Running a homestead is extremely rewarding on a number of levels. When you homestead you know you’re enjoying the very best quality home grown food free of all the chemicals, antibiotics and other adulterants increasingly creeping onto the world’s dinner plates. You also know that you’re doing your part in working towards a more sustainable and ecologically sound future. We live in an era where our reliance on industrialized farming has led to more global pollution than the entire transportation sector. Industrialized animal agriculture is among the leading causes of not just pollution but deforestation, animal extinction and habitat loss. There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best vehicle for your homestead.
Starting a homesteading is often done out of concern for the environment as well as the health and wellbeing of their families. Thus, they can get a little squeamish when thinking and talking about vehicles. Yet, there’s no escaping the fact that as self-sufficient as we may be many of us need a vehicle of some sort, especially if we live in rural areas. As such we need to balance our practical needs with our passion for environmentalism and sustainability and the desire to reduce our carbon footprint.
So, when the old faithful family car begins to sputter its dying breaths, what’s the best car to replace it? While there are no hard and fast answers, here are some things you should keep in mind…
Diesel or Gas?
While a big deal was made about the green benefits of diesel a few years back, in ecological terms, the difference between diesel and gasoline can be fairly negligible on the whole. Nonetheless, there are some vehicles which use fuel additives to make their diesel emissions greener; see www.peakhd.com for details. In practical terms, diesel vehicles are not recommended for those who only undertake short and rare journeys. These can lead to a buildup of soot in the Diesel Particulate Filter which can be extremely damaging to the vehicle in the long term.
What Features Do You Need?
It’s easy to be seduced by the bevy of cool features present in today’s vehicles when you walk into a car dealership. It seems as though today’s cars with their digital pairing and in-car wifi have everything short of their own movie theaters and popcorn machines.
However, if you spend most of your time on your homestead and rarely drive for more than half an hour each way twice a week, will you really benefit from all these cool features?
Also, do you have animals that you need to move for breeding purposes? Do they eat hay? Do you need large amounts of garden soil or compost hauled onto your property? Do you want to save delivery charges when purchasing lumber and other building materials, or even large appliances?
All of these things were definitely something we had to consider when we were shopping for a second vehicle. Because our family car is much more economical for my husband to drive to work, I would be the primary driver of this second vehicle. Basically, all I needed was to be able to haul hay and get to town to run errands and shop. I didn’t need much.
However, I do listen to a lot of podcasts when I’m out driving, so I would have loved digital pairing. Still, it was an easy fix with a portable bluetooth speaker. It isn’t as easy is the automatic bluetooth pairing that my kids’ cars perform, but it was a good idea, and much cheaper for me.
Car or Truck?
Obviously, a pickup truck can have a number of practical uses on a homestead. It can be used to transport heavy equipment for servicing or repairs. It can be used to take yields of crops to farmers markets and it can be used for towing… However, it may also require slightly more upkeep and use a lot more fuel. The increased weight of the vehicle will also cause faster wear on your tires.
We decided to go with a truck, but one without all the aforementioned bells and whistles. We actually did find one that had very low mileage, and was pretty clean. It’s what I drive when I need to get feed and hay for the animals, or if I just need to visit a friend. Despite the fact that it uses more fuel than our family car, it was still the best choice for me since I don’t use it more than once or twice per week.
Two or Four Wheels?
Many homesteaders who live in rural environments may opt for a four wheel drivetrain, especially if they live in a hilly area or areas prone to snow where the drivetrain’s performance will determine whether you’re able to get into town in rough weather or not. Living in California, we don’t have the need to get through any rough weather, so a good choice for us was 2 wheel drive truck.
You’re Now Ready for Choosing the Best Vehicle for Your Homestead!
Hopefully, this article will help you narrow down your choices next time you need a new vehicle for your homestead. When you balance your practical needs with your ideology, finding the right vehicle for your homestead is easier than you’d think!
Ethan Hansen says
I found it interesting how you mentioned how diesel trucks can haul large amounts of hay or large animals with ease around your homestead. My wife and I are in the process of retiring and we have decided that we want to move to a ranch to raise pigs to help our local 4H chapter achieve more funding. Because we need a way to haul them into town, I will keep this in mind as we search for a diesel depot near us that can help us optimize a truck!
Kristi Stone says
Hi Ethan! I’m so glad you could use the information!