Aloha! Off-grid in Hawaii

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Lilikoian, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. Lilikoian

    Lilikoian Monkey

    I've been looking for an online off grid community, but I'm not sure if this is the right one for me. If along the way someone knows of one that might be a better fit, I would welcome that information.

    I own 1/3 acre on the island of Hawaii. My cabin is one room, wood construction with a metal roof designed for rainwater collection. The only thing I'm literally connected to is the cable from Spectrum.
    Because I live on a volcano, there are infrastructure issues that are difficult due to actually living on lava. There's no water main, trash pick-up, gas supply or sewer within miles.

    There are actually a lot of people who live off grid on this island, but it's been hard to find them online. Anyway, here's how I live:

    Water: For drinking water, I drive about 5 miles to a county spigot and fill 5 gallon carboys.
    Shower: This is my favorite part of my off-grid setup. I live on the windward side so get plenty of rain. My roof, like all others in the area, is designed for rainwater to drain into gutters. The gutter empties into a 50 gallon barrel. A hose is connected to a pressure pump and then to an on-demand water heater. Heat is provided by a 5 gallon propane tank. It has a handheld shower attachment and is mounted on the side of my cabin. So I have an outdoor hot water shower, and my property is surrounded by jungle so I don't have to worry about needing a shower curtain :)

    I have a kitchen sink next to the water heater, so can wash dishes with hot water right there. I'll try to see if I have any pix to attach later.

    I have a one panel solar system, with two golf cart batteries. My energy use consists of one 120 volt LED light, a fan, modem, ipad, kindle, iphone, floor vac. I don't buy batteries so for flashlights I use throw-away LED kind.

    For cooking I have a cast iron two burner stove connected to a 5 gallon propane tank.

    I have no fridge or toilet.

    Okay, questions? Fire away.

    Oh - I'm here cuz it's taken 2 years to get this far and I need to improve on my current arrangement but would like to share tips and resources from/with others. I'm an older single woman, and construction is not in my wheelhouse.
    3M-TA3, Hanzo, GOG and 10 others like this.
  2. snake6264

    snake6264 Combat flip flop douchebag

    Sounds like Marine FOB
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Welcome to the monkey. Sounds like a great set up. Nice that you get lots of rain for water.
    chelloveck and Seepalaces like this.
  4. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    chelloveck likes this.
  5. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Welcome to the tree... we have several monkeys in the Islands....
    Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  6. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Ballsy chick. image234.

    If I could live off-grid in Hawaii, I probably would too.
    Motomom34, chelloveck and Lilikoian like this.
  7. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    chelloveck likes this.
  8. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja|RIP 12-25-2017

    I wonder if microgreens would grow on lava dirt...hmm...
    Welcome aboard.
    Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  9. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Welcome to the Monkey, and you have chosen the right forum. Plenty of knowledge and resources to help you expand your operation.
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Except possibly for these....
    Unless they are special Marine FOB tiki torches? :eek::eek:
    DKR and snake6264 like this.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I wonder if there is enough Heat still in the lave on you land to do Thermal Generation?
    Gator 45/70 and chelloveck like this.
  12. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I have no idea about whether used or salvage RVs are a possibility there where you are at but instead of using propane to heat your water, a solar water heater might be a better way to go. A cheap small apartment size (RV) size propane refrigerator might be the way to go for a small freezer/refrigerator. New these RV refrigerators that operate on peopane run about $900-$1200. They are not cheap. However a used one from a RV salvage yard would be much cheaper. .... just an idea .... I couldn't enjoy life much without a frig for my beer .... er, I mean food.
    Motomom34, GrayGhost and chelloveck like this.
  13. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

    Welcome to the Monkey!
    chelloveck likes this.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    You've fallen in with a bunch of deviation specialists. Your questions might be better posed in the off grid living forum to avoid some of the silliness.

    Welcome aboard.
    Gator 45/70, Lilikoian and chelloveck like this.
  15. Lilikoian

    Lilikoian Monkey

    Thanks for all the welcomes.
    I don't know what microgreens are exactly, but I doubt it. Things grow well in a wet, tropical environment, so keeping things small requires more effort than getting things to grow. Gardening is probably the one thing that IS in my wheelhouse.

    I believe there is a company trying to start geothermal power here. FYI the lava has been continuously flowing for over 30 years and shows no sign of every stopping. I've walked up to flowing lava and it's crazy hot. It moves across the surface about as quickly as molasses.

    "Bad Monkey": are you a Carl Hiassen fan? Love that book :)

    Yeah the fridge thing. Bought a used propane fridge from someone local for $1500. Ended up selling it cuz:
    1. It was too loud in my one room cabin.
    2. I can't carry the 20 gallon propane tanks, although I could have opted for propane delivery for a fee.

    I spent a LOT of time researching and trying to find a propane or solar fridge, vs. buying a marine cooler vs. building an icebox. I don't even buy ice any more cuz it melts and makes a mess. I've learned to eat and cook without refrigeration, if anybody's interested in that info or wants to point me to the right place in the forum. I used to be addicted to iced coffee and ice cold milk, but have learned to live without.

    A fridge is high on my to-do list, and is a problem that will need more thought. I tried looking for an RV propane fridge but didn't have much luck. Because there are so many off-grid peeps here, anything propane is highly desirable and would not be in the local reuse yard. Shipping from the US mainland to HI is ridiculously expensive. Also, many companies won't transport certain items here because they're hazardous or something. Ordering off Home Depot is not an option - I tried that. Hawaii's great but there's a price to pay for living here.

    But it's a thought, and thanks for that - if anybody knows a brand or manufacturer?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2017
  16. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Hi Lilikoian. Welcome to the monkey tree.

    There are a number of folk here who are into self reliance / self sufficiency, and some live, to a greater or lesser extent, the "off grid" lifestyle. It will become apparent to you, as time goes by, and as you explore old threads and posts who they are. There is an abundance of knowledge and experience in the areas that you seem to be most interested in....

    Self sufficient produce,
    Power and energy generation, storage and reticulation,
    Water supply, storage and reticulation,
    Food storage and refrigeration,
    household climate / comfort 'control'

    Not having a toilet is another issue that may need some research and rectification.

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, there are various sub forums in this site, where useful information on these topics can be gleaned. I recommend highly looking at the 'resources pages' for downloadable files on particular subjects of interest to you.

    Resources | Survival Monkey Forums
    Handbooks, Guides & How-to - The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency | Survival Monkey Forums
    Solar, Wind & Hydro Power - The Poor Mans Guide To Wind and Solar Systems | Survival Monkey Forums
    Agriculture | Survival Monkey Forums

    One possible solution to the toilet situation is a composting toilet. There are many options for composting toilets...some high tech ones that are reliant on electricity grid connection...there are other more low tech, though no less satisfactory off grid solutions.
    This is a free download, even though a 2nd Edition, it is still pretty useful inspiration. A Turd Edition (3rd) is available, but I haven't sourced a free download of that just yet.

    Note that this is an experimental system, that may not be an approved system in your local government area. It does explain the process of composting very well.

    Regards a flashlight with non rechargeable batteries, I have, and use a modest sized solar shed light which I find very useful for that is a 10LED sensor activated light that has an option for manually initiated continuous light.

    [​IMG] the light unit is readily detachable from the solar collector unit, and makes a serviceable flashlight, and it will provide sufficient close in light for comfortable reading, or a more diffused light for getting around a room without tripping over things. It is probably less useful as a long distance spotlight. Similar products are likely to be available from most big box hardware stores like Lowes and Home Hardware and similar big box electrical supply discounters. Having one of those in the house will save on replacing non rechargeable batteries.

    Here are a couple of You Tube clips for inspiration...I do not necessarily endorse any particular product.

    I usually recommend folks take some time to visit the site's Code of Conduct, but I sense that you are very unlikely to fall foul of it.

    Cheers and welcome from chello, the Aussie fellow.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
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  17. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    If I may ask, how much rain catchment area do you have? I imagine Hawaii gets its fair share of rain, so you are probably do not have to store too much?

    Here in Cambodia, we have six months, basically, of rainy season. Then, we have another six months, plus or minus, of very dry season. I am still in the process of trying to add enough storage at the farm. Six months of water is a LOT of water to store. My next project, in fact, will be adding gutters and storage to the barn we constructed a few months back. It will provide about 72 m² of additional rain catchment area.
  18. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey Site Supporter

    Welcome from the great State of Jefferson.
    chelloveck likes this.
  19. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

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  20. Lilikoian

    Lilikoian Monkey

    Thanks SO much, chello, for all of the thought and help :)
    I LOVE the bush toilet YouTube video! I will definitely be watching that a few more times. What people generally do here is find a lava tube (a hole in the lava) and build an outhouse over it, so waste goes down. It took a long time but I finally found a lava tube on my property. The problem is that the place where the tube is, is visible from the road, and an outhouse would be unsightly. Another problem is that I need to find/pay someone to build it; since I have yet to find someone local who is trustworthy, I have deferred this option.

    But the bush toilet looks like something even I could do.

    It is surprisingly easy to not have a flush toilet, as no doubt many of you know.
    Gator 45/70 and chelloveck like this.
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