You can live off the land with no money by using your skills such as hunting, trapping, fishing, foraging and growing your own food. If you have the necessary skills you can also build a temporary or a long term shelter using just the local materials and as few tools as possible. While you can live off the land without spending any money the only items that will cost you money are your clothes and a medkit.
One of the problems you will have while living off the land is having clean water, my personal recommendation is to get at least one water filter bottle Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
Living off the land without money isn’t actually that hard provided that you meet your basic needs and have the skills to do them. A lot of people will tell you that living off the land is impossible, usually, these people have rarely gone out of their comfort zone, but if you are planning to live off the grid only surviving off the land I am telling you it can be done. If you are a simple city dweller accustomed to our modern technology it will be quite hard to let all that go.
Let’s face it most of us rely on technology on one form or another, imagine yourself living without a cellphone or social media for 7 days, how will you communicate, and what will you do with all your extra time. There are some gray areas in any state’s local laws regarding off grid living, for more information check out my article How to live off the grid legally.
In my opinion, the whole point in living off the grid is to reduce your living expenses and if possible even eliminate it. There are people who live off the grid while paying for their mortgage every month and cutting expenses with producing their own electricity and food, but in my opinion, living off grid means that you must be as close to 100% self-sufficient as possible and with little to no actual expenses.
The most important “item” for living off the land is knowledge, get as much information about the surrounding area. Such as where are the game trails, where you can get fresh water, what kind of trees would be best for building and which are best for firewood. You should also know the places where predators have a territory as you don’t want to set up camp in one of these areas.
As a preventive measure do let your loved ones where you are going to live off the land and try to get in contact with them at least once in a while so they know you are well and safe. Do not forget to bring some device with which you can communicate especially if you are new, I know this kind of goes against the off-grid rules but it is better to be safe then sorry.
Things to know before living off the land
Before packing up and going to live in the woods there are some hurdles which you have to face. Being self-sufficient isn’t that hard but imagine that you have to do everything yourself and you have nobody else to rely on food, security, and comfort. If you are a social creature surrounded by a lot of people you will find it very hard to cope with the loneliness if you are planning to go off-grid alone.
On the other hand, if you plan on going off the grid with your family this will put extra pressure on you as everybody will rely on your skills. Not all states allow for off grid living, check out my article on Off grid living legal states, where you will find the top 13 states which actually facilitates living off the grid.
Before actually going to live off the land make sure you pay all your debts. This is very important as you might go live off the grid and in some form you will think the modern world will simply stop existing for you, it might for you but the debt collectors will find you no matter where you going off the grid. Just imagine the local news headline “Homeless man arrested for…”.
Living off the land isn’t for everybody, you might enjoy the adventure at first but when the hard times come and they will you might have to go back to civilization. If you have burnt all bridges for restating your life in civilization you might end up worse than before.
Make sure you have some extra cash hidden somewhere which you can use in your time of need, not eating for a couple of days isn’t dangerous but after a week of unsuccessful hunting what other options are there if you don’t have any money?
Depending on how active you are in your daily life will make it easier or worse the transition of living off the land. If you have an average office job sitting on a chair 8 hours a day you won’t have the physical fitness to provide yourself even with the bare essentials. Going to the gym is better than nothing but my suggestion is to start going for long hikes with a big backpack, this way your body will be more accustomed to living off the grid.
Chopping firewood is hard work, before going off-grid get the feel of it to strengthen your muscles. If you think you can cook and heat your shelter with just dead branches you will have a big surprise as these branches will burn off fast and they don’t give out as much heat as a good block of firewood.
This is mostly for people who are planning to live off the land alone, you might think that there is no problem for you to be alone and that it is just a question of getting accustomed to it. The harsh reality is that most people fear loneliness and boredom so they often socialize just not to be alone. Being alone is hard when the only voice you hear is only yours, it will be difficult but with some meditation and practice, you will have confidence in your skills and decisions.
I bet you have not thought about this one but the truth is that modern food is filled with a lot of sugar and its derivates. Your body is very familiar with sugar and it has come to rely on it for energy but if you are planning to live off the land it will be almost impossible to get your daily sugar fix. There are some fruits that are high in glucose but these are rare to find and depending on the area you might not even find any.
Another sugar source would be honey but that is just playing with fire. If you are not equipped to handle a bees nest you could actually die from attempting to get honey. Let us also not forget the other omnivore which loves honey, if there is honey there is a big possibility a bear could also be around.
My personal suggestion is before you go off grid is to not eat anything with sugar in it for 1-3 months this will allow your body to adjust and you will not get that sugar crash when you go into the wild.
Off grid living basic needs
These needs are essential and you must know how to fulfill them, no matter if you are alone or with your family. Not being able to fulfill any one of these basic needs will end up in a disaster down the road. These needs will vary from one person to another and you also need to keep in mind the local climate.
Without water you will die after 3 days, so make sure you have a good fresh water supply nearby. Your main goal should be to get water from streams and rivers and not from stagnant water like lakes as the stagnant water helps bacteria to grow. No matter if your water comes from a stream or from a lake you need to have an ability to filter water. There are a lot of water filtration systems online but they are either expensive or have a limited number of uses.
As I am focusing more on living off the grid without money the easiest way to make water safe to drink is by boiling it.
You will need fire for cooking and heat, there will also come in place your skill of efficiently harvesting and chopping firewood. Fire also has a positive psychological effect on the brain, just make sure you have enough firewood for the night as trying to gather firewood in pitch darkness is just asking for trouble.
The kind of food you will eat will entirely depend on the area in which you want to live off the land. This taken into consideration you can hunt, fish, trap, forage and also grow your own food. Altho growing your own food might sound easy it is actually difficult if you have never done it. Most people who live off the land and plant some kind of crops will tell you that the first year’s crops almost always dies.
This happens mainly as these crops need a nutrient-rich soil and they won’t grow in almost anything else. My suggestion is to make your own compost from manure and mix it in with some leaves and grass, leave it for a couple of weeks until the compost is starting to get warm and then you can use it.
Unless you are lucky enough to find some kind of abandoned shelter or a cave you will have to make the shelter on your own. Set up a temporary camp near a stream and start working on your more permanent shelter. Depending on the area in which you are in you should also take in consideration the local climate if winter is coming and you didn’t set up your shelter properly you might end up never waking up from your beauty sleep.
The shelter doesn’t have to cost you any money as you can build it with your local resources if you have the skills for it.
This is most often overlooked but without your daily hygiene routine you could end up in serious health issues, and if your situation worsens your adventure could end up abruptly. Think about what are your daily hygiene needs, like washing your teeth, washing yourself and your “other” needs. Make sure you don’t do your “business” near your shelter, the same goes for your trash as this also could attract the local wildlife.
Skills you need to live off the land with no money
In today’s modern world everybody is relying on money if you can’t fix your plumbing you pay somebody who has the skills to fix it. This, in turn, will not work if you are planning to live off the land without spending any money, instead, you will be relying on a set of skills with which you will be able to fulfill your basic needs. These skills can be learned fairly quick but the trick is to be able to perform these skills with a limited number of tools and mostly using local resources to avoid spending any money.
Most of these skills will be around getting food and preserving it.
This is fairly simple if you have a rifle you can hunt but as rifles do cost money you should learn more primitive ways of hunting like hunting with a bow, or slingshot. Making a bow from scratch could be difficult as you need to know a lot about how to make a bow and this is extremely time-consuming. On the other hand, you can make a simple slingshot with something as simple as a twig, just wrap on it some rubber cord and you can use it.
The slingshot won’t give you the ability to hunt big game but you can use it to hunt birds and small animals with it.
Fishing can be done with no money in several ways, make your own tackle and bait, spearfishing and net fishing. If your area has bushes with thorns on it you can use it as a hook, take a small cord and attach it to a stick of wood and to the thorn, then just put some bait on the hook and go catch some fish.
Spearfishing can be done if the local fish tend to stay next to the shoreline, all you need for it is a sharp stick and you can already use it. Make sure you make a small wedge next to its point this will prevent fish from getting away after you have already speared them.
Fishing with a net will cost money so instead, you will have to improvise, instead of an actual net, you can use women’s stockings or even your curtains. If you are fishing in small steam you could also make a small dam to channel the fish into your “net”.
Trapping is a reliable way of getting food, as you can set these traps up and you can do something else during that time so you don’t need to be actively there to use it. There are a lot of primitive traps which you can make just make sure if a trap isn’t successful that you take it apart or maybe use it in some other area there is no point of an animal dying in one of your abandoned traps.
If you are planning on preserving food for a longer time then you should learn how to smoke meat. Smoking meat will increase its shelf life by a lot and if you have some condiments they do taste great. There are a lot of specialized smoking tools online but you can also do this in a more primitive way with only your local resources.
If you are planning to live off the land for a longer period of time than you should start researching which plants are suited to grow as crops in your area. Do note that in most cases you will need to make your own soil as most crops need nutrient-rich soil to grow. If you are planning on growing crops with no money you should research natural pesticides also, as these can do a lot of harm to your crops.
Humans have been foraging for thousands of years, but it is extremely important that you pick up a book on the local flora and fauna so you know which plant is edible and which is toxic. Before going to live off the land watch the movie “Into the wild” where the main character is living off the land and accidentally poisons himself. One basic rule is if you see a bird eat it then it means you can not eat it as birds tend to have a very acidic stomach.
You can live off the land without any money but you have to have several skills and abilities to do so. You have to be self-sufficient if you are attempting this and make sure you have prepared your mind and body for it as it might get a big wake up call if you are not used in spending all of your days outdoors.