Are you looking for a way to live more simply, save money, and be kinder to the environment? If so, homesteading might be right up your alley. This old-fashioned lifestyle has been making a comeback in recent years, as people look for ways to simplify their lives. Homesteading is all about living off the land, growing and raising your own food, reducing waste, and being self-sufficient.
While it may seem daunting initially, a bit of planning and research is all that’s needed to take advantage of this incredibly rewarding experience. To get you started on the right path, we’ll explore the basics of homesteading - what it is and how you can begin your journey towards a simpler life.
What Is Homesteading?
Homesteading is a way of life dedicated to living off the land as much as possible. This means relying on yourself for food, shelter, and other needs. Those who practice homesteading often grow their own food, produce needed energy (i.e. solar power), build or repair their homes and furniture, raise animals for food or companionship, and make use of natural resources such as water from nearby streams or rivers. In essence, homesteaders use renewable resources whenever possible, allowing them to be self-sufficient while minimizing their impact on the environment.
The History of Homesteading
Homesteading roots can be traced through our nation’s history and was first laid out by the Homestead Act of 1862. This act granted settlers 160 acres of public land, which they could claim and develop during a five-year period.
In that time homesteaders were expected to build a home, farm crops, and raise livestock on the land. The government believed that by making physical investments in the land, owners would be more likely to protect it. Though they faced many hardships, these settlers persevered to eventually create a thriving homestead and new communities across America.
Today, modern homesteading is still popular among families who enjoy a simpler lifestyle. With an added benefit of having fresh homegrown produce from their private gardens for example, it’s no wonder the lifestyle continues to flourish.
Who Is Suitable For Homesteading?
Despite the many individual, family, and environmental benefits derived from homesteading, it’s not for everyone. There must be a passion for self-sufficiency, dedication to hard work, and a determination to succeed. But for those who already embody those values, along with a desire for sustainability, independence, and resourcefulness, often find it an ideal option.
If you don’t think you’re there yet, don’t be discouraged. There are other personality traits and desires that can make the homesteading lifestyle perfect for you. Those who thrive on creating a more natural way of living and are not afraid of taking risks and learning new skills along the way, find it a welcome challenge. Outdoorsy types specializing in hunting and other methods of food gathering often tend to excel at homesteading, as do green thumbs adept at growing their own produce.
However, despite having the skills or personality traits needed to prosper as a homesteader, success will largely depend on the time and energy an individual’s willing to dedicate to living a more sustainable and self-sufficient life. You will get out what you put into it—and with no one else to depend on, every decision you make will have a direct impact. That said, the sense of fulfillment you'll get from homesteading can make all the difference in the world.
Benefits Of Homesteading
One of the biggest benefits of this lifestyle is the ability to provide for yourself without relying on external sources like grocery stores or energy companies. You don’t have to have lots of land or equipment to get started either, which is a welcome benefit for those working within a budget or living in more urban areas.
As a homesteader you’ll be a warrior for the environment by directly aiding in the preservation of natural resources, by not contributing to pollution or overconsumption of nonrenewable sources like fossil fuels.
Another amazing benefit is the many valuable new skills you’ll acquire on your homesteading journey. These skills can include anything from gardening and animal husbandry to food preservation and detecting good firewood. Most of these skills aren’t things the average person acquires in their lifetime, making you a cut above the rest as it relates to coveted self-sufficiency mastery.
There are many other homesteading benefits we could dig into, but to round them off let’s stick with something many of us wish for in our fast-paced, modern world - peace. Many find peace and tranquility when living off the grid, an appealing benefit if that’s exactly what you’re looking for!
Know the Homesteading Essentials
Whether you’re looking for an escape from modern life or are interested in reducing your carbon footprint and living more sustainably, learning the basics of homesteading can be beneficial for anyone. Let’s delve deeper into the various skills and requirements needed to successfully live the homesteading simple life.
Growing Your Own Food
One of the most important aspects of homesteading is growing your own food. Not only is it cost-effective but it also gives you control over what goes into your body – organic and sustainable produce with no preservatives or chemicals. Gardening can be incredibly satisfying, as it allows you to witness firsthand the growth process from seed to harvest. It also helps foster a connection with nature while teaching essential lessons in patience and hard work.
Caring for Animals
Caring for animals as a homesteader offers its own special joys and rewards. Tending to animals can provide homesteaders with necessary food and produce, while offering an opportunity to form relationships with livestock and other animals. In caring for chickens, goats, or any other homestead animal, homesteaders can appreciate the connections made as they learn to rely on their animals for basic needs such as eggs, milk, cheese, and more.
Children growing up in this lifestyle can become more responsible, while learning how to be sustainable when they take part in homesteading activities such as feeding or training animals. Caring for animals is a rewarding experience for everyone in the family, allowing each member to become more self-sufficient while enhancing emotional connections with their furry (or feathery) friends.
Generating Your Own Power
Living off-grid requires generating one's own power through solar panels or wind turbines. Doing so means you won’t be dependent on utility companies or government subsidies, and can save money each month due to lower energy bills.
Along with the financial benefits, the environmental benefits of generating your own power can’t be overlooked. When done correctly with renewable energy sources, we reduce our reliance on fossil fields, resulting in decreased greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere.
Sounds good right? But how do you actually do this? It requires careful planning to create an off-grid power system, which usually involves the installation of a complex electrical system of solar panels, batteries, inverters, charge controllers, and other components. Setting up can be time-consuming and expensive, but in the end it will provide you with an environmentally friendly, and financially beneficial way to keep your homestead running and reduce your reliance on utility companies.
If you’re not ready for a major leap like this, portable solar generators can meet you halfway by greatly simplifying and reducing the cost of this process. We’ll get into that a bit later. For now, let’s check out the first steps to getting started.
Getting Started with Homesteading
While getting started with homesteading may seem like an impossible task, especially if you have no previous experience, there’s no need to panic or rush. Research and planning can help you slowly build your off-grid homestead step by step. Here's an overview of how to begin your homesteading journey.
Research Local Homesteading Laws and Regulations
Before you take any steps towards building your dream homestead, make sure you’re familiar with all the local laws and regulations concerning homesteading activities in your area. These laws can vary greatly from state to state or even county to county so don’t skip this step. Do your research before investing valuable time or resources to homestead development.
Select Your Homestead Property Wisely
When selecting the right property for your homestead, several factors need to be taken into consideration, such as property size, topography, access to resources including water and electricity, proximity to stores or medical services, and location.
To ensure you make the best possible decision for your needs and budget, enlist the help of professionals specializing in rural land surveys, as well as experienced real estate agents familiar with local zoning laws. Note that the same rules apply if you already own a property and are seeking to develop it into a homestead haven.
Set Up an Off-Grid Homestead
Once you’ve purchased your property, it’s time to start building your off-grid homestead! This includes: building a sturdy house that meets all safety standards, digging wells, installing solar panels and other sources of regenerative energy, planting vegetable gardens, building barns and sheds, setting up livestock areas, and creating waste management systems such as compost bins and gray water systems. All of these activities require careful planning so make sure you account for all costs (expected and unexpected) beforehand so you don’t exceed your budget.
There’s much more to homesteading than an overview of these topics, but with the essentials in place you’ll be better positioned to make your self-sufficiency dreams come through. This wouldn’t be a complete guide though if we didn’t look at some of the primary challenges you could face when embarking on your homesteading journey. Let’s consider some of these.
Key Considerations and Challenges of Homesteading
Homesteading is certainly not always a walk in the park, and homesteaders need to be prepared for obstacles. Here are some of the most common challenges the modern homesteader faces:
Factoring Unexpected Costs
The cost of purchasing land or moving onto existing property can be expensive enough, but when you include infrastructural improvements like roads or utilities, equipment for working the land, and money for maintenance — it’s easy to see how quickly costs add up. Homesteaders must factor in all potential costs before signing any contracts or making major investments. Research grants and tax incentives from local governments, as they can be helpful in reducing some of these costs.
Time & Energy Requirements
Overall time needed to perform daily activities must be considered. Time spent on activities like animal care, property maintenance (mowing lawns, clearing debris, etc), managing gardens, and performing manual labor (chopping wood, hauling hay, etc) can become overwhelming without proper planning.
Depending on your goals you may need to hire help if you don’t have enough time in your schedule to handle everything yourself. Prioritize tasks according to importance, and break down big projects into smaller steps that are more manageable over time to avoid overwhelm and burnout.
Adjusting To A DifferentLifestyle
Living in a remote location far away from neighbors or family can be tough until you get accustomed — especially if you’re coming from an active urban area.
Getting used to daily life without the modern conveniences of grid utilities like running water or electricity will take some adjustment too. On top of this, you may be tackling extreme weather conditions like hot summers or cold winters for the first time off the grid, which can make adjusting difficult.
Despite these challenges, many people grow through the adjustment period and find joy in living off the grid, reaping self-sufficiency rewards.
Balancing Work & Life
While homesteading benefits include farm to table eating, while growing closer as a family unit, it also requires hard work physically and mentally. Finding the balance between work responsibilities (if any) and life on the homestead is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take breaks when needed, and make time for hobbies and relaxing with family and friends.
Dealing With Emergencies
One of the most crucial pieces of advice given by experienced homesteaders is “expect the unexpected”. No matter how much planning goes into setting up home on your own piece of land, accidents can happen. Preparing for natural disaster emergencies like floods or fires is necessary. Create a kit of emergency essentials with items such as non-persishable food and bottled water, and have insurance ready in case medical emergencies arise.
Homesteading with Children
Homesteading with children is an amazing experience and one that formulates strong character and invaluable resourcefulness in them. It gives kids the opportunity to learn about sustainable living, self-sufficiency, and the necessary skills to succeed in this lifestyle. While there are some safety concerns to consider, homesteading can be a rewarding and empowering experience for children. Here’s a look at the most important things to consider when homesteading with kids.
Safety needs to come first. Make sure your homestead is safe and secure by installing fences or gates that keep children and animals separate. Be aware of any potential safety hazards (sharp tools, open fires, etc), and make sure your children are supervised at all times.
Develop a Support System
A strong support system of family, friends, and community is essential for homesteaders, especially so when raising children in the lifestyle. Establish friendships with families who have similar goals and values, so you can share resources, knowledge, and experiences together. Being surrounded by a network of like-minded people provides a sense of community for both you and your children.
Also consider getting involved with your local community through groups or organizations related to your hobbies or interests, or join a local 4-H club to connect with other homesteaders in your area.
Homesteading is not just about survival, it’s also about creating something beautiful out of nothing. Encourage your kids to participate in the homesteading journey by giving them age-appropriate tasks they can achieve on their own or with parental guidance. Help them develop a sense of pride, responsibility, and self-sufficiency as they contribute to the homestead’s success.
Now that you have a relevant understanding of what homesteading is and all it entails, let’s explore a modern advancement that keeps many homesteads self-sufficient and thriving.
Solar Generators: The Secret to Modern Homesteading
Solar generators are a great option for homesteaders to generate their own power without having to worry about costly off-grid electrical system installations, or relying on gas-powered generators.
They are a highly efficient way to collect and store electricity for off-grid use. By combining a portable power station with portable solar panels, you can harness the sun's rays and convert them into clean, renewable energy that’s stored in the power station’s battery, ready for use whenever and wherever needed.
This green technology enables people to access electricity in areas with no grid connection or limited access to other forms of energy – perfect for use as a supplemental source of power for homestead living.
Advantages of Solar Generators
Portable solar generators are lightweight, affordable, and easy to use. All you need is access to sunlight, and you have a completely self-sustaining and unlimited source of energy able to power just about any household appliance on your property – indoors or out.
Unlike solar panels that are permanently installed onto your roof or outdoor structures, the portability of solar generators lets you easily move them around your property to find areas with maximum exposure to sunlight.
Additionally, solar generators are extremely reliable since they don’t require fuel or constant maintenance like gas-powered generators. A huge plus is that those built with LiFePO4 batteries will likely outlast most other appliances on your homestead, even with a decade of daily use!
Choosing the Right Solar Generator
When choosing a solar generator for your homesteading needs, there are important factors to consider. Up first is the total load you plan on powering with your generator. Knowing the combined output of all your electrical needs will help determine which size power station to get in order to efficiently run all your appliances without quickly draining battery power.
You should also consider the solar generator’s weight and size. If you plan on moving it around often, ensure you invest in one with the right balance of weight and battery capacity. Luckily, some power solutions such as the Anker PowerHouse 767 are designed with enhanced mobility in mind, allowing you to easily wheel it across all types of terrain.
Two Great Solar Generator Options for Homesteading
Anker Solar Generator 757 (PowerHouse 1229Wh with 2*100W Solar Panels)
1500W AC Output
1229Wh Battery Capacity
LFP Batteries will last for over 3,000 charge cycles
13 Ports: 6 AC ports, 4 USB-A ports, 2 USB-C ports, and a car outlet
Two 100W portable solar panels for 200W of solar input
Can recharge to 80% with AC power in just 1 hour
5-Year Warranty and 10-Year Lifespan
Anker Solar Generator 767 (PowerHouse 2048Wh with 2*200W Solar Panels)
2400W AC Output
2048Wh Battery Capacity
Upgradeable to 4096Wh with Expansion Battery
LFP Batteries will last for over 3,000 charge cycles
12 Ports: 4 AC ports, 3 USB-C ports, 2 USB-A ports, 2 car outlets, and an exclusive RV port
Two 200W IP67 waterproof solar panels for 400W of solar input
Can recharge to 80% with AC power in just 1.4 hours
Can solar recharge to 100% in 5.7 hours
5-Year Warranty and 10-Year Lifespan
Homesteading is full of adventure with many benefits that far outweigh its challenges. The lifestyle provides the opportunity to grow your own food, depend on and provide for animals, be self-sufficient, and sustainably take care of your family. You also have an advantage in times of crisis or natural emergencies, with reliable access to your own resources. When it comes to finding reliable sources of power for your off-grid homestead, a solar generator is one of the simplest and most sustainable solutions for your lifestyle.
For a long-lasting and dependable solar generator that serves as the perfect supplement or backup power source for your homestead, check out Anker Power for a range of solutions to fit any budget.