Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life

Here's everything you need to have to begin your off-grid journey.
Deniz Sagir
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Crowds, traffic, rush, deadlines to meet, corporate life, grey buildings, people in hurry… Some of the many factors might make city life unbearable. 

And many people nowadays choose to quit ‘civilization’ and take off, living off the grid, living in the moment, being busy with tangible, physical labor. It is a lifestyle where you are physically connected with the earth.

And it is all about starting from scratch. If you are looking for a good shopping list to start building your off-grid life, you are in the right place.

This list will show you the essential items you will need when building your life off the grid.

If you are planning to have a container house, here is a helpful list of container houses to give you some insight before getting down to it.  

1. Power Source 

Once you leave the city behind, a lot will change. But your need for energy will not. Power drills, light bulbs, your phone's battery: they all consume energy, after all. Hence you will need a power generator.

Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life
Source: Champion Power Equipment Store/Amazon

There is a variety of generators, from gasoline-powered ones to wind energy generators, and many more. To determine the best fit for your place, you have to study the surrounding area of it. Is it surrounded by thick woods so that wind energy is not an option? Are there any water sources nearby? Does it snow a lot? 

These are some of the questions you have to consider before choosing the right generator for yourself. Here are different options: 

Solar Power:
1000 Watt 1KW 24 Volt Solar Panel - Buy Now

400 Watt Solar Kit - Buy Now

Dual Fuel Generators: 
4250-Watt Open Frame Inverter, Remote Start - Buy Now

Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator - Buy Now

Wind Turbine: 
Wind Turbine Generator 12V 400W with a 30A Hybrid Charge Controller - Buy Now

As a great example, this mini house powered by solar panels in New Zealand can give you some insight if you are also planning to use solar panels as your main source of energy.

2. Water Collection System

Once the power issue is nailed, the next item on your list would be the water collection system. The water sources you can benefit from vary, according to the geography of your new setting. However, below you will find very basic items that will help you get the essentials for your water collection system.  

Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life
Source: Good Ideas/Amazon

First off, you will need to store water: 

100 Gallon Portable Water Storage Tank, Rainwater Collection System Downspout with Filter Spigot Overflow Kit - Buy Now

Most Popular

Oaken Rain Wizard 50 Gallon Plastic Rain Barrel Water Collector with Brass Spigot - Buy Now

160-320 Gallon Capacity Emergency Water Storage Tanks BPA Free, Portable, Food Grade Plastic 320 Gallons x 2 Tanks - Buy Now

55 Gallon Water Storage Tank - Buy Now

Once you have enough capacity to store a sufficient amount of water, you will need to get water from the sources available. Wells are the most conventional and long-lasting water source for off-grid life.

Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life
Source: Hallmark Industries/Amazon

The pump you need for a well should be at or above the average flow rate of 6 Gallons per minute. Listed here, you will find the best water pumps that will provide you water from your well as fast as possible. 

Deep Well Submersible Pump, 1/2 hp, 110V, 60 Hz, 25 GPM - Buy Now

1/2 HP Cast Iron Shallow Well Jet Pump - Buy Now

Submersible Pump - Buy Now

Once the water is collected and stored, the next step is to make sure your water has no contamination that could be hazardous to human health. To avoid factors like animal feces, bacteria, or pollution that can contaminate your water, you must include a water filter on your shopping list. 

Starting from scratch, you need to resolve matters most effectively. Therefore, a whole house water filter system can save you the burden of filtering every sink individually.

Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life
Source: PRO+AQUA/Amazon

Examining the water source you will be using to be more specific about the filtration material you choose is important. You might want to consider a filter that is specifically build to filter lead if the level of lead in your source is too much. 

Whole House Water Filter - Buy Now

2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System - Buy Now

Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System - Buy Now

So far, you have started getting water, stored it, and cleaned it. What comes next is the problem of how to heat your water. Heating water on a stove or fire can be a solution, but if you will have an electrical installation in your place, here are some better options: 

Tankless options: 

13kW at 240V Electric Tankless Water Heater - Buy Now

24kW at 240V Tankless Water Heater - Buy Now

18kW at 240V Electric Tankless Water Heater - Buy Now

Options with tanks:

Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Tronic 3000 T 4-Gallon - Buy Now

2.5 Gallons Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater - Buy Now

8 Gallon Mini-Tank Water Heater - Buy Now

And if you want to build yourself a water installation system, assuming you bought the plastic pipes, a plastic welder heating gun will get the job done.

Plastic Hot Air Welder Heating Gun - Buy Now 

If you don't know where to start, you can get some help here.

3. DIY Tools for Building Your Place

Unless you are buying a container house or letting professionals build it for you, you will need some necessary tools to build your place. A wooden house comes to mind first when talking about off-the-grid life, especially in wooded areas where they come in handy. And here are the most essential tools that you will need while cutting and using wood to build your dream place away from skyscrapers. 

Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life
Source: COOCHER/Amazon

To begin with, a chainsaw is what you need to cut woods first. 

62CC 2 Stroke Gas Powered Chainsaw - Buy Now

Once you have the woods, you will need to remodel them into walls, ceilings, and every other part of your house. Hence comes a circular saw.

Circular Saw with Metal Handle, 6 Blades, Laser Guide - Buy Now

Finally, you might want to sand your wood for any further use and application like painting. 

4" X 24" Belt Sander - Buy Now

Once the wood is ready, now it's time to put them together. A hammer and nails do the trick, but to make your job way easier, here are some tools that can offer great help during this process. 

Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer - Buy Now

20V MAX Lithium-Ion Compact Drill/Driver Kit - Buy Now

168 Piece Socket Wrench Auto Repair Tool Combination Package - Buy Now

Additions can be made for your house building items, depending on whether you want to add metal parts to it instead of buying them ready, or if you want to use materials like concrete for your place. But the items above will be sufficient for your wooden house.

4. Heating

There are many heating options for your place depending on what kind of energy system you will be using and the installations you will have. But since our list comprises of least complex, complete off-the-grid solutions, here are some wood burning stove options that you can apply easily and have a warm place only with some woods. 

Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life
Source: Drolet/Amazon

High-Efficiency 2020 EPA Certified Wood Stove - Buy Now

3,200 Sq. Ft. EPA Certified Pedestal Wood Burning Stove - Buy Now

900 Sq. Ft. Log Wood Cast Iron Stove - Buy Now

5. Waste Management

Waste management is also an important topic for your off-the-grid place. There are two types of wastes you will be having in your off-grid house. Greywater is the wastewater that is coming from sinks, showers, and washing machines. It's relatively safer in terms of containing any harmful particles.

Blackwater is mainly sewage, it's the wastewater that is coming from toilets, and dishwashers, and could be harmful regarding the particles it contains. It cannot be directly released to soil or watercourses. 

Escape the City: Essentials to Build Your Way Into the Off-Grid Life
Source: Alpcour/Amazon

If you want more complex, infrastructural systems for your waste, then you might want to have professional help with it. Until you figure out what type of waste system you will be using at your new place, here are some portable toilets that can help you while building your system: 

Portable Travel Toilet with Detachable Inner Bucket - Buy Now

Travel Toilet with Detachable Tank - Buy Now

Portable Toilet – Compact Indoor & Outdoor - Buy Now

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