Living “off the grid” to most people sounds like something only someone with a secret to hide might do — but the truth is, when it comes to the end of the world, it’s going to be the safest place. Not only are you likely already well out of any nuclear and zombie-attack range brought about by big cities, but if you’ve been doing it for a few years and are settled into a regular day-by-day operation, you’re going to survive a lot longer than anyone in the city who thinks it’ll be easy.
Maybe they know about water filtration and how to start a fire, but what about after the portable camping generator dies? What about after the gasoline runs out? Or the RV, tent, or supposed-to-only-be-temporary tarp shelter is torn to shreds by a wild animal? There are only so many defensive bullets and safe spaces available to those who flee into the woods, thinking they can survive with no problems.
Today, I’m here to shed some light on a few of the things overlooked in the common escape plan. After all, the world hasn’t ended just yet, so we’re all still on the same team.
If earlier it sounded like I was ragging on generators, don’t get me wrong: they’ll still incredibly handy for quick electrical pick-me-ups, especially as technology continues to advance and they don’t need as much outside power to keep chugging along.
But the fact is, most portables generators sold on the market today still require some sort of charging through an outlet or a fuel source. While that might be feasible for a time, chances are even if you’re able to support one, it’s not going to be enough for everything you’re hoping to accomplish, energy-wise. So, unless you plan on packing 20 generators up into the hills, you’re going to have to think of something else.
The solution is already pretty mainstream: Solar energy, in the form of panels. No longer are they reserved only for the rich man, and are becoming increasingly more popular amongst regular joe-schmoes living in suburban neighborhoods (assuming their HOAs allow them). By 2015, more than a million homes in the USA used solar power.
What’s better, by utilizing solar energy, you’re not tied down by monthly bills to companies that know and store your personal information — hence that ever-so-desireable off the grid aspect. With the power company no longer able to find you, that one employee who’s sentient even as a zombie won’t be able to use Google Maps to find where you live.
Along the lines of cutting ties with any big-city company that knows where you live, the water company is next on the list. But without running water, how can you expect to do things like bathe, clean, or raise a sustainable garden in the backyard?
Off The Grid News gives a thorough guide to creating your own self-sufficient irrigation system, in reference to something that sounds more like a category in competitive sports than anything off the grid: Survival Gardening.
According to this guide, you’ll likely be getting your water from one of many sources: a spigot (if you still remain on municipal water), a well or reservoir, a natural source like a river or stream, or rainwater. They each have their own pros and cons, but all need a few things: filters ranging from screens to cartridges, water pumps if you’ll pulling from a natural source, and the correct tubing/drip system and layout of your garden.
Luckily the end of the world will be happening in the future, and there’s nothing wrong with hoarding a bunch of high-tech modern tools to help with this part of the plan — especially since you already have everything hooked up to solar energy and seeking out things to power. There’s nothing in the “Off The Grid Rulebook” that says you have to live like an ancient human, with only rocks and planks of wood at your disposal.
This step is pretty self-explanatory: stock up on non-perishables. This Doomsday Moose article on Prepping Your Homestead for a Natural Disaster specifically lists food, water, and batteries, but I’m going to take it one step further: toiletries, sewing/mending supplies, weapons, books, tools, clothing, shoes, and even some sentimental items.
In one of my previous articles, I list a few more things like tires, waste treatment systems, and metal detectors, too. Not everything has to be rugged, dirty, and “manly” — creature comforts like a shaved face, deodorant, wet wipes, etc., are going to be just as important once a week turns into a month.
To touch on weapons, especially — everyone brags about their firearms, everyone dreams about shooting a zombie in the face with a shotgun, but those are: 1. Only favorable to those who actually know how to use and maintain them, and 2. Will eventually run out of ammo.
Instead, focus on things like baseball bats, knives, swords/blades, and compound bows, whose arrows can be retrieved and reused. Basically, reusable ammo and objects for bludgeoning are best. Also, mace for bears and stuff.
Hopefully by the time the world crumbles, you’ll already be nice and comfy in your mountain cabin, warm by a crackling fire and eating corn on the cob straight from your garden. In that case, good on you, props.
But, if you aren’t, here are some suggestions: While a fancy, vacation cabin site might be appealing, in the event the world ends, it’s likely going to be less secure, sturdy, and formidable, especially if someone or something comes knocking wanting to remove you from it. Whether that be bears, zombies, or suburban Joe who left his morality back home, giant front-facing windows and low-hanging eaves aren’t going to do much to keep them out.
I’m not suggesting setting up metal traps, spikes, or trip-wires — unless that’s what you want, in which case, it’s your land and you’re welcome to do that. Moreso, I’m suggesting a few key features to keep your eyes out for:
- Secure, heavy doors and entrances, to keep out any unwelcome guests
- An underground cellar, in case of unsavory (hurricane level) weather
- Thick walls, in case of a nuclear blast — but can also be used to thwart zombies biting through the walls
- Just for the fun of it, weapons hidden throughout — over the doors, under the floor rugs, in the mouth of the taxidermy moose hanging over the fireplace
When the end of the world really comes, you’re likely going to be in one of three positions:
- Surprised and unprepared.
- Surprised, but prepared.
- Already living it up with everything in place and no one to fight for supplies at the nearest grocery store.
Which would you prefer?
Not to mention, all of the perks that come with living off the grid anyway, even if the end never comes in your lifetime — disconnecting from municipal government entities like water and power providers, being completely self-sufficient without having to give your money and time away to giant corporate entities, and the overall thrill of living in and of nature, as a non-detrimental entity.
That means no environmental footprint, no destruction of trees or natural springs, living off the land and even contributing fairly to the ecosystem there. Even if the world was destined to keep spinning unchanged for the rest of eternity, doesn’t that still sound like an ideal way to live?
About the Author:
Brooke Faulkner’s mission in life is to be prepared for anything life throws at her. As a mother of two, more often than not that includes legos and snotty viruses. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found zipping around the wilderness on her ATV.