What does it mean to live off the grid?


First I want to say, living off the grid can be different for different people, so to save argument I will start off by saying this is not solely MY “idea” of off grid living, per say, but should be understood to be the most popular, general idea of what living off the grid is all about.

A bit of background, me and my family have been living off the grid, 100%, here in the southern Missouri Ozarks for almost 7 years. We not only have followed a traditional method of off grid living but have even went as far as keeping our living arrangement so basic/simple that we have even lived without renewable energy sources or gravity fed water since we began our off grid journey in 2010.


We cut, split, haul and stack our own firewood and we do it all with minimal tools. A small garden wagon (when it is in working condition), a decent chain saw, a splitting ax and short handle sledge hammer for those stubborn logs. We heat and cook with wood. We own 5 acres of undeveloped land that is 100% wooden, so we are considered a forest homestead. So what does living off the grid really mean? Does it mean living in the woods, living in a tiny home, small cabin, raising chickens and goats, gardening maybe? Does it mean having solar panels or a wind turbine and harvesting your own energy? How about all of the above and none of the above. Living off the grid, when technically broken down, literally means living disconnected from the technological grids that run our modern world today. And that is it in a nutshell. Now are there many other aspects of living off the grid that come into play when someone decides to disconnect from the grids? Sure there is!

This is because when you disconnect your life from the modern days grids, the power grid, water grid, communications, internet etc., you become self sufficient. You have to learn to do things differently, and usually on your own, that you had help with when your life was more modern. Things such as refrigeration, staying cool in summer and warm in winter, cooking those things need to be rethought and changed. What about a simple task in modern life as using the bathroom? Sure, it becomes a chore once you disconnect from the water grid, and a very important one too.


Now there are many that will argue with you and say something like, “no, living off the grid means this and that and you have to do this and change to that way and…” the fact is off grid living does mean different things to different people, but there is no argument when you stick to the basics of what it means. Living disconnected to the technological grids. What are the benefits of such a way of life? Well besides the obvious no utility bills, you are free to make all the changes to your way of life you want. So why not grow your own food, raise animals for the by products you use, hunt, fish and trade for more clean meat, wild forage food from your forest and reap the awesome benefits of great health!

Large Kennebec

While you are it, learn some survival skills, after all off grid living does usually mean you live outside the populations of the city. You never know when you will need to know how to stitch up a simply wound on your leg, treat a sinus infection, or drink water you have to harvest from a wet weather creek which means knowing how to purify it. Those that live off the grid incorporate all the extras, such as wild foraging for food, just because they have moved into such a position of self reliance that they want more. So, many things could be added to the answer as to what off grid living means, but that does not necessarily mean that is the answer every person off grid has to adhere too. I think there might be one thing that everyone off grid is sure to agree on and that is, off grid living is true freedom and how life was meant to be lived!


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