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14 Top Off-Grid Projects for Survival

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Whether you’re planning to move to the Alaskan frontiers or want to live in a cabin the Vermont mountains, these off-grid living conditions will disconnect you from water and power sources.

To live off the grid, you need to know how to generate your power, collect and filter water, and even live without a sewer or septic system.

The following off-grid projects are necessary for survival in the great outdoors:

1. Collect Rainwater

Collecting drinkable water is a vital survival skill. When living off the grid, this is one skill you must master very quickly. There are a few rainwater collection projects you can set up to gather drinking water. For instance, your collection system may include roof gutters, a large capacity stacked system, a rain barrel, or a large water tank that’s buried or above ground. The amount of rainwater you can collect will depend on the amount of rainfall in your area and the size of your roof.

2. Greywater Treatment System

A greywater treatment system can route wastewater to your yard and irrigate non-food plants. What are some sources of greywater? Greywater refers to any wastewater collected from washing machines, showers, tubs, and kitchen sinks. Most of this water will contain grease, food particles, dirt, some cleaning products, and hair. You can set up a grey water treatment in your yard to ‘treat’ these contaminants. There are several types of grey water systems. Generally, gravity-based systems that don’t require filters or pumps are easy to maintain and last the longest. In case you produce excess waste water than what is required for irrigation, set up an artificial wetlands on your property. This will absorb and filter the water naturally.

3. Root Cellar and Low-tech Fridge

A root cellar is an ancient way of conserving vegetables and fruits throughout the year. The earth has a stable temperature underneath the frost line which provides ‘natural refrigeration’. This temperature keeps items like onions, potatoes, and apples, fresh throughout the year. When you move off the grid, you can set up your own root cellar using reclaimed and recycled materials. Simply bury a trash can or chest freezer into the ground.

If you prefer to be without a fridge system altogether, consider zeer pots. These are also called pot-in-pot fridges. To build one, you need two basic terracotta pots, some water and sand. One pot must be smaller in size than the other. Contents placed inside a zeer pot are cooled by a damp sandy layer between two terracotta pots. As the moisture from the sand evaporates, the inner pot is cooled. You have to keep this sand moist at all times to keep the contents of the inner pot cool. This system can keep vegetables fresh for nearly a month. It’s also effective at deterring insects. You may also store cool water in a zeer pot.

4. Mini Wind Turbine

This off grid project may seem out of reach, but it’s actually not! A mini wind turbine is an effective solution when you want to supplement your solar power. With a mini wind turbine kit you can generate up to 250 watts of energy.

5. Solar & Outdoor wood-fired oven

In the summer, temperatures can soar when you’re living off the grid. It’s too hot and humid to cook indoors, so the best way to prevent extra heat build-up in your home by cooking outdoors. Although grills are superb, a solar cooker or a wood-fired oven will allow you to bake your favourite treats as well.

You can build your own solar cooker with a windshield sun reflector or some aluminium foil and a cardboard box. With a dash of sunlight, you can prepare your food. Cob ovens are another good outdoor cooking solution. These are built using straw and mud. They get very hot and are capable of churning out pizzas in three minutes.

6. Composting Toilets

Each day, billions of litres of drinkable water is flushed down the toilet. If properly maintained, a composting toilet can transform human waste water into healthy soil. Composting toilets are easier to care for that what you expect. When you move off the grid, you can easily purchase a commercial composting toilet. If you prefer to build one yourself, you need a bucket, some carbon-dense composting materials such as shredded oak leaves, cedar chips, and sawdust, and a toilet seat. This is emptied out into a special outdoor compost bin that’s separate from a regular compost bin which produces compost for your herb and vegetable gardens.

7. Solar-powered Gadgets and Appliances

There are several opportunities to separate from the grid. You may build your own solar charger or hand-cranked gadgets like blenders and gadget chargers. You can also build your mason jar solar lights, a solar food dryer, a parabolic hot water heater, and even a solar-powered Altoid tin.

8. Greenhouse

If you’re planning to live in a colder region where the winters can be long and harsh, it would help to have a greenhouse. This will provide you with food throughout the year. A greenhouse is a superb off-grid project because it can also generate power for your home. You can use this energy to power your drip irrigation unit or even heat your home.

9. Washing Machine

Washing clothes by hand is a tough job. There’s a lot of scrubbing, wringing, and soaking involved. If you plan to live off the grid, you’re going to have to build a washing machine to facilitate this task. You can easily build a washer with a net bag, a container, and a lever-driven shaft that’s held in position with a wooden frame. The net bag is the key component because it will squeeze, agitate, and hold the clothes. A DIY washing machine requires zero electricity and relies solely on hand-cranking. After your clothes are washed, simply wring them out and hang to dry.

10. Solar Power Charger

While living off the grid, you may face a situation where your home loses complete power. In such cases, it would help to have a solar power charger. You can easily build one using a solar panel and a rechargeable battery.

11. Portable Solar Generator

A moveable solar generator is a handy tool to have when you live off the grid. Not only is this a back source of energy, but you can use it anywhere on your property, i.e. the shed, garden, backyard, etc. To build a small scale portable solar generator, you need two, 8-watt panels, an inverter, and a marine deep cycle battery. The power generated by this simple system is enough to operate a television set, a few power tools, and even a laptop.

12. DIY Humidifier

When you’re living off the grid in a cool climate region, you can expect your home to feel dry. Over time, dry air will cause sore throats, coughs, and even the flu. You can also develop dry skin, teary eyes, and allergic reactions. This generally happens in the winter when temperatures drop below zero and you turn on the heat. Once the heat goes up, the moisture dries up.

To prevent this dryness, you need to introduce humidity. A humidifier is the best solution to add moisture. To do this, place numerous house plants in your home. You can also take a large car sponge and soak it. Put it in a large ziplock bag with holes. You can place this ziplock bag in any room. The sponge will release moisture into the room. You may also opt for a fish tank. The open fish tank will release humidity into the room and generate a cool atmosphere. In addition, you get a beautiful view not to mention adds character in your home.

13. Rooftop Garden

If you don’t have room to set up a garden on your lawn, consider a rooftop garden. The concept has been around for centuries, but it was popularized just a few decades ago in Germany. A rooftop garden is basically a living plant surface on a roof structure. In this garden, there is less than 1 foot of soil is applied to your roof along with some support structures. This will enable you to grow a variety of herbs, fruits, and vegetables on top of your garage, shed, or house.

14. Passive Window Solar Heater

This simple solar heater is an excellent source of heat during the cold winters. All you need to build this off-grid project is a few pieces of Styrofoam, a can of black spray paint, and some aluminum foil. You may cut the Styrofoam to fit the window or a bit smaller so that some light will still get through. The former option will give you more heat.

When the sun is shining, the black painted portion will absorb much of the sun’s heat. Hot air has a tendency of expanding and rising. Once the hot air rises, it will leave from the top vent of your heater. This prompts a vacuum action and pulls cold air into the bottom vent of the heater. The cooler air is warmed and continues to do so until sunset.

With these 14 off grid projects for survival, you can live comfortably in your new surroundings.

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7 Ways to Survive an EMP Attack

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An electromagnetic pulse, or “EMP” for short, is a sudden burst of energy that overloads the fragile components within an electrical system, causing them all to short out. It causes actual hardware damage resulting in the failure of any unprotected electrical devices. Typically EMPs are generated by technically advanced devices such as nuclear weapons. 

The least realistic but most dangerous scenario that can take place is that someone detonates many EMPs over a nation, or crazier, the whole world and renders all the technology and electric grids everywhere useless. If this happens, you should know how to prepare for it to ensure your survival during this unprecedented attack.

Lighting 

Candles are the obvious choice in any scenario like this. We have them handy; they are cheap and readily available everywhere in quantity. The only few negative things one might mention are the strength of light the candles can provide, how unstable they can be depending on which type of candle you use, or how the wind can blow them out anytime. 

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If candles just don’t cut it for you, let me introduce you to an alternative. Oil lamps; works under any condition. No weather or atmosphere is strong enough to keep an oil lamp down.

Faraday Cage

A Faraday cage, named after its inventor, Michael Faraday, is a device or structure made and used to protect the cage’s contents from electrical impulses. It’s an excellent option for security, and easy to make. Nevertheless, an old microwave or a metal cage, i.e., a safe, can be as good.

The Faraday cage may do well against an EMP attack, but we can’t be too sure. We cannot foresee the impact of the electromagnetic pulse or the level of damage it might cause, so it is pretty much impossible to predict if the cage would protect the devices or not.

Communication Devices

Communications would be an arduous task after almost everything is rendered useless because of the EMP attack. It is always good to have many backup options to communicate with those important to you if a situation like this ever strikes. Devices such as a two-way radio, CB radio, or long-range walkie-talkie can be handy. If you find any of these devices in good shape after an EMP attack, put in some batteries and see if it works as there’s a high likelihood it will.

Communication is one of the more essential tasks after any disaster, and it is the very thing that you’d probably overlook. 

Backup Electricity

The primary issue after the attack is the question of electricity and how to source it if the grid becomes empty. Well, one option is to make electricity from solar panels by installing the panels around your home. Another is to set up wind turbine generators and produce electricity. 

Luckily, there are many backup electricity options, but they require preparation and hard work.

Defense

Any type of gun, be it shotgun or rifle, is useful for defending yourself. You can use these weapons to protect yourself and hunt animals, and depending on your preferences, for game. Another resourceful thing to do if you want alarm systems around your house would be to hang bells on the inside of your doors. Even if they seem like nothing, they are very consistent and can make you aware of intruders if they try to sneak in. Try to do this for every entry point in your house so you and your family can rest assured of your safety.

Sourcing Food

Sourcing food will be another significant problem if the restoration of power takes months or even years. Therefore you should know how to grow your food and manage your livestock. Books on farming and breeding livestock will help enormously with this, and there are countless out there.

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Be Ready, So You Don’t Have To Get Ready

Many preppers already know how to live off the grid because they have started living that life to be ready if and when the time comes. All of this will eventually prepare you to survive an EMP attack if you go off the grid entirely and learn not to rely on anything that works with electricity.

Keeping a stock of first aid kits and bare medical essentials is also a requirement if anyone needs medical attention. The EMP attack is often called the ultimate doomsday attack that will eventually happen.

You can always do things on an individual level to help protect you and your loved ones better. The practices and ways that we discussed above are known by much of the preppers community, so if you’re new to being a prepper, now you know how to survive an EMP stack.

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What to Do When You Can’t Afford Food

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The times are tough, and as the pandemic continues to affect us all in many different ways, this article feels like a necessity to show all the other options out there you can opt for to make your life that extra bit more worth living.

Families are struggling, and on the top of the list of struggles comes the challenge of buying food. This is a growing problem, and it seems that the end is not in sight. If you cannot cope and cannot afford even the essential food items, there may be some other options that can help you out.

Ask

Sometimes, the easiest thing can be the most challenging thing to do. Asking for food is the hardest decision that someone can take. Nevertheless, you can always ask restaurants, grocery stores or markets and many such places. While asking, also make them understand your situation very clearly and explain that the circumstances are challenging for you. Some organizations go from restaurant to restaurant and take leftover food from there and distribute it later to people who don’t have money or are homeless in dire need.

Basic budget

Mapping out your budget is the first thing you should do. List all of your living requirements on paper or digitally, and start with food. Only think about the things that you genuinely need to live and budget accordingly. Once you have a budget set, make it your duty to never go outside of this budget.

SNAP benefits

This is primarily a USA program, but you can find similar programs for your country. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helps people get benefits based on their state and income. People will apply to this for many reasons and can be eligible for many reasons, so don’t take it from here but go directly to the Government website and get more information. Suppose you can apply and get approved. You will get a notification with all the information and details, including the period you will continue to receive those benefits. 

WIC

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Another program is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Congress is the one who controls this, and it gets funded through individual states. 

There is a list of criteria that you must meet if you want to qualify for WIC. The requirements include categorical, residential, income and nutritional risk. 

Free lunches

There are many programs specifically made to help people who cannot afford food in their houses. Free lunch summer programs, soup kitchens, or 24/7 kitchens that stay open solely for people to get food are some of the most important options that you can take advantage of. You need to be aware of these programs as they are placed there specifically to help you. 

Food banks

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If, by chance, you do not meet the eligibility criteria for any program, the above solutions will come to your aid. Another organization that helps is local food pantries. They are charitable and not for profit organizations that give away food to people without money or with very little and still cannot afford to buy the absolute necessities. A statistic to put things in perspective, food banks in the UK are helping up to a million people not starve, and the number in the United States of America is probably even higher. 

No matter how you may feel about going to food banks and asking for help, be reassured of your health and safety. 

Coupon expert

Become an expert coupon collector! These are your best friends during trying times. Stores give you coupons, and there are apps on the play store that have coupons for many stores in your neighbourhood. Vouchers can also give you advantages like buying in bulk at low prices or having discounted items that will expire in a week or so. 

NGOs

There are many not for profit governmental organizations that have a scheduled time and place where they distribute food. Going there and having your lunch or dinner is always a good option. 

Apart from NGOs, there are churches, mosques, gurudwaras and various other temples, depending on where you live, which will offer you free food and other benefits if you go to them and ask for help. 

Dumpster diving

As weird as it sounds, dumpster diving is a legitimate thing that people engage in. Dumpster diving is basically what it says. Dive into a dumpster and find sealed packets of food that many restaurants and hotels often throw out, or even grocery shops. These products are usually thrown out because they seem or look bad or are past their sell-by date. 

Nevertheless, however harmful this option may seem, you are doing what you need to do because you need the nutrition and the strength to get through the hardships you are facing right now. 

Stock on pantry items

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If you have even a little money, you can stock up on ramen noodles, crackers, flour, beans and rice. Such items go a long way in feeding you and keeping change in your pocket. These items can also be kept for a long time, so there are no chances of them going off anytime soon, and you can ration them out with no problem at all. 

Social services

Another measure that you can take is contacting social services or their offices, letting them know of your predicament, and asking for their help. They will usually give you food assistance by giving you an EBT card which works like a debit card and is primarily for buying groceries and related items.

Getting a job

Getting a job is the most challenging solution, but if you can make it happen, it will not just solve your food problems but also your living. Even if you get little money from your job, there’s always some food worth eating that you can buy from loose change.

Many people have to decide between giving up food and giving up on other basic needs, and sadly, they believe that giving up food is the way to go. One might think they can live without food but cannot live without shelter. You shouldn’t have to decide between either.

The above solutions are just some suggestions to help make your life a little easier if you ever have a food issue.

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Setting up Your Survival Backpack: What and Why?

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A survival backpack or survival kit is a kit that contains every necessity that you may need in the event of an emergency to survive for an indefinite period until everything gets better again. 

Survival backpacks need to be durable to withstand the four elements, i.e., rain, water, fire, and earth. You should also be comfortable strapping it on yourself and trudging through the wilderness. It should be compatible with your body size. 

You are now coming to what you should include in your survival backpack and why.

Water 

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Water is an essential survival element, without which you would not last more than a couple of days. What you should put in your backpack are two things, a water container, and a water purifier. 

While finding a natural source of water like a river or a lake, you should also keep in mind that water will most definitely be contaminated with all kinds of viruses and bacteria. The first thing to do would be to treat it with either purification tablets or use a water filter. Whichever is handier and more comfortable to get. After that, you can pour the now purified water and put it in the water container or bottle you brought along.

Shelter

Come nightfall, you will need a place to rest and boost your energy. As much as you may like fantasizing about sleeping under the stars with nothing but the grass beneath you, it is a little impractical. This is precisely why you should carry items such as a space blanket, which helps you keep warm. The next solution is a sleeping bag. A sleeping bag will also keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night without any issues. 

You can also go ahead and use a tent. When choosing a tent, you should keep in mind that it should be lightweight, waterproof, and spacious enough to accommodate you and your friends.

Food

You should pack ready-to-eat meals and packages that are easy to take care of and lightweight not to affect the backpack’s weight. Canned meats, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, and more canned stuff are excellent options. Ready-to-eat canned meals are also available. Pack many energy bars, granola bars, and candy bars because they are high in nutrients, especially calories and carbs.

A fishing kit might also be a good idea if you want to carry one. It is an easy way to get fresh food whenever you might want to ration out your meals. All you need for the kit is some bait, line, and hook, after which you can tie the line and hook to any decent-sized stick you may find.

Cooking Utensils

While talking about food, you should also have the necessary utensils to prepare it. A regular cooking kit contains one small pot, a cup, two to three metal plates, and some fork and spoons. In almost all the methods, cooking food requires heat, for which you need a stove and, give or take two to three fuel canisters. 

A fire starter is also needed as it helps build the fire for cooking while also providing heat. Bring along matches and a lighter in case the matchsticks do not work. Do not forget to keep the matchsticks and the lighter in a waterproof container or a waterproof package.

Clothing

Clothing takes a vital place next in your survival backpack because you never know what weather you may face. Some suggested clothes include two pairs of underwear, woolen socks, thermal wear, extra shirts, a rain jacket or fleece jacket, or preferably both, and hiking boots.

First Aid Kit

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First aid kits are another must-have for your backpack. They can be used to treat injuries in an emergency. It should include items like bandages, tourniquets, scissors, antiseptic wipes, a roll of gauze, aspirin, sutures and needles, antibiotics, and allergy medicines.

Knife

A knife is both a useful tool and a good option as a self-defense weapon. It has many uses and should be added to your backpack. It has various usages, from cutting bandages to opening cans to prepare food and so on. 

Shovel

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A small shovel makes all the difference in the world. You can use it to dig holes or dig trenches, even a fire pit. It comes in the handiest when you are attempting to build a shelter. 

Saw

Another great tool that should be kept considered is a small saw. A saw will make the cutting branches and gathering wood that much more comfortable and less time-consuming. For example, sawing wood logs to build a campfire or sawing long branches from a tree to help in making a base for the shelter.

Tape and Cord

Duct tape is an excellent addition to your backpack. It is the ideal go-to for any repair because it is waterproof and durable. You can use it instantly to temporarily fix your clothes, your tent, or any other materials that need repairing. 

A cord is a rope that is used to tie anything together. You can use it to connect your wood or tie together a tent making it a temporary shelter. It can also be used to hang washed clothes on; you just need to find two suitable trees and stretch and tie the cord from those two trees. 

Personal Items

Last but not least, the things that you should carry in your backpack are:

  • Identification documents
  • Money
  • Phone and charger
  • Self-defense items (might include pepper sprays and stun guns)

Identification documents include your passport, identification papers, driving license, contracts, cards, and so on. 

One may never know what lies ahead, no matter how hard you try to be prepared for anything and everything that comes your way. But the above list details all the essential things that you should have in your survival backpack or kit, and it is always handy to make a list yourself and check the items off one by one as you put them in.

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