Is Living Off Grid in Montana Possible? (Complete Guide) 

Montana is one of the country’s biggest states, yet it also has one of the lowest populations. The population density is so low that if you don’t reside in one of the cities, your next-door neighbor may live a few miles away. Simply put, living off grid in Montana is either for you, or not.

Living off grid is permitted in Montana, although it is not a favorable state for it, owing mostly to the local climate, particularly during the winter. Although the state provides considerable subsidies for wind and solar energy systems, the severe environment and high living expenses makes living off grid in Montana difficult. On the other hand, Montana is one of the finest possibilities for you if you want to move to a state with a low population density and a lot of pristine environment.

living off the grid in montana
Glacier National Park is one of the highlights of Montana.

General Statistics for Living Off Grid in Montana?

Living in Montana may be challenging; most of the state is untamed wilderness, and the winters can be harsh. This state’s citizens have at least some survival abilities, and most of them have a preparedness attitude. People living off grid in Montana frequently stockpile food for at least weeks, mostly because traveling about may be exceedingly difficult and dangerous when it snows.

Furthermore, persons traveling in this state are urged to have food and water in their vehicles for at least two days. If their car breaks down, it may take days for someone to discover them. You would assume they could just use their phone to call for help, but not all locations have a phone signal, and in fact, your phone will be worthless in the great majority of the state.

During the winter, many villages become separated as the snow begins to fall, and this isolation can last anywhere from a few days to many weeks. If you’re set on living off grid in Montana, be prepared for some hard labor. You will spend most of the year preparing for the winter.

What’s the Climate in Montana?

Montana has a northern pacific coastal climate, and the climate in the state’s eastern sections is semi-arid and, in some locations, continental. This implies that summers are brief and nearly never warm, but winters are lengthy and harsh. During the summer, the average temperature is approximately 70°F. However, it can reach 85°F in July. The average temperature in the winter is below freezing.

What Type of Crops are Grown in Montana?

Wheat is the most prevalent crop farmed in this state, although it also grows potatoes, flax, beans, peas, apples, and grapes. Furthermore, Montana boasts many cattle farms; in fact, the state has more cattle than humans. People who live in this grid stage cultivate vegetables in greenhouses and generate their compost because not all regions in this state are ideal for producing crops.

When it comes to farming crops and cattle, West Virginia offers more possibilities.

What’s Freshwater Availability Like in Montana?

There are no freshwater concerns in the western part of the state owing to the climate, but in the eastern portion of the state, where the environment is semi-arid, you may have trouble catching enough rainfall or accessing groundwater. The average yearly rainfall is roughly 15 inches. However, in mountainous places, rainfall may reach 100 inches per year. The average yearly snowfall is between 30′′ and 50′′, with mountains receiving up to 300′′.

What Kind of Wildlife Does Montana Have?

Montana is home to various creatures, including the grizzly bear, moose, wolverine, bighorn sheep, elk, mountain lions, coyotes, white-tailed deer, lynx, and black bears. Bull trout, brown trout, yellow perch, burbot, black crappie, American paddlefish, and westslope cutthroat trout may all be found in rivers and lakes. Both fishing and hunting require a license which can be found here.

How to Generate Off Grid Power in Montana?

Solar power: While generating electricity using solar panels is not ideal in Montana, most individuals living off grid in Montana utilize both solar and wind power systems as a backup. Montana provides one of the most generous solar incentives; the Residential Alternative Energy System Tax Credit is 100% of the entire cost, up to a maximum of $1000. A federal tax credit of 26% that you might qualify for if your solar system costs more than $1000. 

Wind power: Montana gives a $500 tax credit for wind turbines and attractive loans of up to $40,000 that must be repaid within ten years.

Are There Living Off Grid Laws in Montana?

Living off grid in Montana is completely legal. Many people and towns do because of the low population density. The state also provides considerable incentives and low-interest financing to residents who wish to construct solar or wind generating installations. Because of the severe winters, many individuals choose to educate their children, especially if they do not live near a city; homeschooling rules are quite liberal, and you may even apply online.

Interested in a state with no Off Grid Living Laws? Check out my article on the Last Frontier.

What’s Road Access Like in Montana?

Road access will be an issue during the winter, so if you intend on going to Montana, make sure you have a bugout bag or at least some food and water in your vehicle. The last thing you want is your car to break down in the middle of nowhere during the winter since it might take days for help to arrive. The majority of individuals in this state use four-wheeled vehicles, and those who reside in rural locations also utilize snowmobiles.

What’s the Price of Off Grid Land in Montana?

The cost of land and housing is almost the same as the national average. A median home price is around $231k. The price of property and land is often lower in the western sections of the state.

What’s the Property Tax in Montana?

The property tax in Montana is roughly 0.84 percent which is below the national average of 1.08 percent. Stillwater County has the lowest property tax in this state at 0.63 percent.

What’s the Cost of Living Off Grid in Montana?

The cost of living in Montana is lower than the national average. You will spend less with 25 percent for transportation and 10 percent less on utilities. The cost of housing, health care services, and food is right at the national average.

What’s the Job Market Like in Montana?

Montana’s unemployment rate is 3.4 percent, which is somewhat lower than the national average of 4 percent; nonetheless, Montana’s unemployment rate is rising. The minimum wage is $8.50 per hour, slightly more than in surrounding states. Agriculture, forestry, industry, renewable energy, and tourism are the major industries where most people work. Montana’s economy is reasonably steady, and it has been rising faster in recent decades.

What’s the Crime Rate in Montana?

Despite Montana’s low population density, the crime rate is rather high. The crime rate of Montana is 3.74 crimes per 1000 people. This compares to the national average of 3.9. The safest neighborhoods are those around Elliston, Hysham, Opheim, Winnett, and Stanford. Billings, Helena, Crow Agency, Great Falls, and Missoula, have the highest crime rates.

Is Living Off Grid in Montana Affected by Natural Disasters?

Winter storms, ice storms, and floods are Montana’s most prevalent natural catastrophes. Although floods are reasonably regular, floods that cause significant property damage are uncommon. 

Is Living Off Grid in Montana Possible?

Overall, I would not suggest living off grid in Montana. If you have ever experienced winter in Montana, you will understand why. The planting season is quite short, and you will be preparing for winter throughout the summer. Simply put, you will either love or despise living off grid in Montana.

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