Anonymous asked in TravelUnited StatesOther - United States · 1 month ago


Watching videos on YouTube of people living of the Grid in tiny homes and cabins I  find it very interesting. My question is I see some people live in the mountains battling snow making fires to keep warm. I also see other people in the desert heat my question which area would be easier to maintain and less work to live comfortably. 

2 Answers

  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Living off the grid anywhere would prevent its own challenges. "Off the grid" doesn't mean "far enough away from people so that I have peace and quiet." "Off the grid" means "not connected to the power grid; not connected to municipal sewage and water; no sanitation; no direct hook-up for cooking; there's no heat or hot water other than what the person living off the grid can provide", that's what "off the grid" means.

    Let's say you've got some substantial acreage up in the mountains someplace... A relatively large spread... Well, no matter where it is, there are automatically going to be local zoning laws in effect. You could lay your own foundation and construct something with your bare hands. You could hire a contractor to come onto your property to erect something. You could purchase shipping containers and get yourself a blowtorch and some odds and ends and turn them into a home. But no matter what you do, any permanent or semi-permanent structure that goes up has to meet the zoning laws and standards of the local municipality. 

    So in essence, nobody ever really "owns" anything anywhere in the world. We "own" property, and then pay to have a structure built on it, so we technically "own" the house, but then we also pay tax on that too. Our property goes from "undeveloped" to "developed" and we're automatically taxed at a different rate. And we will continue to pay tax on that property for as long as we "own" it. So, getting "off the grid" really only means that you get robbed less, not that you don't get robbed at all. 

    Next, you could opt to live in a tent or maybe there's a cave on the property that you could outfit to serve as a shelter to avoid building anything, but next you've got to worry about energy - you'll need light, heat (for cooking, washing, bathing, and staying warm), and a reliable source of fresh water. You could get by on kerosene lanterns or halogen lanterns for light, but that would get really expensive, and if you were to try and run even a small generator on diesel, it would cost a small fortune if you used it for even a few hours a day. You could burn wood for cooking and heating, but that's very labour intensive and you'd be astonished how much wood even a single person requires over the course of a year if you were to try and survive that way in a place that gets bad winters. You could go through a full cord of wood in days if it's that cold, so forget trying to do it that way if you're in a place that gets extreme weather. 

    You might think that solar is the best way, but while green energy is a great theory, it's prohibitively expensive to start up. Most people who use solar panels use them as a supplement to their grid-provided electric power. They fill up their solar cells, then turn off the juice every now and again. But those batteries drain fast, and if you're going to try to run refrigeration units on them, forget it. And they need to be maintained properly. They're delicate. They don't hold up well to tree branches falling on them, they don't stand up well to heavy winds and rain - at least not the ones average people can afford. Running them in conjunction with diesel generators isn't going to save you much. Most people who do that do it because they're too far out to connect to the grid anyway and they don't have a choice. If you've got a waterfall or a private water source on your property where the current is moving enough to be able to produce some juice, you could try to do that, but that's not an easy thing to set up, and unless the water supply is yours exclusively, it's just not practical or reliable. 

    Generally speaking, it's a lot easier for humans to deal with the discomfort of being too hot than it is to deal with being too cold, for obvious reasons. Being in 90 degree temperatures when you've got shade is not especially life-threatening to a healthy adult, but long exposure to temperatures at, below or close to freezing is inherently dangerous, even if you've got shelter, so the desert poses less of a challenge because you will have a longer day, a longer growing season for irrigated plants or crops, less need to burn any type of fuel for cooking or heating, can wash and bathe in room-temperature water, etc. But remember that many desert environments present other challenges. In many desert-like places, temperatures drop off precipitously at night - sometimes to below freezing depending on the time of year, latitude and elevation. And obviously water is scarcer in drier climates, and you do need water to live. If you can't turn on the tap, where are you going to get it? if your well dries up, you won't be getting a delivery from the mayor's office. And poor, sandy, silty water isn't ideal for growing anything either. You won't even be able to collect much rainwater, so that would be the biggest issue. 

    You could probably get more out of solar panels in the desert and you might actually  be able to achieve a decent ratio like 60 - 70% solar, 30 - 40% diesel generated power, but you never know. Again, you'd definitely require refrigeration in the desert whereas in a more temperate place you might be able to get away with a subterranean storeroom for most of the year if you knew what you were doing. The power issue wouldn't be easier by any real measurable standard and the water issue would be much tougher, so while day to day it'd technically be easier to withstand the conditions, after a while anybody would get sick of drinking sandy warm water from some shitty well and sweltering in a hut without the simple relief of a fan. Is that Hell worth not paying $100 a month for electricity? I don't think so. Plus, good luck eating in the desert with no running water and no refrigeration. You'd have to grow labour intensive crops that are hearty, but don't provide a whole lot of nutrition. Welcome to importing all your food and paying 500% more than people do at a grocery store. 

    You know who lives "off the grid"? Rich cvnts who have the money to set themselves up comfortably off the grid, that's who. You might be able to do it, but it wouldn't be a proper life. If you're not even partially accustomed to living off the fat of the land (a childhood spent fishing, hunting, trapping, cleaning game, curing meat, gathering edible plants by sight, etc.), it's not something that someone can learn later in life just for fun. 

    It's a nice pipe dream to fantasise about, but it's not practical. Don't quit your day job or break your lease or anything. No bird wants to shack up with you in your tent and cuddle up next to a drycell flashlight while you munch on acorns together.       

  • Jay
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    You say your question is "I see some people live in the mountains battling snow making fires to keep warm." but that isn't a question at all.

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