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With rising economic and political instability, more individuals who are looking for an alternative way of life are finding it in off-the-grid living. The idea of cutting links with centralized utility systems, and most of the world, appeals to many. Homes on wheels, secluded homes and trailers in the middle of nowhere are becoming more common in different parts of the world. Anyone considering living off the grid, however, would be wise to first weigh its pros and cons.

Pros

A good number of people around the world are embracing this way of life because of various advantages that it presents.

1. Save on Energy Costs

Off-the-grid living requires you to find alternative energy sources such as solar or wind. You can use wood for cooking and heating if plenty is available on your property. You can spend an afternoon chopping firewood on your property and stock up a pile for winter.

2. No Utility Grid Dependency

This kind of lifestyle will grant you the freedom from depending on utility grid. The grid isn’t always dependable, and natural occurrences such as earthquakes, heavy rains and bad weather might affect services. When you have no dependency on the utility grid, your home will always be lit up. Everything will be running smoothly when there is an area blackout due to a great storm that knocks down power lines.

3. Countless Home Design Options

The notion that off-the-grid homes are always smaller is false. The truth is that you can build any kind of home that your heart desires on your off-grid property. You have countless design options, which will also be energy efficient and comfortable. You can also incorporate the modern designs for your home.

4. Exposure to Environmental Options

When you adopt this way of life, you will get valuable knowledge about your environment. You will learn to manage alternative energy systems, live more simply and learn numerous conservation options. The environmental knowledge you gain from living this life is more effective because it is practical. Compared to that which is acquired by reading books, the hands-on knowledge is simply priceless.

5. Kids Will Benefit

When you have kids and adopt the off-the-grid life, you are giving them a great opportunity to learn vital life skills that many in their generation will lack. They will learn how to accomplish more with less, appreciate nature and treat the environment with a lot of respect.

Cons

The cons of off-grid living are not many. The problems will mostly be there during the period that you are setting up and adjusting to the life.

1. High Start-up Costs

In the end you will save a lot of money, but the initial start-up costs of building the home, installing the alternative energy systems, starting a farm (if you are into it) and so on can be quite high.

2. The Requirements Challenge
Remember, not all the alternative energy options work for all lands or on already-built homes. Most of them require the right home, land or location. If you are counting on wind energy, for example, and your off-grid property isn’t at a windy location, you will have to reconsider your energy options. You might at times be forced to make adjustments in the structure of your home to accommodate your needs, or simply look elsewhere.

3. Not Easy at the Beginning

Initially, going off the grid will not be easy, and you will have to work extra hard to get everything running smoothly. You will also have to forget some comforts that you have been used to, and learn to appreciate the simple things in life the hard way. Think about chopping a mountain of firewood on a hot afternoon, weeding the garden, milking the cow for your kitchen milk, painting your house, building that chicken coop or having a next-door neighbor who is miles away.

Off-the-grid living is not for everyone, but if you feel that you would love this kind of life far away from “civilization,” then it is better to be well aware of the pros and cons that come with it.

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How to Choose The Best Winter Accessories to Stay Warm

Your winter coat and boots are essential for keeping you warm, but don’t underestimate your less visible winter gear: your accessories. These items may be less noticeable, but they go a LONG way toward keeping you warm and comfortable. Choose your winter accessories carefully, and you’ll be cozy from head to toe.

Here’s a thorough list of tips for buying every winter accessory you’ll need this season.

Buy both a base layer and an outer layer.
You need two types of winter accessories.

• Base layer: Long underwear, leggings, and socks that will keep your skin dry as well as trap your body heat.
• Outer layer: A scarf, hat, earmuffs, and gloves to keep your extremities from losing heat in the cold.

Choose the right materials.

There are two basic categories for materials: synthetics and naturals. Each one is appropriate for different situations.

For your base layer, you may want to go for a synthetic fiber like polyester. Synthetics can effectively wick moisture away from the body, so your clothes won’t become soaked with sweat – a bad idea if you want to stay warm. Some natural fibers, like merino wool, are also useful for this purpose. Thermal underwear, for example, is often made of wool and/or synthetic fibers.

For outer-layer items, you want to go with a well-insulated, midweight material. Natural materials like wool, leather, and fur are all wonderful options, and synthetics such as polyester fleece, woven acrylic, or faux fur also work well.

For gloves, leather and fleece are especially good because they can be easily wiped clean or machine-washed. For hats, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality wool, fleece, or fur.

Aim for full coverage.

Ideally you don’t want much, if any, of your skin to be exposed to the cold air. This is important for every layer – your long undies should go all the way to your ankles, your gloves should actually cover your wrists, and so on.

Headgear is especially important in this respect. Your head needs to be completely covered in order to stay warm in the cold! If your hat doesn’t cover your ears, then invest in some earmuffs.

But look for a dexterous fit.

While you do need the material to be thick enough to keep you warm, you also don’t want bulky, puffy accessories that will prevent you from being able to walk, bend your knees, reach with your arms, and use your fingers.

You especially need your gloves to be slim and dexterous so that they don’t restrict movement. Look for a stretchy but warm fabric, and of course, go with gloves instead of mittens.

Consider special features.

Lastly, consider which special features you’d appreciate in your accessories. For example, some gloves have touchscreen capability on the fingertips. Some can be converted into mittens as needed for extra warmth. For scarves, you might want to buy an infinity scarf that can also double as a shawl. The sky’s the limit, and your winter accessories should be useful for your personal needs.


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