Welcome to Emergency Essentials!

Catalog Request

Living Off the Grid —Could You Do It?

Roscoe Bartlett living off the grid

If you live in the city, there are many luxuries to enjoy—power with the flick of a switch, grocery stores or shopping malls less than five minutes away, constant communication with everyone via cell phone, internet, or radio. So . . . could you ever find yourself living off the grid?

After 20 years on Capitol Hill, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has taken himself completely off the grid, retreating to a secluded property in West Virginia. We came across Politico Magazine’s article via Instapundit and, whether or not you agree with Bartlett’s political views, we think there are some interesting things he’s done as a prepper that make this article worth reading.

Bartlett lives without a phone, without a link to outside power, and without municipal plumbing. He has developed quite a few skills that will help him if he gets into an emergency.

For the past few decades, Bartlett spent his free time up at this property, prepping it for the day he’d go off the grid. He built five cabins by himself, then wired solar panels and ran pipes from freshwater springs to each cabin.

Living completely off the grid, he rises at dawn six days a week in order to maintain his power sources, food, and way of life. He spends about 10 hours a day cutting logs, gardening, and doing other tasks around the land.

“People ask me ‘Why?’” Bartlett said in an interview with Politico Magazine. “I ask people why you climb Mount Everest. It’s a challenge, and it’s challenging to think what life would be like if there weren’t any grid and there weren’t any grocery stores. That’s what life was like for our forefathers.”

Read more of Roscoe Bartlett’s experience living off the grid (and why he chose to do so) in the Politico article, “The Congressman Who Went off the Grid

What changes would you have to make to your lifestyle if you went completely off the grid? Would you do it?

Photo Courtesy of Politico Magazine

17 thoughts on “Living Off the Grid —Could You Do It?”

  • Doug P.

    I salute him for having the stones to do it,we'll ALL be doing it one day soon-like it or not.He's way ahead of the game....

  • Dolores

    YES! This guy not only has brains, but perseverance as well. Would like to be his next door neighbor.

  • Clint Bull

    I think it's great that at this point in his life he is doing it off the grid? What's up with the john deer??
    Thanks for your time

    • beprepared

      Hey Clint, It definitely is amazing that Congressman Bartlett has been able to make such a drastic change to his lifestyle and to be succeeding at it at this point in his life. As to the John Deere … I’m not entirely sure, but based on his wife’s comment in the article, they might use the John Deere to get around easily on their property and to check up on their land and surrounding property line to make sure everything’s in order.

      -Angela and Kim

    • Grama Pei

      Clint, going off the grid doesn't mean one cant use anything at his disposal to make life as tolerable as possible... Like the tractor. I lived off the grid for some years when I was a young woman, and it was not as some folks suspect- using a sharpened stick to plant a garden, using a handsaw to cut trees, etc. It was using whatever one had at their disposal to make life work without electricity. :)

  • marland cadieux


  • kirk davis

    Well with a cushy retirment from government, he has all the money he needs and it arrives every two weeks. So he does not have to face the REAL challenges the rest of us do, job, commute,. and trying to set aside money to someday get off grid...Let's not give him too much credit. I would trade his retirement to live off grid any day...!

    • s.tyson

      kirk you definitely hit the nail on the head about his cushy gov't retirement AND don't forget his total benefits pkg including full coverage ins (medicare & 2nd medical/dental, etc) that he doesn't have to pay for....

  • Sarah Locus

    WOW! I want be where he's at in the next 5 years. Been working on it and i hope to be there and yes it is hard having to work, commute and raise a family, but money to the side, but i think we can do it, just got to have that willingness. I'm currently taking a class learning how to can my own food, they say it's easy, no opinion on it at this time. So that will make me 52 by the time i get off grid. Wish me luck!

  • Lynn Hartman

    No thanks. As a teenager, we filled 5 freezers with peas, beans, etc. every summer and there were about 14 family members doing this. Going to water tomatoes in the field with the "old man" carrying a bucket of water back and forth to the truck. Getting up in the morning, scorching sun, no movies, no A/C. I prep and have had a garden, but to live "off the grid" completely - not unless I really have to.

  • James W

    Easy to do when you receive a paycheck from the government for life.

  • nancy

    Hey we all had a chance to take political science and work to get elected, reelected by our constituents. I think he is smart and brave, having a paycheck to prep. Living off the grid is only a dream for me. I too carried water to the fields and to pasture for animals in my youth. Today I would have to dig a deeper well.


    KIRK DAVIS and JAMES W, you both are right on your comment, an old man like him or his profession will not be able to BUILD 5 CABIN and do all the plumber and stuff himself, with money you can do everything easily and buy others help. I congratulate him for choosing this healthy lifestyle but I do not give him credit because it don't impress me.

  • Mike P

    Kirk D, James W and Armando, Pay attention to what you are reading. The man spent years working on his property in his spare time "when he was younger I imagine" in preparation for when he would retire and go off the grid. Did any of you read the Politico article. He is actually quite a remarkable man and you should be impressed

  • Victoria

    sarah, where are you going to learn to can food. i am doing some water bath canning on my own,butwold love to find a class to can everything. i have the largest pressure canner they make, but haven't tried to use it yet.

  • Earlene

    Go to Ace Hardware store to buy a book on canning. Or on line for Ball( canning jars producers) for" Ball -Blue Book"guide to preserving. 2011, a newer one is out by now.
    I have enjoyed reading all the comments.

  • Truckin Prepper

    You know people, it really doesn't matter what's in your wallet, it's what type of life you want to live. I think we all have a picture in our head of the ideal way we want to live.
    I have always want to live off the grid, but there are always issues that change our plans. In my case, it has taken 30 years to convince my wife and my health has really messed up my plans.
    But I have collected a pretty good stock of thing we'll need to live off the grid. The next thing is to down scale and sell our house and start our (okay, my dream) plans. I can do just about anything do to the jobs and education I've had. My health is my controlling factor, so the future is still unwritten for us. I am happy for Mr Bartlett, he has reach his dream!

Leave a Reply
Back to Top