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11 Powerless Tools You’ll Need After The SHTF


11 Powerless Tools You'll Need After The SHTFIf you’re living through a long-term disaster, odds are the power is out and gasoline is scarce, which means most of your power tools are useless. You might not think this is very important, but you’ll need non-power tools for things like boarding up windows, cutting tree branches, and various DIY projects.

In this article, I’m going to cover 11 powerless tools that will prove quite useful in a grid-down scenario.

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1. Hammer

The hammer should be one of the first powerless tools that comes to mind. With a hammer and a set of nails, you can board up your house to resist intruders or construct a durable shelter if you’re bugging out to the wild. Not only can a hammer serve as a valuable tool in a grid-down scenario, it can be used as an efficient weapon in close quarters.

2. Screwdriver

There’s no denying that powered drills are far less exerting for turning screws. But when the grid is down, simple powerless screwdrivers will be the only option. Like a hammer and nails, screwdrivers and screws can be used for boarding up homes, constructing shelter, and making repairs.

Collect different kinds of screwdrivers and various types/sizes of screws so you’ll have whatever you might need.

3. Wrench

You’d be wise to collect a number of different size wrenches since there are so many sizes of bolts and nuts. Remember to pull a wrench towards you rather than pushing it away; doing so will reduce the chance or severity of an injury if it slips. And like a hammer, a wrench can also be used as a close quarters weapon.

4. Shovel

Many survival experts recommend having a folding shovel in your bug out bag. There’s simply no better digging tool than a shovel. Examples of when a shovel could come in handy include: burying waste, planting food, digging trenches or in-ground shelters, and hiding valuables or survival caches underground. A shovel can also serve as a weapon and will give you much more reach than a hammer or wrench.

5. Cross Cut Saw

Have you ever tried to cut through a tree with a simple handsaw, like the kinds many people have in their survival kits? Handsaws are great for cutting through branches, but terribly inefficient for cutting down entire trees.

In a grid down situation where you don’t have your trusty gas-powered chainsaw to rely on, you’ll definitely need a crosscut saw. Sawing down trees is sometimes necessary for making shelter, preparing large pieces of firewood, or blocking the road that leads to your bug out location.

6. Hand Drill

Like the powered drills that overshadow them, manual hand drills are used for fastening metals together or boring holes in different kinds of materials. They’re among the most valuable tools when it comes to construction, woodworking, metalworking, and many DIY projects, making them an excellent companion to have on standby in a grid down scenario.

Always hold a hand drill vertically and turn in a clockwise direction to drill a better hole and to avoid accidents.

7. Grinding Wheel

The grinding wheel is a great homesteading tool, although it’s not something you’d want to bug out with due to its size and weight. But it can still serve a couple useful functions. For one thing, a grinding wheel is one way to sharpen your knives or blades.

You can also attach a wire brush and use it to clean rust and dirt off of other tools. And it could be useful for various DIY projects involving wood or concrete.

8. Battery Tester

Batteries have been known to sit around for ten years and still have juice in them. But if you ever discover a cache of batteries or dig out some old batteries you forgot about, how will you be able to tell if they’re good? Keep in mind that if there’s only one bad battery in a device, it kills all the other batteries in that device, too.

That’s not a good thing in a post-disaster world where batteries are a scarce and valuable commodity. This is why you should have a battery tester that doesn’t use a battery itself. It will give you a fairly accurate reading of how much juice is left in a battery.

9. Pipe Wrench

After a disaster has struck, the last thing you want to deal with is a damaged plumbing system, which is why a pipe wrench will be your best friend when your popes or sewage system are in need of repair.

10. Scythe

The scythe has found an increasingly large favor among homesteaders and survivalists. This tool is several hundred years old, yet it’s still handy today for farming and homesteading tasks. Anyone with a scythe who knows how to use it effectively will be able to harvest nearly an acre’s worth of hay or crops in just a single day.

Once you get the technique down, there are few better powerless tools for farming purposes.

11. Hand Powered Air Pump

You may not know this, but a bicycle air pump can be used to inflate other kinds of tires such as the ones on cars and ATVs. Yes, it will take an extremely long time to fill up the total volume of a car tire with a pump designed for bicycles, but it beats having an air compressor without the electricity to run it.

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  1. Bemused Berserker on February 8, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Hand Tools and How To Use Them could easilly be a series of books and articles. The 11 mentioned are just some of the basics, that every prepper should consider. Our ancestors built a nation long before electricity became available.

  2. Pedro on November 9, 2019 at 1:22 am

    What about a sledge hammer, axe, hatchet, leather gloves and possibly a machete?. Like most of your list, most of them can be used as weapons.

  3. dz on September 7, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    I have a cordless drill & saw and the batteries only last a year or two at most depending on the number of recharges and the variable temperatures when stored in the garage, it would be better to have hand operated tools on hand as well as cordless.

  4. Denise on March 29, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for all the tips. Just getting into this so it’s very much appreciated.

    • Alan on March 29, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      You’re very welcome!

      • Nita on September 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm

        Thank you

  5. e.a.f. on October 13, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    owned all of it except the pipe wrench and grinder. had all the other stuff in my vintage tool collections. All in good condition. Might not have the muscle to use it, but I own it.

    I also have 3 pick axes and a couple of pitch forks. good weapons and they are useful for doing things. Its always good to have a steel pipe to use as a handle if the wooden ones break.

  6. Denis on July 28, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I would add a couple of hacksaw. The regular kind and the type that has a pistol grip so you can get it into tight places. Useful for cutting any number of metal materials, nails, bolts, car parts, etc.

    Stock extra blades. I’d also recommend some files for when the cut is just not quite right.

    Possibly replace the hand drill with cordless one and a solar recharging setup.

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