Updated: Aug 30
There is a tendency to romanticize what life is like on a homestead. And while it is a simpler life by far, it also requires hard work, skills, knowledge, and a few specific tools that you might not need outside of homestead life. When starting a homestead it is easy to get caught up in wondering just what tools you really need to live a minimalistic life. So, with that in mind, today’s article will cover the essential supplies every homestead needs whether you live off-grid or in an urban environment. The good news is that most of them can be found at your local feed or hardware store and sometimes even the dollar store. For convenient reference, I’ve broken them down by the different areas of the homestead.
The Homestead Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of your homestead. From food prep and cooking to canning and food preservation you’ll be spending countless hours in the kitchen. One of the best ways to cut down your time is to make sure you have the right tool for every job. If your homestead is off of the grid you may also need some old-fashioned “manual” versions of your basic kitchen items.
Cast Iron Cookware
If you aren’t familiar with cast iron cooking, you will be. I’d argue that my cast iron is my versatile and essential cookware. Especially since it can be used stovetop or over or directly in the fire.
Bread and Baking Pans
The quintessential homestead project, making homemade bread. If you are connected to reliable power you could opt for a bread maker but if energy needs to be saved for more essential items opt for a solid set of baking pans.
A Good Blender
No other tool gets the job done when it comes to pesto, baby food, great smoothies, or my favorite, margaritas.
A good food processor is indispensable on the homestead. From chopping herbs and veggies to making a perfect pie crust, no kitchen, homestead or not should be without one.
Hand Crank Egg Beater
If you live on the grid, by all means, buy a good electric mixer. But if your homestead lacks reliable power then this old-fashioned tool will be your best friend with every recipe you make. Particularly if you’re raising chickens. That's a lot of eggs to beat by hand!
This is one of those tools that has a million uses. Beyond mixing cake and cookie batter a stand mixer with the right attachments can make pasta, sausage, and even ice cream.
The ability to can food is an essential homesteading skill, a job made considerably easier by simply having the right tools.
Water Bath Canner
Aforementioned Pressure Cooker or Pressure Canner
Canning Jars, Lids & Bands
A Good Ladle
Pressure Cooker or InstaPot
An old fashion pressure cooker is needed for canning or if you have stable power, an InstaPot can do the same job while speeding up cooking times on savory soups and stews.
Mortar and Pestle
There’s no better tool for grinding herbs and spices from the garden for storage than a mortar and pestle. They can also come in handy when making bath and body products. Just don’t use the same one.
A vacuum packer makes food preservation and storage a cinch. From freezing foods in flat uniform packaging to storing dehydrated or freeze-dried goods with ease a vacuum packer will be worth its weight in gold by the end of the harvest season.
Dehydrator or Freeze Dryer
One of the best ways to preserve that bountiful harvest is dehydration or freeze-drying. A dehydrator is the best tool to make fruit leather and other healthy snacks and if your egg production exceeds your dietary requirements freeze-drying is the perfect answer to storing those eggs indefinitely.
Part of the goal of every homestead is to have enough food on hand to feed a family year-round. To increase your storage capacity while cutting the bills, a chest freezer uses less energy than an upright freezer does.
Hand Crank Coffee Grinder
An off-grid essential to be sure. After all, a good cup of coffee starts with freshly ground beans, and not having electricity is no excuse for bad coffee.
Particularly for coffee loves who are off-grid, the coffee press is essential for a fresh cup o’ joe to get the morning started.
Essential to life on a homestead is the reduce, reuse, recycle motto. Food scraps turned compost give new life to gardens so keeping a compost bin in the kitchen is a good place to start.
If you gain your power from off-grid sources like solar, a solar oven is indispensable for baking projects. Even on-grid homesteads can benefit from one of these though.
This may not be a requirement for every single homestead, but if you raise livestock, or hunt you're going to want a meat grinder to simplify the processing of animals particularly if you live in a rural area where getting to a butcher is a hassle.
The Homestead Garden
No homestead would be complete without a garden to proved food and even medicinals for the family. Make sure that your garden get's off to a good start with these important tools.
You’ll need tools for turning soil, and tending your land but unless your garden covers acres just the basics will do.
If you’re just starting out you will no doubt spend countless hours pouring over beautiful seed catalogs, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it you’ll be able to collect the seeds from each year's harvest so that you never have to buy your families favorites again.
Keeping your hands protected is paramount to a happy life in the garden. From keeping soil from under your nails to protecting your tender digits from prickly thorns a good pair of gardening gloves are a must.
Nothing simplifies the task of hauling dirt, soil, and other heavy garden supplies quite the way a wheelbarrow does.
Garden Hose and Watering Cans
Water is essential for your garden so make sure you plan ahead for how you are going to water your crops.
If your garden is on a large-scale plot you may find that a rototiller is necessary to keep your grounds turned.
From collecting weeds to moving earth and even harvesting produce a bucket is always a good thing to have in your gardening kit.
The Homestead Barn and Livestock
Most homesteads will have some form of livestock. It can vary from tiny quail to chickens or turkeys all the way up to goats, horses, and cattle but no matter what kind of furred or feathered friends you have you'll need some basics to keep them happy, healthy, and comfy.
Again with the buckets. From carrying feed to makeshift water tanks and storing equipment the 5-gallon bucket is an invaluable multi-purpose tool on any homestead.
Waterers and Feeders
All that livestock equals mouths to feed, make sure you are set up to handle the task at hand.
Coops and Pens
The first thing you’ll need before bringing livestock to the homestead is a safe place to house your animals tho keep them cozy comfy and safe from predators.
Heat Lamps and Brooding Supplies
If your homestead will include a flock you’ll need all the supplies to start baby chicks off right.
No matter what type of livestock you bring to your homestead hay will be needed whether it’s for bedding or feed, you’ll need to have this essential on hand at all times.
Animal Crates and Live Traps
Relocating pesky pests is a common job on the homestead. From raccoons who think the garden is a buffet to rats and other critters, a live trap is essential to getting the job done safely. If you have small pets or small livestock a crate is the tool you want when transporting to the vet or just a new location.
If you have livestock this is a great first aid item to spray on open wounds and sores to prevent infection until a vet can check your animal.
Hoof Care Supplies
If you have goats, horses, cattle, or anything with hooves they need special care so make sure to keep all of the right supplies on hand.
Styptic powder is an antiseptic clotting agent that is most often used in pet grooming on dogs, cats, and birds but it’s a good product to keep on hand for minor scuffs and cuts.
An essential if you have dairy crowns or goats.
Homestead First Aid Kit
If your homestead is off the grid and out in the wilderness remember that a trip to the hospital will take time. You’ll want need to keep all basic medical supplies fully stocked at all times.
Gauze pads and wraps
Ace Bandages in multiple sizes
Burn cream (or an Aloe plant)
An Epipen if anyone in your home has severe allergies
OTC pain reliever
OTC Antacids (or baking soda)
OTC Diarrhea meds
Homesteading Tools & Equipment
Now it's time to dive into some of the bigger items a homestead needs. Most tools can be used for multiple purposes and on a homestead it's likely you'll find at least one "off label" use for every tool in the shed.
Drills & Bits
Post Hole Digger
This is another one of those tools that you could do the job without, but if you have to set, more or repair a lot of fences you really don’t want to be doing it with a shovel. Save your back and invest in a post-hole digger.
Fence Post Driver
Just like the post hole digger, you could set posts without it, but it’s going to suck a lot more.
You’ll need these every time you put up fencing or when tying plants in the garden. They’ll also be needed if you have any basic electrical work to do.
The simple and efficient way to tighten and loosen bolts. Pliers could be used for the same job, but the socket wrench will save you valuable time and energy.
Possibly one of the most important pieces of equipment on a homestead. From felling trees to cutting firewood it will clock more hours than any other tool in the shed.
Also known as a Sawzall, this tool lives up to its name and really will saw through anything. This is my go-to tool whenever I have a pallet project because nothing dismantles them quicker or cleaner than a reciprocating saw.
You’ll want to keep a couple of different sizes on hand for cutting trees and splitting wood.
Useful for wood splitting, breaking up rocks, or even pounding in fence posts in a pinch. Plus you'll totally want one if there is any demolition that will need to be done.
Blade Sharpener and Sharpening Puck
All those tools won't do you any good if they aren't sharp when you go to use them
The average home that relies on a fireplace for heat uses 3 cords of wood per year. That’s an awful lot to cut by hand.
Other Essential Equipment
Every day on a homestead will present new challenges and a host of chores that need to be completed. The items on this list won't be needed for every homestead but as you read through you'll be able to determine which ones will make you life easier.
This one is first on the list because you should have a fire extinguisher in every home, not just on a homestead.
A firewood sling is essential if you rely on wood heat. Trust me, your back will thank you.
An extendible ladder will come in handy more times than you can count. From making roof repairs to getting kitties out of trees you're gonna need one of these continuously.
I’m not even sure there is enough space to list all of the uses for a standard old pocket knife. From cutting rope to removing splinters, you should have a pocket knife on you at all times.
Ratchet Tie Down Traps
There’s no better way to tie down loads whether you’re hauling on your truck, utility cart, or in a tractor bucket a ratcheting strap is always your friend.
Flash Lights and Headlamps
Work on the homestead doesn’t end at sunset. Make sure that you have plenty of light on hand to help you get the job done no matter the time of day or night.
Rope and Bailing Wire
Whether it’s for making leads for livestock, tying down cumbersome loads, or rope, twine, and baling wire have a million homestead uses.
If you’re going to live off-grid, you’re going to need power, and one of the best ways to get it is with solar.
Especially on a homestead where power can be unreliable, having a backup generator can help keep things moving.
This is another one of those tools that every home needs from time to time but on a homestead where work needs to get done away from the house or workshop an extension cord is key.
Sewing is a lost art, but many homesteaders myself included love to spend hours at it. True self-reliance will require the ability to mend and repair your own clothes even if you don’t want to tackle dress-making right away. If a sewing machine simply isn’t for you, I at least encourage you to have a well-stocked sewing kit for buttons and basic repairs.
Oil Lamps and Candles
The farther you get from civilization the less predictable your power gets. You should always have lamps and candles on hand for power outage emergencies.
Off-grid life means that in an emergency an old fashion radio may be the only way you can get news and information.
This one is essential for a homestead of any size. Ours is 36 acres and I can’t imagine how we would manage it without an ATV. It’s the perfect vehicle to get back in the woods to cull beetle kill pine and handle fire mitigation. Combined with the next item on the list it will save you a lot of hours on the homestead.
A tow-behind utility cart for your ATV is a must-have. From hauling tools to water and wood a good utility cart will get the job done.
I’ve put this one last on the list because I’m aware that not everyone is comfortable with guns. But the truth is, particularly if you have livestock, or live in a predator heavy environment a firearm is the only way to protect your animals and your family.
A Well-Stocked Homestead
As you can see by the list, the simple life isn’t quite that simple. Or at least it isn’t if you don’t have the right tools and equipment. But it is as rewarding as it is challenging. If you’re embarking on a homesteading adventure of your own, don’t panic if you don’t have everything on the list. The good news is they are all readily available and some of the larger items may even be borrowable from friends, family, or neighbors. We've compiled all of our favorites here on Amazon for your convenience. The important part is to take stock of what you do have and fill in the gaps as you go along. If you’re already a homesteading pro, what is your most essential item? Have I left anything off the list? Tell us about it in the comments, and until next time,