What exactly is “the perfect off the grid location“ Is there such a place? Ideally, there are some things to look for in a property that make it a good off the grid location to build a cabin. This is not a comprehensive guide but only meant to give a good general point of reference to start from.
In our quest for the perfect off grid location we’ve literally searched all over the United States from the East to the West. We know what we want, and we know what we need, but finding a good balance between the necessities and comforts and balancing that with budget and location sometimes is difficult.
Like most folks, we can’t afford a huge piece of land, nor can we be too picky about the land we buy.
Determine your needs. What do you really need to live off grid?
Do you need power-hungry appliances, central heat and air, and all the luxuries of a traditional suburban home? Not really. So you make a list of things you “need” to survive in the wilderness in order of importance.
Going into this with an open mind is important, but also with a realistic point of view. It’s not going to be easy, it will probably take longer than you think, it will probably be more expensive than you think, but it’s probably going to be a lot better than how you’re living now.
“The perfect off the grid location” doesn’t exist in a one-size-fits-all package. The point is, it’s all about personal preference and what you feel you need, versus what you want, balanced by your goals.
Goals can be relatively simple: to become 100% self-sufficient, spend more quality time together with family, and experience the good things in life without having to worry about the mortgage, bills, and whether you’ll have a job next month.
Like most folks, you probably want to be independent, yet you may want to keep the social aspect of living in a community of like-minded individuals with similar goals.
So, you ask yourself what you really truly need.
NEEDS: The “Holy Trinity” of survival.
- #1 – Water: No animal on Earth can live without water, and we’re no different. This is why it’s #1 on my list instead of shelter. You’ll need a local water source, river, stream, lake, pond, spring, well, etc. Or you’ll need a machine to produce water and a large plastic container for water storage.
- #2 – Shelter: Technically in a milder climate you don’t even really need shelter, maybe a windbreak or lean-to would be sufficient for survival. But in most areas, a shelter is needed for protection from the environment.
- #3 – Food: We have to eat to live, so look for an area that in an emergency situation wild game and/or local plants can be harvested for food. Also choose an area the lends itself to growing your own food either in the ground or in a greenhouse. I personally like a hydroponic/aquaponic system myself. It’s efficient and you can grow food almost in any climate with current technology.
That’s really it. The property you choose must have these 3 resources available to produce them from the land without importing them. There are very few places on Earth where this is NOT a possibility. So what does that mean?
With current technology, and the knowledge of traditional building and survival techniques, you can live almost anywhere on the planet except maybe the North and South poles. There are even people in South America (and other parts of the world) who build their homes on the water! Talk about off the grid… WOW!
So, since you can pretty much build anywhere on Earth, the question is not whether it can be done, but what you personally prefer. Some people love cold weather and the snow, some prefer the desert heat, and others like milder tropical zones.
Once you figure your “needs”, you then list your “wants”. This of course varies widely.
Amenities & Luxury: Electricity, hot and cold running water, major appliances, TV, internet, cable, satellite, comfortable furniture, etc.
Large Land: A nice big parcel of land to expand and build on. You don’t “need” a big parcel, but we’d like one large enough to experiment with different building techniques and grow our ranch.
Affordability: Anyone can go crazy and buy an outrageously expensive piece of property, but the point of living off the grid for us means not having a massive mortgage payment each month and being completely self-sufficient. We’d like a piece of property that’s affordable and that we can pay off within a couple few years. This way we can concentrate on the important things like FAMILY. This limits the land selection somewhat, but, it also opens doors to things that might normally be overlooked for a good off grid location to build on.
Practicality becomes the determining factor at that point. Most people will need a job to live and pay for their normal bills, but for us, the goal is 100% self-sufficiency.
To do that, we must have a home-based business, and be able to make our living off the land, literally. Some folks will opt into working a 9-5 until they can become self-sufficient.
It helps that we’re experienced and have owned our own successful company before. It’s imperative that we are able to make a living from home to be completely off grid. This doesn’t mean if you live off grid that you wouldn’t be contributing to society. Creating products and providing services for the local economy is part of the plan.
The advent of the internet and high technology is enabling people to rethink the way we live as a society, and is bringing with it major cultural change. It’s now possible to not just survive off grid, but to thrive and live very well. The internet allows one to reach literally hundreds of millions of people all over the world. This expands everyone’s horizons and provides opportunity such that has never been seen before in the history of humankind.
Hi-Tech Off Grid Living
Combining high technology with an internet-based business means you can literally live just about anywhere on the planet. Now that people can do this I believe it will contribute greatly to the overall economic stability of the entire populace, including the local and world community, especially if one is contributing to society with their valuable products and services.
Start a Home Based Business
Living off the grid and owning your own business (becoming self-sufficient) isn’t just the American Dream, it’s the dream of millions of people. People want their independence, but they also need the social aspect of life. Having the internet provides this social connection while allowing one to keep their private lives private.
Our world is much smaller now that technology has made it possible to travel anywhere on the globe, and communicate with anyone, anywhere with the click of a mouse, or dialing a cell phone number.
We’re quickly becoming a mobile society, and there are those of us who see this as an opportunity unlike anything that’s ever presented itself. To make our living while still providing for and spending valuable time with our families.
Energy is crucial, and most off-gridders will generate their own power, so pick a place that has good wind and/or solar energy potential. This is the most important thing next to your water source.
So, how do you pick that perfect off the grid location?
For example, northern Arizona has everything a person would need…except easily accessible sources of water. It has tons of sunlight, trees, inexpensive land, and mild winters. According to City Data for this area:
- TEMP: 22 – 91 degrees (MILD CLIMATE)
- SUN: 77%-90% Sun (HIGH POTENTIAL)
- WIND: 6.5 – 9 mph (HIGH POTENTIAL)
- RAIN: .5″ – 2″ (LOW)
- HUMIDITY (LOW to AVERAGE)
This is just an example. Are there better places for an off grid homestead than this? Sure… But price and affordability are probably the main factors for most folks.
- Pick an area where the property is affordable and one that not many people know about, if possible. If you play your cards right, perhaps you could bring business and more homesteaders and off grid people to the area, making land more valuable.
- Pick a property where the potential for wind and solar energy production is great.
- Pick a place where the climate is mild and the winters aren’t bad, and/or have low snowfall levels so you won’t have to shovel snow all day every day just to drive around your property or go into town.
- Pick a location that is relatively near multiple popular major national parks, tourist attractions, and has LOTS of outdoor adventure activities which can be a BIG income opportunity year round if you’re creating a community. It will become a draw for people and a source of income for your off grid community.
- Pick a location that isn’t that populated, but where cities nearby are growing, and the potential for expansion in the area is great.
- Pick a location is close enough to major shopping destinations to resupply weekly, or if you wanted to cruise into town for dinner and a movie, it’s practical.
- Pick a place where the land is beautiful. Where it’s not too hot in the summer, not too cold in the winter, and there are lots of TREES and GRASS.
To really do this, you’re going to have to change the way you live. Family is more important than paying the banks for 20 years only lose your job and your home you’ve paid on for decades. Having your property paid for so you can concentrate on enjoying your family life and making good memories is by far the most important thing.
Going off the grid is how to do it. Living small is how to do it.
You can do it.
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