There are probably enough lists on the internet that you could justify making the internet 2.0 out of these lists. With that said, I love lists for survival and homesteading. It makes it easy to check things off as you acquire them, identify items you need and take inventory to identify items that may need to be replaced.
One of the areas of preparedness that I often see overlooked are the tools that are needed to create and maintain a retreat or homestead so I thought I would put together the big list of survival and homesteading tools. Here it is:
Building and woodworking
- Carpentry hand saws — two-man cross cut, rip and a one person cross cut for felling trees, etc.
- Crosscut saw sharpening kit
- Wedges — use for splitting logs and felling trees. Traditionally metal but there are modern versions that are plastic and work well
- Hammers and Mallets — claw, sledge, ball pein, roofers, soft-faced and joiner’s mallet
- Adze — regular, bowl adze, etc.
- Hand planes — bench, jack, jointer, smooth and block with extra blades
- Chisels — beveled edge, mortise, paring and masonry
- Draw knife
- Router plane
- Hand brace with assorted bits including center bits, gimlet bits and adjustable bits
- Bevel — used for laying out and transferring angles
- Portable chainsaw or band saw lumber mill
- Come alongs — several and don’t forget extra parts
- Cargo straps — use for securing loads, squaring structures, etc.
- Gauge — used for marking marks for woodworking
- Carving tools — including several gouge sizes.
- Grind stone — manually powered round whetstone used to sharpen tools
- Bucksaw — to cut logs to size using a sawbuck
- Froe — an ‘L’ shaped tool for splitting wood along the grain, most often used for hand splitting cedar shakes
- Bow saw with extra blades
- Treadle lathe
- Screws, nails, nuts, bolts, etc. — ensure that you have multiple sizes and types in ample quantity
- Glues and adhesives
Homesteading and maintenance
- Bolt cutters — in the Army we called the bolt cutters “The Master Key” because it can open almost any padlock. There are several sizes available. I like the smaller bolt cutters for small jobs like cutting chain link fence, etc. while I like a large set of bolt cutters for locks and such.
- Axes — broad axe, felling axe, hatchet, splitting maul
- Chainsaw — at least one moderate size chainsaw with a spare bar, several spare chains, other spare parts and several gallons of bar oil
- Auger with assorted size bits
- Hand drill with chest plate
- Taps and dies — assorted standard and metric sizes
- Rope and chain — several sizes and a whole lot of it
- Paracord and twine — lots of it
- Scythes — grass and hay with replacement parts if they are available
- Hacksaw with several dozen good replacement blades
- Bailing wire and duct tape — lots and lots of bailing wire and duct tape
- Soldering iron with solder and flux
- Machetes and knives — have multiple for multiple uses
- Caulk gun with silicone, construction adhesive, etc.
- Plastic sheeting — several thicknesses and lots of it
- Hi-lift jack
- Post hole digger
- Leather and leather working tools
- Horse-drawn sickle mower
- Skidding tongs — for moving logs
- Spark plugs, fuel filters and other maintenance items for all powered equipment
- Whetstones — several sizes for use in sharpening knives, machetes and other tools
- Shovels — flat nose, round nose, trenching, ‘D’ handle, grain scoop, etc.
- Spading fork
- Files — a set of quality files for metal and wood
- Post driver
- Blacksmithing — tongs, hammer, post vise, forge (hand-cranked air blower) and anvil (railroad track or I-beam can be a substitute)
- Pliers and vise grips — several types and sizes
- Timber jack
- Portable welding set-up — oxygen and acetylene fueled welder with extra parts, a cutting torch and plenty of welding rod
- Work gloves — several pair of leather, jersey, mechanics and builders gloves
- Safety helmet
- Kevlar chaps — for use when cutting with a chain saw
- Hearing protection
- Eye protection
- Leather apron
- Welding jacket
- Welding hood
- Collars that include harnesses and hames — use for draft horses or mules to pull wagons and equipment
- Hoof rasps, picks and nippers
- Elastrator and bands — used for castrating male livestock
- Livestock ear tag applicator with assorted-size tags (colored and numbered)
- Hand shears — manually -powered shears for shearing sheep
- Milking stand — use for cows and goats
- Saddles and bridles
- Tack repair tools
- Leashes and collars
- Animal brushes
- Leads — preferably leather for durability and long life
- Manure shovel
- Hay fork
- Hay hooks
- Horse-drawn plow
Around the house
- 5 gallon buckets with lids — super useful for so many things that you might need 100 of them
- Treadle powered sewing machine — don’t forget extra machine parts, tons of needle and a whole lot of thread
- Hand-powered washing machine or wash barrel with washboard
- Wash tubs — for clothes, dishes, small children, etc.
- Clothes line
- Wood stove — used for heating and cooking
- Fire-escape ladder — for escaping a second story room through the window
- Chimney brushes — use early and often to minimize the risk of fire as a result of soot buildup in the chimney from heavy fireplace use
- Animal traps and pest mitigation — live traps, mouse/rat traps, mosquito netting, pest poisons, fly repellent, steel traps, etc.
- Manual hair clippers and barber’s scissors
- Heavy-duty garden cart with solid or foam-filled tires
- Outdoor shower rig — for decontamination or cleaning up prior to going inside
In the kitchen/ game preparation
- Grain mill (adjustable)
- Small propane cook stove with extra fuel
- Grill —gas or charcoal (Have several spare tanks of fuel and/or spare charcoal.)
- Oversize skillet — sometimes known as a chicken fryer
- Dutch oven
- Stew pot
- Pressure cooker
- Pots and pans – several different sizes and types including sheet pans, loaf pans, etc.
- Solar oven
- Options for cooking over a fire including grates, tripod cookers, cowboy grill, etc.
- Meat saws
- Skinning and butchering knives
- Game bags
- Plastic gut buckets
Fuel for tools and equipment
- Fuel stabilizer
- Propane in portable tanks
- Oxygen and acetylene
- 2-stroke mixing oil — used for small engines, dirt bikes, chainsaws, etc.
- Alcohol production (for use in an alcohol stove) — using a still or other alcohol producing device
- Coal — for blacksmith work
- Extra fuel cans — there are different colors for different fuels to help distinguish the different fuels. Always take care to ensure that the appropriate fuel goes in each piece of equipment. Mixing fuels up could be dangerous and ruin your equipment.
- Locks — high-quality exterior locks that are properly installed and strengthened
- Pad locks — have them all keyed alike for ease of use
- Intrusion detection/alarm systems — there are many options here but you could go low-tech and use things like trip wires
- Sand bags
- Barbed, concertina or razor wire
- Heavy fishing net — use to prevent entry/things from being thrown through windows and doors. Cut the fishing net to a size larger then the window or door and have on stand by to be hung on pre-installed hooks around the window or door
- Broken glass — can be set on top of solid walls. It is best set in some sort of concrete or mortar
- Exterior obstacles — fences, ditches or berms (anti-vehicle), gates, ponds (moats), thorny plants/bushes (roses), barbed wire, razor wire, concrete planter boxes, locking road cables, ballistic protection (residential and personal)
- Anti-shatter glass film — laminate the interior side of windows to avoid windows being broken
- Trip wires or trip flares
One of the best ways to ensure that you will have the things you need for the future is to keep a list and inventory of the items that you use on a regular basis. If there are things that you don’t keep, but feel you may need, keep that on a separate list and hope that you can grab them before it’s too late.
I realize that in no way, shape or form could this list be absolutely complete, but hopefully it will at least serve as a primer to start, or continue, compiling the tools you may need to build your dream and/or survive the end of the world as we know it.
— Thomas Miller
lives with his wife and three sons on an island in the Pacific. He loves fishing, woodworking, hiking, swimming, golfing, and generally anything that he can do with his family. Using his skills and knowledge acquired in the Army, honed through multiple combat deployments, and gained through the ongoing study of survival and preparedness, Miller shares his knowledge and thoughts on his blog, thepreparedninja.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter, @preparedninja.
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