An ultimate off grid guide for those with chronic illness will help you gain confidence in leaving the creature comforts of “home” even when you don’t feel great. You see, when you are able to take care of yourself in any situation, even an off grid adventure, you open up the possibilities for your life and your plans.
Simple off grid builds might be the ticket to your recovery enabling you to spend a longer period out in fresh air either camping in the woods..
Let’s talk about it!
Why Should Those with Chronic Illness Go Off Grid?
I covered some of this in my post about frugal off grid living, which is basically a simple primer for those with chronic illness to start camping. 🙂 I used to be intimidated about how to deal with cramps or a horrible headache when camping, and then I slowly eased into it and really enjoyed it once my symptoms were manageable. I learned a whole new skill set that made me realize how simple life could be.
If you’re dealing with chronic illness then you probably dream of a vacation as much as anybody. When you have dealt with fatigue, pain management and other issues over time, it can really wear you down. Going on an off grid adventure might sound like fun but also like a bit of work, right? It’s not as easy as booking an all inclusive resort, so why do it?
An ultimate off grid guide wouldn’t be complete without a summary of the benefits of going off grid for your health.
Going out into the woods, away from all of the air pollution, toxins, electromagnetic frequencies and work stress can revive your system.
In a Japanese study in people going out into the woods, something they ended up calling Green Bathing the participants experienced a tranquilizing effects on their minds and spirits. The effect was so calming that the county began urging its citizens to partake in activities out in nature.
Green bathing helps improve the immune system and blood pressure. In the studies, these effects were seen in both the spring and winter times. These effects would last for about 30 days after the trip even.
Some people even notice they become more fertile once they leave the cities and spend a lot of time outside in nature.
Spending time out in nature which is what this ultimate off grid guide recommends also brings about positive mental health benefits. These include reductions in anxiety, depression, and stress and reduced attention deficit type behaviors in children. These restorative properties of nature are vital to your well-being.
Plus, going off grid usually has a simplicity about it. You don’t need every possession you own to enjoy some time away from “life.” You just need the basics to get by for a time being. It’s amazing to see how simply one can live.
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Downsides to Living Off Grid with Chronic Illness
Set up costs
However, living off grid does contain some sobering facts which could be downsides for the unprepared. When you decide to live off grid for a longer period time such as what this ultimate off grid guide imagines for you, be aware of the short term costs to become able to live off grid long term. Many of these items are helpful as you transition to an off grid lifestyle but they are an investment into your future lifestyle.
Starting an off grid lifestyle can take awhile to get going. Unless you have the cash in hand to equip an existing house into an of grid abode or you purchase one already outfitted with off grid features, expect your off grid lifestyle to take some time to get of the ground.
Ultimate off grid guide tip: start saving cash early and plan out what you will need long-term. Prioritize what to purchase first.
Personal energy expenditures
Aside from the added up front costs of going off grid, it’s not sunshine and butterflies all the time. Many off grid lifestyle YouTubers look like they are living the ideal life, but what they may not tell you are all of the struggles that can occur. If you already have chronic illness, I recommend having a detailed plan that you craft taking your health issues into account.
You’ll also find that costs that go towards really clean eating, and other health related expenses may now need to go into getting this off grid lifestyle established. Build this into your plan because if you don’t have your health, life will become a whole lot more difficult.
Ultimate off grid guide tip: Get a plan in place that accounts for your energy towards physical labor. You may want to consider joining a community of like minded folks so you can better divide the hard labor than can be needed. Otherwise it will be imperative for you to have a community that you can turn to for support in getting your off grid life setup.
Mental Health Concerns
You’ll have to do your own honest assessment of your response to stress. If you have your hands full right now with your health issues, it might not be the right time to consider building an off grid infrastructure for a longer term arrangement.
My two cents? Test the waters in short term off grid situations and see if you become more comfortable over time. Build a community of family or friends to spend time with outside together. Begin to build a small amount of gear and make plans for what you will need in the future and set priorities.
I say this because it can feel stressful when you are out of your element and most people don’t make good decisions when they’re stressed or anxious. As we both know, stress can exacerbate chronic health issues in so many weird ways.
How to Start Going Off Grid Guide as a Chronic Illness Sufferer?
Assuming you know what you are biting off by getting an off grid home or home away from home set up, proceed. If you don’t have the budget right now or aren’t ready to re-set your priorities then acknowledge that. If your health is in such a low state right now, then either find a community of people to help you get set up off grid or find an already established off grid abode. Finally, if you’re really ready for taking the step to go off grid, make sure it’s the best time for you to make such a change. Even if it’s sounding right, change always brings some unpredictability and stress to deal with.
This ultimate off grid guide intends to give you an overview of how to take that next step in going off grid. My post about frugal off grid living mainly provided the best ideas for products to help you live a short-term camping lifestyle in a way congruent with chronic illness. This post goes the next level of off grid living, more so than a long weekend camping in the woods.
Perhaps you have found that you love being in nature so much, you want to live closer to it more often.
Perhaps you can’t just get up and leave your urban lifestyle so easily because of too many ties to family, work, and convenience but you still want a retreat to recover from those things (eh?).
This ultimate off grid guide is here to help you take those next steps to getting situated. It might be your own cabin in the woods or it might be how you go live in a van, tiny home or RV for awhile during a longer vacation. Maybe you want to work away and life off grid at the same time.
Best Off the Grid House Plans
Luxury is in the eye of the beholder, right? Let’s jump into several type of off-grid niches. Everyone is in a different place when it comes to goals and finances.
Luxury Off-Grid Homes
There are some people who will catch the off grid bug and will have the capacity and means to either purchase a ready-to-to off grid luxury home or build one.
While it might not be in a majority of our budget’s the plans do provide some room for inspiration. (Pinterest board, anyone?)
I say there are many other ways to bring luxury out into the woods even in smaller less glamourous spaces. Like radiant flooring, dishwashers, and overhead light. These aren’t necessities when going off-grid and are in fact pretty fancy by most of the world’s standard.
Here’s a few examples of unique luxury off grid homes (just google them):
- Bert Modular Treehouse
- The No Footprint House
- The Dune House
- Three Junipers, Arizona off grid homes (Taalman Koch Architecture)
- Yulan, New York cabin (Scott Newkirk designs)
Cheap Off Grid Home Plans
If you are looking to actually build your own off grid place of living, you might be happy to find that there are many free off grid house plans online.
You may also get lucky and find a great deal on someone trying to sell (though: inflation).
Here are a few examples of cheap or free off grid abode plans:
- Cob house – people have made beautiful homes out of clay, straw and sand. While it takes some time, it can be done from raw materials on your property. Seriously, check it out, they look beautiful when done right.
- Hobbit hole – Who doesn’t want to live in an adorable hobbit-esq hole? While it would take time to dig it out and some engineering to ensure it doesn’t cave in on your, it would be very inexpensive to dig out the ground below.
- Tiny house – This ultimate off grid guide wouldn’t be complete with the popular mention of the tiny home! Tiny homes do range in cost, but there are samples online that range on the inexpensive side as well. Some people find it hard to live in one long-term, but it might be the best option for your au natural retreat or in-between property dwelling.
- The Off Grid Cabin guy has a strategy for your to build a mock-up of a tiny home scenario. I like how he has you make a list of some components to include and then make a model with them before you attempt to build.
- The Self Sufficient Living website has 21 plans for off grid cabins, many of which are affordable ($300 – $1,000 range). Ladies, many of these would also qualify as a she-shed!
The downside like I mentioned earlier is the physical investment of energy these off grid homes require to build. This would be incredibly taxing at first for people with chronic illness who already have fatigue problems. If you have time and some extra hands, you could probably get through it (depending upon your situation). Once everything is set up, I think it’s a great low key option.
RV or Van Off Grid Plans
I think most people know about RVs as a way to live off grid while traveling. Some people live out of them longer than that. Van life really came into its own over the last decade or so, though people have been doing van life for a lot longer.
There are some really cool off grid set ups if you find a van to outfit. You’ll need some basic knowledge of electrical and battery hookups to ensure you have power.
Other benefits of this type of off grid set up is your mobility and change in scenery. Need a change of scenery? Just drive away.
Some of the downsides include gas, accident potential, and the possibility that they can be more easily stolen.
They are viable options for many people who want to move around a bit.
Best Off Grid Appliances
Now, once you have your abode in mind you’ll need to get the rest of your set up going.
Some folks might say that you’ll be ok without appliances or conveniences like batteries, flashlights and heaters. Their argument being that they grew up roughing it in the Appalachian hills and it’s possible.
Yes, it’s possible. But their knowledge base is probably much different than someone who has never lived off grid in their life. Sometimes, modern conveniences can help you deal with the massive learning curve if you yearn to life off grid more permanently down the road. These products are my picks for helping you take your off grid life to the next level via this ultimate off grid guide.
Off Grid Water
Chances are you don’t have a well, but if you do that’s a great way to get a supply of water. You’ll need a well pump if you do, ideally. This ultimate off grid guide won’t be going into the ins and out of well maintenance.
At the bare minimum, have a way to store several days of water. These inexpensive 5 gallon cannisters are a great way to store water so you always have some. They are currently running at $19.
These Reliance 7 gallon BPA-free water cannisters are what I prefer. These come in a two-pack for $48.
If you have a more permanent structure you can use a water barrel to collect rain water. It will be easier to have water storage on hand if you have some space for it.
If you plan to live off grid as a way of life, you may want to consider putting in a cistern run by a solar and battery set up.
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Off Grid Heat
If you’ll be in an area with the chance for extreme cold, you’ll want a reliable heat source for your off grid dwelling.
If you’ll be in a permanent structure, ideally you’ll have a fireplace or a wood stove pipe to help stay warm. If you have a stack, this Ashley Hearth wood stove will keep you warm.
This Eco Zoom camp stove is another option for off grid living to stay warm or cook.
Now, the above EcoZoom cook stove is a great way to get some heat but also to cook for food and heat drinks.
But what about perishable foods? Well, you could use a solar / battery setup to power a small micro fridge if you really need to keep food cool. Or you could use a cooler if you have access to ice for a period of time.
Back in the day, folks dug out root cellars to keep foods cool for longer periods of time.
Or, you could bring non-perishable foods such as canned foods, fresh foods and prepare them frequently for your meals.
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Off Grid Sanitation
Keeping clean is essential for an ultimate off grid guide. It’s important to keep your body clean, your dishes clean and your daily living environment clean. Here are a few ways to stay clean and sanitary while off grid:
- Soap (I talk about castile soap in numerous posts, but it’s so versatile and also great for off-grid life)
- Solar shower setup (the sun warms a bag of water that is also a shower)
- Indoor shower/tub
- Clean up after yourself, do your dishes, clean your toilet setup
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Best Off Grid Necessities
Off Grid Clothing
Chances are, what you wear in an off grid environment will be quite different from your average grocery shopping outfit, unless you typically wear outdoor gear anyways. This ultimate off grid guide has a few suggestions for you so you acclimate easily to spending a lot more time outdoors.
- Linen is a great material for staying cool in the summer
- Wear sweat wicking material
- Have a wide brim hat and sunglasses
Winter Off Grid Clothing:
Layers, layers and more layers! You may have never been taught the importance of layering your clothing in the winter since you have a furnace to rely upon. But when you are relying upon off grid heating measures, you may be needing to rely more heavily on good clothing to keep you warm and dry.
- Have wool long underwear as a base layer
- Have another layer or two such as cotton or a poly mix blend
- Have a warm coat with down filling or more wool
- Wear waterproof leather boot capable of low temperatures
They say in Sweden, there’s no bad weather, there’s bad clothing. Be equipped to be ready for all seasons. 🙂
Best Off Grid Pastimes and Hobbies
Hoping to make relaxation a part of your off grid home away from home or permanent home?
Now, please note I’m talking about relaxation and cultivation new hobbies here. I’m not talking about full-out homesteading where gardening can be a full-time job and can include back-breaking labor. If you can do that with chronic illness, more power to you. (The food and lifestyle may actually heal you over time depending upon your situation).
I am talking about having a small hobby garden. These can be fairly easy to get setup, plant and cultivate over the seasons. Perhaps you just have a few herbs on hand to get started growing. These tasks can bring joy to your time off grid.
While off grid, discover the lost art of reading! Read about off grid living, gardening and food preparation! Read about whatever you want to but please include a little library wherever you go so you can always learn and relax at the same time.
If you decide to have an off grid seasonal or permanent living arrangement, chances are it will be harder to rely upon convenience foods for every meal like most of us in the cities and suburbs could entertain. So, it’s time to make friends with food preparation as a hobby because you’ll need to eat anyways!
If you have a refined palate, you won’t be eating very much if you can’t cook. Just saying. And that’s not going to give you the energy you need to keep going.
So learn all you can about food preparation, especially one pot meals and open fire cooking.
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Going off grid can range from a simple day trip or camping trip to a much longer and more permanent way of life. The costs involved also vary depending upon the equipment you select and what you can find or borrow.
The way of life can be stressful and involve hard manual labor, or it can be more simple as a place of healing and rest.
The choice is yours. What are you up for? What are your biggest challenges when going off grid? Which scenario feels right for you? Please comment and share your thoughts!
Thanks for stopping by!
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading! I personally use and support the products featured above. Occasionally, I recommend products I genuinely love and will earn commissions as an Amazon Affiliate if you decide to make a purchase through the links at no cost to you. Posts like these allow me to keep A Pain in the Endo’s content free.