This is the first in a series of posts about items I consider non-negotiable in an off-grid living space…published in order of importance…
As a caveat-I do understand that while engaging in strict survival situation you don’t have to have anything more than food, water and some way to limit your body’s exposure to extreme elements–However, I am writing about off-grid, continual living, with the intent to constantly learn and improve! In other words-striving to thrive, not just survive!!!
We reside in a comparatively rural area. I say comparatively because we are by no means hell and gone from anywhere, regardless how my city friends might disagree. As always, all things, including off-gridness are as they should be, wholly relative. 😉
Back to it…
The last power pole in our area is more than half mile up the road. Save ambient light from our neighbors 1 to 5 miles away and the closest town which is 15 miles away, we are in the dark once the sun goes down.Note the picture above. It’s not a mistake of me having my thumb over the camera lens. It is my view at night outside. That small dot of light is the solar Christmas lights inside the outhouse.
Like most humans, my eyes can only adjust so far to the dark-which, thanks in most part to the evolution of fire and light use in our species, is not very much. Thus, without it, I am left fumbling about as my brain attempts to echolocate objects by my grunts as I run into them.
As a solution to this, may I present the first must have item:
A head lamp.
Same pic as above with headlamp assistance.
Here’s the list of goodness:
Simple to use, fairly cheap (under 25$), cost-effective to operate (especially if you use solar-recharged batteries), small and portable-either on your head or in a pocket.This particular model is 250 Lumens (bright), has a tilting head for placing light where it is most important, and a separate battery pack (the grey box on the back). Seems clunky-but, because if the battery pack I have bright light for many uses before having to change batteries.
Note also that because it has straps, it is able to be hung and wrapped around things if needed as well, making it a kitchen light, desk light, bedroom and chicken coop light all in one!
Although you could sub flash light for headlamp, the noteworthy difference is the ability to have directive light, hands-free. That distinction, when we first started out here alluded me until I found myself with a flashlight in my teeth, drooling on whatever project I was working on.
Two things on the list of badness:
In the summer time we, like most other places have flying insects. At dusk, after dark and early in the morning, those mostly consist of mosquitos and gnats. Because the light is sitting squarely between and above your eyes, it is a bullseye landing zone for those insects.
(I was working outside one morning, with mosquitos buzzing around my face, and one flew INTO my eye…and then bit me. I ended up with a blister ON my eye…)
Above is the extreme example, however noteworthy and strange, bugs in the face are normally just an irritant I haven’t figured out a way around.
A second and final disadvantage is trying to have conversations with a head lamp on.
What happens most often to me is I forget I’m wearing it and blind the person I want to talk to. Although it’s bad manners blinding my husband and others, as a drawback on a highly useful tool-its both temporary and easily fixable by turning it off!