Kiwix is a good solution here. There’s also “RACHEL”, which lets has massive resources that you can save offline in case of Armageddon. The latter isn’t free, but has a good list of content worth investigating. Don’t wget wikipedia.
What is your official job title down there?
Having ocean sailed a tiny bit myself, I have such respect for the hundred rabbits crew. Not all of the choices they made are ones I would, but they're respectable and defensible. Moreover, they're explained plainly without judgement: these are their choices and are offered only in the hope they will be useful. And with a playful and vivid tone that is a joy to read.
I dream of a life like this and feel privileged to be able to share in theirs vicariously.
> those solar panels
> these batteries
The problem with these "self-sufficient" narratives is they're always tethered to industrial society. Having the limit of your understanding be a "solar panel" is no different than it being a wall socket. The "world" itself here, the boat in this case, is manufactured in a factory.
That's not to say I don't also find this stuff interesting, but don't confuse being able to hold your breath a long time for having gills. I find free diving fascinating, but there is no need in that community to claim that they have found a way of living free from the constraints of air breathing.
Nobody is claiming that they live in a non-industrial society. They clearly live on a fibreglass sailing vessel and use electronic navigation aides. The "narrative", as you put it, is simply to use less, to "double your capacity by halving your consumption", to live life in a humble and sustainable way, and to do as much as you can with what you already have.
I found the entire website to have a dreamy and non-judgemental approach to everything, and I envy their lifestyle. They are just doing what they do, and documenting it so that others can learn with them, and maybe to encourage us to aspire to do a little better with our lives.
Maybe you could avoid judging them, in return?
"All I need is a battery, a solar panel, copper wiring encased in plastic, a mining company to dig the ore out, a chemical refinery to help refine the ore, an oil rig, a team to run it, a chemistry lab to make the plastic, a small town to create this portable computer for me..."
Is it unthinkable for someone to leave their humble dwelling, with few amenities, and head down to a factory where these amenities are built? Just because we don't use a particular technology at home doesn't mean we can't do so in a factory.
Put another way, there's very little about most people's home lifestyle which directly begets a microprocessor, and yet microprocessors are still made.
I think the modern era has complicated the issue in many people’s minds, by making high tech stuff like solar lighting and internet seem like necessities. They aren’t if you decide they aren’t. Folks just want to appear more devout or disciplined or extreme than they are for cultural cachet. I don’t really get it, but I guess if you are wealthy, then you may desire to avoid consumption for any number of reasons, and offgrid living is a kind of restrained conspicuous consumption.
Having grown up off the grid in a one room cabin without running water or even electricity at the beginning, I think it’s a lot less romantic if you’re poor, and especially so without the amenities of modern living. To me, a lot of this feels like a flex, like #vanlife vs being homeless and living out of your car, or glamping vs sleeping rough. But I digress.
And the internet is part of the grid, not that the distinction means as much these days, with reliable WISPs and Starlink being viable. I think offgrid living jives more with DIY and community projects and less with corporate turnkey monetized solutions.
That’s the distinction I think is important here. Some folks want to be offgrid because of the freedom it gives them and their community. Some folks just do it for themselves and their egos.
To me, “off grid” simply means being entirely self reliant for all aspects of your well-being, for a period of time.
Bobbing around in a tiny plastic boat in the middle of the enormous Pacific Ocean with literally no possibility of connection to any other human is just about as off grid as you can get on this Earth.
Just because they reconnect to the grid occasionally to top up and download, doesn’t invalidate this. The truth remains that they are “on-grid” far less than most of us.
It's not possible to live completely off the grid. Is that a reason not to try at all?
I don't know that you're talking about, sorry.
Just because there is a nice closed loop on day to day resource usage, it doesn’t make something sustainable nor something to strive for to help with climate change.
But I will say one thing. I may be completely reliant on sealed batteries manufactured in a Korean factory and bought off the internet whose inner workings I only understand in very generic terms. But I spend a lot more time thinking about where my power comes from and how much of it I have left than the average person living in the average house.
(I also use a lot less, although the climate impact of that is probably offset by inefficient generation and dirty heating in the winter)
That said live your life however you want. It would be dumb to live in misery trying to meet some arbitrary standard. If you can exploit the way the world is to have a nice life and you aren't hurting anybody who cares. It is kind of annoying when people who choose to "disconnect" thoroughly document it.
Some of the folks at 100r made uxn, which helped inspire my approach to github.com/civboot/fngi
They’re living on a boat, so wouldn’t that be literally zero land space?
Your little setup is all there, unaffected by greater forces outside your front gate. The cost of energy won't change and your money isn't tied in a market or another. Like you said, it's all right there with you.
On the other hand, you're the point of failure for this machine. You are responsible for it, and you have to keep it running. You can't get sick or tired because you're not part of a system large enough to cut you some slack.
A common theme in stories about self sufficiency is something breaking and the hardships that ensue from not having anyone to help.
Between this and the first half I've read of Braiding Sweetgrass, I'm getting seriously irked by this massive focus on individual, very isolated choices as proxies for the world at large. It's fine for people to promote "old ways" of living but to cast it as exactly what we need for "the ecological society we’re trying to build" feels so wrong to me. We need organizers, movement leaders, direct actions, we need to shake the Democratic Party out of corruption and uselessness.
It's great to have a lifestyle--I agree with most of the values described in this post--but merely living it yourself does nothing for the human world or "ecology." A single animal rights activist stealing a chicken and getting flamboyantly arrested probably does more for climate change than this crew's work for their entire lives, because she moves the world a tiny bit closer toward giving up factory farming.
NO. IT IS NOT. Urine is not sterile and it's such an annoying, pervasive myth. It contains bacteria and under no definition is it sterile.
Still no need to get angry about peeing in the ocean off of a boat.
> urine, which is somewhat sterile
Its literaly a 5 second google search.
On the other hand, I owned one of their games (Donsol), which used to work just fine. Then they removed it and basically reimplemented it in their new unique format, which I couldn't get to work.
So it was frustrating to have a game I was looking forward to playing, having it at one time (it worked fine), and now not having it anymore, when my old computer died and I tried to download the thing I'd bought before once more.
Famicom(NES) or Uxn version?
I could do living in a remote location though. Little bit more predictable
The whole “oh, we only need 3L of water per day and 500Wh is enough” lifestyle is unsustainable. I know, I’ve tried it, and I’ve seen many others go through it - you go gently mad spending your days managing your limited resources, and eventually give up.
Power: we’ve 4.8kW of solar panels, a hydro generator that makes a continuous 280W through the winter months, and three small 150W nominal wind turbines, which also help in the winter. Storage is 84kWh of OPzS lead acid cells. 2x 5kW Victron multiplus for triple phase output, and their MPPTs for the various inputs. I also laid 500m of 18mm2 SWA cable from our powerhouse to the cabin we built, so we can have power here too. Stuck a 1:2 transformer at each end to get more carrying capacity.
Water: there are a number of muddy, sulphurous seeps in the side of the valley. In the winter there’s water, in the summer, mud. Laid tubing with simple pre filters on the intakes down to a chain of IBCs 70m above the valley floor - 50 micron, 10 micron, 1 micron, carbon, then store in the IBCs. At each house (there’s both the mill and the cabin) I then re filter through a 1 micron sediment filter and a carbon block, as algae tend to grow in the tanks. For drinking, we have a simple reverse osmosis setup along with a UV block under each kitchen sink. As our fallback, basically for august when the river runs dry and the mud turns to dust, we’ve a submersible pump next to the hydro intake, which is a low spot in the bedrock and holds a pool of increasingly stagnant water in the summer. Still, our water treatment system makes it perfectly good for everything.
Hot water, I took inspiration from someone on here, and built a pair of big damn heat exchangers - excess heat from stoves in winter, or from power in summer, gets dumped into 4000L of water in a heavily insulated bunker. I aim to keep it at 85C, as above that I risk melting things. There’s then 200m of coiled tubing in each bunker, through which flows the high pressure cold water (7bar), which comes out somewhere around 40-60C, depending on the season
Sewerage, we are using above ground vermi composting tanks built from IBCs (IBCs are dead handy, very cheap used) - works a charm, no smells or anything. Grey water just goes to a soakaway.
Internet: I’ve talked about this here before. Solar powered mast atop the valley with an atheros w/ openwrt, LTE with an LPDA antenna as our nearest cell mast is line of sight from there but 20km away, Wi-Fi relay using yagis to each point of consumption, and then APs dotted around so we have coverage over our few sq km.
Heat in both houses is from a log stove. We’ve 11ha of forest, which we are clearing the dead but still standing trees (ash, oak) from, both for the sake of the forest and for the sake of us not freezing in the winter. We’re insulated up to the gunwales in the cabin, and the mill has a huge thermal mass.
We have a dishwasher, a washing machine, home theatre with surround (and oh boy you can crank it when your nearest neighbour is 20km away), all the modern conveniences. Sure, it all had to be carried in by hand or on the aerial cableway, as the one thing we don’t have is road access, but I’m one who’s strongly in favour of “effort now, easy later”.
What else… I use an rpi running openhab to monitor and control everything, from power production and consumption to water levels and quality, to the weather. I can’t control the weather, to be clear.
Other things… our chainsaws are battery powered (makita’s 36V stuff packs an amazing punch, and no two-stroke screaming in your ear), as are our brushcutters, polesaws, everything. Only thing that uses fossils is the truck, and that will change.
This year I’m planning on more infrastructure - probably a small monorail, as I’ve got bored of injuring myself carrying stuff up 45 degree inclines, and a large pond up the hill, for water storage, and possibly hydro, possibly pumped. I’m also thinking about building myself a proper workshop, as at the moment I just drag equipment around the forest and cover it with tarps for the weather, which is also getting boring! Oh, and I’ve grand plans to turn our ‘88 hilux into a strange beast - remove the elderly million mile diesel, add hub motors and as many batteries as I can cram into the engine bay and under the flatbed. That’s the main thing making me want a workshop.
So, anyway - my point is sustainability. I’ve invested significant time and resources here over the last two years so that our life here is a sustainable one - ecologically, sure, but also for us - it’s enough work just being here - I don’t want to have to always be worrying about resource management too, and I want to be able to still live here when I’m a feeble old dodger.
I'm curious if you have thoughts on how you can deal with the inevitable medical issues as you get older:
- medical emergency, needing an ambulance right away
- a serious medical issue that needs frequent hospital appointments, say kidney dialysis or chemo
- more common stuff like needing a cane to walk, or no longer being able to climb a mast to fix your internet
Re: medical emergency, we’ve already had a few of those - it’s a 30 minute drive to the nearest emergency room/hospital, and we keep a well-stocked first aid cabinet that can cater for most trauma, and have stuff like a defibrillator, tourniquets, epinephrine in it, as you never know when I’m going to stick a pitchfork through a power line or fall off a roof, or stick an axe through my hand (that was the first emergency) or when my wife is going to get swarmed by hornets again (we discovered last year that she has a severe allergy).
I’m also putting some stead in the idea of EVTOL being a normal and affordable thing by the time I’m in my dotage, which will make our current inaccessibility moot.
I’ve always had the attitude of go big or go home - half measures usually result in pain and expense down the road, and I’m not shy about buying good gear rather than inventing it myself. All of this, from land to the cabin to the infrastructure, has cost just shy of €100k, which in my view is pretty affordable for “never pay a utility bill again”. The cabin and the hydro turbine were the two big ticket items, at €25k and €15k respectively. Sure, I have expenses like filter cartridges, spares for repairs, but it doesn’t amount to all that much.
We had an abandoned olive grove as part of the land - it's superb soil, as the river floods it every second winter or so, so we've interplanted with various fruit trees (it'll be a good 5+ years before they start to give a reasonable yield), and have set up half a dozen hugelkultur beds, which we irrigate with buried drip hose. Using some very simple little soil humidity monitors (arduino, LoRa, dinky battery) to trigger the valves for the irrigation. Same architecture as I'm using for all the remote sensing - tank level monitors, river level monitors, insolation monitors. Last year was our first attempt, and it didn't go too badly, but learned plenty, about what crops do well where. Hopefully this year will give us a better yield and more than one harvest - we started late last year, and the summer heat here is way too intense for much of what we planted up.
So, we're nowhere near self-sufficient for food, but we did manage about 100kg of dried beans, and made a mountain of marmalade from the quinces that grow wild all over. I guess food is one where it's more about being able to be self sufficient if we had to be, but it's not so critical - we've a big chest freezer, which is currently mostly full of boar (we let the hunt association hunt on our land, in exchange for a cut of their proceeds - and we've no shortage of boar - we had huge sounders working their way up the riverbed every night last year) and I go out to provision every few weeks.
Reading recommendations... not really - I've spend hundreds of hours watching other off-gridders on youtube, taking note of what works and what doesn't, and then for each element I've just researched and researched until I've reached what seems like a sensible solution. Batteries, for instance, I put together a spreadsheet to figure out what gave the best TCO over a 20 year period - and unsurprisingly ended up with the same solution as grid scale solar operators use - OPzS cells. Power kit, Victron is king, unquestionably - their stuff is great, hackable, reliable, easy to install and use. The battery sheet is at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1w8vPBHkMyY5jvkxtK1Qh... - you'll note it's purely lead acid, as other chemistries compared so unfavourably on TCO that I just ejected them from the equation. People talk about lifepo and Lithium and nimh and what have you, and if you go for a really small capacity then the equation can be favourable, but for any capacity over about 40kWh lead becomes much more economical.
This, for instance, is what we followed for our vermi composting systems - http://www.vermicompostingtoilets.net/design-construction/ - but I haven't found any site or resource that is reliably useful across all aspects - someone will know what they're talking about with power, but will be dead wrong about water, and someone else will know water, but will have a laughable power setup... so swings and roundabouts.
Mostly, the solutions have been led by problems, and then a search for a way to solve that problem. We've ended up with a few less-than-optimal waystations (year one we used butane for hot water, had to run a generator in the winter, froze our asses off in the mill, flooded up to the roofline and had to run for our lives), but bit by bit we've optimised and optimised. I'm sure I've got gotchas I've yet to consider or encounter, but that makes it interesting, and I can't help but love the process of continuous improvement.
In the interim, I'm very curious on two specific things.
The LoRa / arduino controlled irrigation valves - it sounds like you're doing exclusively gravity fed, and this has been a stumbling block for me. Mechanical ball valves are not too expensive, but appear to fail way too often, and in non-safe ways, to rely on. Both non-latching and latching solenoids seem to want more pressure than I can muster (perhaps 10 metres static head).
What are you doing, and would you recommend it?
Second - fruit fly control for quinces and other orchard plants?
Fruit fly control - nothing. We’ve enough that we can share with the bugs and the birds, although fruit flies don’t seem to be a problem for us, as I think they’re getting parasitised by native ophid wasps. We also don’t have too many of the same type of tree near each other, which likely also helps inhibit pest spread.
We're 250km north west of Sydney, AU - so otherwise probably comparable climate.
Guess the cold keeps your medfly in check too.
Any chance you are located in Spain? If so, do you have any advice or recommended resource related to finding and buying rural property in Spain? And even if you are not in Spain, it would be interesting to read something about how you ended up in a place like this, if you are willing to share.
There are sites (idealista, olx, pureportugal) which can give you a good idea of what’s available, but really the best way is to go pound the ground, and look for hand-painted for sale signs, and to talk to village people.
> The whole “oh, we only need 3L of water per day and 500Wh is enough” lifestyle is unsustainable. I know, I’ve tried it, and I’ve seen many others go through it - you go gently mad spending your days managing your limited resources, and eventually give up.
So very true. I lived in a bus for almost 5 years. I've met tons of people in the vanlife/RV/off grid community. Both from my personal experience and observing others the biggest problems are limited resources and places to park. For a home on wheels you always need external resources. Fresh water needs replenishment, waste water needs dumping, trash disposal, etc. Having the largest resource capacity possible doesn't solve the issue but it makes it much less stressful.
It's highly romanticized by people who haven't experienced it. They think simple = easy but it's the opposite.
I swiftly learned that trying to get anything delivered here was a fool’s errand.
The world could stand to learn to apply such habits and mental models more generally.
And people talking about efficient heating, cooling, and insulation is a very common topic that has been thoroughly discussed. No one talks about switching your tv off at the plug because it's a lot of work to save virtually no power.
What is it about a house which makes these things more of a requirement than on a boat? People have lived and do live without these things in their home as well.
It might sound selfish but this is how everyone feels. No one wants to give up their most important comforts if they don't have to. And they don't have to.
All ocean capable boats do. Nobody lives in canoes or row boats.
It doesn't have to be that way. You might try looking up passive solar design..
Essentially the entire Phoenix valley is unlivable in the summer without energy assisted cooling either with A/C or evap. The native Americans didn’t even live down low during the summer. You can’t beat physics with some well placed windows.
The “deep south” you referred to is about as easy of a climate you can get to live in the continental US without energy assistance apart from maybe Southern California. The air conditioning energy spent to cool down a home 15 degrees in the summer in Mississippi is a drop in the bucket compared to what it takes to heat New York or Minneapolis homes in the dead of winter.
Houses were designed for cross ventilation with open windows.
Some houses had wrap around porches on three sides so windows could be left open even when it was raining.
Historically, they made a second outdoor kitchen so you could cook in summer without heating the whole house. To this day, grilling out in summer weather is a common practice.
So unless you can cite sources that can show this was due entirely to AC per se and not at least partly due to population growth generally, that little factoid may well fall under the heading how to lie with statistics.
Crap you found via Google -- so likely crap I could find if I cared enough to bother to look. And you didn't bother to do pull quotes to support your position.
Color me unimpressed and unswayed. In my experience, good passive solar design makes for more human comfort, not less, than our modern tendency to build crappy cardboard boxes and tack on HVAC.
Source: I have been living without AC in the US for some years now. I've spent more than four years now living in old buildings and it's such a shame we just don't build them like we used to. Life is better if you can achieve a comfortable temperature most of the time without AC.
This is only true in some places in the world. I live in the tropics, and don't need to spend any power on heating or cooling my residence.
This is about living well without living wastefully. Too much of the world believes we can either live in poverty or ruin the biosphere for future generations.
If you make no effort to both live well and live within a reasonable footprint, it shouldn't be surprising when you fail to achieve both goals.
the west is definitely wrong however, as there are wealthy nations all over the world
All humans, even those for whom that would be a huge step up, not just those who might currently think of it as some kind of virtuous personal sacrifice.
I would like to see a world where The Haves are not obscenely wasteful, The Have Nots are not screwed by a system that makes it impossible to find some means to get your needs met on a budget and the middle class is not being exterminated by our social practices, policies, etc.
I'm too old to believe in faerie tale endings, so I'm not holding my breath here and waiting for anyone else to agree with me. But I'm also old enough to speak my mind anyway and say exactly what I mean rather than what I think other people will find palatable or expect based on their current mental models and world view.
While I do find their lifestyle fascinating, there's a nit I feel compelled to pick here. Watt is a unit of power, while watt per time is a unit of energy. If the Macbook draws 30 W and used for 6 hours, it would have consumed 180 Wh exactly. If it draws 30 W for 6 hours every day, then it would be 180 Wh per day. I have no idea how authors ended up at 160 W per day, which doesn't make sense.
Later in the article they mention they’re dealing with a 2010 MacBook Pro running Elementary, and yeah, that’ll definitely consume quite a bit more power than a new MacBook Pro running macOS, but I’d still be surprised if it was as much as 30W.
It’s nothing compared to my desktop running an intensive game - that’ll chew up 600W no problem.
I admit that I wrote the first paragraph of that comment before realising it was that ancient a MacBook Pro that was being mentioned, but I erroneously thought my comment was still probably close enough. Not so.
But then again (from what I understand) they're on a tight budget. And I read somewhere else that they're trying to reduce electronic waste. Hence they're on the old Macbook.
Here's their situation:
1. Keep using older Macbook, thereby contributing less to electronic waste. However, this consumes a lot of power.
2. Switch to the more efficient newer Macbook. However, then their older Macbook would be wasted.
This puts them in a bit of dilemma, doesn't it?
Given the number involved was 160, I suspect the likely unit they meant was "Watt-hours per day".
"The solar power plant is increasing its generation capacity at a rate of 2kW/day."
Either way, I think it gets more clear if you say 0.083kVAh increase to the production.
Watts per day would be used to describe the rate at which your power consumption increases (eg “as winter comes on, power used heating the boat will increase 100 watts per day”).
Living off grid, on land is something I've been looking into. Power is everything. The more you have, the better your comfort is. Ideal build: ICF foundation/house, exterior insulation. DIY friendly horizontal geothermal for hvac and water heating, rocket mass fireplace as backup heat. Ground water well, dehumidifier backup water generation, large in ground water tanks. Solar panels everywhere, Lifepo4 batteries, in ground propane tank for backup power, extra solar power can be used for heating water; everything would be electric including cars. Greenhouse with ground to air heat exchanger pipes about 10 feet underground so the power of keeping it above freezing is just a fan. Septic drain field, if water is very scarce then grey water recycling.
Anything I missed on the ultimate off grid house?
dead heads at night. What is that?
Paracetamol isn't normally an alternative for oxycodone. Also, if travelling internationally, I'm pretty sure there are countries that will consider oxycodone as equivalent to heroin even if you have a prescription.
Also, I don't like some non commercial licenses for sw.
Tildes/SDF got it better in this case.
To everyone who has commented here and even the OP.
You aren't really off the grid, imo.
Because you are still connected to the internet and writing comments here or blogs.
Go read Walden.