Living Without Electricity – Survival Skills

Living without electricity

Have you ever lived without electricity for several hours or days? Were you ready for this lifestyle? Most people cannot imagine life without electricity, because it will disturb their comfortable life. Many basic needs, such as cooking, lighting, and the use of electrical appliances, depend on electricity.

Now imagine you have no electricity for a period of time. This can also happen due to natural disasters in your area, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter snowstorms. This outage can last days or even months.

Historically, humans have survived without electricity for millions of years. Today, nearly 2 billion people live without electricity in underdeveloped countries. Others, like the Amish communities, generally use off-grid methods, such as gas or diesel engines, to power appliances and utilities.

Here are some practical tips or survival skills to help you get ready when you go camping and in the event of an unexpected power outage.

Living without electricity
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Camping with Solar

There are plenty of options using a solar grid (solar panels and batteries) for camping. You can use light-weight or portable panels from 5 watts to 100 watts that can charge your batteries, cell phone, laptop, and camera.

You can use a generator and install bigger solar panels. Now you can charge more devices like a micro-refrigerator.

If you decide to stop using commercial electricity in your home, you can find alternative ways to live off-grid. Surprisingly, many of the alternative methods are cheaper than using electricity and help you get rid of worries about paying bills and gain financial freedom. This may even prompt you to start the transition to completely leave the grid.

Lighting without Electricity

Solar lighting is the best and the safest option of lighting for indoor or outdoor use. The hybrid fuel lamp is ideal for camping, as well as in cases of emergency for outdoor use. It runs on unleaded gasoline and requires a ventilated area. This outdoor lamp is less expensive and more reliable even in the coldest conditions.

In fact, you can still use bulbs such as LED bulbs. Many of these light bulbs produce 60 to 100 watts of light with power consumption under 7 watts. There are also many battery-powered LED lights that provide enough light for a small room. Just use a solar-powered charger, and these LEDs and batteries will last you for many years.

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If solar energy is not available, use candles as a light source in the dark. Another option is an oil lamp. The Amish still use oil lamps. A kerosene oil lamp is a widely available fuel with clean-burning, which makes it a good option. It burns brighter and steadier than candles.

These methods will give you a lot of light and alternative ways at the time when the power system goes down, including oil lamps and kerosene oil lamps.  

Solar cooker
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Cooking without Electricity

There are hundreds of other ways to cook without electricity, which you can easily adapt to outdoor when camping or doing other activities. Be prepared to cook on an outdoor cooking stove like Eco-Zoom using wood, charcoal, or solid biomass fuels when the power turns off.

Instead of an electric oven, you can use a solar oven for cooking. The solar stove is much safer but is rather for slow cooking for the whole day. However, some solar ovens allow you to cook your favorite dishes as fast as a conventional oven. DIY solar ovens or solar cookers are used worldwide to deliver hot meals that are safe to eat.

Campfire is great for camping and outdoor cooking. If you like grilling and you have firewood and charcoal, you can barbecue or boil water. For some grills, you can use wood, charcoal or propane.

Refrigerating without Electricity

Natural cooling options include cold running water, root cellars, ice-cooling, and others. Propane-powered refrigerators are commonly used by Amish communities.

Solar options are a home cooler/freezer with the solar operation and solar refrigerator. This cooler/freezer can be used in a car, truck, or boat. It can use multiple power supplies when used outdoors.

A solar refrigerator provides exceptionally low energy consumption, requires less expensive power systems and provides lower operating costs. It can be powered by a solar panel, battery, and 15 amp charge controller.

 

Heating without Electricity

Heating is life important, therefore, emergency heating sources must be planned in advance. There are several types of heaters that use gas (butane, propane), kerosene and denatured alcohol. If you have a wood stove that can be used as a heater, then you are set up.

Another option is to make a DIY heater like a clay pot heater or a candle lantern heater for a small space. All types of heaters can also be used for cooking, baking and heating food.

Here are a few appliances that use off-grid heating sources:

Heat Pal is an unpressurized alcohol stove and heater that uses denatured alcohol, which is slightly more expensive than propane, but it will burn well regardless of the weather. This will not only help you warm food but also provide additional comfort as a heater.

Mr. Heater is safe for indoor use and the reliable radiant heater has been approved for indoor and outdoor use and is environmentally friendly, almost 100 percent efficient. This propane heater is an ideal solution for heating enclosed spaces such as large tents.

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Washing without Electricity

Without electricity, you will find that you have to do a lot of tasks manually like washing clothes by hand. Hand washing without electricity is a long-forgotten option.

The Amish still do laundry using a diesel generator. They also dry their wet clothes by hanging them and iron them with a traditional iron and stove.

Living without electricity
Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Cooling without Electricity

A small solar fan will let you stay cool without electricity. You can make a DYI solar fan by connecting fan blades to a portable solar panel.

Another option is a swamp cooler, which can support the cooling of small enclosed spaces using ice and water, but is not suitable for long-term off-grid living.

Communicating without Electricity                               

When disconnected from the grid in emergency situations, communication can be life-saving. One of the surviving skills is to know off-grid communication methods in emergency situations or in an area not covered by cellular services.

Here are some options for communicating without electricity:

(1) Plug into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet or solar chargers. If none of the above is available, charge your cell phones and radio with a wood charging station.

(2) The HAM radios are the best to provide communication; other options are the CB radio, GMRS/FRS/MURS radios, however,  they have a limitation on power and range.

(3) Satellite cell phones are quite good for emergencies, but are expensive and require satellites to function. If satellites stop working during a power outage, the same goes for satellite phones.

Taken together,  if your goal is to live off the grid or just spend weekends on camping trips, then self-sufficiency and the ability to live without electricity are survival skills to learn.

Would you like to learn survival skills that can be useful in an emergency or for camping? Please share your thoughts below.

Updated 03/19/2020

Author: EcoDesign&EcoLifestyle

Researcher, entrepreneur, and artist at heart.

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