Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Laura Ingalls didn’t have a power drill, but I bet you her life would have been a lot easier if she did. Listen, your homestead isn’t going to collapse and crumble without having every single one of the tools on the list—at least not right away.
But over time as weather wears on your roof and rain mucks up your roads, you are certainly going to need some reinforcement. The following list of homestead tools includes just about everything you will need.
Homesteading isn’t a process that happens overnight. Purchase these homestead tools as you need them until you have everything covered. Start taking stock now and begin gathering the essentials.
To make it simpler, I broke the list into four sections: everyday tools, emergency tools, agriculture tools, and luxury tools.
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1. Axe – We all know that an axe is used to chop wood, but did you know that an axe is also really handy with ice? If you live in a cold climate, here is a great multipurpose tool for you.
2. Machete – A machete serves a multitude of purposes, including self-defense, hacking through thick brush, or chopping through wood.
3. Hammer – In the suburbs you get a key to your house; off the grid you get a hammer to your homestead. Build everything up and tear everything down with your hammer.
4. Set of Pliers – Remove rusty nails, bend chain-link for a fence, and handle electrical wire with your handy dandy pliers that will come in use more than you think.
5. Wrench – When there’s a hiccup with your vehicle, a loose bolt on your lawnmower or your kid’s bike needs a fix—that’s what your wrench is for.
6. Electric Drill – A battery-powered drill is especially useful when building with dense wood or awkward angles which a hammer just can’t handle.
7. Level – Whether you’re installing shelves or cutting wood, having evenly leveled surfaces will save you a huge headache in the future.
8. Circular Saw – If you’re going to be doing a lot of woodworking yourself, a circular saw is a safe and precise method to perfectly cut and trim timber.
9. Chainsaw – Having one of these battery-powered beasts that can cut wood for winter fires, prep property for building, and clear paths after a nasty windstorm is very convenient.
10. Tape Measure – How can you build anything without a tape measure? Count your steps, perhaps?
11. Push Broom – Leaving nails or bits of glass lying around is a disaster waiting to happen. Have a push broom around for quick and easy clean up.
12. Round Point Shovel – A round point shovel is so versatile. Use it to clean up a construction site, dig ditches for burning, or plant crops in the field.
13. Hoist – Anytime you build something with metal bars or construct a two-story structure, a stable hoist will not only make your job easier but will decrease the risk of accidents.
14. Polypropylene Rope – Go wild with the sturdiest rope you’ll ever own. So secure that you could propel down a mountain and so buoyant that you could tow a boat!
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15. Buckets – You can never have too many buckets, am I right? Store your tools, transport water, fill with compost, or fill with beer.
16. Spotlight – In case your electricity goes out or you just want to keep working when the sun goes down, a super bright LED camping light will allow you carry on into the night.
17. Hand Saw – A good ole hand saw can be used for everyday tasks like clearing brush, preparing kindling for firewood, tackling some DIY woodworking projects, and building muscle.
18. Crowbar – Crowbars are commonly used for masonry, and for food reason: they are extremely effective at lifting heavy objects. And yes, you could use them to help break through doors as well.
19. All-Purpose Knife – It’s only a matter of time before you become so country that there is always a knife on your hip for gutting fish, cutting cords, and protecting yourself against whatever lives in the woods.
20. Hatchet – A hatchet is arguably an even more versatile tool than a knife in terms of the sheer number of applications it can handle. You can use a hatchet for self-defense, hacking limbs off trees, chopping down smaller sized trees, or splitting kindling. Some hatchets even come with a hammer on the opposite end, doubling their effectiveness.
21. Outdoor Extension Cord – Unfortunately, electrical outlets don’t grow on trees. You’re going to need an extension cord for most outdoor projects.
22. Wagon – Yes, your kids are going to love having a wagon around to give each other joy rides. You’re also going to love not busting your back to transport heavy material.
23. Wheelbarrow – While a wagon is best used for super heavy materials, a wheelbarrow is convenient when clearing brush or piles of dirt.
24. Brush Hook – A brush hook is a very effective tool for clearing brush and weeds, similar to the scythes used in ancient times. Modern-day brush hooks have a curved blade, which makes them more useful than a machete for hacking away brush and bushes. Unlike weed eaters, they don’t require gas either.
25. Drum – No, not the musical kind; the industrial kind. You can use durable drums made from polyethylene for practically anything: compost, waste, storage, and more.
26. Barrel – Old school metal barrels remain incredibly useful for storage purposes. Better yet is how easy they are to move around: simply lay them down on their side gently, then roll them to where they need to go.
27. Electric Sander – Just about every woodworking project involving freshly cut and chopped wood will require a good sanding to get rid of splinters and give a nice polished shine.
28. Adjustable Ladder – Invest in an adjustable, sturdy ladder that will make everything from cleaning cutters to installing light fixtures a cinch.
29. Duct Tape – It’s waterproof, it’s durable, it’s a homesteader’s best friend. Temporarily block a leaking pipe or permanently repair a broken fishing pole—it’s magic.
30. Nail Gun – Get the sturdiest build by using a heavy-duty power tool like this nail gun. Once those nails go in, they are never coming out.
31. Power Blower – Clean out those gutters, blow away the snow and fulfill every grown man’s dream of having their own power blower.
32. Metal Saw – Build a metal gate for your livestock or reinforce an existing structure with perfectly cut metal bars and rods–just prepare yourself for the most unpleasant noise.
33. Safety Glasses – Us homesteaders are constantly sawing something, patching something, or ripping something down–all of which are best done wearing safety glasses.
34. Leather Work Gloves – Save yourself a trip to the ER with some leather work gloves. The thick material is enough to keep your fingers safe from cuts while flexible enough to work.
35. Ear Muffs – Years of lawnmowers, power blowers, and chain saws can take their toll on your hearing if you don’t protect those ears!
36. Headlamp – Use a headlamp while working with small screws, in tight spaces, or in the dark to get the job done more efficiently.
37. Solar Powered Flashlight – Never pick up your flashlight only to discover the batteries have run out again. This solar-powered flashlight is always ready for a power outage or deep pantry dive.
Better safe than sorry…
38. Gas-Powered Generator – When looking for the right generator, portability is key! Get a generator with wheels so no matter where you are when the electricity is down, your generator can roll in to save the day.
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39. Car Jack – Flat tires are as certain as the sunset. Learning how to use a car jack is really simple and totally necessary.
40. Snow Shovel – Living in snow prone areas? It’s always a good idea to have one snow shovel in your vehicle and one in your home to dig yourself out of some powdery situations.
41. Fire Extinguisher – When we build our homes out of wood, a fire extinguisher is non-negotiable. Store a couple around your property for extra assurance.
42. Rake – An adjustable rake head makes it adaptable to handle different natural materials on hard and soft surfaces.
43. Garden Shears – Pruning your plants and trimming your trees will keep your crops healthy and your belly happy.
44. Extendable Hose – Don’t bother wrestling with a finicky hose that gets tangled and knotted; an extendable, flexible hose is the way to go.
45. Push Lawn Mower – Depending on the size of your property, consider a push lawn mower that is environmentally friendly and will give you a little bit of a workout.
Hey, if you’ve got the budget, why not?
46. Solar Panels – Solar energy can be plentiful in the right geographical areas. Cut down on gasoline and electricity with environmentally friendly energy from the sun.
47. Wind Turbine – How cool would it be to own a wind turbine? Harness the power of the wind with the surprisingly easy-to-set-up turbine to help you go green.
48. Saw Mill – Cut down an entire tree, feed it right through the sawmill, and now you have perfectly cut, perfectly symmetrical lumber.
49. 4-Wheel ATV – The most fun tool you could ever own is an ATV. Reach isolated areas to farm, traverse unstable ground after a storm and tow heavy loads with ease.
50. Tractor – When you have land to be cleared, livestock to be fed, and construction projects to take on, a tractor will feel like a lifesaver.
If you’re not sure about something on this list, go with the age-old saying, “It is better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it.” With a fully stocked work shed at your fingertips, there won’t be a single problem you can’t solve.
Off the grid living is being able to rely on your own two hands to build a sustainable life for you and your family. Take pride in learning how to use a nail gun and never skip an opportunity to teach your kids how to repair a tire. With the right tools and a little curiosity, you can build the homestead of your dreams.
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hillbilly girl says
Hand saws (non-electric) come in different types. You need at least one of each type. Familiarize yourself with each type and how to use them. Using the right saw for the job makes job much easier and faster.
A wood plain, nails, screws, sand paper of different grades. Post hole digger.
A brace with an assortment of bits!
secaz tumblr says
And here comes the real challenge building a sustainable homestead on a budget is everyone’s dream, right?
Well said! Some people don’t know the difference especially the bone saw meat saw.
Go to the places like Home Depot,Lowes ect…..& look in odd & end lumber @ cheap price, & then there is Construction sites that let’s you go threw there garbage pile & clean it up for them for nothing.
Rhonda Stroud says
You left out a hoe.
A level always comes in handy, a plumb Bob square pants
Very obvious this list is made from the office by a hopeful person with little real world work time. The idea that you will need to have a workout with tools is hilarious. Living off grid as some people I know do, you need real tools not just some nice to have pretty gadgets that break. Battery powered tools are nice to have just mostly not survivable/repairable in an off grid long term situation. Some of the list is good with major missing information. A basic tool kit for wood working , a mechanics tool kit for repairs to truck, tractors, chainsaw etc. basic gardening tools.
The best and most important tool is between your ears, The ability to be flexible adaptable and carry on to get the job done are more critical than the particular tool you have. Being able to do your work SAFELY is very important most times you you will be working alone away from help so you may be hurting a long time before someone comes by to help. Look to the tools that were around before electricity and then adapt some of the new tools like chainsaw,tractor come-along to your needs.
Agreed. I was humoring the writer until “Solar Flashlight”… That’s the worst gimmick there is.
I collect and use many man powered tools that are all over 100 years old. I want to make sure that my family knows how to survive when you cant buy gas or have means to go anywhere. I even teach the use of these tools during tourism events on my farm.
Kris Weiss says
I agree. Electric tools is not off the grid. Look to the Amish for true off the grid living.
Redneck Viking says
Yup, they do right.
D. Blair says
Very well said.
Michael Montgomery says
I concur. Yuppie Life. What to do when the listed creature comforts wear out, break, or stop working? Then you get down to your REAL list.
You have no clue
There are many more tools that are needed, high lift jack is essential, pitch fork, tiller, hoe, grubbing hoe, yo-yo, sythe, come along, chain, files, pry bars, cutting torch, welder, forge, hammers, tongs, heavy gloves, tire press, cross-cut saw and so on. I would visit a home stead, ranch or 2 acre hobby farm before coming up with such a incomplete list, but, this is the age of half ass journalism!!!
having been in business for a few decades I have hired people who tell me they are skilled but I know different when I see them use tools. I would assume that during a crisis of any kind we will have periods with no power. I would add several things such as a crosscut and rip saw. a brace and bits. a framers square and most of all files and stones to keep these tools sharp. having a tool or a sharp tool I choose a sharp tool. knowing how to use and sharpen these tools could make the difference with the amount of energy expended to tip the scale to the survive side.
My dad had his “tool shed”. It couldn’t have been more than 4’x4′, and 7′ high. In that shed he said “is every tool a man needs to take care of living”. there wasn’t an motor or engine that man couldn’t fix, a cabinet or piece of furniture he couldn’t build, a veggie garden or landscape he couldn’t plant, and every tool he needed was neatly organized in that tiny shed. If you’re looking for luxury, you really shouldn’t be homesteading or trying to survive on your own off the grid.
Great and exhaustive list! Although it lacks several items, it’s best to have proper training on how to use the tools mentioned on the list. Homesteading is no easy task.
Nice beginners list, too many items that require battery power. I like protecting the inverter from an EMP burst because I can use solar, wind or generators for some power generation.
Most important items: Use your head, learn how to use “pioneer” hand tools, learn how to care for these tools including how to sharpen saw blades and have hard copies of your important information.
One item completely missing is important papers. Birth certificate, passport, financial documents, will, etc. will be helpful when/if things get put back in some sort of order.
My question is, is this an “off-grid” tool list or an out-in-the-country tool list? To me, “off-grid” means ZERO electrical power. Because I will tell you this, once power lines go down, you have 8 -12 hours MAX of reserved battery power. That means no extension cords, no batteries, etc. That means, as others have already stated, using a brace, a cross-cut saw or gas powered chainsaw. Using hand saws instead of circular saws. Using a sanding block instead of electric sander, a push broom &/or rake (which you have listed) instead of a power blower, hammer & nails instead of an electric drill. For the most part, your list is good, just ditch the power tools & replace with hand tools. Power tools are the optional/nice to have tools.
Redneck Viking says
Might invest in a cartridge reloader, bulk ammo, and gun powder for each caliber. Keep several of the 20lbs propane cans full and some fire bricks for a small forge. You never know.
Don Streeter says
Agree that this list is for a back yard person who has power all the time. Made by someone that is a cubical off grid dreamer. Want a test shut off the power for a couple of weeks and see what is still working at the end, might be an ah ha moment. Having and maintaining your tools is of most important and a functioning brain is very handy along with a body that is in shape for manual labour not the local gym/beach. Most battery powered tools are ok for short term but don’t last very long and need plug in power to recharge. Current bushes are scarce and usually in a bad spot. Get as much experience as possible in as many jobs as possible as YOU are the resident expert like it or not the person in the mirror is the wearing many hats and knowledge may just save your or your families lives. Books are an off line treasure trove.