For those of us who are on a homestead or plan to be, there is a basic list of man-powered tools that are practicallyfundamental for the lifestyle. The truly simple basics that everyone everywhere should have for typical projects and simple repairs include wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, and so on, but those kinds of items are common everywhere. Yes, those are just as useful on a homestead than in the suburbs, if not more so, but for this list, we’re excluding those since most people already have them on hand.
Here are some power-free tools that will serve a family well—yes, even in a grid-down, Armageddon-esquedoomsday scenario:
There are so many types of shovels for all kinds of projects that the sheer amount of them could make your eyes cross. Keep it simple, and just start with an all-around shovel to have on hand. For this, choose a sturdy, round point shovel.Select one with a good balance between both being lightweight to handle and having solid construction and reinforcement. Many argue wood is better than fiberglass because it can be happily repaired by a friendly Amish neighbor while the world is ending Revelation-style. Unfortunately, many who have used shovels extensively have quickly learnedthat wood must be repaired far more often than a properly made, modern specimen. Wood may be romantic, but stalled projects are not. Just get the fiberglass.
If you care about that nice shovel that you just acquired (above), then for heaven’s sake, don’t use it to pry rocks out of the ground. Get a pry bar. They are for prying.
Much like in the case of the pry bar, using appropriate tools for the job can save a lot of headaches and heartaches. Picking mattocks make a fine job of stony, rough ground that needs to be broken up considerably. It can level tough areas, lever objects, and chop tough roots. No tool does it quite like a picking mattock.
Hand Scythes and Clearing Knives
If conserving electricity or gas, leave the weed eater in the shed and break out the hand scythe or brush hook. In spaces where the use of a weed eater could be a bit dangerous, this tool can come in handy. The prep time before a project is almost nonexistent, the effectiveness is fine for all functional jobs, and the pleasing “switch, swatch, switch” of the blade in the brush can be strangely therapeutic.
A Rope Puller
This can help lend a lot of power to a hairy situation, like pulling a heavy item, animal, vehicle, or stump out of a sticky situation. Unlike a come-along, it’s only limited in distance by how much rope you have. It should be simple, light, and easy to use.
Bonus: Protective Gear
Don’t forget about getting sturdy gloves, boots, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and protective eyewear. Safety gear is not just for chainsaw use. Accidents happen, so be ready for them.
Preparedness and homesteading so often go together, and so many people beginning the homesteading lifestyle are completely new to it. Start out with the right gear for the projects you’ll face, and you’ll save yourself from a lot of headaches. Everyone knows and argues about the best chainsaw or hand drill for the everyday woodsman’s projects, but this is a list of tried-and-true tools that are often passed over in common discussion.