Living off the land on a homestead farm isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of hard work and ingenuity, plus all the right tools to make your job easier. Some homesteaders go all-out and invest in state-of-the-art tools for running their homestead farms. Others choose a more traditional route, sticking with classic hand tools more common to old-time homesteads.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you have all the equipment you need for your homestead farm. We’ve compiled this helpful list of homestead farm gear you simply can’t do without (and probably shouldn’t try).
You can always add to your homestead farm equipment as you expand and grow. For now, these are the essentials.
Chainsaws make homestead farming easier
You can’t go wrong when investing in a quality chainsaw for your homestead farm. Whether you use it for cutting up firewood or for clearing fallen trees to expand your pasture, chainsaws make the hard work easier.
You want to make sure you choose the right size chainsaw for your homestead farm. A standard short saw with a 12-to-14-inch blade is ideal for felling small trees, limbing, and pruning. If you anticipate needing to clear larger trees or bucking logs, then you’ll want to go with a 22-inch blade. Think you might need to do both? You probably should buy more than one chainsaw and blades.
Having an ax as a non-powered backup can’t hurt in case you ever run out of gasoline for your chainsaw. However, we don’t recommend relying only on this old-fashioned hand tool for big jobs. You’ll get tired and achy in a hurry if you cut up trees by hand.
How to maintain your chainsaw
One of the best things you can do to extend the longevity of your homestead farm chainsaw is to keep the blades clean. Promptly remove sawdust-sized waste and other debris to keep your saw teeth from becoming dull.
If you use your chainsaw frequently, you’ll need to sharpen the blades. You can clamp your chainsaw to a vice and use a sharpening file, pushing it horizontally across the blade. Only sharpen in one direction for the best results. Each tooth on the chain needs up to six strokes with the file.
Other ways you can maintain your chainsaw include:
- Keep it lubricated to prevent friction between the guide bar and the chain. Failing to do this can cause the entire chainsaw to overheat.
- Use new gas if your chainsaw has sat in storage for a while. After about a month inside the chainsaw without regular use, gas breaks down, which can cause the carburetor to malfunction. Only put in enough gas for a month. You also can use a fuel additive to increase gas life.
Wheelbarrows for homestead farm crops and gear
Some homesteaders prefer a small garden, which requires nothing more than a hand-harvesting tool once crops are ripe and ready for your kitchen. A wagon or wheelbarrow can make quick work of hauling your fruits, grains, and vegetables from the field to your farm.
Wagons and wheelbarrows aren’t just handy for hauling your food. They also can be used for moving any gear or goods around your homestead. Just toss everything inside and go.
Choose some sturdy barrels
Barrels are one of those things you need on a homestead regardless of its size. You can use them to collect rainwater for crops or livestock. They’re handy for storing things. Some homesteaders use them to create their own greywater systems to filter water coming out of their bathtubs or washers for additional use around the homestead.
If you’re crafty, you might even turn some sturdy barrels into compost bins or furniture. The possibilities are endless.
Protect your feet with rubber boots
If you have livestock on your homestead, this one seems like a no-brainer. Still, it bears mention for those new to homesteading. Get yourself a good pair of rubber boots because you’re going to need them.
Rubber boots protect your feet from manure, mud, and other muck you regularly encounter while doing your homesteading chores. You’ll need a solid barrier between your skin and surfaces that can carry disease (like manure and muddy water).
Make sure when buying rubber boots that you get ones marked as waterproof. If you live in a part of the country with different seasons, you may need a pair of rubber boots for the spring and summer months and a more insulated pair for the fall and winter months.
Mechanic hand tools for homestead farms
Since you’re going to invest in all this expensive equipment, you’ll need basic mechanic hand tools to maintain it. Every homestead farm must have the following tools in its toolkit:
- A set of pliers.
- A set of screwdrivers in all sizes.
- A set of wrenches.
- Ratchet handles and extensions.
Don’t buy the cheapest tools you can find to save yourself money. You’ll be using these tools daily, so you don’t want to buy inferior quality products. If you do, you’ll find yourself replacing them more often, negating any savings you experienced when buying the cheaper brands.
Complete knife collection
If you plan to truly live off the land, you’ll need more than a Boy Scout-issued pocketknife to get the job done. A complete knife set includes a variety of sizes ideal for field dressing wild game, butchering livestock, and cutting up vegetables for tasty homestead meals.
Here’s what you need in your homestead farm knife collection:
- A small assortment of paring knives for cutting up homegrown veggies and fresh meat.
- A 6-inch butcher knife or 4–6-inch paring fillet knife for butchering wild game and livestock.
- A sheath knife for jobs around the homestead.
- A razor-blade utility knife.
- A 4-6-inch fixed-blade knife for on-the-go use.
Keep your knives sharpened for the best results. Nothing is worse than trying to butcher livestock with a dull blade. With typical use, you should only need to sharpen your knives once or twice a year. You can use a variety of knife-sharpening stones or tools depending on your personal preference.
Tools for hunting game (and protection)
Every homesteader needs some tools for hunting game and protecting their property. A 12-gauge shotgun is great for not only hunting small game but also can scare off troublemakers. Protecting your livestock from predators is another handy use for one of these shotguns. If you want to get truly self-sufficient, you can get an ammunition reloading bench for your 12-gauge shotgun.
While shotguns are great, they do require bullets. Another option is to invest in a good bow and some arrows. Bows last a long time and don’t require all the same maintenance as a firearm. You can even make your own arrows if you feel like being truly rustic.
Finding basic tools for your homestead farm
This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything you might ever need for your homestead farm. It’s simply a starting point. You can always upgrade your equipment and make additional purchases based on your individual needs. What works for one homesteader might not be ideal for another.
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