It is pointless to live off the grid if you do not feel comfortable, but many people do not realize how safe or dangerous life off the grid might be. People who live off the grid will generally avoid discussing how secure it is because they are already accustomed to living off the grid. However, living off the grid might be terrifying for a novice, and what most off gridders deem safe may be considered harmful by others.
Off the grid living is generally safe as long as you know what you’re doing and have everything you need, especially in winter. However, there are some places in the country where living off the grid might be risky owing to animals, harsh winters, and outlaws. If you live off the grid in the middle of nowhere, make sure you have a mechanism to summon help and at least some form of a self-defense weapon.
Living off the grid is not always rosy; it may be highly dangerous in some locations. Living in the middle of nowhere can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing or if the “neighborhood” is dangerous. There are two types of people who live off the grid: those who wish to be self-sufficient in power, water, and food and those who do not. The second category is people who desire to live off the grid and avoid society as much as possible; some do it because they believe civilization is dragging them down, while others do it for legal reasons.
People who set up camp in a location, live off the land, and then move from time to time are known as “wild men” in my neck of the woods. They are generally nice, but you will come across some folks who have major mental health concerns, and your best option is to avoid them as much as possible.
What Is Dangerous About Living Off the Grid?
Self Reliance can be Scary
Living off the grid is all about self-sufficiency, which is a good thing, but it can also be your worst weakness. We as humans are social beings, and we cannot accomplish everything ourselves; if we could, civilization would not have begun. Humans rely on one another because we can accomplish much more collectively than alone. You can only rely on yourself if you live off the grid in the middle of nowhere.
Small wounds and bruises can cause major health problems if not properly treated. If you have no way of contacting other people to ask for aid, your position may develop to the point that you cannot return to civilization.
Foraging is Dangerous
Most individuals who live off the grid will cultivate their food, but if they can forage, they will. Many delicious plants, fruits, and vegetables grow in our forests and grasslands; make sure you gather them at the correct time. The issue with foraging is that it can be risky, even if you know which fruits and plants are edible. Many wild animals transmit parasites and diseases, and their droppings can pose a major health concern.
Foraging for mushrooms can also be perilous, as there is a small line between what a nice mushroom looks like and what a toxic mushroom looks like. Mushrooms’ colors can alter slightly, and people can consume a dangerous fungus by accident.
Long Tough Winters
Winters in the country’s northern areas may be cruel, and if you are unfamiliar with the local climate, you will be in for a rude awakening. Most people who live off the grid prepare for the winter by gathering firewood and conserving as much food as possible during the summer. In general, if you have everything you need for the winter and know what to expect, you should be OK living off the grid.
On the other hand, the days will be short in the winter, and you will be unable to work outside once it gets dark. Furthermore, if you are generating power with solar panels, you may discover that the panels are less effective. This is because the sun only shines for a few hours every day. If water gets inside the solar panel, it will simply damage the solar panel when it freezes.
The most difficult aspect of living off the grid in the winter will be a lack of firewood. Even if you cover your firewood, you may discover that it is rotten and impossible to use for heating. This will leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to heat your home. I’ve done my fair share of searching for firewood in the dead of winter, and trust me. It’s not fun.
Wild animals can be a severe safety hazard in various parts. You might assume that bears are the most dangerous hazard. You should be extremely cautious and do whatever it takes to keep bears off your land. For the most part, Bears avoid humans and are more terrified of us than we are of them. You should be fine as long as you don’t surprise a bear.
On the other hand, small rodents can offer an even greater safety risk. Small rodents, ranging from mice to rats, will eventually find their way into your off grid home. You will not be frightened at first, but these rodents will attract predators in the long term. Furthermore, many rodents bring diseases, and the last thing you want is mice running about your property.
When winter arrives, every rodent in the neighborhood will seek shelter at your off grid house, revealing the extent of your rodent problem. If you do not take care of these rodents, they will cause significant damage to your home. There is nothing more bothersome than hearing mice in the attic scratching the walls at night.
Other People are Dangerous
When it comes to off grid safety, the foremost priority is human safety, followed by the safety of your belongings. Living off the grid is not for everyone, and the safety of the “neighborhood” will vary depending on where you live off the grid. Off the grid living in the middle of nowhere is the most perilous, especially if you live alone. This is why most people who live off the grid have some sort of self-defense weapon.
The majority of the threat comes from thieves and others who wish to ruin all they can. There have been a few break-ins in my neck of the woods. When the criminals don’t find anything worth stealing, they will vandalize the building. This is especially common in seasonal cabins that are only utilized for a few months.
On the other hand, some are fleeing civilization or the authorities, and they can be deadly; you never know whom you’ll run into in the middle of nowhere.
Final Thoughts on the Safety of Off Grid Living
As you can see, living off the grid is relatively safe if you know what you’re doing. Far too many individuals jump on the bandwagon of living off the grid without ever working outside or doing any form of manual labor. Living off the grid can be risky for these folks; minor issues in the middle of nowhere can quickly escalate into major issues.
Interested in more information on living off the grid? Check out my Complete Guide on Finding Off Grid Land.