Must Have Tools For Preppers

Last Updated: September 11, 2022

Proper preppers take special care when choosing their tools to build and survive with. Variables to consider include reliability, weight, brand, and price. Not every tool is created equally which is why we compiled a comprehensive list of the most cost-effective reliable prepper tools on the market today for several purposes including:

  • Home and Shelter Building
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Demolition
  • & More!

The value of a reliable tool is almost priceless in a preppers world. If SHTF and all goods production cease. You are going to wish you had multiple versions of these tools available.

Tool Boxes and Tool Bags

All great tool collections for preppers start with a proper box for the tools themselves. A reliable toolbox should have enough room for all of your tools as well as provide protection from the elements to avoid rusting and prematurely degrading the integrity of the tool. It also makes it easier to transport them.

Depending on how you are bunkering down, a solid traditional toolbox may be for you. If you are traveling, a roll-up tool bag may prove to be more practical.

Hammer and Nails

Many people talk about the reliable hammer you will need if SHTF, but not many people bring up the nails conversation. If you had a hammer and no nails, producing the nails would be incredibly difficult. If you had nails and no hammer, any flat surface with some weight behind it that can be handled, can be used as a hammer. This is why you should always have nails available.

Prepper Tip: We recommend avoiding wood-handled hammers as they are more likely to corrode faster. Instead, we advise our preppers to use a hammer with a fiberglass handle for extended shelf life.

Screwdrivers and Screws

Screwdrivers are critical for a prepper’s arsenal. Even if the world were to shut down tomorrow, your screwdriver would be necessary to de-commission useful equipment and salvage parts that you come across. Try starting with a screwdriver with multiple bits and if you discover you are using it often you can opt for a more traditional fixed set of screwdrivers.

Screws, just like nails, will be difficult to find in a preppers world and it is always useful to have a box of mixed sizes. Be sure to use a reliable screws brand, as the cheaper kinds tend to break and strip the head of the screw more easily. 

Prepper Tip: When salvaging parts in the apocalypse, save the screws!

Hand Saw

Your best bet for choosing a hand saw is to purchase one with interchangeable blades for longer usefulness and different materials or a “hack saw”.

If you decide to buy a fixed hand saw and use it often, it will need to be replaced much quicker. Carpentry is a primary skill to have when SHTF and a good saw can do a lot for a prepper.

Measuring Tape Reel

Unless you’re Hawkeye from The Avengers, everybody needs a dependable measuring tape. 

The most common mistake we see preppers make is the type of tape they choose. Traditional measuring tapes, unfortunately, will not get you to where you need to go if you’re serious about measuring but can still be a great way for measuring most things. They are heavy and easy to drop, break, & tear. They can also be expensive.

Instead, we recommend using a durable measuring tape reel instead, which has longer measuring capabilities as well as the ability to more easily measure circular objects and abnormal lines of sight. The added ability of the length of the measuring tape does not come at the cost of heavier weight and ease of use. A good tape reel is truly a must-have for every prepper.

Ratchet Socket Set

A must-have tool for every craftsman and prepper is a ratchet and socket set from a well-known brand. Ratchets and Socket Sets can last several decades if not outlast us entirely. They are extremely well designed and made, allow a maximum amount of torque with a minimal amount of power, and are easy to maintain. 

Ratchets and Sockets are critical for maintaining vehicles and should be considered a top ten items to own.


A solid adjustable wrench, or fixed wrench set if you can afford it, are a surefire way to build out a proper prepper tool kit. Wrenches can be used in the home, on vehicles, for taking equipment apart from that you find, and so much more.

Pry Bar

Being able to demo quickly and efficiently is key to prepper survival. Whether it’s building a shelter or destroying one, using a pry bar is guaranteed to speed up all of your building and demo processes. 

The size of the bar is up to you. Having both small pry bars and larger demo bars tends to be the most effective for small and large projects alike. 

Adjustable Pliers

For the awkward grip points that traditional sockets and other tools can’t provide, a set of adjustable pliers is the answer. 

Pliers are great for handling in many different ways, can get in hard-to-reach areas, and can act as an assistant for most of your building needs. Adjustable pliers are cost-effective and are considered a must-have for your arsenal of tools. They also come with a number of secondary functions like wire cutting or nail stripping ability.

Prepper Tip: Get a complete set of pliers so you always have the leverage you need. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Protecting the most valuable tools of all, your ears, eyes, & hands, is paramount to prepper success. We recommend using a comfortable pair of proper ANSI-rated safety glasses to start. We further advise you to buy a polarized pair as well for all of your daytime prepping activities, as sun damage for daytime workers is a very real concern in our modern world. 

Gloves are also a must-have tool for preppers as they will allow you to work more indiscriminately. They minimize your chances of lacerations, smashing, and other various related construction injuries from nails & splinters further allowing you to work faster. 

Hearing protection is another important topic as well. Depending on your budget, you can utilize disposable hearing protection or opt for a better-performing & durable solution.

Hex Key Set

Hex keys are another tool that is typically used in home repair or small project building. For a prepper, it is essential for both the building and de-construction of useful machinery to buy a hex key set made from reliable material that is least likely to strip and deform from heavy use. The hex key you got from IKEA will not cut it. Consider this hex key set that was crafted from Protanium Steel.

Utility Knife

Being able to accurately cut most everyday materials is possible with an everyday utility knife. Utility Knives are great because they grant you the ability to replace blades as you need to.

A Utility Knife is lightweight, durable, transportable, and is most likely the number 1 item to go into a prepper tool kit. It is an absolute must-have for every prepper.


Being able to construct with straight lines will ensure projects work and look correctly. The straighter a craft line is, the more integrity you will have in your final product. A proper level will help any prepper stay in line and they don’t have to be full size either. A compact level for portability is preferred for preppers.


Being able to free your hand while you’re working will help speed up any prepper project. Even in the middle of the daytime headlamps are needed for several projects including plumbing work, electrical testing, and installation, as well as vehicle maintenance just to name a few. 

We always recommend buying a prepper tool that serves many purposes and utilities. Get a headlamp with multiple functions that provides the type of powering mechanism suitable for when SHTF. 

Combination Square

Combination squares go hand in hand with levels in that they further assist builders with straight lines and desired angles. They are used in woodworking and metalworking, as well as stonemasonry. Any preppers workshop should contain a combination square or you can expect their projects will be “out of line”.


As a prepper, you’re going to want to be able to salvage and build quickly. 

A Sawzall can help you accomplish that goal by dramatically speeding up the construction cutting process for materials like wood and masonry, home building materials like drywall, plastic, and fiberglass, in addition to being able to cut most reasonable metals depending on the thickness. 

Blades for a Sawzall are easily replaced and you have the option of going with a portable rechargeable battery or plug-in version.

Cordless Drill

Preppers save themselves a lot of strain by using a power drill for both everyday and heavy-duty uses. A good cordless drill can save you hundreds, if not thousands of hours during the building process and are considered standard for the well-prepped prepper. 

Hammer drills are the most common type of household drill. Choose a cordless power drill that’s mobile, durable, & with good battery life. 

Circular Saw

A number of building projects involve the necessity for heavy use equipment. Wood is the most common material in construction and the only way to conquer it is with a plug-in circular saw. 

Why choose a plug-in version? Because you don’t want to sacrifice power during the heavy-duty jobs. A reliable circular saw saves hours a day in time and to say it is a must-have prepper tool is an understatement. 

Extension Cord

Extension cords are priceless must-haves in our prepper’s opinion. They can be linked to portable or fixed power sources while providing another 100 feet of length for the ultimate power tool convenience. When it comes to purchasing an extension cord choose reliability and length.

Prepper Tip: Make sure your extension cord comes with a reel to avoid the dreaded tangling that can occur with everyday use. The reel will also help you keep the cord clean and free of debris as well as look more professional during storage. 


A good shovel can last years and will assist any prepper with essential gardening projects. There are many different sizes and types of shovels but we recommend grabbing an original tree planting shovel, the most common type of shovel you are used to seeing. 

Tree planting shovels are not just for planting trees but are the most heavy-duty hand shovels you can find for just about any digging project. 

Prepper Tip: We further recommend grabbing a shovel with a detachable shovel head to easily replace the shaft when it degrades or breaks. 


When it comes to choosing must-have tools for preppers we chose a combination of convenience and portability for our readers. You can effectively build professional prepper tool kits for less than the cost of a car payment and with the competition in the tools industry, you are bound to find all of the products named above in a price range that is suitable for any prepper.

“Always Be Ready” Max

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