Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to

Home Forums General Discussion If going or already are off grid what tools would you own

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #62812

    Your toolbox would be what? I would start with some basic socket sets,screwdrivers, hammers and some very durable knives for the game processing Id be doing.


    I think my tool box would have to be more along the lines of a machinist or blacksmiths toolbox so that I could fabricate my own tools as I needed them. The kit would include several hammers, both blacksmiths and carpenters, blacksmiths tongs and a forge, and a tap and die set from 4-40 right up to 1/2-12, a full set of drills at least up to 1/2″ plus various saws both wood and metal cutting etc. Needless to say part of the preparations would include learning how to make tools from scratch. Several measuring tools ranging from a 100′ steel tape to a carpenters 25′ roll up tape plus several calipers, micrometers and verniers. A set of chisels, gouges and wood turning tools.

    If there is no limitation on weight, quantity or types, a full set of logging tools and the requisite arbors with pillow block bearings and circular saw blades etc. to set up a saw mill.

    Buildings can be built using techniques where no screws nails or other metal fasterners are used. An adze, broad ax and trunnion auger is required. so would a set of chisels for cutting nortises and tenon joints.

    You can build a crude horse driven or water wheel powered wooden lathe and with the wooden lathe you can then build a better metal turning lathe.

    For ideas just visit any farm museum to see how many different tools can be made in wood and still do a good job. I would not refuse a wrench or socket set but on what would you use it off grid and out in the boonies?

    Such tools are best for cannibalizing the remnants of the mechanized petroleum age provided you can adapt the machinery to hand or animal power.

    Swede saws and axes are required for felling trees. Block and tackle for lifting and pulling. A spud for debarking and smaller axes and saws for nothcing logs. Lots of various size and types of files ranging from delicate diamond files to massive Mill and basterad cut files for rough work. Knives would be good But I suspect I would end up making my own as I do at present.

    Either that; or be able to bring my existing collection of knives and tools along. Then I would be set for life. <smile>


    I think I would also include heavy chains or cables and ropes of various sizes. some type of grinder bench or angel type, axes hatchets..When we moved off the grid we had a semi trailer load of stuff just tools and log splitters portable gas welder, cutting torches..And yes all of my blacksmithing tools and forge.


    I am off grid in a desert environment and this is what I needed when I got here.

    A DC water pump, Water barrels or storage, a small generator to run power tools, I have 180 solar watts from ebay LOTUS Panels I kept bidding on till I got them cheap. Shade structure if you are in the desert. Homemade composting toilet…(5 gallon bucket and peat moss/wood shavings), hammers, shovels, netflix and a radio with satellite. The last two are to keep you sane when it gets to quiet. I do not use a TV but the computer.


    Im thinking I would add a generator of some kind to the list of tools. And for my own need some reference books for tasks which may come up….best tool is the knowledge of what to do.


    The tools I have, so far, are to repair everything I have including my vehicles up to a point. I am purchasing housebuilding tools, but not for a primitive house.

    I purchased structural lumber from surplus building a different structure at a ranch auction. It is like a garage sale, only the materials are more substantial.

    I plan on post-and-beam construction method, using the structural lumber I purchased at the auction because that method uses the least amount of lumber. Other than what I already have, I will continue to purchase surplus materials.

    I do plan on building windows in place.

    I still need an augur for the post and pier foundation.

    I need a small well-drilling outfit for the well. Otherwise it is a walk to the largest spring.

    I plan a grey water system, as well as a pressurized water system in a small house no larger than 24 x 32 ‘ and very likely smaller.

    I have a propane furnace that makes amps of electrical power: the Midnight Sun.

    I do have a small generator to recharge battery-powered tools and operate an air compressor, if necessary, for a nailer. I am not sure I want to have air tools.

    I have car tools, building tools (except a large hand drill and perhaps a battery powered reversable drill), plumbing tools, electrical tools I have used to install my solar power system and my portable General Class amateur radio station.

    I have satellite dishes for satellite internet.


    In an off grid situation I am not so sure about bringing along a lot of stuff that was totally dependent on fuel from the ‘grid’ or outside suppliers. Generators of a size able to power big saws compressors and winches will empy your typical 5 Gallon jerry can in about a day. Unless you have a big truck like the contractors use with a 100 or 200 gallon tank in the back; you are going to be shuttling back and forth with jerry cans on a regular basis. Or else you have scheduled deliveries by a tanker truck at $500 – %1000 a pop. Ouch!!

    You can do a lot with hand powered ratchet come-alongs, hydraulic pumped by hand power pacs. It may be slower but does not requre anything but modest muscle power. I have a 4 ton Hydraulic power pack with a variety of cylinders. One addition I want is a tensioner used for pulling together instead of pushing apart. Its great to use for tensioning fencing or pulling a log into place that final few inches. Also great for straightening out vehicle frames after you stuffed into a deep ravine.<smile>

    I am not opposed to fuel burning engines as such but I would want to limit the fuel burn to less than one trip load per month. That is, assuming I could afford it.

    With hand operated tools I can build other stuff to harness a horse or mule for example. This would greatly magnify my own muscle power while still keeping me free of the very thing I went off grid to avoid.


    I was a carpenter/multi-tradesman foreman and had a wide variety of tools. For the initial base house, I used a generator efficiently. After the solar electric system was in, the generator became backup and for equalization of the batteries. I bought a Bosch 22.5 lb. demolition hammer with compactor face for helping compact dirt into tires, and more sledge hammers. I ended up going through two Harbor Freight cement mixers. One is still left. The addition is Earthship/frame hybrid, and the Earthship outbuilding was last and connected in a Y to the addition attached to the house and up 3′. I have added a better chain saw and hydraulic hand wood splitter for my wood stoves used as backup heat.

    All the power equipment works well off the solar electric power system, when I use them for household and hobby work. The garage addition and 10×12 framed storage shed hold all of the tools. The storage part of the Earthship and the shed also contain a year’s supply of food. The gardens in the Earthship operate year around for vegetables. So in addition to tools for nearly all trades, there are garden tools.


    Think about it, what did the settlers in the new world need. Back then they didn’t have a lot of metal. They did have some metal and metal scraps to work with. They made their own tools using sand forge and wood and leather bellows. Plows, hammers, rings, chisels, knives, axes, froe, adze, hoes, shovels. They would have needed tools for home building, gardening, wood working and maybe working animals. Today in our situation scrap metal is plentiful.

    Build Metal Work Shop from Scrap This author has 7 books related to building a home metal workshop. I bought the first one and really liked it.

    No one can afford to go out and buy a hardware store, so we just collect as we need them. I’d say tools for small engine repair would be a great investment. Basic tools for woodworking and carpentry and forestry. Simple electrical working tools. Basic gardening tools. A generator. A small tractor. Flat bed trailers. If in a desert you might benifit from earth working tools more than forresty tools.


    I read a comment where the author said if we are compelled to reduce our oil consumption we may end up going back to a 1920’s level of technlogy because this is all our energy reserves will support.

    Should that happen we would become a society that is very reliant on salvage, repair and improvised cobbling to get by.

    Considering how well some people lived back then this may or may not be a hardship. Moguitar would probably suffer from lack of loud notes but I would enjoy the peace and quiet while reading a dead tree edition of some book.

    The fact is society existed quite comfortably for centuries before electricity and oil consumption became widespread.

    Someone I know always uses this tag line

    “There is nothing new under the sun but a lot of old things we know nothing about”

    How true.

    Low tech Magazine has a wealth of articles dealing with technology of yore. Check it out before you try to reinvent a wheel. Lots of great idea. Even more so when you drill down a couple of layers via the links. Who would have thought the Romans served iced drinks at their orgies or had central heating for winter.


    I forgot to mention welding/cutting tools and plumbing tools above. Basically everything my dad had on the farm growing up even though he wasn’t off grid. Small farmers pretty much DIY everything.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.