Ten Non-Power Tools That Will Help Long-Term After An EMP, by Z.T.

p>An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a formidable weapon in the hands of a foe. After the blast of an EMP, you automatically enter a world without electricity for an indefinite period of time. With China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran currently working on EMP weapons, it’s a good idea to be prepared for life without electricity.

Many other articles out there detail the basic survival supplies that you are going to need to live life “in the rough”, but very few of them tackle the subject from a long-term perspective. Should an EMP attack happen, what tools are you going to be left without? Your power tools most likely aren’t going to work, yet you’re still going to need tools to keep your home/camp/shelter in shape. What do you need?

Read on for a list of 10 non-power tools that will help you to survive long-term after an EMP.

  1. Washboard

    Even without power, laundry still has to be done. So, if the washing machine no longer works, what are you to do? Aside from the obvious drawback of smelling absolutely putrid without clean clothes, fresh laundry has other benefits as well. Boosts in morale, fabrics lasting longer, retaining your humanity, and the avoidance of various pests and diseases are all other reasons to ensure that you have a steady supply of clean clothing and bedding.

    A washboard will help to ensure that as long as you have access to water, you will be able to scrub your clothes clean.

  2. Saw/Hacksaw

    Thanks to the invention of power tools, construction projects don’t take nearly as long as they used to. If you’ve ever dabbled in woodworking before though, you know that without that chainsaw/circular saw/jigsaw/reciprocating saw, you would be in a world of trouble. Most of us take our power tools and electricity for granted, and as a result, finding somebody who actually still has an old fashioned hand saw is rare.

    What do you do after an EMP attack, if you have to do minor construction to your house and you have absolutely no way of cutting that leftover scrap wood? You improvise, of course, but your safety is compromised and your time is wasted as a result. Hand saws and hacksaws will ensure that you can still cut through whatever you need to after the electricity goes out.

  3. Scythe

    This one’s going to sound a bit odd, but there is a good chance that you’re going to want to keep your grass short around your house. I personally don’t like the idea of Lyme disease, and considering the fact that ticks thoroughly enjoy hanging around in tall grass, keeping the grass short around your working areas may be a good idea.

    And what if you have animals? A scythe (maybe multiple ones in this case) will help you to be able to harvest hay to store during the winter for your livestock. Currently, you probably just hop on the tractor for a few hours and then hire some help with the bailing process. Without electricity, your fields’ crops remain where they are. A scythe can help to prevent that from ever occurring. They’re not as difficult to find as you may initially think either. A quick Google search will find you a good quality scythe (possibly minus the blade) for approximately $60.

  4. Shovel

    Unless you live in an apartment or townhome style setting, odds are you already have a shovel or two laying around the house. However, if you don’t have one, I would at least buy one here soon. Preferably a round point, the traditional spade shape. A shovel has a myriad of uses. Digging outhouses, preparing foundations, getting rid of snow, irrigation, burying caches, removing animal carcasses, and fencing are all a few of the uses that you can get out of your traditional shovel.

  5. Wind up clock/watch

    Is a clock or watch a tool? I suppose that depends on how you look at things. Either way, the ability to tell time makes life a whole lot easier. My alarm clock at home has to be plugged into a wall. The odds are that yours is plugged in too. Having an old fashioned wind up clock, like your great grandparents used to have, is the best way to ensure that you still have the ability to tell time after an EMP strike.

  6. Abacus

    This is another odd one. Complex math gets rather difficult when you don’t have a calculator, and think about how often you use one throughout the day without even realizing it. Do you need to do a little geometry for a construction project? You’ll probably want a calculator. Will you try to predict approximately how much feed you’ll need for your livestock over the winter? You’ll probably want a calculator. Are you wondering how many pounds of meat you need to keep for your family this winter, and how much you can afford to barter with? You’ll probably want a calculator.

    You get the point.

    As much as your inner 5th grader hates to admit it, you actually do need math. You use it every day. However, after an EMP attack, there will be no working calculators. Sure, you could carry paper and pencil with you everywhere, but there’s a reason that alternatives such as the abacus were invented. Because people from the past realized that pen and paper often take too long, they wanted a quicker, easier way to get the answers they needed. As a result, the abacus was invented.

    They’re not anywhere as near as hard to learn as you might anticipate. It’s a little formidable at first, but with ten minutes of practice or so, you’ll be an abacus wizard.

  7. Anvil/Rebar

    Let’s go back to the construction scenario, which is something that happens quite often during a survival situation. If you need to build something, you’re going to need nails. So do you just swing on by your local hardware store to pick up a few things after an EMP? Good luck.

    Odds are that just about everything has already been looted clean, and even if it hasn’t been, journeying several miles through a densely populated area full of desperate people while loaded down with as many nails as you can carry isn’t my idea of a good time.

    An anvil, some rebar, and a really hot fire will enable you to make your own nails during a survival situation. Knives, spearheads, door hinges, silverware, door handles, horseshoes, and candlesticks are all a few of the other options as well. Basic blacksmithing obviously takes a little bit of practice, but those skills may come in very handy later.

    Regarding the rebar, just make sure that it is not galvanized. If you purchase some galvanized rebar, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening when you wake up dead after putting that thing into your forge. Galvanized steel emits zinc gas when heated hot enough, and if you breathe in enough of it, that’s what’s going to happen.

  8. Axe/Hatchet

    This is probably the most obvious one on the list, yet there’s a reason that this is such a cliché answer: axes and hatchets are incredibly versatile. No power means that you’re going to have to have some method of obtaining heat during the winter. You’re also going to need some way to cook your food. An axe or a hatchet give you the ability to readily collect firewood to store for later. Clearing land and felling trees for timber are other options with an axe as well.

    Hatchets, if they have a flat metal back, can double as a hammer as well, giving you more bang for your buck. Neither of these tools takes up much room, yet both offer you excellent options for potential survival situations.

  9. Rotary Hand Drill

    I absolutely love my power drill and very easily can find a project to use it on every week. However, after an EMP attack, the ability to use that drill you so readily depend upon may wither away to nothing. Drilling holes is still going to be important, but you’re going to need another option.

    That’s where great grandpa’s old drill comes in handy. A rotary hand drill essentially has some sort of handle, which you grab to support the drill, while the other hand revolves a small gear which rotates the drill bit. It’s more work than a power drill, but it’ll get the job done.

    There’s two basic types of rotary hand drills as well with the other option being a rotary breast hand drill. That’s the one that I prefer. Instead of a handle that you grab, there’s a small pad that you lean against with your shoulder/chest which applies weight to the drill. I find it to be much more comfortable and easier to hold steady than your typical rotary hand drill.

    You can find these pretty readily at your local antique malls, but if a newer model is what you’re after, Sears has a few good options as well.

  10. Carpenter’s Planer

    If you’re going to build something, you most likely are going to need boards. If boards are in short supply, sometimes making substitutes is your next best option. Though you’re never going to be able to take a log and turn it into a 2×4 with a carpenter’s planer, you will be able to give a flat surface to two sides of that log, allowing you to stack it. Likewise, if you do already have some spare 2x4s laying around your house, a carpenter’s planer can enable you to turn that board into a 2×3, or whatever other size board you need, to finish whatever you’re doing.

    You can easily pick these up for $10 or so at your local antique malls, and can even buy them new from hardware stores. They don’t take up very much space and can be very handy to have somewhere down the road.


An EMP would certainly make life difficult, and the odds are that if you’re reading this website you’re already some level of a prepper. However, do you have the tools that you are going to need for the long run? You probably already have some of these on this list, and it is most certainly not an exhaustive one, but it should get you thinking.

What other tools are you going to need, if you are to survive long-term after an EMP attack?