Tools To Consider For Your SHTF Plan

Tools To Consider For Your SHTF Plan by Chad H

During the most recent years of my adult life, my finances have changed significantly, which forced me to seek additional ways to support my family. In my chosen career (firefighter) I have gone back to school in order to obtain additional training to become a Paramedic. The additional skills I am learning will allow me to provide better care for people in need, and give me more useful skills for a post SHTF scenario.

I have also taken on a second career as a handyman, doing odd repairs and to-do lists in my off days. Both of my current careers as a firefighter and as a handyman have much to offer in the area of survival and prepping. With this, I have been able to learn about many tools, their practical uses, and applications which would provide a positive benefit in a SHTF environment. The following descriptions are some suggestions that may be helpful to you.

Oxygen/Acetylene Torch: This type of torch is very versatile and reaches extremely high temperatures. An oxy/acetylene torch is capable of cutting many types of steel including chains, bolts, sheet metal, tubing, and locks. An oxy/acetylene torch also has the ability to weld steel, loosen corroded nuts/bolts, brazing, bending and forming all types of steel.

With all these options available, one could easily salvage parts from cars, repair fences, strengthen structures, or any other type of steel related project. Oxy/acetylene torches do not require electricity making it very mobile and useful in a grid down environment. Additionally, an oxy/acetylene torch reaches temperatures of approximately 6330 F, thus giving it the ability to easily melt the following examples of metals: iron at approximately 2750 F, steel at approximately 2500 F, gold at approximately 1950 F, and silver at approximately 1765 F.

Propane Torch: This torch does not reach as high of temperatures as an oxy/acetylene torch, but it is inexpensive, very common, and easy to use. The propane torch is great for soldering copper pipe together (sweating pipe). Many propane torches come with convenient electric igniter which would make it a great fire starter in situations that demand more BTU’s than a regular cigarette lighter or matches can offer.

Another way of increasing your operating temperatures but having the convenience of one tank is using MAPP gas. It operates the same way as propane, but it burns at higher temperatures enabling you to melt some metals like lead or silver with it. Some systems use separate oxygen and propane/MAPP cylinders to increase the temperatures to almost oxy/acetylene levels. Additionally, some propane torches use very common “Coleman” style 1 lb. cylinders making use and storage of these tanks dual purpose.

Generator with 3-way Carburetor Conversion Kit: Having a generator on hand speaks for itself. With it you can run any number of electrical tools, operate lights, keep refrigerators cold, and be able to charge batteries. The unfortunate side is most residential use generators operate solely on gasoline. Gasoline is great if you can get it, but when it runs out you do not want to burn up your last fuel source for your vehicle.

If you are able to store gasoline, it is possible for it to go bad within a year even with fuel stabilizer. There is a kit you can buy for most gasoline generators that allows you to convert your standard carburetor to run on three fuels: gasoline, natural gas, and propane. You will always have some gasoline on hand, but why waste it if you can use natural gas that is being piped into your home?

If the grid goes down that flow of natural gas may stop, so then switch over to propane. Propane is great, because you can store large capacity tanks without anyone showing concern, and it can be stored for many years as it virtually never goes bad. To make the generator more portable, you can operate it off 25lb. grill style tanks. Additionally, the propane you are storing can be used for other applications like heating water and cooking. Google search “propane carburetor conversion kit”.

Halligan Tool: In combination with a sledge-hammer, this is one of the most versatile hand tools available for breaching a means of egress. It is in use on nearly every fire company in America due to its’ versatility and effectiveness. The tool consists of a claw or fork end used for prying into doors or latches, the other end consists of a tapered pick used for breaching locked doors or punching holes, and the wedge or adze which is another option for prying. Usual lengths are 24” to 42”, constructed of forged steel, and weighs 8 to 12 lbs. Google search “Halligan tool”.

18 Volt Cordless Drill Combo Kit: Currently the drill kit I use is an 18 Volt Ridgid, but there are many other brands that are just as serviceable. My kit included an 18 volt drill with work light, reciprocating saw, AM/FM Radio, and a flashlight. The kit included (2) batteries, and I have (2) additional batteries from a previous drill purchase which are all interchangeable.

The Ridgid brand is durable, and the batteries have a lifetime warranty. As long as I am able to charge the batteries, I will have a dependable flashlight, radio, saw, and drill without wasting disposable batteries or fuel to constantly run a generator. This will enable me to do work around my structure or listen to the radio for updates very easily and efficiently.

I also upgraded the light bulb on the flashlight from a standard incandescent bulb to an LED which will last longer and not use as much battery power. The bulb was easy to find at for only about $10.00. There are additional accessories made by Ridgid like a shop light that uses the same battery, which can be purchased as well.

Pressurized Water Can: A great tool that most fire companies carry is called a PW can. It is a stainless steel can about the size of a large fire extinguisher that carries about 2 ½ gallons of water. On the top is an air valve that allows you to pressurize the can. It operates the same way as any fire extinguisher: PASS- Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.

These small cans actually put out a lot of fire do to the pressurized stream exiting the nozzle. They are however only recommended for use on Class A combustibles like wood and paper. In a grid down environment the need for fire extinguishers will be high and there may be a lack of pressurized water available. With the PW can, it can be emptied and refilled as often as needed as long as water and pressurized air are available. Google search “pressurized water fire extinguisher”.

WD-40: Well, I like this stuff. It is very simple, but you can do a million things with it. For years I have used it in all situations around the house, as I am sure most people have. In a SHTF environment, the tools you have with you will be all the tools you have. They have to work and they must be taken care of. WD-40 is a great lubricant and a great preventative from rust and corrosion.

I recently began cleaning and protecting my firearms with it and have had great results. You can also repair many varieties of sticky mechanisms with it. This stuff is cheap and does not go bad. To me, it is the duct tape of the lubrication world.

The following is a list of tools that I recommend every home should have. These will be important for any situation you find yourself in as they have many practical uses. In a SHTF situation these tools could save your life.

  • Leatherman Multi-Tool-At least two
  • Bolt Cutters- Cut locks, fences, metal
  • Come Along- Lifting objects, pull-out stuck vehicles, securing vehicle loads
  • Farm Jack- Lifting objects, pull-out stuck vehicles
  • Chainsaw-Extra chains, oil, spark plugs, oil mix
  • Shovels- At least two
  • Axes/Hatchet- At least two
  • Machete- Making trails, trimming bushes, also a scary weapon
  • Pruning Saw- Great for small firewood
  • Hand Saws
  • Pick
  • Air Compressor
  • Pneumatic Tools
  • Full Wrench/Socket Sets
  • Full Screw Driver Sets
  • Full Allen Wrench Sets
  • Worm Drive Construction Saw
  • Side Grinder-Steel Blades/Masonry Blades
  • Flat Black Spray Paint (Lots)
  • Bullet Puller- Gunsmithing
  • Brass Extractor- Gunsmithing
  • Rubber Mallet- Gunsmithing
  • Plastic Mallet- Gunsmithing
  • Pin/Nail Punch- Gunsmithing
  • Files- To sharpen all edged tools
  • Soldering Iron- Repairing electronics, wiring applications
  • Full Sets of Pliers/Cutters
  • Chisels- Wood working
  • Vise
  • 12 Volt Water Pump
  • Hacksaw- Extra blades
  • Duct Tape-Lots
  • Electrical Tape
  • Manual Flammable Liquid Pump- To siphon gas
  • Drill Bits
  • Hammer-Sledge, construction, Estwing’s are good due to metal handle construction

The above list is a good starting point, as there are many tools that could be added to this list, and your personal needs will determine what tools you should have. Please do consider some of the above tools for your home or getaway as they may save your life. Be aware of your surroundings, practice like its real, and may God be with all of you during the tough times ahead. Thank You.

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  1. I have not heard of the pressurized water fire extinguisher before.
    Good tip.

  2. With regard to the comments about fuel for generators, you might want to look at GASIFIERS. You’ll find a lot of information online about them including home built gasifiers and factory built ones. There are even plans from FEMA on building them. I’ve seen some youtube videos of generators run on methane from a gasifier with a very simple home built gas carb. The subject is too complex to get into here. It’s best to do a web search. It appears realtively simple to build a working gasifier. Building a highly efficient unit is a little harder. There is one video online of a farm in norhtern Europe somewhere. The entire dairy farm, the farmers house and all of the employees cabins are run from a large homebuilt gasifier that “cooks” round haybales for fuel.

    • Richard Muszynski says:

      greetings. you will also find units that have been built here in America in Farm Show which is like a newspaper of home made machines on the farm. the units are becoming popular on the bigger farms. and note that if one wanted to one could buy a conversion gasifier direct from Volvo for their Volvo. the units are quite popular in the Scandinavian countries. and a bit of history if you don’t mind. the cities in America before electricity became common were lit by gas lights in every room. the cooking stove was also what they called producer gas that every city of any size had that made producer gas out of garbage, coal and whatever else was available that could be made to smolder and produce carbon monoxide. later when electric power became available and gas pipe lines were run to the cities the gas houses, as they were calledo were torn down. and the original fuel for the early internal combustion engines was that same producer gas. gasoline only became common in the 20th century. you can make a producer gas plant yourself and run your vehicles on it. you generators and anything else you have that requires gas to work. In world war 2 England used it as their fuel for their vehicles and so did the germans use it to power trucks. have fun with it. low cost. no enormous storge problems since you make your own. and the info to do so is available as he said on the net. and in books at Lindsay’s Technical books over in illinois at

  3. Arizona Highlander says:

    That was some great info on the pressurized water can – thanks!

    However . . . beware of WD-40. It does make a great detergent of sorts (blasting out all kinds of grease and crud) but, years ago, I sprayed down a Ruger GP-100 with WD-40 and set it aside for a few years.

    When I finally pulled it out of storage, the action was frozen up solid! I got it field-stripped, and it seems that all that WD-40 had dried into a kind of orange-colored varinish.

    The only thing that dissolved it – you guessed it – was more WD-40. I finally got the Ruger working again, but this time I wiped it clean of WD-40 and used ordinary oil to lube it. No problems since!

    • My Dad told me a long time ago that WD-40 is great stuff, has many uses, but it is more of a cleaner than a lubricant. I cringed when I read about using it on firearms. I agree to beware….keep the oil can handy.

    • Ouch… I was told years ago, to never use WD-40 on a gun. Not a good thing for the gun at all…

    • Gentlemen, a bit of clarification here, WD-40 is GREAT for guns… IF USED CORRECTLY!

      AZ, that orange stuff wasnt the WD-40 it was residue from unburnt and burned powder, grease, other lubes and other crud in general. WD-40 is quite literally an evaporative solvent made from denatured FISH OIL. when you sprayed your ruger down you didnt get everything out of it, you condensed it into the mechanism of your revolver. Because the design of ruger revolvers does not have removeable side plates like Colts, S&Ws, Taurus and similar it’s very easy to get the crud (technical gunsmithing term) packed into the workings of the hand and bolt assembles and literally glue them in place. Side plate type designs are much more forgiving but can fall victim to the same malady as well.

      Oscar, Spot on, BUT not just any oil, use one designed for firearms when lubricating the action and inner workings. WD-40 incidentally is EXCELLENT for use at the end of the day’s hunt, should it be necessary to bring a cold firearm inside a warm building, as it DOES displace water and condensation so dont be afraid to spray and wipe down the hunting guns, but for protecting the metal use real oil. If you want to be cheap, use a true gun oil to lube the action, and a NON DETERGENT 10-W30 or NON-DETERGENT straight 30 weight to protect the metal from rust…

      Jack, 30 plus years professional gunsmithing and personal use, WD-40 is fantastic stuff on firearms IF used properly but you MUST remember IT EVAPORATES, use it to free up sticky actions to see if it’s just crud or needs work, use it to blast residue out of the action, use it to displace condensation after the hunt but never use it as a final lubricant for anything, not just guns and AZ, NEVER store ANY firearm in a case! that leads to rust and corrosion! treat your firearms like a living creature, keep them someplace warm and make sure they can breathe and they wont rust up on you…

  4. Lake Lili says:

    Extremely handy list – Thanks!

  5. That’s a pretty hefty list of practical tools, to be sure. Nothing really ‘specialized’, however- and that’s one area I think most people will be getting into again. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, block layers- all will be most excellent occupations and welcome any where, when TSHTF- of course, that’s allowing a full-blown scenario. A slow slide will be a little different and a jack of all trades would be practical and welcome. A couple comments on the tools- having been a construction worker most my adult life, I’d fore-go the worm drive saw due to weight, size and need for oil in the drive, to name a few reasons. Excellent saws, to be sure. One could do better with a Porter-Cable 71/4″ ‘left hand’ saw. Porter tools are lighter than Milwaukee and Rigid- both excellent products as well- and all professional grade, made in USA- support your local Tennesean! While you’re getting the saw, get ten extra blades for it- a variety of cutting teeth and at least one fine tooth blade and a handful of concrete and steel cutting blades.
    “Farm jack” may be interpreted to be a Hi-Lift Jack, which is a brand name and no off road four wheeler would be caught dead without one in their truck. Multi-use tool– just read the manual. Jack, come-along,vise,too many uses to name.
    The author has “hammer/sledge” and advocates the Estwing. A very good product- but if you like your elbows, stay away from the steel shafts regardless of brand. A bit more costly, but the absolute best you can find for a hammer is a 24 ounce Framer hammer built by Ruger. Titanium and tough, the weight is deceptive because it’s not that heavy and will work well driving anything short of fence posts (though I have used it for that as well).
    Spray paint is something I’d not concern myself with storing, though I see the author’s sense for it. But once the paint is gone and worn off the project/product, you’re in the same boat as being without, so I’d not worry about painting initially, either.
    Air compressor: pancakes are good for breakfast and they seem to work OK for small pnuematic tools- air nailers, etc, but get as good as you can afford and at least a ten gallon tank- especially for pnuematic wrenches. Though I have seldom found need of a pnuematic wrench, I love my nailers!
    Chisels. This is one area that people need educating on, for sure. Do not ever in your whole life ever buy a cheap chisel. You’ll regret it from the instant you open the blister pack. Buy the best you can find, or stick with Stanley products as a general guide. Not the best, but so very much better than most.
    On the topic of blades… if you’ve got dreams of wood working in a post-SHTF scenario, a set of planes will be worth their weight in gold. Get at least four- and get good ones. Not the $2K Nicholsons- those are for the masters who need the best money can buy to boost their egos- but they are sooooo sweet!- but a set of Stanley SweetHearts will last a lifetime.
    Chainsaws. Buy two. You’ll need them both if you plan on getting your own firewood- and maybe three. Extra chains- buy four each, and get an extra beavertail (bar) for each, especially if you’re new to felling trees. At the same time, buy a sharpening tool- not just a file, and buy ten files. The best to use is a tool that clamps to the bar, is adjustable for depth and angle. It is a manually operated tool, but safer, more conservative and practical than the electric models- which encourage ruining chains. While you’re buying the chainsaws, throw in two 25 foot lengths of at least 1/4″ link chain with hooks on each end. You’ll use them for skidding your trees from woods to a landing area for easy working on. (OK, MD! NOW you’ve got me thinking of doing a series of chainsaw videos for you!)
    One tool I don’t see, though he has listed a hacksaw and blades, is a reciprocal saw- commonly called a Sawzall, which is a Milwaukee Tools brand name. They are top of the line, but expensive and heavy, somewhat more cumbersome than other models I’ve handled, and prefer the P-C (the only PC I recommend- and not Politically Correct!) Porter makes excellent tools for any woodworker/handyman. Don’t forget to check their routers, if you’re so inclined. Again- think “blades- and LOTS of them”.
    Don’t forget a generator of at least 3K wattage, preferably more if you’re going to run any tools or compressor off it, or any multiple tools.
    Then we get into the ‘other’ categories of hand tools, not power.
    Handsaws are invaluable, both carpentry and wood/log cutting types. Two carpenter saws are minimal- one for crosscut, the other for ripping. You’ll know the difference by looking at the teeth. Stanley Shark tooth are excellent choices.
    A couple different sized bow saws or Swede saws will work fine for falling trees and cutting firewood. Get a 24″ and 36″ of whichever type you prefer. Bow saws are lightweight, strong and manueverable and, if the bow gets ruined, you can build a Swede frame for the blade. Swede’s are a bit more weighty and bulky, but very easy to duplicate and use- work wonderfully for woodpile projects.
    Let me close with a comment on the WD40 oils. Probably the most respected multi-purpose oil made, WD40 has many great uses, even the arthritis in my hands and elbows- haven’t tried it on the back yet, but the time is coming. I use a lot of it for cleaning and lubricating tight bolts and nuts. But for guns, use a dedicated gun oil such as CLP/BreakFree (my fave) or RemOil. Neither will gum and they work well for nearly as many uses as WD40. Don’t forget the anti-seize compound for nuts and bolts in any situation you may want to remove the bolt/nut from later after exposure to mud and snow and water, etc. Then there’s the great and glorious “for when everything else fails” Liquid Wrench penetrating oil.
    Excellent article, MD- glad you put it up. Lemme think about those videos.
    Shy III

  6. We use it (WD40) in the gun shops to displace water. For lube & rust protection, use oil. When we take guns out of the blueing tanks etc. we put them in a bath of WD40 to displace water.

  7. Wd40 is like all lubricants, has applicable uses and some restrictions. I like to lube actions on my guns with a Teflon based spray lube. Puts on a film that adheres well to metal for corrosion protection and is slipper as well. Is excellent on rotating bearing surfaces, when it gets warm the Teflon permeates the metal. Got small motor stuff that hasn’t stopped working for years using this stuff. Silicon spray lubes never really get dry and attract dust and particles.

    It’s the same choices when using adhesives. Got to chose one right for the job.

    So here is my additions to the list.

    Interestingly, on the tool list above, I have all but 3 of the items on the list and probably another 50, and have most of them in redundancy.

    Noticed that the gun smithy equipment was pretty sparse. Need lots more if you want to keep firearms functioning. Make your own bullets? How many rounds per caliber you got stored? Reloading is another whole list of stuff.

    No mention of a generator to keep refrigeration going.

    I consider pneumatic tools to be a non essential, take too much energy conversion for use.

    Files for sharpening are great on softer steels and for emergency work. For sharpening stuff, a fine belt vertical strap sander works faster and more precise. No mention of a vertical electric grindstone.

    What about leather tanning supplies and tools to work the hides you harvest?

    What about gardening tools? The Mantis tiller is a rugged machine that works great and they are relatively inexpensive. I have two of those little suckers.

    No mention of ability to make lumber from downed trees.

    What about fasteners; screws, nails, bolts etc? Extra chain and rope of various sizes.

    How about a torpedo heater to un-thaw stuff in the winter in a hurry?

    Butchering tools if you raise or hunt for meat.

    Greenhouse to extend growing season? Root cellar for winter storage?

    If you haven’t got the bucks for going solar panel stuff, how about a battery charger? Tire repair kits. Old inner tubes to cut into strips for clamping odd shaped objects.

    Multiple sizes of cordage. Bailer twine is great for many uses.

    • Pneumatic tools … non essential? depends on what you are doing… if it’s just a speedy 3/8 inch ratchet replacement, agreed, but let me tell ya, there are times when the one inch impact driver has literally been worth it’s weight in gold, especially when working on my nieces ranch, same goes for the air chisels as well as when speed of the repair is as critical as the repair itself… Especially when you deal with livestock and bad weather… too many variables to simply dismiss BUT we gotta look at two things, A) is it electric or gas operated and B) if electric do you have a gennie? I use a split phase 220 on the ranch and she has a fine NG/propane gennie that runs the place when power is down. If the Natural gas goes out the propane can take over, especially since it’s used to heat the hores barn anyway…

  8. Richard Muszynski says:

    Greetings. thought i’d add that to make your own penetrating oil simply mix half and half kerosene and Ford automatic transmission fluid, which is actually synthetic whale oil, shake it up and she will penetrate anything the high priced aerosols will plus it has a unlimited life as long as it is sealed tight when not being used. and for firearms try Marvel Mystery Oil, available at Wal Marts for about $3 a quart or so. i use it on my firearms and no rust for many years now. just put a couple of drops on a rag and wipe them down on occasion and no rust problems at all. and it isn’t temperature sensitive so works in the winter as well. and it too doesn’t spoil and no propellant gas to leak either. sort of like a super oil with a sweet scent to it.

  9. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    One of Sixbear’s blog entry’s mentioned a great tool all homesteaders need – a good wheelbarrow. Moving heavy bulky items from A to B is necessary, and a wheelbarrow with no flat tires, steel unbreakable limbs is a great addition. That would be indispensible, to me at least.

  10. AZ rookie prepper says:

    Great list MD, saw many things I hadnt thought of. Will be keeping my eyes open for sales on some of the listed items and some from other comments made on this list.

    One thing I did not see mentioned about WD40 is that it is a great fish attractant. While probably illegal to use in that capacity in most or all states currently, if the SHTF, and you need to catch critters out of the water to survive, consider using this to help. A friend of a friend of a friend…he he…suggested spraying some on a crab cage bait can, and while the WD40 enhanced cage bait was pulling in lots of crabs, no one else’s cage was. Have seen it used on artificial fish lures too with some good results.

    My contribution to a list of possible tools needed would be the P-38 (or better yet, the P-51) can opener. I keep one on each of my key chains and have found it not only opens cans, but can be used in a pinch for a screwdriver, a letter opener, cleaning small openings, small pry bar, your imagination is the limit.

  11. Pioneer Spirit in Arkansas says:

    Regarding the duct tape, store it and all other adhesive type items in your house. Seasonal heating and cooling slowly ruins the integrity of the adhesive. Same goes for paint.

    Liked the comment about adding a wheel barrow. Might think if storing away a hand truck or dolly too.

    Since WD-40 got a lot of “air time,” you all might be interested to know that it stands for Water Displacement – and the 40 represents the number of formula tweaks it went through.

  12. SrvivlSally says:

    I think you have one nice list and anyone can work from it. Although it may not be considered a tool, one thing I would not want to be without is a wood stove with which to heat metals to reshape or recreate things. You never know, if there’s no electricity or you have lost your tool to wear you may have to heat a rod to solder with or soften a metal to remake it. I would definitely want a heavy-duty, steel, wood splitting awl to go along with the axes to make simpler and easier work for myself should I need to burn wood or need to use it for another reason. A few small and large clamps that screw down to hold 2x4s, plywood, tree limbs, bricks, etc. are always handy while working and when you need an extra hand, your vise is busy but you need to keep your part in between it’s jaws then some loose clamps would be complimentary. I would add between 50-100′ of flexible water or garden hose for syphoning, just in case the manual flammable pump breaks, cutting off a few feet when I am going to use it. Nowadays, things are not always made to last and to have a back up is the only way to go. I would also add a wet stone for sharpening tools. A can of regular old lubricant (non-wd40) is cheap and, if you ever find that the wd40 is not quite enough as I sometimes do, will lubricate locks, mechanisms, hinges, tire nuts, bolts, glasses’ screws and zippers. A few feet of plastic coated wire, a chain saw sharpener/tightener and a flat and round pry bar are always a necessity. Pry bars are good for unhinging, opening or providing extra leverage where a 2×4 or rod will not do (while prying, lifting, etc.). A can of degreaser or a gallon of diesel and a wire and soft brush also have multiple uses and for things like engine parts. If you will be using torches you should always pack a few extra nozzles.

    • Hi Sally, I love lists!
      You mentioned a wood splitting awl… I have axes splitting mauls wedges and what not but the best darnd thing I ever found was a square splitting wedge on a shaft with a weighted pipe over that which you use just like a post driver,,, You just lift the pipe and depending on your mood or energy level (and size of the device you are using) drop or slam the handle right back down. to drive the wedge to split the wood. Comercially made but easy enough to build if your so inclined. It takes the strain off the back when splitting. and with those torches and nozzels don’t forget the tip cleaners!

  13. Thank you for all the great responses. There were many items I had never thought about, and I am glad to have heard them. I guess I never knew Wd-40 would generate so much discussion, but I figured it was a universal tool and would have many uses. As far as using it on firearms, I have to agree there are better lubricants available, I was just thinking economically, as that is where I am right now. Thanks again for the great discussion.

  14. Bubblehead Les says:

    Since they are more prevalent nowadays, I’d add a Torx set to help remove the pesky bolts that a lot of things are put together with. But there are 4 ancillary items you need to add:
    A) The support gear for all the tools that need them, such as spark plugs, belts, filters and service manuals.
    B) Knowledge and skills. For example: Want to learn how to Blacksmith? Find a good school and get some practice under your belt. Some things you can’t learn from a book (or download an app for it), it takes hands on training.
    C) Storage containers for the tools you need. If you have your retreat land paid for, build strong,Fireproof/tornado/flood/Blizzard proof sheds and workshops out of stone/concrete/metal roof and doors that’ll last a hundred years. Ever try to fix an old car in the rain and snow? Try to cut lumber to size in a Blizzard? Plus good steel tool chests, heavy duty brackets and shelving to store your tools, etc.
    D) Finally, Have extras. So you have a good hammer, great. But when the old man down the street passes away and the Kids are selling his tools off at a Yard sale, buy his stuff. This will always give you backup in case you break or lose a tool, plus you’ll have trade goods for TEOTWAWKI, or extras to hand out when you need an extra body or two for a job on your retreat.
    Hope this helps.

  15. Chad a couple comments:
    First, I’da known you were a fireman just from the Halligan! I was introduced to one by being on a Tactical Entry Team. I’d like to expand on your comments. First off I’ve used insulated and non insulated and this is where my recommendation comes in, If you are looking for a shorter one get the insulated variety, the shaft/handle is noncondutive… while the grid is down this is not an issue, but you can bet you will put it to use well before that, it is just too useful of a prybar type tool and at it’s cost you will want to get your monies worth. If you are looking for the longer model for more leverage for get the insulated model and go for brute strength. I’ve literally lifted a truck off the ground a little at a time with one of these boogerbars, wedging wood under the bumper as a fulcrum and a block until I got it high enough to get a jack under it to raise it enough to tet the axle up… long off roading story, wasnt my rig, I carry real recovery equipment. But You get the point, and when the rest of the readers look at what a halligan is they will too, way too useful of a tool not to have. And my final comment, While I agree 18 or 24 volt rechargeable drills/saws are nice, make them secondary to a 12 volt system… You can walk into almost any automotive store and grab a solar 12 volt harger right off the shelf… so if you have SEPERATE 12 volt tools that use the same batteries you will have multiple chargers, go to the local radio shack and buy matching inline power connectors, install them on the wall charger(s) and the do the same on the solar battery charger(s) and you will be covered. I suggested the seperate tools for the multiple chargers so you can keep multiple batteries on charge. it really sucks when they go dead… OH while I’m at it a good old fashioned Brace and bits and a draw knife… if you have never used a draw knife think a plane without a body, the speed you can make wooden impliments with the tool is astounding, its been replaced ONLY by the reciprocating saw…

  16. Good article but will stick to my Irish Tool Box – Hammer, chisel, screw driver (regular & phillips) adjustable wrench, channel locks, super glue, quart of Everclear & duct tape. I can do everything from removing a car tire from the rim to open heart surgery with these simple items.

    Light, easily transportable & fits in my back pack while riding my SHTF bike & thinning the herd.

    (Hope some of you get that joke!)

  17. axelsteve says:

    I use jb blaster instead of wd 40. that is a small thing though. I clean guns with atf fluid and it works well.I also keep a saftey seal tire repair kit in my powerwagon and it works very well.Also a hilift jack.I use a sledgehammer and various mauls for splitting wood.I think a leeloader in a common caliber would be good to have in your toolkit.With a leeloader you can handload ammo at your retreat or on your way to it if you have some downtime. Steve

  18. Paul from Texas says:

    2 comments, one re: WD-40, the other about things to store:

    1)As mentioned above, WD-40 is just a water displacement chemical. Great for the short term, especially if your gun/guns have gotten wet. But it offers no particular ability to clean, and most especially, no lubrication or serious long-term rust prevention to speak of.

    Better to buy a gallon or 5 of Breakfree CLP. It won’t clean, lubricate or protect better than any substance that is particularly designed for that one function, but as a “good enough” substance for doing multiple jobs, few things are better (and any of them are more expensive).

    • Paul from Texas says:

      Sorry, hit the wrong button. Here’s my 2nd comment on items to store:

      Water filters – Berkey-type
      Calcium Hypochlorite (granular chlorinating powder / pool shock) – to be used for purifying water, much longer lifespan than bleach
      Rechargable batteries
      Nails, screws, nuts & bolts
      Sewing needles, thread, buttons
      Coffee filters (for filtering dirty water prior to purifying it)
      Mason jars and LOTS of lids

      • Just an FYI for those who are not aware, the CLP in the name of Breakfree stands for “Clean, Lubricate, Protect” Breakfree is one of the best on the market. But I will say this, it can’t hold a match to WD-40 as a water displacement solvent. And YES WD-40 is an excellent solvent for petrolium based contaminants. This brings up a use not yet mentioned for WD-40 which will no doubt rear it’s head, ignition cables, caps and rotors. Because WD-40 does not conduct electricity while at the same time displacing water rather than absorbing it, it is an excellent SHORT TERM treatment for ‘leaky’ spark plug cables and a great cleaner for used caps and rotors that rear their heads at the most inopportune times when repacement isnt an option. Since it DOES dissolve carbon I have used it (more than once) to clean a cracked distributor cap, followed by a cheap vodka chaser (to rinse out any WD-40 residue) and after drying by setting it on a hot engine (of my running jeep) using super glue to seal the crack that the the ignition was arcing out through so that that wheeler could finish the trail ride. I guess the biggest moral of the story isnt use wd-40 but know and use your resources to the best of your abilities and you can pretty much get out of anything, and YES I have even welded with jumper cables and a nickel for an electrode… you gotta do what you gotta do!

  19. Shotzeedog says:

    I just thought I would mention that a week or so ago here in Ohio a volunteer fireman was killed when an air pressured water tank blew a cap off.

    For Lubrication how about small machine oil (3 in 1 or sewing machine oil) and graphite.

    • AP water extinguishers are touchy items… they are INSPECTION INTENSIVE devices. First off long term storage REQUIRES that they be stored DRY and unpressurized, this means they are not stand by emergency devices, they are SITUATIONAL devices, for example, by the campfire not in the kitchen… If dented they should be disposed of as the brass bodies can crack. The RARE stainless steel models which are still made are EXTREMELY expensive and you generally won’t see one except in professional situations due to cost. The old fashioned hand pressurized models if you have one, should only be partially pressurized if you are using it by a campfire type situation and then pumped as you are using it, kind of like a giant super soaker, as this prevents the associated risk of the high pressure in the tanks, If you can look for an “Indian Back Pack Fire Pump” instead, these are nonpressurized siphon pump units and much safer, and no matter what kind you use adda couple capsfull of oldfasioned cheapo dish detergent to the water in the tanks, it acts as a wetting agent, cutting the surface tension of the water, allowing each gallon of water to do the job of two to three times the volume of untreated water, This is a been there done that observation that obviously needs to be done before hand. It also will help lubricate the seals on the pumps and valves no matter what kind of unit you are using. I learned about these two types of devices fighting a very real forest fire while I was a teen, when the state had all it’s resources tied up at an extremely large fire, 200 miles away, and some idiots atempting to burn the weeds off a parcel of land started a 100 acre parcel of woods on fire, and all that was available was a ragtag group of vacationers, and several boyscouts and explorers working on their forestry meritbadge available to fight it. Five days with an hour of sleep a day to finally extinguish it before the state declared it safe. It was the hardest merit badge I ever earned in my life…

      • Scott, while your point is valid I think you may be confusing the regulations regarding extinguishers with the actual functionality of them. Over the years I’ve had to replace fire extinguishers on my boat (life jackets and other devices as well for that matter) because the coast guard said they no longer met requirements.
        That doesn’t mean that they didn’t still work. Maybe they didn’t work quite as good as a new one and maybe in a rare case they might not work at all but in an emergency we would all still rather have one than not. If it happens not to work when you try to use it are you any worse off than you would have been if you didn’t have one at all?

  20. A good article.
    One other thing that not many may know is that you can substitute Propane for your torch set up when you run out of Acetylene.
    It doesn’t burn quite as hot but will do just fine in a pinch.

  21. I tried adding this list via my blackberry a couple of days ago and I guess it never posted, so here goes:

    Adhesives: JB Weld. Hands-down the best epoxy you can buy over the counter. Loctite in various grades–especially for vibration prone equipment like generators. Construction adhesive and sealant foam can make or break your winter.

    Solvents: Kerosene and ATF are winners.

    Lubricants: 30 weight motor oil, light machine oil, Break-Free for the guns

    Penetrating oil: PB B’laster is the best there is with one exception: DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid. Brake fluid will free up almost anything–but be warned that it will ruin any finish, be it painted, powder coated or whatever. Truly phenomenal stuff.

    Have lots of nails and assorted bolts, nuts, washers, etc. They go quick when you’re building something and can’t be readily replaced.

    Basic building tools are good to have: plumb bob, combo square, masonry tools, chalk line, etc.

    One thing left unsaid is that you should cultivate the skill to use the tools you have or plan to get before you have to use them in an emergency. No sense having that nice pretty vintage Keen Kutter axe if the first time you use it you take a chunk out of your leg. In the dead of winter. In a grid-down scenario. By yourself.

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