Essential Off-Grid Gear: The Items You’re Gonna Need


Thinking of heading Off-Grid? Tired of it all? Here is the essential off-grid gear you’re gonna need to make your off-grid living a success.

As you can guess, we are big fans of off-grid living. When I first moved to Colorado, I fell in love with the endless outdoor adventures. One thing that stood in the way was the constant traffic and crowds at the traditionally popular outdoor hotspots. Being a combat veteran of Iraq, I have found that over time, I am just happier on my own, in the elements and testing my skills to survive out on my own where stakes are much higher than the local KOA.

Over the years, as I got more comfortable with Colorado backcountry and minimalistic camping, I started looking for outdoor adventure options that took me farther and farther from society. Before I knew it, I am not only able to camp and recreate in places where I am completely by myself.

Now, in Colorado, that’s not easy, so when I find a new spot, I keep it a close secret. once word gets out, it over, people will be crawling all over it in no time. So let’s say you understand this feeling and you have decided to head off-grid. One thing is certain, there are some basic items you will need.

Let’s take a look at the basic essentials you will need to make it off grid.

Off-Grid Water

You’re gonna need water, there is no avoiding this. The average human body is composed of roughly 60% water. Your body needs water. While some estimate a human any survive up to a week without water, a more realistic approach is roughly 3-4 days to survive without any water.

When living off-grid, you will need to figure out your water situation first. many people who choose to live off-grid ensure they have set up their shelter in close proximity to a clean and reliable source. Some areas to consider are near mountain runoffs and rivers. Essentially, you need to be near a water source that is not stagnant. Water that continues to move (streams, rivers) will be less prone to growing bacteria and housing parasites like found often in stagnant water sources.

Remaining near moving water sources will give you access to water that you can drink and cook with.

In addition to drinking and cooking, a moving water source can be a source of power through the engineering of water turbine power. A hydro generator as seen here on Amazon Opens in a new tab.will keep being able to use the waters current to generate power for your grid living site.

Having a Hydro Generator seem like too much? Try just getting a rain collection container as seen here. Opens in a new tab. A rainwater collection system will allow you to live farther away from a water source and still have clean water for daily use. Keep in mind, this won’t be an option in a dry climate like Arizona. Rainwater collection system does best in areas with a high annual rainfall yield, think Washington State. Check this option as well here.Opens in a new tab.

Even if you don’t set up a full hydro generator system, simply being near the water source and having the ability to carry water back and forth from the water source will keep your water needs sustained. Just grab some 5-gallon jugs and keep these nearby. Check these out here Opens in a new tab.for a quick, easy, and affordable option.

Off-Grid Food

Food options when living off-grid are pretty vast and in many cases more reliable than the traditional grocery store you’re used to right now. For starters, you have the ability to grow your own greens, fruits, and veggies which on their own provide many of the vitamins and minerals a healthy body needs. In addition, you have the ability to hunt wild game for very high-quality protein sources.

I recently was driving through Northern Colorado and once you drive east of Interstate 25, you enter the agricultural plains of Colorado. Many cattle ranchers and processing plants can be seen as you travel the routes. I noticed that in many of the processing plants, the cows are stuffed together on completely dirt pens, and frankly, they look miserable. That cow has likely grown from a calf to a young adult on the same 1-acre dirt lot, eating processed cow feed and been shot full of antibiotics and growth hormones.

On the other hand, a rocky mountain elk is free-range from birth. Elk travels the tundras and valleys living as they please with their only concern being a predator or the occasional hunter. The meat that is harvested from a wild animal is of the highest quality meat you will find. I’m getting long-winded here, but you get the point. Living off-grid you have access to consistently quality protein sources.

Remember earlier when I said the food options are more reliable than your options at the grocery store? Let’s take a small case study. In 2020, we experienced the COVID-19 pandemic and whether you agreed with it or not, one thing is for sure, the toilet paper was GONE from all stores in a few days. A week after that, the meat section of most stores was depleted. While things did recovery pretty fast, it goes to show that once the public starts to panic, the supplies we rely on being available, can quickly be gone.

Off-Grid Shelter

The shelter is a factor that many underestimate when deciding to go off-grid. Often, many think that free access to public land is a good starting point because there is no fee to camp for extended periods of time.

However, be aware that most National Forests and BLM land are limited to a 14 day stay in any given spot. While you can move every 14 days and remain on the land for years, it’s not an ideal method if you plan to grow crops and have consistent shelter.

A better option is to buy a parcel of raw land and slowly build you homestead on the parcel that you now own. However, the public land options are always good.

There is a YouTuber with the channel name of Off-Grid Backcountry Adventures. This guy lives in his Toyota Tacoma full-time and shares his adventures living on public lands with his dog, Sierra. Check out his channel to really get a glimpse into what you can expect living off-grid and on free public land.

Off-Grid Power

Power is a consistent issue you can expect to tackle if you plan to live off-grid. Many of the full-time off-griders rely on a few methods we will outline below.

Solar: Solar is the first option that comes to mind for many when they think of free year-round power. While solar is a great option for solar, it’s not quite as straight forward as many think. First, you need to live in an area that has consistent sunny weather nearly year-round.

Additionally, the number of items you power has a significant impact on the power draw and needs your solar system will need to support. Check out this online solar calculatorOpens in a new tab. for great info on how to prepare for your solar needs. At a minimum, a single person or couple can live with a good 200-watt solar setup to run the most basic needs. Check out this affordable setupOpens in a new tab. to get started.

Gas/Propane Generators: Gas and propane generators are a great option to provide strong power options that can power all your needs including air conditioning. Be advised, I have been using generators for years and I have learned the hard way, altitude does affect your generator. For every 1000ft of elevation you are living at above sea level, you will see a 3% decrease in efficiency of your generator.

For example, if you use your generator at 9000ft, you will have lost 27% of your generators capability. Because the air is thinner at higher elevations, the gas generator works harder. That could easily mean the difference between having a refrigerator and A/C or not. You can get a altitude kit that will help with that. More on that here. Opens in a new tab.

With a gas generator, you need to be aware of well, gas! If you cant consistently get to a gas station, your generator won’t last long. Some generators have the ability to run on gas and propane, which is a great option to split your fuel options. Amazon has an excellent Generator that runs on both gas and propane, check it out here.Opens in a new tab.

Off-Grid Gear Wrap Up

Off-grid living is becoming increasingly popular as times become uncertain and housing prices push people out. While you may miss some comforts (like the gym), you don’t need much. In-fact, here is a helpful guide to off-grid exercise. Opens in a new tab.

Hopefully, this information provided you with some baseline data to help make your Off-Grid adventure a successful one.

Mike is a Colorado resident, an Army veteran, and a former Police Officer, and an avid outdoorsman. Mike has camped, hiked, and overland all over the United States. From backpack Elk Hunts on Public Land, solo truck camping to Multi-week Overlanding adventures with his family, Mike is very familiar with these outdoor topics.

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