101 Homesteading Essentials: From Tools to Skills

Homesteading essentials guide: From kitchen to garden, animal care to DIY, perfect for urban to rural homesteaders.

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homesteading essentials: garden pots, gloves, knifes, tools, watering can, plants

Begin your self-sufficient, sustainable journey with our guide to homesteading essentials. Perfect for urban or rural settings, it’s crucial to have the right tools and knowledge. This list of 101 essentials covers all aspects of homesteading, ensuring you’re well-equipped for its unique challenges and rewarding lifestyle.

Table of Contents

Homesteading Essentials: Kitchen Tools

1. Cast Iron or Carbon Steel Cookware

Cast iron is famous for its durability and consistent heating, which makes it perfect for various cooking techniques. For those who prefer a lighter option, Carbon Steel offers similar benefits, making both essential for sustainable cooking.

2. Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Great for slow cooking, baking, and stewing, ideal for hearty meals.

homesteading essentials: cast iron dutch oven on stove

3. Stand Mixer

A time-saver in baking, simplifying tasks like kneading dough and whipping cream. It’s a great place to start for any new homesteader.

4. Knife Set

Essential for efficient food preparation, from chopping vegetables to butchering meat. A good set of knives is a homesteader’s best friend.

5. Food Processor

A versatile kitchen multitasker, great for quickly chopping vegetables or making dough.

homesteading essentials: grain mill

6. Grain Mill

For those who grow or source their own grains, you can mill fresh flour packed with flavor and nutrients.

7. Instant Pot

A multi-functional device serving as a pressure cooker, rice steamer, yogurt maker, warmer, and sterilizer. Perfect for busy homesteaders to prepare meals quickly and efficiently.

8. Mortar & Pestle

For grinding fresh spices and herbs, enhancing the flavors of preserved foods. A traditional and effective tool for any kitchen.

homesteading essentials: sourdough bread baking supplies

9. Sourdough Bread Baking Supplies

The key to crafting homemade sourdough includes proofing baskets, a bench scraper, a stir stick, glass jars, and a scoring blade.

10. Cloth Napkins

Reusable and eco-friendly, adding a touch of elegance to meals. A small step towards reducing your carbon footprint.

11. Blender

Ideal for smoothies and sauces, a quick and easy tool for meal prep. It is a must-have tool for any modern homestead.

12. Coffee Grinder

For the freshest coffee, enhancing flavor and quality. A favorite thing for many homesteaders.

homesteading essentials: coffee grinder on counter

13. Compost Bin

An essential for sustainable living, the compost bin collects kitchen scraps with a lid to manage odors before transferring them to your compost pile.

14. Kitchen Scale

Ensures precision in recipes for consistent cooking and baking results. A basic tool that’s surprisingly useful.

15. Immersion Blender

Convenient for making sauces, soups, and more. A great way to prepare different things in the kitchen.

Homesteading Essentials: Food Preservation Tools

16. Water Bath Canner

Ideal for canning high-acid foods like fruits and jams, preserving the flavors of your garden. It’s the best way to store your harvest for later use.

homesteading essentials: pressure canner with canned food in mason jars on stove

17. Pressure Canner

Ideal for canning low-acid foods, from garden vegetables to meats, ensuring year-round enjoyment of your harvest.

18. Mason Jars and Lids

Versatile for canning, fermenting, and storing homegrown goods. A sustainable way to store fresh vegetables and homemade jams.

19. Dehydrator

Perfect for drying fruits, herbs, and meats, helpful in making snacks like fruit leather or jerky. An essential tool for those looking to make the most of their harvest.

homesteading essentials: food dehydrator with sliced fruit

20. Vacuum Sealer

Extends the shelf life of foods, especially useful for bulk storage. A great way to manage your supplies without the extra cost of store-bought preserved foods.

21. Mylar Bags with

Ideal for long-term dry goods storage like grains and legumes. Essential for maintaining a stock of healthy food options.

Check out our Mylar Bag Food Storage Chart to ensure your essentials stay fresh and safe for the long haul.

22. Fermentation Crock

Essential for fermenting vegetables, great for making sauerkraut and kimchi. A favorite thing for many homesteaders who enjoy creating their own probiotic-rich foods.

23. Cheese-Making Kit

Provides everything needed to make cheese, adding a homemade touch to dairy products—a rewarding experience for those wanting to learn new skills.

homesteading essentials: pickling food jars and supplies

24. Pickling Supplies

Includes fermentation weights and tamper, airlock lids, and tools for pickling vegetables—a great way to enjoy your garden’s bounty throughout the year.

25. Freeze-Dryer

A modern method for removing moisture from food, preserving flavor and nutrition. Perfect for homesteaders interested in the most efficient methods of food preservation.

26. Canning Supply Kit

Contains basics like a funnel and jar lifter, ideal for those new to canning—a must-have for every homestead.

27. Fruit Peeler/Corer

Simplifies fruit preparation, saving time and effort. An essential item for any homesteader who grows their own fruit or buys in bulk to preserve.

homesteading essentials: woman peeling and coring apples with a fruit peeler/corer

28. Deep Freezer

Perfect for bulk food storage, the key to managing your harvest and supplies for later use. Essential for those with a large size of land.

Homesteading Essentials: Cleaning Tools

29. Essential Oils

Essential oils aren’t just fragrant; many, including eucalyptus, peppermint, and orange, have antibacterial properties, ideal for DIY cleaning products and enhancing the scent and effectiveness of homemade cleaners.

30. Baking Soda

A versatile cleaning agent great for scrubbing, deodorizing, and even unclogging drains, making it an essential component in any homesteader’s cleaning arsenal.

baking soda and white vinegar natural cleaning supplies on kitchen counter

31. White Vinegar

Effective in cutting through grease and grime, this kitchen staple works well for cleaning windows and mirrors and can also serve as a natural weed killer.

32. Castile Soap

A plant oil-based, all-natural soap, gentle yet effective for various cleaning tasks from dishes to laundry, embodying eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning.

Homesteading Essentials: Garden Tools

33. Quality Seeds

Opt for heirloom and organic varieties to enrich your garden’s diversity and sustainability. Look for reputable sources that specialize in these types of seeds. A few we like are Johnny’s, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and High Mowing Organic Seeds.

34. Garden Tool Set

Includes a trowel, transplanter, and cultivator- Essential for digging and turning soil, these tools are indispensable for preparing new garden plots or expanding existing ones.

homesteading essentials: garden tool set

35. Gardening Gloves

Protect your hands from thorns, splinters, and dirt while working in the garden. A good pair of gloves can also provide a better grip and prevent blisters.

36. Hose and Adjustable Nozzle

Offers versatile watering options, from gentle mists for delicate plants to more robust streams for deep watering.

37. Wheelbarrow or Cart

Invaluable for moving soil, compost, plants, and garden tools, especially when managing a large area or heavy loads.

38. Pruning Shears

Crucial for maintaining the health and shape of fruit trees, bushes, and other plants. Sharp shears make clean cuts that heal quickly.

homesteading essentials: man pruning fruit tree with pruning shears

39. Garden Rake

Great for leveling soil and removing debris. It’s also helpful in spreading mulch or compost.

40. Hoe

A traditional tool for weeding and cultivating soil, especially useful in maintaining a thriving herb garden.

41. Seedling Starter Trays

Perfect for starting seeds indoors, giving them a protected environment before transplanting them outside.

homesteading essentials: man holding seed starting tray

42. Watering Cans

Allow for precise watering, which is especially important for young plants and seedlings.

43. Grow Lights

Essential for supplementing sunlight when growing plants indoors, ensuring they receive enough light for healthy growth.

44. Grow Tent or Heat Mats

Provide a warm, controlled environment for seed germination, particularly beneficial in regions with cold climates.

45. Broadfork

An essential tool for no-till (or no-dig) gardening. Excellent for aerating soil without disrupting its structure, promoting healthy root growth.

homesteading essentials: man using a broadfork

46. 3-Inch Pots or Red Solo Cups

Ideal for potting up seedlings as they outgrow their initial trays.

47. Seed Starting Chart

Helps track planting and germination times, ensuring a well-timed and organized gardening process.

48. Harvest Basket

Perfect for collecting fruits, vegetables, and other produce from your garden.

homesteading essentials: woman holding garden basket full of veggies

49. Garden Knife

A versatile and robust tool for cutting through roots, dividing plants, and other garden tasks.

Homesteading Essentials: Livestock Care & Management

You can find these items at your local feed store or Tractor Supply.

50. Chicken Coop

Essential for egg-laying hens, complete with nesting boxes, perches, and secure enclosures. A proper coop is a key for raising healthy livestock like small chickens or a flock of hens. For ideas on building your own coop, check out our DIY cheap chicken coop guide.

homesteading essentials: goat standing behind woven wire fence

51. Fencing Supplies

Includes cattle panels for larger livestock, hardware cloth for chicken coops, woven wire, sturdy T-posts, a post-hole digger, bolt cutter, and a fence post driver for secure fencing. Find these items at Tractor Supply or your local farm store.

52. Animal Feeders and Waterers

Automatic feeders for consistent feeding and water troughs for clean water access. Essential for a self-sufficient homesteader.

53. Quality Animal Feed & Supplements

Tailored, nutritious feed with mineral blocks and supplements for various livestock needs. Vital for maintaining healthy livestock.

chickens eating chicken scratch supplement grains

54. Basic Veterinary Supplies

A first aid kit for minor injuries and specific medications.

55. Feed Storage Containers

Airtight options to keep feed dry and pest-free—a necessary item for anyone raising a herd of goats or other animals.

56. Milking Supplies (for dairy animals)

Milking pails, a stanchion, sanitizers, and udder cream. Essential for those looking to become more self-sufficient in dairy production.

homesteading essentials: woman milking goat on a stanchion

57. Egg Incubator

Equipped with temperature and humidity controls for hatching eggs. A great addition for those who want to expand their flock of hens.

58. Animal Grooming Tools

Brushes for coat maintenance and hoof trimmers for hoof care. Essential for keeping your animals clean and healthy.

59. Animal Bedding

Straw or wood shavings for comfortable and clean shelters. An important aspect of caring for medium-sized goats and other livestock.

homesteading essentials: animal bedding wood shavings in barn stall

Homesteading Essentials: Building & Maintenance

60. Cordless Drill

A versatile tool needed for a wide range of building tasks, from constructing structures to making minor repairs.

61. Hammer and Nails

Fundamental tools for any building project, perfect for everything from basic repairs to major constructions.

62. Saws

Different types of saws, such as circular saws, jigsaws, and handsaws, are necessary for cutting various materials needed in construction and land management.

woman using circular saw

63. Zip Ties and Bungee Cords

Handy for quickly securing items, useful in many situations around the homestead.

64. Duct Tape

The ultimate quick-fix solution for various repairs, known for its versatility and strength.

65. Ladder

Needed for reaching high places, whether for maintenance work or harvesting fruit from trees.

66. Screwdriver Set

Vital for assembling, fixing, and maintaining a wide range of items around the homestead.

homesteading essentials: a tool set

67. Wrench Set

A must-have in your tool kit is important for various mechanical and plumbing tasks.

68. Safety Gear

Safety is paramount, so ear muffs, gloves, and goggles are essential for protection during any manual work.

69. Chainsaw

Useful for wood management and land clearing, especially on larger properties.

70. Tractor

For larger homesteads, a tractor is invaluable for heavy-duty tasks and managing larger plots of land. Two top tractors for homesteaders are Kubota and John Deere.

71. Tape Measure

Essential for ensuring accuracy in all your building projects, no matter the scale.

person measuring wood with a tape measure

Homesteading Essentials: Energy & Sustainability

72. Solar Panels

Perfect for homesteaders in sun-rich environments, solar panels efficiently harness solar power. They offer a renewable and eco-friendly energy source, significantly reducing electricity dependence.

73. Wind Turbine

A valuable alternative renewable energy source, ideal in areas with consistent wind.

74. Rainwater Harvesting System

Collects and stores rainwater, an eco-friendly solution for irrigation and reducing water usage.

rainwater harvesting bin collecting water

75. Composting Bin

You can either purchase one or create your own from wood pallets. It transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich compost, naturally improving garden soil quality.

If you’re wondering what you can and can’t compost, download our free Printable List of Compost Items featuring 130+ materials.

76. Wood Stove/Boiler, Axe, and Wood Splitter

For sustainable heating and cooking, with tools for preparing firewood.

77. Generator

Offers a crucial backup power source, especially in remote or off-grid homesteads.

home generator

78. Candle-Making Supplies

Essential for crafting natural, sustainable candles, providing a personalized alternative to commercial options.

79. Oil Lantern

Provide reliable lighting during power outages, which is essential for off-grid living or emergency preparedness.

a close up image of an oil lantern

Homesteading Skills & Education

80. Gardening Knowledge

Understanding soil, plant needs, and climate conditions is fundamental for cultivating a thriving garden. This includes knowing the basics of vegetable gardening and how to effectively plan, plant, and care for a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs tailored to your specific regional climate.

81. Animal Husbandry

Vital for raising and caring for livestock. Skills include feeding, breeding, health monitoring, and providing proper shelter for animals like chickens, goats, or cows.

man feeing goats in a barn

82. Food Preservation Skills

Crucial for extending the life of your harvest. This involves canning, freezing, drying, fermenting, and pickling, allowing you to enjoy your garden’s bounty all year round. Here’s a round-up of the best books on preserving food to get you started.

83. Carpentry Skills

Handy for building and repairing structures around the homestead. From constructing chicken coops to fixing fences, these skills are invaluable.

84. Basic Electrical Knowledge

Useful for general electrical repairs and maintenance around the homestead, ensuring safety and functionality.

man fixing a plumbing issue under sink in bathroom

85. Plumbing Skills

Essential for installing and maintaining water systems in household and agricultural settings.

86. Mechanical Skills

Necessary for fixing and maintaining farm equipment and tools. This skill set helps keep machinery running and reduces the need for costly professional repairs.

87. Cooking Skills

Central to homesteading, as they allow you to turn fresh, homegrown ingredients into nutritious and delicious meals.

woman cooking food from scratch

88. Natural Medicine Knowledge

Understanding herbal remedies and natural health care can be valuable in managing family health and treating minor ailments with homegrown herbs.

89. Gun Safety Skills

Important for those who use firearms for hunting or homestead protection. This includes understanding the proper handling, storage, and maintenance of weapons.

90. Practical Craft Skills

Invaluable for self-sufficiency, sewing and knitting are key for mending and creating clothes, reducing reliance on store-bought items, and enhancing sustainability. These skills also add a personal and creative touch to your homesteading lifestyle.

woman sewing in home

Additional Homesteading Essentials

91. First Aid Kit

Equipped with bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and other basics, it’s vital for addressing minor injuries and emergencies that may occur on the homestead.

a first air kit in home

92. Firearms

Useful for both protection and sustainable hunting practices. Responsible ownership, including safe storage and handling, is key.

93. Buckets

Incredibly versatile, buckets are used for carrying water, mixing feed, gardening tasks, and even small-scale cleaning.

94. Sewing Kit

Handy for repairing clothes, crafting fabric projects, or upcycling materials. A basic kit includes needles, thread, scissors, and patches.

95. Tarps & Clamps

Tarps are vital for any homestead, offering robust protection for equipment and materials, especially in harsh weather. Combined with sturdy squeeze clamps, they provide versatile and durable safeguarding for hay, straw, or animals under various conditions

a person using a fire extinguisher

96. Fire Extinguisher

Essential for immediate fire response, ensuring your home’s and outbuildings’ safety.

97. Homesteading Books

Essential for learning the basics of homesteading, these books range from beginner guides to advanced manuals covering key aspects of self-sufficient living.

98. Homestead Planner

Critical for organizing daily, seasonal, and long-term tasks. A planner helps track planting schedules, animal care routines, and general maintenance tasks.

99. Flashlights and Lanterns

Vital during power outages, these tools ensure you have lighting in any situation, aiding in nighttime navigation and tasks.

100. Work Boots and Rain Gear

Sturdy footwear and waterproof clothing protect you in various outdoor conditions, ensuring comfort and safety during farm work.

101. Clothesline and Clothespins

Eco-friendly options for drying clothes, reducing energy usage, and giving your garments a fresh, natural scent.

clothes hanging on a clothesline in a farm setting

Final Thoughts

As we wrap up our list of 101 homesteading essentials, remember that whether your space is urban or rural, there’s something for everyone. While not every item may fit your unique situation, we’ve included a wide range of options to suit different homesteading approaches. Tell us, which tools or skills do you feel are essential to add to your homestead?

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4 Comments

  1. This is great info!! I have been really wanting to compost and this just reminded me to get on it. Thank you!

    1. Great to hear that you found it useful! I feed all my kitchen scraps to my chickens, and they help me turn it into compost. 🙂 In addition, we have big compost piles of spent hay, straw, etc. After three years of adding it to the top of my garden beds, they’re now full of worms and other beneficial bugs.

  2. So many good ones in here!! We have an instant pot that has a dehydrate setting but it does not allow for more than 1 chopped up onion to be dehydrated. I’m hoping in the summer/fall to get a larger one. I would LOVE to get a freeze dryer someday

    1. I highly recommend the Excalibur dehydrator. They last forever! I used their 4-tray for 10+ years before it died. Now I have their 9-tray and love it. And yes, a freeze dryer was on my wish-list for years, and I was finally able to get one this past year. It’s definitely a game-changer!