This blog serves many purposes–First and foremost it is a great opportunity for Carey and I to reflect on our journey–see how far we have come and learn lessons both positive and negative from what we have done. Second, we absolutely hope that we push others who have been thinking about taking up this or a similar lifestyle over the edge into action instead of thought–If we can do it you can do it!! We also would like to put a little change in our pocket from it, I mean who wouldn’t right?!?!?!?!
This page touched on all three of these purposes. We have been asked about some of the things that we use to make this off-grid lifestyle work for us, and while we broach some of it in the blog posts, I thought it would be a good idea to create this “living” page that will highlight the things that we have purchased/made/picked up along the way to try and make our lives a little easier. You will find below a list of essential items, with many being American-made, and links to the sources where you can buy them for yourself.
Full disclosure: A lot of these things we bought right off of Amazon, and we participate in the Amazon affiliate program. On this page and throughout our site , you may click on one of the product links that will take you to an Amazon page (though many links go direct to manufacturers or other vendors). If you click-through to Amazon and end up making a purchase, we will be given a small referral bonus for the purchase you made–and check this out–even if it is NOT the product that we were highlighting. You are going to spend the money anyway, so why not, right? So long story short, click one of the links, purchase whatever you want and you will be helping to support our blog through the affiliate income- THANK YOU!! As we continue to find the things that work for us, and just as importantly the things that DON’T work for us, we will be updating this posting to let you know what it is and how we feel about it. Click on any of the links to find out more and if you have specific questions don’t be shy–please ask! Happy shopping!!
- The yurt: as of this blog post it has been 2 months that we have been in our Yurt. We are absolutely satisfied with everything about it. The Yurt is an authentic Super Ger Yurt from Groovy Yurts and was handmade in Mongolia. Groovy Yurts is doing great things for the people in Mongolia and we hope you will check it out.
- Our inspiration: For several years we have been the thinkers. Doug Fine absolutely helped to change that without even knowing it–find him on twitter here, but even better read his book about his off-grid transition and reasons behind it, Farewell My Subaru.
- The dog: You all know our little pup Radar by now, her legs are really small!! She can’t hike as far as we can, but we still want her with us so we invested in the Pooch Pouch. I know it sounds silly but is just perfect and she actually asks to go in it now when she is tired instead of turning around and heading back to the yurt!! We also recently invested in the airline-approved Sherpa Pet Delta carrier for travel.
- The All American Sun Oven: A very simple concept for cooking food with only the power of the sun, this little portable box can be your lifeline in times of emergency. We opted for the complete preparedness package with dehydrating accessories to make the best use of the appliance, and we couldn’t be happier with all the yummy results!! Use this special coupon to save $70 on your Sun Oven purchase!!
- The solar lights: We’ve been using Luci solar-powered lights for several years while camping, but they have been absolutely indispensable while living here off the grid. Also great for emergency situations, these inflatable lights are lightweight and compact. Check out the MPOWERD mission to bring more eco-friendly solutions to under-served communities around the world!
- The shower: We all know this is an important one–well we found this great little hand held portable battery operated shower. The battery lasts forever and we have sealed black buckets that we fill with water and leave outside. The showers are surprisingly warm and sometimes even get too hot–we will see what the winter has in store for our hot water!!
- The loo: Our urine-separator is key to maintaining an effective compositing toilet. This easy-to-install assembly from Ecovita keeps the liquids and solids apart to keep the smell down and make for easier composting. Finish it off with a USA-made decorative soft seat from Ginsey, and you now have the freedom to build the potty of dreams without wasting an ounce of precious drinking water in a flush!
- The bucket lids: These lids are amazing, and we have been back to buy more of them!! They are called the Gamma Seal-lid and it truly may be my favorite of our finds. We use these lids to seal our water buckets so we have hot water for showering, but also they make an airtight seal so we can stash our food in five gallon buckets that have these lids on top of them during bear season!! Now we still keep our food a good distance up-wind from us just to be safe, but so far so good.
- The tires: Ummm, have you seen our driveway? There really is no way we could’ve made it consistently up the hill without our super sexy Cooper Discoverer STT Pros (another proudly made in the USA product). https://instagram.com/p/BK4LDUDBwAU/
- Catch the power: It doesn’t get much more important than this…We started with this Renogy Solar power kit. It came with 2-100w panel, all the cables we needed and the charge controller. Knowing that 100 watts was not going to be enough power for us we bought one additional 100 watt panels to bring us to 300 watts of potential charging power. Once we got here we figured we should go ahead and upgrade the system so we got one more panel to bring our potential charging power to 400 watts and had to upgrade the Charge Controller to be able to handle that much power going to the batteries. We went with the MorningStar ProStar MPPT 40M, and while it absolutely broke the bank it was a necessity and has served us fantasticly so far!
- The batteries: Well we can catch the power, now what? We went with four of the Trojan AGM 12 volt 76Ah batteries and wired them in parallel to keep our 12V rating but to increase the capacity. All of our research said we would be smart to go with the AGM and so far there are no problems to report.
- The inverter: With all the electronics we have to support here at Sahaleeoffgrid it was very important to us to make sure we got a high quality inverter that wouldn’t harm our electronics. Saving a few bucks on an inverter to only have to replace laptops just didn’t seem very bright to us. We went with the Renogy 1000W 12V Off-Grid Pure-Sine Wave Battery Inverter. The pure sine wave is the important key here, here’s why it’s important to use a Pure Sine Wave inverter if you are powering electronics. It’s truly one of those things that I don’t understand, but I’ll just trust the people that do I guess….
- Power Transfer: So we have the cells to catch the power and the batteries to store the power, but we need to get the power from the batteries to the Yurt!! Our solar panels unfortunately are located about a hundred feet away from the Yurt. This causes a minor problem with voltage drop on such a long run, so a heavy duty extension cord is absolutely in order. We went with the Ridgid 10 gauge 100 foot extension cord and it is performing perfect. We are only losing about 9 volts off of our 120 volt draw due to the long run. A 9 volt drop has little to no effect on anything that we are using. While it cost a little more, it is important to take care of all the electronics we are using so the extra money is certainly a savings in the long run!!
- Everybody Poops: Instead of buying a composting toilet for hundreds of dollars we decided to buy the parts and build our own. The urine separator is a must have component in our book for this system. Follow this link to find out more about how we built ours…
- The mice: While cute the mice do serious damage to everything you love in a very short period of time!! There are plenty of options in the mouse trap world these days, but with a little dog we have to be careful of our choices. No poisons for obvious reasons, and let’s just say that the little dog loves peanut butter (the best mouse bait ever) so the standard wire jaw type traps wouldn’t work. We decided to go with this mouse trap made by Victor. The bait goes in a little trap door that Radar can’t get her nose in, just in case she is felling like a little snack. Let’s just say that we have been very successful in our mouse hunting expedition!!
- The boots: What an important item. We spend many hours every day in our boots. They not only have to be comfortable but durable as well! We went with Danner boots–they have a great reputation, are made in the USA and have Vibram soles. They fit perfect, have great grip in the slick clay we have when it rains and we can wear them all day with not a blister!! Here’s a great resource to help determine which shoes/boots are going to work best for you.
- The Made in the USA can opener: A staple in any off-grid or survival situation, a good non-electric can opener can pull you out of a dire situation when you need to eat without electricity. We like to support our American moms and pops, so this rugged little gem fits right in.
- The knife: Another Made in America beauty, this sturdy KA-Bar 7″ blade is a trusty companion for multi-purpose use. Another handy USA-made blade is this little super sharp Gerber folding pocket knife which is called into action nearly every day.
- The stovepipe: We’ve had several people ask for more info about our chimney set-up from WoodlandDirect.com. The single-walled pipe, and double-walled damper and pipe are made by Ventis and have done us right so far.
- The slippers: A true essential for mountainside winters. This round brought to us by Colorado-made Sundance Leather Co. Oh-so snugly are these Colorado Mocassins, it’s really hard to swap them out for socks and shoes!!
- The prepper pantry: Outside of our exploits to hone our off-grid gourmet, it is still necessary to keep shelf-stable emergency rations on-hand. Ready to store, simple to make, and tasty to eat, we are relying on Wise Foods to help us get by in emergent situations. Their complete and compact food storage options are good for folks living on-the-grid, too!