Anybody live off-grid?


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Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
May 6, 2017 - 06:06am PT
Wow, Phred, that was some hardcore growin' up. Not many these days would have any idea what that was like.


May 6, 2017 - 08:17am PT
DMT wrote: "WiFi? Hahahahahaha, that's funny.

WiFi is the very definition of a grid."

what's funnier is people who think the english language is/should be logical... ;)


off-grid: adjective 1. not involving or requiring the use of mainstream sources of energy

wiki goes with:

Off-the-grid homes are autonomous; they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid, or similar utility services.

while there are other definitions, [urban dictionary goes with: Off-Grid is a term used when cutting off all contact via internet and phone with friends and family for an alloted amount of time] typically, and within the context of the conversation at hand, it refers specifically to lifestyles that are not dependent on remote infrastructure...

key word in the above, ime, is dependent.

the thing about internet/wi-fi is no one needs it to survive... so even if you are connected there is nothing necessarily dependent about its use... one can shut if off at any time and life will continue to go on...

some, even the most meager forms of, water, sewer, heat, on the other hand?

yeah, even big wall campers necessarily have to sort that shIt out...
the albatross

Gym climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 6, 2017 - 08:00pm PT
Thanks nahOOO and others for the comments. I doubt we will all ever agree on the definition of "off grid" I think one poster thinks it means pushing rocks uphill all day and releasing them at night, For me it means being less reliant on utilities and more reliant on self sufficiency. It is empowering.

While I absolutely love both the part time jobs I have which thankfully have provided me with a comfortable lifestyle with lots of free time, the ultimate goal is to work less for "the man". I see so many of my peers working more and more to make more and more money to buy more and more "stuff". I want to step back from that lifestyle for a while, in the mean time learning to live more in harmony with the natural environment.

Best I can figure, about 12 folks live in this section of land (1 square mile), though I have only met 3 of them. I saw 3 cars drive by one day but it's usually much less. So nice to not hear sirens, helicopters and be stuck in traffic. Most nights I can see the loom of Flagstaff less than 20 miles away (Flag claims to be the "worlds first international dark sky city") as well as the glow of Phoenix (well over 100 miles away).

Been out here full time nearly a month. It so reminds me of stepping into big wall climbing as a bumbling but inspired dreamer. I never got very good at climbing, but somehow had some big visions and was able to attract into my life some extraordinarily talented climbers such as Fly'n Brian. And there were a couple dozen folks who shared in their own ways as well (hauling loads, belaying, hanging the rope up, etc). I'd love to share some more stories about climbing with him, but still feel hurt by some of the snarky, smartass remarks by a couple posters. Truth is I've been burned more then a few times by climbers (mostly pros seeking money or fame from our work).

One simple little invention I continue to find useful is the inflatable LED solar lanterns. They cost around $15 and provide ample light for most tasks.

Sylvester is getting the hang of life in the wilds and I'll try to get a pic of him hiking soon.


Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
Jul 4, 2017 - 03:53pm PT

Happy Fourth.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jul 5, 2017 - 11:47am PT
My friends have lived off the grid for more than 30 years, in the mountains above the antelope Valley. Here is an NPR story about them:

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
Nov 27, 2017 - 02:56pm PT
Stay on the .....grid.


Nov 27, 2017 - 10:18pm PT
Albatross, I almost came to your area over Thsnksgiving to fly off Merriams Crater for a few days. I love it out there. This year I built an off-the-grid van that I've used about 30 days since I finished it in May. 100% 12v solar, LED lights, heated with wood, composting toilet, butane canister cooktop. One of these days I hope to build some kind of an off-grid home.
the albatross

Gym climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 28, 2017 - 04:46am PT
GV sounds like a sweet van. And dont give up on your land dreams. I have an awesome view of Merriam, about 5 miles to the SE of my land.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The wind takes some getting used to. And I was surprised at the number of rattlesnakes (caught 4 "Hopi Rattlers") around my home and relocated them to a forested area. Lots of Black Widows, too.

We did not have much of a monsoon yet I was able to collect a couple hundred gallons of water. Roof capacity has been doubled with the addition of a new glassed in porch area. I used a combination of straw bale and cord wood construction.

I think most people would not enjoy the experience but for me it has been a rewarding pursuit. Thanks again for the suggestions and comments.

Flip Flop

Earth Planet, Universe
Nov 28, 2017 - 06:58am PT
If I was in the desert then I'd build a clay yard and catchment system and cover it in soil and soil retaining plants. The water travels under the root systems and ends up in cisterns. If you really want an oasis then become a soil composting machine. Plants, water and soil is what makes earth our home.

Great thread.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 28, 2017 - 07:09am PT
Our house in Patagonia is off the grid......will be there in two weeks..

Nov 28, 2017 - 07:32am PT
I've come across several trick tanks while hiking in AZ, like this one on an abandoned ranch 20 miles NW of Sedona, probably holds 15K gallons.

from out where the anecdotes roam
Nov 28, 2017 - 08:08am PT

Social climber
Cat Box
Jan 23, 2019 - 09:44pm PT
Bump. Neat stuff.
the albatross

Gym climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2019 - 04:57pm PT
Hey I just wanted to sign off on this thread before the end of ST.

I really appreciate all of the positive contributions to this thread. I had hoped to add more but got caught up in living. Two early comments stand out : be good at improvising and itís a lot more work then expected.

Iíve tried a different mix of building experiments. Standard carpentry, straw bale, cordwood, cob, stucco and clay slip. Most excited with the natural building techniques and currently working a slip clay straw wall system for the porch.

Iím also in the process of restoring the land and adding diversity to the juniper grassland. Did a lot of controlled burning this winter to reduce grass fuel buildups and provide defensible space. With a wet winter and spring the grasses are thriving. Have had great success working with the Hopi for plants that can withstand the weather extremes. Especially peach trees. Looking to add more this Fall. Check out ďHopi PermacultureĒ a great program and some fine people.

Have seen a lovely 4+ ft Gopher Snake the last couple days and hope he sticks around.

Sylvester is fine and he loves going for long walks in the morning and evening (except days like today with winds gusting over 50 mph).

Anyway, thank you again for sharing your experiences. Any of you considering going off grid - just do it. Itís not easy, but the best things in life arenít easy.

Take care,
the Fet

May 19, 2019 - 06:22pm PT
Great thread.

My house is on propane, a well and septic thatís as far as I get LOL. 2 wires coming in electrical and fiber internet which makes things a LOT easier.

The most Iíve been off grid is in our camper for up to a week. Solar charges the battery which runs the lights, heater fan, and roof fan. Fridge runs on propane. Really itís only the water in and waste out that limits it.

In Hawaii lots of rural houses are on catchment water. But they get plenty of rain year round.

I think cellular internet and soon inexpensive satellite internet is still off grid. Youíre not connected to anything. A friend in Hawaii uses cellular internet for everything including Netflix.

I think a simple life like this is smart. My families life had gotten way to complicated.

Boulder climber
May 21, 2019 - 11:20am PT
Truly off-grid (no electric hookup) sounds great but with solar setup (which is an expensive thing, if you want to run any appliances) my concern would be it all getting stolen when I'm not there. I heard of cabins with no close neighbors (close like their house right there in the close view) getting robbed a lot in the Southwest - may be Flagstaff area isn't as bad as some others. Plus, I'm guessing the panels should get hammered a lot in windy climate with a lot of sand to fly.
the Fet

May 21, 2019 - 01:12pm PT
^ Legitimate concern.

A few things that could help:

A locked gate at the front of your driveway. Everything is just a deterrent but if someone never drives down your driveway to see what's there, less likely they'll come back later. Also no lazy thief is going to carry heavy stuff a long way on foot.

Signs that say "Smile You're on Camera" and real/fake cameras.

A guard dog.

Boulder climber
May 21, 2019 - 01:53pm PT
I mainly meant for the time when you're away traveling (so any dogs have to come with your or go to dog hotel)...
For security gate to work in this situation one needs an expensive solid fence, I think - chainlink or barbwire can be easily cut for a vehicle to come through.
the Fet

May 21, 2019 - 06:18pm PT
It would be stressful and challenging to leave a place unattended with expensive solar panels.

I was just kind of thinking aloud about some good all around things to do.

Our rural neighbor was robbed about 6 months ago, during the day, with dogs in their house (dogs closed in the bedroom while the thieves stole from the living room). Totally brazen, and quick in and out. So not someone stealing bolted down solar panels, but I couldn't help but start thinking of things I could do.

I think a gate, dog, etc. are like the old joke: you don't need to run faster than the bear. You just need to run faster than the slowest person in your party. You can't stop a determined thief, you can just deter them hopefully enough that they'll look for an easier target. If your property has a gate would be robbers probably aren't going to bother breaking in just to see what's there. They'll go down the road until they find someplace easy to case. Of course this depends on having a property where you can't see what's there from the road. But also someone breaking past a gate may not know if you're home. So they may not do it, where if there's no gate and you came out they could just say they are lost or came to the wrong place. Seems like a common thing going on around here is people wearing orange vests and name tags to pretend they are Amazon delivery drivers or utility workers to case places or break in.

Also one of the signs "nevermind the dog, beware of owner" with a picture of a gun, although really tacky and my wife would probably never allow it :0), could work. Lowlifes who see it may or may not take it seriously, but why risk getting shot at?

Boulder climber
May 21, 2019 - 07:28pm PT
Oh wow - how did the dogs end up locked in the bedroom, did they let the thieves do it? Thieves must have gotten info on the property and knew well what they were doing, being brazen like this..

Yes, having closed gate is very helpful - even if there's no fence, when you're there yourself. These canvassers immediately turn into trespassers. The only thing is legitimate people like delivery drivers might be leaving packages at the gate then, while otherwise they'd drive all the way to the house if the driveway isn't too long.
I'd not have much peace with solar setup left out there while leaving for a week.
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