Living off the grid is somewhere in the gray area of the law, in general, you are allowed to grow your own food and build a small temporary shelter, although you might find that even harvesting rainwater is illegal in some states. If you have children then make sure to check your local laws about homeschooling as some states are very strict about it. In addition to this, if you want to turn your own home into an off-grid home, you might find that by law you are not allowed to disconnect your house from certain utilities.
How to live off the grid legally? You can live off the grid legally in some states for at least some period of time, for this, you will need your own land and an RV, apply for a building permit of a house on your land and specify that while you are “building” your house you will live in your RV, it is very important that you mention RV and not a tiny house as tiny houses come with different complications. Usually, this permit allows you to live in your RV for 2-3 years after which you can get an extension.
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How to live off the grid legally
The term off-grid has a lot of different connotations to a lot of different people and the more you speak to preppers you will find that there is a common thread on the topic of living off the grid. When most people talk about off-grid living they are talking about producing their own food, for the most part, producing their own electricity and most of them have removed themselves from the public network of electricity and in some cases even technology.
Most people who live off the grid do not live by the conventional societal norms of conformity in terms of going to work in the city and most of them even build their own houses or shelters. As I mentioned above most people living off the grid have different definitions of what living off-grid means to them. There are some states which outright do not allow living off the grid, in my article Off grid living legal states ( Top 13 ) on the other hand there are some worst states to live off the grid-like California.
Basic Selfe reliance
- Water source
- Power source
Off the grid lifestyle
The reality is if you live in a regular house in a regular neighborhood in a city or county you may not be allowed legally to disconnect from your power systems. When talking about off-grid living there are laws in place in most of the US which basically say that you can not have a house unless you have x, y, z services, and legal documents. You could go for a tiny house but the authorities are wising up to it right now and they are passing legislation to ban and force you to have certain connections to their systems. If you are wondering where can I live off the grid for free, them the answer really depends on the state in which you live in.
They are doing this for a lot of reasons but most of it is for control and taxation purposes. The simple reality is that the authorities are figuring out that some people are pushing back and they want a lifestyle that is more independent from the system. In a lot of areas of the country, it might not even be legal for you to go off the grid, systems like septic and sewer systems. Most of the laws concern hygiene but living off the grid doesn’t mean that you cannot be healthily clean, and let’s face it how many dirty and unwashed people we come across day by day even though they have access to all the systems to keep themselves clean.
How to live off the grid with no money? There are a lot of people living off the grid without any money, to find out how they do it check out my article How to live off the land with no money (Tips & Tricks).
What to know before going off the grid
A lot of people are thinking of living off the grid and here is some info on what you should know before going off-grid. As a prepper, you should always do your research as I have said many times that the most important “tool” for a prepper is information and if you are thinking for a good off-grid bug out location there are some things you need to know.
Solar power is easier than you think, it will take you some time to get comfortable with all the solar components and it will get confusing but there is a lot of good information online that simplifies it and you are not going to get it horribly wrong. There might be some inefficiencies in your setup but it is going to work the trick is to set it up in a way that it produces you the most amount of electricity and figuring this out will take you some time.
If you already tried living off the grid without any electricity than your needs for electricity are pretty low and no matter if your solar is set up to maximum efficiency or not as you will be able to cover your most basic needs of electricity.
Plants cant grow where there is no good soil if your off-grid locations soil is not rich and prepared for basic crop growing you will probably waste a lot of time trying to grow plants in a soil in which it won’t grow. Your first job should be to create soil and this can be easily done by composting, after which you can start planting your seeds. If you have some chickens you can use their manure combined with some grass that will make great soil for plants to grow.
Water runs downhill and if your off-grid location is above the water source it will take you some time to figure out how to get that water up on the hill. In this case, you can use a gravity-fed water system and if the location of the water source is below the off-grid shelter you will have to think for some time on how to get the water up there. You might think this is a lot of work and it is better to just move the shelter where the water source is but in a rainstorm you might find your shelter flooded.
If you don’t think you need to channel water to your shelter and you will just carry the water daily with buckets you will find this extremely tedious especially in colder climates. If you are serious about your water then you should consider creating some underground plumbing systems which won’t freeze during the wintertime.
Batteries run out, LED lights are a really efficient way to go and you should always use these instead of conventional lights as the LED lights make a lot of light and consume a fraction of what a normal light bulb does. You should also consider buying rechargeable batteries as these tend to be good for years. Another important factor with batteries is on how you store them, make sure that they are in a watertight bag and out of the sunlight or else these will go bad really fast.
Wild animals like trash, when living off-grid you will still produce some trash and if you do not store your trash properly this will attract wild animals like bears which are omnivores and will at anything. If your shelter is right next to your trash you will invite a lot of animals which might even hang around for a couple of days in the area due to the easily accessible trash.
Firewood is a ton of work if your main heating source is firewood you will have to chop a lot of firewood before winter begins and to give it plenty of time to dry. Do not think that you will use the dead branches you will find in your area as these burn way to fast and produce a limited amount of heat. Anything that you should do to increase the efficiency of burning wood for heat and for cooking, just do it and it will pay off in the long run, and this is how to live off the grid in the woods.
A lot of people living off-grid use yurts as they are easy to set up, the problem with this that they are better for colder climates than for hotter ones. If the yurt is insolated well than it holds in heat very well but on the downside, this hot air will be also trapped in during the summertime. During the summer months, you should consider installing a solar-powered fan in the top of the yurt and depending on your needs adjust the fan to push or pull the air.
Temporary is longer than you think if your planning on living in a small shelter for the first year and then upgrade to something bigger keep in mind that it will probably take you longer to upgrade due to the sheer day to day work required of living off the grid. My advice is if you are setting up a temporary shelter you might as well set up a comfortable one as you just don’t know how long it will take you to get everything done. A temporary shelter is one of may off-grid living ideas which you have probably thought about.
The ambitious planner part of you has to be kind to the part of you that actually has to live through it.
Nothing is impossible
You can do things you didn’t know you could do, the moral is that you can teach old dog new tricks. In the beginning, you will learn a lot from basic tasks and after a while, you will start to optimize these tasks to take less time and be much more efficient. If you are planning to live off the grid you need to have an attitude of willing to always learn new stuff and an attitude of being ok with accepting that the lessons that you need to learn are sometimes very basic.
Everything poops, from people to your dog and chicken everybody does it. If you are going off the grid into an undeveloped property you will have to find a place where you put all the poop and you have to go to follow the rules. What you can do is to get a health board-certified outhouse that will take care of your needs short term after which you can upgrade to a composting toilet.
You can not skip hard work, this is in particular for a homestead or off the grid in the interest of self-sufficiency in particular food or is interested in conserving and stewarding the resource of water. Living off-grid is a lot of work and you will find that by the end of the day you are exhausted but delaying the day to day chores will build up fast and will probably hurt you in the long run.
How to live off the grid in the city? Altho most people who go to live off-grid choose it for a simpler lifestyle as they are resistant for certain modern technologies or modern attitudes and for self-reliance but even after you have achieved living off the grid the modern world won’t go away. This is something to think about especially if you have a family with children, think about how your children will be able to interact with their peers and their need for certain technologies like the internet.
You could opt to go without any theology at all but this will be a daily choice and if you have relied on certain technologies in the past it will be hard to give them up in the beginning.
If you are going to move out in the woods or off-grid you are going to probably end up in some sort of temporary shelter for who knows how long. If you have a lack of insulation you will find that during the wintertime you will burn a lot more wood thus making you work much harder for your heat so make sure you are well insulated.
You can cut down trees but you can not put them back up again. Many people who go off the grid are interested in using their own resources to achieve their goals, in terms of the local trees you will use these for building your shelter, cooking, and heating during the winter. Make sure to plan ahead which treas you will cut for firewood and which for building your shelter.
Wood is heavy
If you are heating with wood you have to think about how much work you will put into moving that stuff as wood is heavy. You have to get it from where it falls to where it burns and you handle it 3-4 times in between. You got to be smart on how you handle your wood and be efficient with your wood, especially during wintertime. What you can do is install a Rocket Mass Heater which uses much less wood than conventional wood stoves and you can even get by with just the deadwood you pick up from the forest floor. If you have read my article ( Top 15 ) Best alternative heat sources during power outage, you probably know that you have a lot of options for heating during the winter even without electricity.
If you are trying to produce something you can have it good, fast or cheap of which you can only pick 2. If you want it cheap and fast it is probably not going to be very good and if you want it good and fast you can expect to pay some extra money for it. You can produce your own goods, you can use things that you find but all of that is labor-intensive. What you should do is to replace the money expenditure with the time expenditure so you have to be patient in order to not to spend a whole bunch of money.
There is no one right way
But there are a lot of wrong ways to do stuff while living off the grid. You can do it your own way and it is not going to be wrong as long as you are doing it for all the right reasons and you are probably going to do a good job with any task. If you are new to living off the grid you have probably made some research on what to expect, you will be prepared for some things but you will also have to adapt and fill in a lot of gaps in your knowledge.
If you are only going to do things that you are an “expert” in you will not get very far.
Living off the grid legally is kind almost impossible as there are currently several laws denying you this right, altho most people who live off-grid do this illegally they usually get away with it but there are some cases where law enforcement was involved.