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Living Off the Grid in an RV: Some Resources

By: Everett S
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Off-Grid RVWhether your plan is to live off-the-grid-and-on-the-road full-time in an RV, or to have an RV on a property that is off the grid, some of the resources here will help you in your quest for how-to guidance and practical information.

Networking with RVers
Man is not an island, and when on the road or isolated for long periods of time we all start craving some company. These days even many of the most backwoods, off grid properties can get satellite internet if you’re willing to shell out the cash. And as far as RV parks go, most these days offer wi-fi. With that in mind, here are some websites where you can network with other RVers.
- RV.net: Popular online RV forums.
- The RV Club: RVers helping each other, giving and getting advice and sharing the joy of the road.

Stationary RV Living
The first step here is obviously to find a suitable piece of land…

  • Be sure to check zoning laws and deed restrictions regarding RVs and trailers before purchasing a property. However, most extremely rural areas – which is probably what you’re looking for – aren’t going to bother you about stuff like that.
  • If you plan on dumping your sewerage you should look for a location that is close to a pumping station. Don’t even think about dumping on your property without a permit. Our advice is to spend the money and get a septic tank – You won’t regret the purchase. Plenty of other off-grid folks get away with a composting toilet while working on property infrastructure, including septic.
  • Building a pole-barn style roof over the RV parking spot will keep you cool in the summer and save you from constantly patching up notoriously leaky RV roofs.
  • Click here if you’re interested in purchasing small RV lots.

What Type of RV?
Well that all depends on your situation, but I’m happy to provide some starting points.

  • If you’re on a budget, consider a used RV. Large recreational vehicles drop in value drastically as soon as they’re driven off the lot, and many a man has purchased an RV just weeks before losing his job. RV Trader Online is a good place to start.
  • Read all the RV Reviews you can get your hands on. It’s always best to learn from the mistakes of others.
  • Pay attention to RV Recalls! As evidenced here, tens-of-thousands of RVs can get recalled at a time and if you’re on the road, or in a used RV that is paid-for you won’t always get the recall notice in the mail. Better safe than sorry.

Practical RV Living – How To Guides
Here are a few resources to help you with the nuts and bolts of living off the grid in an RV.

RV Living Supplies
Our advice here is to keep it simple. Don’t buy something if you aren’t 100% sure you’re going to need it – emergency supplies and first-aid kits being the obvious exceptions.

Read Up…
Whether you’re still in the dreaming and planning phase or are already on the road, here are several books that are sure to help you along.

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Category: How-To

Comments (16)

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  1. Thomas says:

    I was wondering if anybody knows of a book of all the BLM land in the states. They use to to have a map you could get that had it but now each state wants is ten bucks per state…I would rather just get one book.

    Thomas

  2. Chet Jones says:

    Try “http://www.recreation.gov/”.
    This handy site offers listings of BLM, National Forests & Parks, Corp of Engineers, etc.
    Just enter the town & state and it will give you all listings in area with cost, facilities, gps, & maps.
    You can reserve but most have a large number of unreservable sites. Travel on Sunday thru Thurs. Don’t try on Fri & Sat and you can usually get a site.
    You can check to see what sites are available for the dates you are after.

  3. mobile condo says:

    Thanks for the info, links and book suggestions. :) Is that your camper in the photo? I’d love to hear about that wind turbine. How well does it work?

    I’m almost done with my custom built RV and plan to start fulltiming soon. I can’t wait!

    Anne Bentham

  4. Jerry LeFevre says:

    Regarding your statement about getting a septic tank, have you studied Humanure? This system is much more earth friendly and does not waste water. Respectfully, a septic system is not the best suggestion. Take care.

  5. Brett says:

    Hello,

    What about making money while living full time in an rv? I have heard of people working at campsites as hosts. Are there any other “jobs” a full time rv man might find? Thanks.

  6. Brett that’s a very good question and a great point. Hopefully some other readers will have some ideas. I think anyone good with their hands (auto mechanic, carpentry, plumbing, electrical…) would have the ability to make a few dollars when needed on the road, but I’d have to lean toward making a living online myself since I think it would be more steady work. I plan on writing a book about how to finance an off-grid, rural, or travel lifestyle using the internet, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. This is exactly what we’ve done though. It’s not a get-rich-quick type of thing. It only works if your goal is to make enough to live on. Otherwise you’d need investors, hire people, and/or would have to spend 80 hours a week working.

  7. Logicon says:

    If you have to stay in a RV camp, you aren’t exactly living off the grid. They are ridiculously expensive and you are too close to other RVs. It is also ridiculously expensive to have all the solar/battery powered additions as well. Even if you own your own land you aren’t free to use it as you want to. You are restricted every which way you turn. I would love to live in a way that is totally free from other’s control.

  8. Tim Dinnel says:

    Brian brawdys Rv is far from the idea of green and off grid. He spent over 130,000.00 on his setup and is in it for the money, You notice all the advertising he does? where does he do his laundry etc?I reclaimed a travel trailer and spent less then 10,000.00 rebuilding it to be uber green and efficient as well as Off Grid. Energy star appliances. R30 roof and R20 Walls. Propane everything possible. Washer + dryer in 18 feet of living space and i even have a rooftop garden to grow veggies and berries. I see way to many folks falling for his Crap. He is a salesman! if you cant go off grid in an Rv for less then 25,000.00 then you have alot to learn about being green!

  9. Tim Dinnel, please email me at carrinsr@gmail.com about how you went off grid. I’ve been searching for YEARS to find someone who has actually done it! Thanks!

  10. steve says:

    as far as the idea of going green for less than 25,000.00. me and my wife made the choice of wanting to move into a r.v. for a few reasons. we woke up one day and thought how crazy wel felt about all the “stuff” we had around our house. and how most of it we had not even picked up in over 6 months. and how paying for a house we didnt need if we didnt have these this. plus we wanted the freedom of haveing our home with us wile we explored the country. so we bought a used motorhome with very low miles for 5000.00. then wile trying to sell of the things we didnt need i made a few great trades. there were some stuff that right before we put on the curb i posted for trade. i ended up with brand new solar panels. also if you keep an eye out. there are people that have solar panels on they’re roof that just want them gone because they are getting a new roof or whatever. and will let you have these panels for FREE if you are wiling to remove them. then i learned how to build wind turbines. and for very little money you can build these. now as far as a batteries. i did some more tradeing of things i needed to get rid of and ended up with a great battery bank. i did have to buy my inverter but really to get our rv ready to produce its own power i spent under 300.00 i have enough power comeing in to keep us off the grid at least till i have to buy new batteries.

  11. Kyrin says:

    Steve,

    I would love to learn from you. Would you please email me? all_journey@yahoo.com. :-)

  12. MJ says:

    Interesting read. Living off grid is easy people. Esp in an RV. $10,000 ? $25,000? My bf and I are off grid. In an travel trailer we fond on craigslist for $500. Had one tiny leak we patched up. Did a little remodeling. Painting, new flooring etc. Bought a portable gen for $25. Again found on craigslist. 3000 watt. Enough to run what we need WHEN we run it! With a little ingenuity and elbow grease its inexpensive living off grid. Unplug for a while. We dont have satellite, starbucks and some hotels have free wifi and when we have to we can connect there. A small herb garden and a few veggies planted in a bumper garden. We don’t use a lot of electricity. We have a domestic fridge we rarely use. An on demand water heater. Took out the furnace and use either a propane heater, with a vent cracked or electric depending on the needs and location. This freed up a lot of storage along with taking out the propane water heater. golf cart 6v batteries. 4 of them. Plenty for our needs. All together we have spent around $3500 to go off grid. There are a few things we still want to do. Bartering is the way to go. When we get to a new location one of the first things we do is check out craigslist for gigs. Our biggest expense is gas for our tow vehicle. Solar power to keep laptops charged up. LED lights that we traded for. Going green isn’t difficult. We live in a society of consumption. Once you truly realize how much energy you are wasting it’s relatively easy to start cutting back. Think outside the box. Do some research, there is so much information out there. Stop listening to people trying to make money off you going green. make a list of things you NEED. Not WANT…NEED. Then make a list of things you WANT and start cutting it back. You will be surprised once you’re off grid what you thought was a need was really just a want and habit. lol
    Oh and in closing, you’re most precious commodity is DRINKING WATER. When you’re going off grid make certain your water needs can and will be met. Nothing worse than running out of water. Yes, running out of lp is a pain, yes running your batteries down is inconvenient. But you NEED water. Don’t overlook it.

  13. MJ I’d love to hire you to write an article or two for the site, especially if they can be DIY how-tos with some good pictures to show people how to do something on the cheap. I can’t pay much, but can hopefully make it worth your time and you’d be helping a lot of people out.

    Otherwise, thanks for the comment and congratulations on LIVING the life you want to live instead of just talking and dreaming about it.

    Cheers,

    E

  14. BC says:

    Hello,
    I’m interested in purchasing a used RV. I have kids, so living off the grid is not going to happen, I just want them to experience travel; I’m still anchored to my job and home. I would like to buy something used that would provide for great weekend getaways, but I totally respect and admire those that take to the road full time. It sounds like living off the grid would be truly an adventure and a way to see our country in a way that hotels and airlines would prohibit. I don’t have a lot to spend, and I guess I’m looking more for a sort of summer home away from home. The idea of parking my RV on a beach, near a lake, in the boonies somewhere, driving to my RV on weekends and days off, and spending time with my family, really appeals to me. I’m just curious how practical it would be… Will using an RV on a part time basis as a sort of cottage on the lake cost me a fortune, or can I do that on the cheap? We don’t have a ton of money or free time, and we’d just like to enjoy the free time we do have with our kids and dogs (and out of the city). Please let me know your opinions, I appreciate any feedback.

  15. Stan says:

    I am doing the same in SC.
    Some things that may save you money,,convert to LED lighting for the RV.
    Camping world wants 23 usd for 1 wedge bulb,,go to ebay there is a company out of Shenzhen china that will sell you 10 of these wedge lights for less than 12 USD shipping included.
    I replaced most of my lights in my 5th wheel, have been using these new led lights for some time now,,they work,,low power draw and no heat.
    Its companies like camping world that needs to be shut down.
    Reduce your power consumption as LED is very efficient.
    Was a bit worried at first about these cheap lights,,then i looked at the camping world ones and they are made in china also.
    What a big rip off mark up on the price from camping world.
    My batts charged with solar lasts for days now.

  16. Brenda M says:

    Awesome stuff! My partner and I planning on going Rogue and off the grid. He was out of work for over 2 yrs. We are going bankrupt. Best thing that ever happened to us really. Giving us freedom we never knew existed. Freedom from debt , freedom from job slavery, freedom of the road. We are looking forward to the adventure!

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