity with solar panels, wind turbines, or generators
  • Collecting and storing rainwater or drilling a private well for your water source
  • Managing waste and sewage on-site using a septic tank or composting toilet
  • Growing your own food, foraging, and/or raising livestock
  • Using wood stoves, passive solar and other eco-friendly options for heating

The goal is to detach from the electric grid, municipal water, and sewer systems to have full autonomy over your off-grid lifestyle.

Reasons People Want to Go Off the Grid

There are many reasons people want to live off-grid:

  • Sustainability – Living lightly on the land using renewable solar energy and other systems
  • Freedom & Self-Reliance – Controlling all aspects of your off-grid lifestyle
  • Peace & Simplicity – Escape noise and busyness to immerse in nature
  • Cost Savings – Eliminate utility bills and other expenses
  • Preparedness – Hone survival skills and build resilience

Going off-grid allows you to live by your own rules and principles self-sufficiently. It provides independence, purpose, and peace.

off grid container hom

Types of Off-Grid Homes

Some options for off-grid dwellings include:

  • Tiny Homes – Compact and energy efficient
  • Yurts – Circular tent-like structures often on platforms
  • Cabins – Classic log cabins can be built or bought pre-fab
  • RVs/Campers – Live mobile in a recreational vehicle
  • Containers – Upcycled shipping containers as modular homes
  • Earthships – Made from natural and recycled materials

Choose a style aligned with your climate, budget, design aesthetic, and off-grid goals.

go off the grid location

Choosing a Spot to Establish Your Off-Grid Homestead

When selecting land to set up your off-grid home and homestead, consider:

  • Solar exposure – Pick a site with maximal sun for solar panels
  • Water access – Proximity to streams, lake, or good rainwater collection
  • Arable land – For gardening, livestock, food forests
  • Building suitability – Flat, dry, surround drainage
  • Local regulations – Research zoning and permit laws in the area
  • Isolation – Buffer distance from neighbours if seeking seclusion

Ideally find acreage with diverse natural resources to support your off-grid lifestyle.

off grid portable battery power

Powering Your Off-Grid Homestead

To generate power for your off-grid homestead, you’ll need:

  • Power Source –   Solar System solar panels Absorb sunlight to produce solar power
  • Charge Controller – Regulates power from solar panels to batteries
  • Batteries – Store electricity from solar panels or generator
  • Inverter – Converts DC battery power to standard AC electricity
  • Generator – Gas-powered backup for when solar and wind fall short

Take time to calculate your expected electrical usage and size your solar or wind systems accordingly. Prioritize energy efficiency.

You can Click HERE to see some Off Grid Power Systems

water solutions off grid

Water Systems for Off-Grid Living

Common off-grid water sources include:

  • Wells – Drill a well or dig a well to access groundwater for your water supply
  • Rainwater Harvesting – Collect rain in cisterns and tanks
  • Surface Water – Pump from lakes, streams, or springs

Store water in pressure tanks or elevated gravity-fed tanks. Install filtration, UV purification, and 12V pumps. Conserve water with composting toilets, greywater reuse, and other measures.

You can Click HERE to see some off grid Water Systems

compost toilet to go off  the grid

Waste Management for Your Off-Grid Homestead

Dealing with waste and sewage off-grid requires self-contained systems:

  • Composting Toilets – Dry, odourless waste disposal
  • Septic Tank and Leach Field – Anaerobic bacteriological decomposition
  • Outhouses/Pit Toilets – Simple remote latrines

Manage greywater through reuse, landscaping, or basic filtration systems. Compost food waste and use human waste as fertilizer where possible.

You can Click HERE to see some Waste Management Systems

Heating and Cooling Solutions

Some options for off-grid heating and cooling:

  • Wood Stoves – For heating and cooking
  • Passive Solar Design – Maximize warmth from sun
  • Propane/Gas – As supplemental heating fuel
  • Insulation – Critical for regulating temperature
  • Fans – For pushing warm air out and pulling cool air in
  • Window Awnings – Provide shade and ventilation

Leverage the sun, insulation, and your climate to minimize the need for HVAC systems.

off the grid wood stove

Food, Cooking & Storage

To eat well off-grid you’ll need to:

  • Garden – Grow staple fruits, vegetables, and herbs
  • Forage – Harvest wild edibles on or near your land
  • Hunt/Raise Animals – For meat and eggs if desired
  • Preserve/Can – Stockpile shelf-stable food
  • Refrigerate – With propane, gas options or cold storage

Cook with wood stoves, propane units, or outdoor fires and grills. Avoid electricity-hungry appliances.

Choose the right appliances for you with this guide HERE

Essential Living Skills

Cultivate these self-reliant skills for off-grid success:

  • Food growing – Gardening, raising animals, wild foraging
  • Food preservation – Canning, curing, fermenting, drying
  • Handyman skills – Home maintenance and repair
  • Resourcefulness and improvisation
  • Self-care – First aid, natural medicine
  • Off-grid system expertise – Solar panels, water, septic

Be prepared to tackle challenges and meet basic needs with what resources you have available.

Lifestyle Changes and Considerations

Transitioning to off-grid living brings major lifestyle changes you must be prepared for your new lifestyle:

  • Hard work and chores are constant
  • Limited healthcare – remote locations from hospitals
  • Potential isolation and lack of community
  • No electrical on-demand entertainment
  • Need to conserve resources carefully
  • Rewards of self-reliance, freedom and nature immersion

Make sure this off-grid lifestyle aligns with your temperament and abilities before taking the leap.

Costs of Getting Off the Grid

  • Land – Budget based on acreage and location
  • Home construction or purchase
  • Solar panels, batteries, charge controllers, inverters
  • Water well drilling or rainwater cisterns
  • Septic system or composting toilet
  • Generators, propane, gas for heating and cooking
  • Gardening setup – seeds, tools, irrigation
  • Ongoing maintenance and repairs

Expect high initial investment offset by ongoing cost savings living off the grid.

Pros and Cons when choosing to go off the grid

Pros of Living Off the Grid

  • More self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle independent of the power grid
  • Reduced cost of living without paying for electricity, heat, or other utilities
  • Freedom from government regulations and societal pressures
  • Peace, quiet and scenic nature away from crowded cities
  • Develop valuable survival skills and be prepared for emergencies
  • Sense of pride and accomplishment from providing for yourself

Cons of Living Off the Grid

  • Hard work required for tasks like collecting water, chopping firewood for the heater, and maintaining systems
  • Potential isolation and lack of community depending on location
  • No access to many modern conveniences we take for granted
  • Difficult to adjust to new off-grid lifestyle at first
  • Upfront costs for land, solar panels, housing, and equipment



How much land do you need?

The amount of land needed can vary, but 1-5 acres provides space for crops, renewable energy, and seclusion. The ideal parcel of land depends on your water source, climate, and goals.

What are the biggest challenges?

Being completely self-reliant, doing physical chores like getting water, dealing with isolation, lack of healthcare access, adjusting expectations, and having contingency plans if things don’t go as planned.

Can you get a mortgage for an off grid home?

It’s challenging but possible – some lenders are more flexible than others. You’ll likely need a substantial down payment. Research lenders familiar with off grid properties.

What kind of housing is best?

Smaller, efficient housing like cabins, tiny homes, yurts, and RVs can be powered more easily off the grid. Well insulated structures are also crucial when living off grid.


Going off the grid provides independence, purpose, and connection to nature. With proper planning for energy, water, waste systems, and food supply, you can successfully detach from public utilities and live a self-sufficient off-grid lifestyle. Evaluate your commitment and abilities honestly before embarking on off-grid living.

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