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Dual Purpose Gear

 
Gail Jardin
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I am looking for must have homesteading items to 'stockpile' before getting land. I will be spending most of next year traveling in a converted school bus and working on small organic farms to gain skill and an income. There will also be extended periods of boondocking and just living out in the wilderness. Rather than getting a lot of camping and outdoor supplies that I won't use in a year or two, I want to find items that would be useful on a homestead too. I think I have basics covered but am looking for ideas on long lasting dual function tools. For my bus conversion I have various saws, drills, etc for building with, for my former community garden I have hand tools and seeds. I feel I need a good hand saw or small eco friendly chainsaw and would like to learn more about milling logs for finishing up my build and eventually building a cabin. I have a variety of the average canning supplies and mason jars but would like to find a better way to transport them as they rattle around and occasionally break. I am also learning about solar so that boondocking won't be as rustic. I would like to have a set up that could eventually be used on a small cabin and be expanded to more kilowatt hours but right now I know little about electric and am intimidated by all the information out there on solar. Is there a recommended all in one solar kit, or a step by step fool proof diy solar kit out there?
 
Gail Jardin
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No suggestions folks? I'd really like to take care of necessities that would arise if I were to find a place to settle down. Yet I don't want to haul unnecessary items on the road. If you were to limit yourself to a small storage space which tools would you feel worth taking from place to place?
I'm especially curious about solar still as well as other 'back up' heat and cooking sources that can be used in a small confined space.
 
Trace Oswald
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Tools are hard because it depends so much on circumstance.  For me, a chainsaw is a necessity.  If you just burn enough wood for camp fires, I have a Silky pruning saw that may fit the bill.  A splitting maul is mandatory for me.  I guess a list may be easier.

If I were concerned about space, my must haves would read like a bigger bug-out bag:
A good, fixed blade knife.  I believe that is essential for everyone.
Way to start a fire, with a backup system.  I wouldn't buy a camp stove because I don't think I would use it after I got settled.  I would cook over a fire, which leads to the next item.
A good cast iron pan.
Water filter.
Head lamp.  I don't know how I ever lived without mine.
Silky pruning saw.  An axe, or if space is really limited, a good hatchet.  
Solar is easy if you just want to set up one panel and a battery for charging phones and the like.  Youtube is your friend :)

There are quite a few good threads about essential tools here at permies.  It's such a huge subject and so individual, that it's hard to answer a question like this.  I think what will happen is that you will discover what you need, for your circumstances, when you need something and you don't have it.  That isn't a bad way to discover exactly what you need for your situation.  

 
Anne Miller
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Gail Jardin wrote: I have a variety of the average canning supplies and mason jars but would like to find a better way to transport them as they rattle around and occasionally break    




Wrap your canning jars in old socks or towels.

Having several pie pans really goes in handy, they are great for eating out of instead of plates. If you are working somewhere where they might have community dinners where you bring your own utensils and plates, they are great for piling on the food!

I found that big net bags hung on a hook made a place for dirty laundry, something to carry to the laundry and bringing back folded clothes.

We usually stay places where they have a bath house.  I found a small bag that was just big enough to put a tooth brush, soap and other essential.  So when it was time to shower, I grabbed the bag and a towel and I was all set.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Gail:
Let me give you a little guidance about solar.
I have lived off grid with solar since 1983. In my opinion, do not buy an all in one setup. They generally are to small to be upgraded and they ALWAYS charge too much for them.
Basic's you need to start) A solar panel,  Just enough 12 gauge household "Romex" cable to reach from battery to panel.  A deep cycle battery... that is the most basic things you will need.  
A charge control is really nice but you can live without one (at least while your system is small)  
A pure sine wave inverter will give you 110 outlets for cool stuff like chargers. Again you can live without one but sooner or later you will want one.
Now this is a down and dirty setup ... no fuses , I'm sure others will think you need a complete safe setup before you start... its up to you. I lived 3 years with one panel , one piece of Romex and a sears diehard battery.  Never burned anything up...

Here is an item number, to a solar panel at Ebay. 180 watts $175 delivered.  I have bought many panels from this company, all top of the line.   1- 180 Watt 12 Volt Battery Charger Solar Panel Off Grid RV Boat 180 watt total
   Item # ( 272812576939 )
fred480v  Feedback percentage of 99.7%



solar-hydro.JPG
[Thumbnail for solar-hydro.JPG]
 
bruce Fine
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save your cash till you get where your going and determine your needs, remember this, in life there are wants and needs, take care of the necessity needs and then determine your wants.
you will surely gain knowledge and experience on your journey that will help you to determine what might be helpful in your situation.
 
Jeremy Baker
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Sounds like a good adventure. It depends. Full size school buses can carry a lot of stuff!! Ive seen one with a blacksmith shop in the back and comfortable home in front. Yes, taking care of your bus and life on the road will lead you to finding items you need. Others prefer to go light without much stuff. Cash is a very flexible asset to have as mentioned.
 As far as dual purpose stuff: Some kind of saw, axe, chain, rope, farm jack, ladder, jumper cables, string, duct tape, hand tools, digital multimeter, crescent wrench, vice grips, hammer, drill, tarp, cheater bar, lug wrench, machete, wood blocks, shovel, bucket, wire, air pump,....... A tree can fall behind your bus or in front. Limbs can be in the way so a cutting instrument is important when in the woods. I carry a electric chainsaw. .
Canned food is great and so is some dried food and is lighter and more compact. My Motorhome can not carry as much as a bus so I’m looking into drying food.
Jumper cables can be used to do a rudimentary test on a inverter. Usually if a inverter produces correct voltage it works.
  Solar can be fairly simple as Thomas mentioned. And yes buying individual components for solar is what I’d suggest also.
The other thing is water for you and water for your engine. Fluids for you and the vehicle. Ive twice had radiator hoses burst in the woods but was able to put it back on and refill from my 5 gallon jug. It turned out exhaust gas was getting into the coolant and building up pressure slowly. Keep the jug full for emergencies.
I used to carry hunting and fishing equipment but have not recently. Guns, bows, and knives are certainly multipurpose.
 Things to trade, sell, or as gifts are multipurpose. So one can travel like the Lewis and Clark expedition with 42 tons of stuff or like a mountain man with relatively little. Or somewhere in between.
I was thinking the 5 gallon bucket is one of the most useful items ever invented. In praise of the 5 gallon bucket lol. That would be thread in itself.
Oh, a bicycle is a multipurpose device. Ive used bikes for al types of stuff. Towed trailers with motorized bike even.
My motorhome has cupboards full of kitchenware I seldom if ever use. As mentioned a few things such as pie plate, spoon, and mug. I’m really enjoying my induction stove now however. Cast iron skillet heats up really quickly and I can use solar to save my propane.
 I think a batch box or double shoebox rocket stove could be built to withstand the vibration in a bus. These are certainly multipurpose.  
 Do you have a update on your plans ?  
Take valuable things you can sell to get cash for what you need.
 
Travis Johnson
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Myself, I would save, save, save and get your land first. It would really suck to lose out on an absolutely great piece of land because you were a few thousand dollars short, but have a converted bus full of useful tools that you have no land to use them on.

I looked into getting sheep 10 months before I found the right flock, and built a lot of things getting ready for them, and once they arrived I realized the stuff I built and bought for them, just would not work. It ended up being a waste of money and time. I would hate to see someone else go through that without at least being warned of my mistake.
 
Gail Jardin
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Trace Oswald wrote:Tools are hard because it depends so much on circumstance.  For me, a chainsaw is a necessity.  If you just burn enough wood for camp fires, I have a Silky pruning saw that may fit the bill.  A splitting maul is mandatory for me.  I guess a list may be easier.

If I were concerned about space, my must haves would read like a bigger bug-out bag:
A good, fixed blade knife.  I believe that is essential for everyone.
Way to start a fire, with a backup system.  I wouldn't buy a camp stove because I don't think I would use it after I got settled.  I would cook over a fire, which leads to the next item.
A good cast iron pan.
Water filter.
Head lamp.  I don't know how I ever lived without mine.
Silky pruning saw.  An axe, or if space is really limited, a good hatchet.  
Solar is easy if you just want to set up one panel and a battery for charging phones and the like.  Youtube is your friend :)

There are quite a few good threads about essential tools here at permies.  It's such a huge subject and so individual, that it's hard to answer a question like this.  I think what will happen is that you will discover what you need, for your circumstances, when you need something and you don't have it.  That isn't a bad way to discover exactly what you need for your situation.  


I'm curious about finding a water filter that can hold various volumes but be compact when not set up. I love the idea of the Berkey but it's out of my price range right now. I've thought of using the filters added onto canning kettles but that would take up the same amount of space. My vision is the berkey filters on a bladder like bag that could hold different amounts of water but when driving it could be stowed away.
I'll have to look into the Silky pruning saw, I have a small axe and splitting maul but would like the efficiency of something that is electric or fuel powered.
 
Gail Jardin
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bruce Fine wrote:save your cash till you get where your going and determine your needs, remember this, in life there are wants and needs, take care of the necessity needs and then determine your wants.
you will surely gain knowledge and experience on your journey that will help you to determine what might be helpful in your situation.


Ah, but I am still unsure if and when I will find a 'place' to call home and be able to be a land owner. I keep finding places with major restrictions or that are out of my price range. I'm not rich at all and have been gradually building an old school bus to be my home so I can get out of the system of rent and utilities etc. I could settle for a small half acre and set up like that but I feel I would not get much done, nor ever be content with so little.
 
Jeremy Baker
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For a collapsible water filter we used a large bag hanging from a branch. The water would gravity feed down tubing through a filter. We used this when llama packing with groups of people in the wilderness. I’d be curious what other people have found that works.
 
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