The 10 Best Off-Grid Living Documentaries (Numbers 2 and 8 Are My Favorites)

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Stepping back from the rat race comes in different degrees. From simply working a few hours less or living in a tiny house to building your own upclyced waste home.

From  urban stealth camping, joining an eco village or going completely off-grid in the wilderness.

The latter, the most extreme forms of turning away from our current materialistic society, are showcased in these 10 documentaries on off-grid living.


1. Off the Grid – Documentary 2012

This documentary basically addresses why more and more people are turning away from the life they lived and decide to go off-grid. It’s about criticism on society, on corporations such as Wall Mart, and goverments that are corrupt and bankrupt.



2. American Nomads BBC

American Nomads shows all kinds of people living the nomadic life in the US. It features some of the 3 million RV pensionados, of which 90% are over the age of 55 migrating over 6000 miles through the South West of the USA.

Also rodeo cowboys, travelling from rodeo to rodeo. Hobos and train hopping kids, gutterpunks or oogles calling their dogs doogles and anarchists, misfits and hippies dwelling at Slab City pass by in this intriguing BBC documentary.



3. Off the grid-Life on the Mesa

The Mesa is an off grid community in New Mexico’s desert, 25 miles from the nearest town where people live in harsh circumstances. The Mesa is populated by runaways, junkies, conspiracy theorists, burnouts, outcasts, radicals and hardcore idealists.

Despite this, or maybe because of this, The Mesa has some sort of integrity since the way its inhabitants are living is in a way so more authentic as in civilized society.

The Mesa is a so called census designated place which means it’s a populated area that is not governed by a city county or other form of municipal government. There’s no police to interfere so when something happens it’s: “Out here, we don’t call 911, we use 357. As in Magnum, friend.”  Yet, as you can see in the documentary, things seem to work out. Besides the two others I named as my favorites in the title, this one really stuck with me too.



4. Slab City

In the hottest desert in the world, the Mojave desert on a deserted navy base you’ll find Slab City. This “messy experiment in American anarchy” is a temporary autonomous zone ( TAZ ) that exists outside society and the law. Slab City is notorious for its drug use and if often referred to as a ‘one summer long festival’. Most Slab City residents leave in summer when th.e place turns into a furnace



5. Faustino’s Patagonian Retreat

A VICE documentary about Faustino Barrientos, a gaucho who has spent most of his 81 years in complete solitude and isolation on the harsh southern swath of Chile and Argentina known as Patagonia.  Vice went to visit Faustion in his house built from the remains of a shipwrecked fishing vessel and interview him about his lifestyle, the changing face of Patagonia and the gaucho lifestyle.


6. The Bosque village – Life off the grid

A small community on a wooded piece of land above lake Pazcuaro in Michoacan Mexico on which the owner is trying to create a new kinda of sustainable community that follows the principals of permaculture, biodiversity and natural farming and art.


7. Living without Money | Eco Village Kew Bridge, London

Simon on the Sofa spends a day at London’s Kew Bridge Eco Village, to meet the people who live there and find out if there is a collective vision and if that vision is one of love. Can sustainable eco villages be the way forward, can we bridge the gap with our current state of consciousness?



8. Garbage Warrior

Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary film telling the epic story of maverick architect Michael Reynolds, his crew of renegade house builders from New Mexico, and their fight to introduce radically different ways of living. A snapshot of contemporary geo-politics and an inspirational tale of triumph over bureaucracy, Garbage Warrior is above all an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world.

Imagine a home that heats itself, that provides its own water, hat grows its own food. Imagine that it needs no expensive technology, that it recycles its own waste, that it has its own power source. And now imagine that it can be built anywhere, by anyone, out of the things society throws away. (source: IMDb.)



9. Alone in the Wilderness

Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke (May 4, 1916 – April 20, 2003) was an amateur naturalist who lived alone for nearly thirty years in the mountains of Alaska in a log cabin he had constructed by hand near the shore of Twin Lakes. Proenneke hunted, fished, raised and gathered his own food, and also had supplies flown in occasionally.




10. Les Stroud Off The Grid

Les Stroud goes back to basic. Living in a pristine part of nature, this documentary showcases the process of buying property and refitting an old farm house with solar and wind power, a raincatcher and well, as well as the adjustments Les Stroud and his family had to make to adapt to this style of living.





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  • Not that impressed by the bosque guy something in his voice tone not right rather righteous yet says we’ll see often. Didnt learn a thing from him spouting elementary environmental principles. Vice far out is an excellent series agree nomads good documentary and alone in the wilderness a classic. Les Stroud good man too.

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  • Is being an anti-social hippy and pretending to be saving the world a prerequisite or are other more pragmatic and bathed people allowed to live unconventionally.

    • Absolutely not. It’s a prerequisite to drink booze and smoke weed all day long, gather and litter trash wherever you go while boasting about your respect for Mother Earth, sermonize of sharing while continuously expecting handouts yet contributing nothing but singing kumbaya and bubble-blowing.

      • This is why I settled in my own place, on the other side of the mountain.

        Hippies are in reality as – or more programmed, sick and enslaved as capitalist society.