3 Must Haves For a Prepper Homestead

Having lived off grid now for almost two years and on this homestead for just over a year, at least 3 things come to mind that I’m so glad we have. Everyone on our homestead has a preparedness mindset and thinks ahead about long term survival. Consequently, we have developed a number of strategies when it comes to off grid living and have established our priorities when it comes to having a successful homestead that will provide for all of our needs.

With this in mind, I want to share with you 3 things that we could not be without. These three things really make or break our homestead. In reality, there are a lot more than 3 things that really make our homestead successful. But we see these 3 things as pivotal to our success and ease of living. So much so that I would recommend them for any Prepper Homestead to be successful.


The first “must have” for any Prepper Homestead is water and lots of it! We are very blessed to have lots of water on our homestead. When we moved to our property, the former owners told us that the already established wells on the property never went dry. In 2012, the midwest went through a severe drought. My family was in St. Louis at the time and a nearby river was so low that I could basically walk across it. Wells were going dry and staying dry all over the midwest. Not so for our homestead, as we were told by the former land owner. While the water did get low in the 19th century wells on our property, they never went dry. The ponds also still had plenty of water to sustain the fish population.

Today, our property has 3 wells on it. Two are working wells that we use daily.

    • Well number 1: Its a modern well that was drilled when we moved on the property. Its 140 feet deep and the water level stays about 40 feet from the top. We use a Simple Pump brand hand pump to bring water to the top. We have a motor for the pump that we will eventually hook up to a solar panel next spring. We will then be able to bring water to a nearby holding tank and then into the house. It cost us $1850 to have this well drilled.
    • Well number 2: This well is one of two 19th century wells on the property. Its about 15 feet deep and so far we have never seen this well go dry. The former land owner said that the well didn’t run dry during the drought of 2012 when everybody else’s well did. The well is lined with hand hewn stone and we suspect the well is actually about 20 feet deep, but over the last 150 years, sludge and muck have filled it in a bit. We will eventually try to have this sucked out to see how deep the well really goes.


  • Well Number 3: This is our other 19th century well that was hand dug and lined with stone. Its located next to a county road and the locals tell us that the well was used as a stopping point for travelers who needed a break to water their horses. It’s overgrown with brush and the stones are in disarray. It’s my desire this winter to clear it out and restore the surrounding area as much as possible. The well still gives its water and I think we can use this in the future as a backup well should we need it.

It’s interesting to note that our homestead homes and the first two wells are sitting about 150 feet below the summit of a 2400 ft mountain in the Ozarks. It is usually unheard of to have water that high up. What is even more interesting is that when a friend of ours who deals in lumber walked our property a few weeks ago, he noticed a number of sycamore trees around the top of the mountain. Sycamore trees have the ability to drink up to 600 gallons of water per day. It was curious to him to see these trees at the top of a mountain because they are usually found near streams in the valleys.

We are blessed with water. It is the most important resource we can have. For a prepper, having a homestead with adequate water should be a top priority.


The second “must have” for any Prepper Homestead is fencing. Good fencing is so important. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 acres or 200 acres. Having proper and adequate fencing for your land opens up an entire world of possibilities to you. If you ever want to raise your own livestock to supply meat for your own personal consumption or for barter and sale purposes, you will need fencing.

Having researched this topic extensively, we came to the conclusion that we needed a system of paddocks on the property that would allow us to rotate our livestock. Rotating livestock over many grazing paddocks allows them to be healthy and will actually improve the quality of the paddock soil over time.

Today, meat prices are through the roof and that is not going to get better over time. Its going to get much much worse. Having the fencing in place to contain even a small amount of livestock with the intention to perhaps grow your herd over time will certainly pay off. Food production is second only to our need for water. Fencing gives you a great amount of benefits and increases your ability to raise food.


Aside from the high price of meat is the quality of meat. The media is full of stories about meat glue and pink slime. What guarantees are there that the meat you’re buying at the store is the kind of meat you would want to eat? How was it processed? How was it raised? The bottom line is you are going to take someone at their word that the meat is labeled correctly. When you raise meat yourself, you know for a fact what you are getting.

Fencing also provides one more thing: security. It is a barrier, albeit small, to the outside world. Being able to gate off your property and limit traffic on your land is important if you should ever need to do so. In fact, having a number of gates and fences that must be passed through before one reaches your homestead would be optimal.


The third “must have” for any Prepper Homestead is a tractor. This may seem kindof out of the norm for some in the prepper community. But give me a moment and let me argue my case. There have been so many examples where our tractor has saved us time and money.

Since we moved onto our land, we have cleared a lot of that land. Our tractor is a Massey Ferguson 50 HP. We have used the massive power of this tractor to move felled trees, timber, and piles of brush.  It has also been vital to tow vehicles, till ground, and brush hog fields for livestock. It’s just been so helpful in so many ways. Having a tractor on a homestead really is a modern marvel that makes homesteading, especially off grid homesteading so much easier and worthwhile.
From the little I have learned about tractors and looking at them with a preparedness mindset, a diesel tractor is your best bet. And the older the better. There is a huge group of folks in rural America that love restoring old tractors and selling them. Older vehicles are just easier to work on and maintain. As an added bonus, many of them really sip the diesel fuel pretty slowly. Having a diesel tractor will also make it easier to provide an alternative fuel should the grid go down and make it hard to obtain true diesel fuel. I have even heard stories during the Balkan war in Sarajevo where one man was using pine tree oil to render down a type of diesel fuel for use in vehicles.  He was very successful when using it for barter. Most vehicles over there, including small cars, are run on diesel.

In short, our tractor has been a huge asset to us.  I believe that it would be beneficial for anyone setting up and building a Prepper Homestead to have a tractor.

So there you have it! Three Must Haves that any homestead prepper needs to consider when setting up for the long haul. All three things will be vitally important no matter where in the country you are homesteading.

Do you have any suggestions? Would you trade out an item on this list for something else? Leave a comment below and share it with us!

Happy Homesteading!

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About Zachary Bauer

Zachary lives with his wife, two sons and his wife's parents on An American Homestead deep in the mountains of the American Ozarks. They all moved there together in July of 2013 where they began to build the homestead. They are off-grid with the exception of a phone line.

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  1. I’ve been thinking about homesteading for a couple of year now and I’m stilling to figure out a good area. We live in the Phoenix Arizona area and what you posted would work here as well. Thank you and I look forward to see what else you do.

    • Matt,

      I’m working up in the mogollon rim area for now and there is land up here that has possibilities if you have a ‘deep’ well dug. You can find some decent 40 acre parcels for 25k – 40k. Two areas that may interest you are north of St. Johns and east of Snowflake. There may be some areas open around Heber-Overgaard as well. If you are still working, as I am currently, then you may want to consider looking around the Show Low area too. Vernon may still have some land available as well. With the exception of St. Johns, the other areas mentioned are within a 30 mile radius of Show Low, which offers the best chances for employment.

      Very Respectfully,

      Ken Pasano Jr.

  2. I would bet a paycheck (second party, out-of-state) that you have a seepage spring at the top end of your property. As you live in the Ozarks – a very old Mt. range, you could have an aquafire just below the surface that is locked in place in underground streams or an underground pond of sorts that is trappend in the limestone. Where my mom lives right on the lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, her cabin was set on a cut into the rock of the Mt. it’s self. Her “basement” was only 10’X20′ until we accidentaly punched into a small cave with an insanely deep pool in it. We know that there is another opening to this cave somewhere as there was a bucket and a ladder in the pool, about 60′ away from our opening. It is most likely a cave that filled from a seepage over time.
    Where we live in coastal NC, our water table is onlt 23′ down, but we have a river in the backyard, and pond in the front yard…. Now I just need a fence and a tractor!!!

  3. Fencing – I’d say this depends on type of animals you raise or if you raise any at all. We live rural pretty sustainably and have no fencing and no tractor. Our land is heavily wooded. We sew, coppice trees and trade the neighbors produce grown in our garden and wood out of the timbers for heavy equipment usage, meat, etc. Ehh. Each situation is different. I’m thinking it’s more essential to tailor your homestead to your interests and the capabilities of the land you live on, the needs of your family and your neighbors and the skills you have to trade. Becoming a vital member of your community seems far more ‘essential’ to me than a tractor or a fence, however, we and our property have no need of them at this time. A brain to think thru your must haves is pretty important. Lots of folks lived sustainably for years w/o fences (children shepherded animals/belled goats, etc.) and tractors (grandpa used a mule and a plow). Water – seems to be the true necessity. We live w/a well and a community spring in the neighborhood.

    Not trying to be a negative nelly, but I’m sure it comes across that way. The idea is to find what’s essential to you and yours! Peace Out. Patty/Nelly

  4. I would have to agree with you on all of this! The one thing that I would add, is a chainsaw. It has been vital to us, especially with no electricity. We use our every single day no matter the season.

    Have a blessed day.

  5. What about some kind of defense? for both the family and livestock. Doesnt have to be a gun. for example I had critters in my coop and I didnt want to scare the flock so I used my bow.

  6. Really envy you. Would love to be in your shoes but for me it’s impossible unless it comes to a have to. I am a paraplegic. I saw where you are selling your cucumber seeds would you consider selling sunflower seeds to plant also. The big ones are hard to find. Let me know a price if so. Thanks and good luck to you, wish I were there also.

  7. I am currently trying to save for dwellings to put on my fathers cattle property here in Australia. I asked for 2 acres and he said yeah i can have 10 if i need it, praise YAH. I know fencing will be important to keep the cattle from eating the fruit and veges i plan to grow. And water is definitely the number 1 essential, especially as it can get very dry at times in our region. We are blessed that the property lives up to its name “Springfarm” with natural springs available to us and my father has had bores (much like wells) dug over the property throughout the years to supply the cattle with plenty of water in the dry season. I am also blessed to have access to dads tractor which will come in handy when it comes time to make the move and plant my crops. However the land had been well cleared and maintained for grazing purposes. My father also just gave me 9 cows and a bull for my birthday for my families future financial security which i am extremely greatful for.
    I would like to know what else helps your family on a day to day basis when living off grid? I hope to be able to afford a solar power and battery set up when i am ready to move but what other things help? I have been looking into water purification methods, manual cold press equipment (would love to be able to make my own olive and coconut oil), septic systems, water efficient crop growing etc. Can you help or point me in the direction of blogs you have on these topics.
    YAH bless and Shalom to you all.

  8. Mr Bauer, you are right on! My only suggestion would be to change the priority and put fencing first. Patty thinks a fence is only for your animals but Anthony has it right. You need a fence to keep unwanted animals such as wild dogs out as much to keep any free range chickens and turkeys (what I have) in. Also without a perimeter fence you can’t have a dog. The biggest mistake I’ve made is not putting up a fence as soon as I purchased the land.

    Great work!

  9. It?s hard to find experienced people on this subject, however,
    you sound like you know what you?re talking about! Thanks

  10. This is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate info? Many thanks for
    sharing this one. A must read post!

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