Over the past few years, the concept of disaster prepping has changed, evolved if you will. Demographics have broadened to include a diverse mix of people delving into the prepper world. Perhaps, this change was birthed by the mass shift in economic uncertainty brought on by the Great Recession or after hurricanes in the Gulf, tornadoes in the Midwest, harsh North East winters and wildfires in the West people feel more exposed to natural disasters than before, motivating them to prepare to bug out and get off-the-grid. Or maybe, it’s awareness sprung from the bodies of the zombie apocalypse spread by television and movies. Most likely it’s a combination of reasons and reactions along with a movement towards sustainable living that shares many aspects of itself with disaster prepping. Sustainable or green living has motivated a growing population of people to go off the grid, which is seminal goal of any disaster prepper. But as these groups begin to intermingle and explore making such a change in lifestyle, the concept of off-grid living has come to mean something a little different to each person.
What does Off-Grid really mean?
That question has become more loaded these days and the perception of cutting the cords and going off the grid are somewhat different, all depending on the person or group you’re asking. For some, when posed the question, it is a matter of having a source of electricity if the power goes off. These people have a portable gas-powered generator or a permanent standby model already hooked up and waiting for an outage. Others view off-grid as producing their own power. These are the ones who have installed solar panels or wind turbines or both on their properties, often with battery storage systems providing power when the weather doesn’t cooperate. The most efficient of these home power arrays will send power back into the grid, rewinding the power meter and getting paid in the process.
Other people will take the idea further and become essentially self-sufficient, an island unto to themselves. These individuals are not only off the electrical grid but are also removed from the water supply and sewage disposal infrastructure. They often live in fairly isolated areas where infrastructure just never reached or if it did they might still sell their excess power back to the grid. They achieve their goals through the embrace of technology that allows them to maintain a similar level of modern convenience that anyone connected to the grid enjoy.
Then there are still others who take the concept of off the grid to the farthest point on the spectrum. These individuals take on a traditional, off the land approach. In a Luddite-type tradition they tend to reject technology altogether preferring to live completely off the land, cook with wood for fuel and light their homes with candles or oil lamps.
Where do you stand? When someone talks about going off-grid, what images are conjured up in your head. If you’re considering, or are already, off the grid to what are your goals, how far removed are your plans?