5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 5

Print Friendly

Welcome back to the last installment of our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid where we are discussing preparations you can make right now that could possibly save your life if you find yourself without the conveniences of the grid. As I stated in other articles, we frequently hear people planning of a simpler, more self-reliant life where they can live untied from the complex systems of our current 21st century lifestyles. For obvious reasons, this dream is one that many of us strive for, but frequently are unable to obtain.

In a disaster though, that dream of being untied and self-sufficient may not be something we opt for by making various lifestyle and geographic changes; it may come to us without much advance warning whether we are ready or not. The news of the impending blizzard in New York is a perfect example of the possibility of disaster. In extreme cases, the conveniences of the grid might be unavailable to people for an extended time. If a disaster strikes, what would you need to have prepared ahead of time to make it through your own off grid scenario?

To briefly catch everyone up; our first article talked about the importance of water and having a renewable source if we have any hope of lasting a long time without the benefits of modern utilities. The second article dealt with food and creating systems now that would feed you if the grocery stores never opened again. The third article focused on sanitation and hygiene so that as much as possible we reduced our exposure, and conversely our risk of infection from disease. The fourth article discussed topics of shelter. The last item we will discuss is the need to have an alternate source of power.


It is hard to imagine our days without the benefits of electricity. We have become so reliant on this source of energy that most of our modern lifestyles are dependent upon having a reliable source every single place we go. Without electricity, the obvious things like light bulbs and microwaves no longer work, but I wouldn’t have a job without electricity. In the past when I worked in various other careers, if there was a disruption in power, there was always something to do. Usually this involved cleaning in some capacity or reorganizing supplies.

Now, in my current profession if the power went out I wouldn’t be able to do any of my job responsibilities. I rely on power which enables the internet for every aspect of my job, from computer to phone. Meetings are held over the internet as well as presentations and conference calls with our VOIP phones. Our service is a web based application and without internet, nobody can access your service. Zip. Zilch, Nada. It is that way for many millions of other people, but outside of work, almost every other system relies on power too. ATM machines, wireless internet routers, gas pumps, cash registers, credit card transactions and on and on. We can’t really conduct many of the main transactions of commerce without power, but we also rely on power in our homes for simple survival.

Having a backup source of power is important if some event or circumstances take down the power grid. In the example of the anticipated blizzard in New England, power could be lost for millions making an already undesirable situation worse. To prepare for power outages or blackouts I think there are several layers of backup power and associated items you can consider. They might be too late for the people in New York, but you can make plans now to prevent a disruption in your future.

When the elecricity goes out, so do the lights. Make sure you have backup lighting options.

When the elecricity goes out, so do the lights. Make sure you have backup lighting options.

Short Term Power Outage Supplies (up to 8 hours)

For this relatively short duration you shouldn’t have to worry about more than simple navigation (light source) and minor power needs. Batteries should all be topped off in anticipation of outage if possible.

Small generators will greatly improve short-term outage conditions.

Medium Term Power Outage Supplies (1-3 days)

Alternate sources of power will most likely be needed for essentials. You can plug an inverter into your car’s auxiliary outlet and power a decent amount of items. Plan for storing fuel.

  • 1000 Watt Inverter connected to car battery for charging devices/running small appliances
  • Spare fuel to run vehicle (min 25 gallons)
  • 5 – 5 Gallon gas cans
  • PRI – G gas treatment for long-term fuel storage.
  • 2000 W Generator
  • Headlamps for each individual – infinitely easier and more practical than flashlights. Allows for hands free tasks.
  • Propane lanterns – great outdoor lighting option or use within well-ventilated area. They also put off a decent amount of heat.
  • Battery Recharger – It is important to get one that can charge multiple battery sizes if you have different battery uses.

Long Term Disruption in Power Supplies (4 or more days)

Larger generators and solar are good options to consider for longer outages.

So there you have it. 5 areas to consider now if you want to be prepared for an unexpected Off grid moment in your life. Are there other areas to consider? Of course, but I think this covers some of the most major bases we have. If you have a plan for Water, food to feed your family, Shelter from the elements, Sanitation to keep diseases at bay and Electricity, I think you have a good handle on the crises and should be able to weather the disruption. There are security aspects too, but those are dealt with in other posts on the Prepper Journal that can be read here, if you are interested.

I hope this series was informative or helpful in some way. As always, I love to hear comments so please let me know what you think and stay safe!


  1. usmarinestanker

    January 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Electricity…such a double edged sword. It makes our lives so convenient and safe yet it really isn’t needed for life except for the fact we have engineered our lives to depend on it. It’s like running water, sewage, refrigeration, and cars – all these things used to be luxuries, but without them you can’t function in this society, and lack of basic utilities can get child protective services called on you and your kids kidnapped by the government “for their safety”.

    I personally think its more bane than boon for humanity – a type of Pandora’s Box or Tower of Babel if you will. It can do miraculous things and without it we’d all be living much harder and possibly shorter lives, but we tend to give up so much of what makes us human so we can be plugged in. It isn’t electricity itself with which I take issue; it is just a tool. Rather, it is how we choose to use it, like an addiction, which bothers me.

    Pat, and any other readers for that matter, have you ever seriously considered professions or learning trades which don’t rely on electricity? That’s intended to be a discussion prompting question and not a judgmental one. It would really mean a fundamental change to the way we live, but would probably leave us better prepared if the grid actually did go down. The biggest problems I see with it is that such professions usually don’t pay as well (which would hinder prepping) and really don’t have a place in mainstream society currently (building furniture by hand, etc).

    When I wrote “What Value Do You Bring to a Survival Situation?” ( http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/07/30/value-bring-survival-situation/ ) I briefly touched on the notion of trades and skills which are not powered by modern conveniences. I can make some items from leather, but how useful is that, really? I’d be much better off if I was a professional lumberjack or cabin builder / house framer to generate income if the grid goes down. As it stands, I’m going to have to ride the huge learning curve along with everyone else. In my opinion, the more off-grid skills we learn and practice now will serve us better than electricity if the interruption in services is more than a hiccup of a couple weeks.

    • Pat Henry

      January 27, 2015 at 8:40 am

      I know what you mean Matt.

      I have considered the value in learning skills like this but not as a replacement for my current job for the same reasons you mention. My mortgage still needs to be paid so for now, I am married to electricity. I could say that once everything is paid off, I could move into something like this, but again, how would I pay the bills with a skill that doesn’t make any money.

      I completely agree that skills like this would be vital in a collapse of society, but I don’t know if they would be useful as a job more so than self preservation if the disaster was horrific. If we have no electricity, I don’t think there are going to be too many jobs building homes for a long time. Lumberjack skills would definitely help you fell trees, but I doubt you would be working for a company. You might be working for your fireplace.

      Skills like leather-working could be extremely valuable because you can make items to sell (hats, holsters, jackets, gloves, shoes) or to clothe yourself and that seems to be a great direction to focus on because you can keep this as a hobby while still maintaining a “regular” job.

      It really just comes down to what happens and how bad it gets. If something cataclysmic happens and we are all forced back to the pioneer days, I think it ill take decades to come back around and people will just be trying to survive until then, but that is only my guess.


  2. S. Cullen

    January 28, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I agree with everything Pat says…
    But I’m planning on supersizing my needs with 600-1000 gals of gas and 2 generators…7,000 & 4,000 watts units….and be able to go for between 100 -200 days….
    That should allow me to cover most of the bases if needed.
    Eventually I’ll run out of Refrig and freezer items so I won’t need those running….
    Still may need heat or AC….
    But it should get me past where about 95% of the population will be and or drop off, because they won’t be able to make it that far….
    I might not end up being the winner, but at least I’ll be around near the end and that’s the name of this game….

    • BobW

      January 28, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      SC, noise discipline will be key to your plan. With the world dark and suddenly terribly quiet, a basic Allison V12 powered 7k genny can be heard for more than a mile.

      My little inboard Onan 4k runs at 53db, which sounds quiet, but can still be heard for easily 1/2 a mile.

      You might consider some sound deadening material as part of your preps.

      • Pat Henry

        January 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm

        Yeah, that is one of the drawbacks of generators. Solar is far superior from the whisper quiet perspective but of course you don’t get as much juice and they won’t perform at night…

        Still, if S. Cullen has his generators buried on in a basement room with ventilation (and he is a good distance from the neighbors) that is still a nice setup.


        • S. Cullen

          January 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          My situation is probably different than most people…
          I’m in rural TN. and my neighbors are a good distance from me….like 500 ft. to 1,000 or more….Plus in the rear of my property I’m surrounded by 2 tracts of dense forest of 45 acres and 15 acres as well….
          But as far as sound goes coming from running the generators I’ve thought about that as well.
          My plan is to build a perimeter around the generators allowing probably at least 3 feet away from the made of bales of straw which are readily available and are about 16″ thick and then cinder blocks as well and build it up high enough to allow a good 2 feet above the top of the generators to allow for ventilation of fumes and heat and cover it with plywood sheet but allow sound and exhaust to go upward as well.
          My estimations is this will allow perhaps 80% of the noise the generators to be dissipated….
          Or if this doesn’t work well, I have a 14 ft. X 26 ft. shed that I can put the generators in under lock and key which is close to the house and I can ventilate the shed by windows as well as up in the eves, so that’s an option as well.
          Then just run my electrical cords from their into the house or maybe even have a transfer box wired into my circuit breakers….
          In addition, because I live on a large multi-acre tract of land I have 16 dogs and it’s almost impossible for someone to get up to my house or shed without the dogs knowing they are there.
          My gasoline storage also will be set back into the tree line about 300 ft. from the house and I’m planning on building a 3 sided shed to allow for ventilation of the barrels and having heavy gauge wire enclosed the non plywood covered framed part and also have that under lock and key ….
          Also around this area, everyone has and uses generators for a variety of reasons, so it’s not unlikely that most will be running them.
          The metal drums are lined and used for racing fuel and I’m getting them for $10 a piece locally.
          All my barrels are going to set on wooden pallets in a very dense shaded area which should keep the barrels much cooler even in the heat of the summer by some 20 degrees less than the air temp.
          Northern Tool has fuel additive for $24 a bottle that treats up to 258 gals of fuel (approximately 5 55 gal drums) for 2 years and works with ethanol gas to keep it fresh….
          So yeah, my plan is pretty well though out with all that needs to be done.
          My goal is to accumulate 12 to 16 barrels of gasoline and then rotate it all through for my mowers personal vehicles over time and have enough gas on hand to go between 100 to 200 days if need be…..beyond that, I might be SOL….but I’ll outlast most…..

  3. Ethelyn Schaeffer

    February 17, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    What’s the best generator for an EMP or CME?

    • Pat Henry

      February 18, 2015 at 9:47 am

      The best one would the one that survives the effects of the EMP. With EMP, you run the risk of electrical components being fried but if you have a generator that is protected, any should work. EMP would seem to be less likely than a lot of other events though in the grand scheme of things. I can see this with an all out nuclear war, but then you would have bigger problems I think.

  4. greenkiss

    July 14, 2015 at 9:07 am

    May I suggest a little research into solar panels, pure sine 3000 watt invertor, deep cycle marine batteries, and a charge controller. By doing it yourself and learning how each component works you can replace it yourself if one of parts fail. You won’t be reliant on the manufacture/supplier of the newest wiz bang “all in one” gizmo. Except for the deep cycle batteries, and the 4 guage cable/fittings I took advantage of Amazon and Youtube to put together a silent and reliable AC power source.

  5. Dennis Osborn

    December 22, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Where do I find articles of parts 1-4 of off the grid by Pat Henry? I am very new at this and need to start at the beginning. Thanks.

Leave a Reply