Low tech is simple technology.
Low tech is using old technology because it still ‘just works’ like a bicycle. Bushcraft can be seen as low tech. As can pretty much any pre-industrial craft. Or things like windmills and sailboats. Low tech can be hacked and repurposed easily.
Low tech can also be associated with using the barest possible technology to make a thing work. The Low Tech Magazine website is solar powered and only has the necessary information on it. There’s also a low tech directory that contains small, minimal, simple websites and games and so on and so forth.
Low tech opposes the planned obsolescence of objects (often “high-tech”) and question the consumer society, as well as the materialist principles underneath. The concept of low-tech thus implies that anyone could make objects using their intelligence, and share their know-how to popularise their creations. Low-tech must therefore be accessible to all, and could therefore help in reduction of inequalities.
Other examples of Low Tech
- weaving produced on non-automated looms, and basketry
- hand wood-working, joinery, coopering, and carpentry
- the trade of the ship-wright
- the trade of the wheel-wright
- the trade of the wainwright / wagon making
- Traditional ploughing: a farmer works the land with horses and plough
- blacksmithing and the various related smithing and metal-crafts.
- folk music played on acoustic instruments.
- mathematics (particularly, pure mathematics) as it’s all done with paper and pen
- organic farming and animal husbandry (i.e.; agriculture as practiced by all American farmers prior to World War II).
- milling in the sense of operating hand-constructed equipment with the intent to either grind grain, or the reduction of timber to lumber as practiced in a saw-mill.
- fulling, felting, drop spindle spinning, hand knitting, crochet, & similar textile preparation.
- the production of charcoal by the collier, for use in home heating, foundry operations, smelting, the various smithing trades, and for brushing ones teeth as in
- various subskills of food preservation: smoking, salting, pickling, drying
- the production of various alcoholic beverages: wine: poorly preserved fruit juice; beer: a way to preserve the calories of grain products from decay; whiskey: an improved (distilled) form of beer
- masonry as used in castles, cathedrals, and root cellars.
- Handmade tools
Everyday Low Tech
- get around by bike, and repair it with second-hand materials
- use a cargo bike to carry loads (rather than a gasoline vehicle)
- drying clothes on a clothesline or on a drying rack
- wash clothes by hand, or in a human-powered washing machine
- cool your home with a fan, an air expander (rather than electrical appliances such as air conditioners)
- a bell as door bell
- a cellar or “desert fridge” (rather than a fridge or freezer)
- Long-distance travel by sailing boat (rather than by plane)
- A wicker bag or a Tote bag (rather than a plastic bag) to carry things
- Swedish lighter (rather than disposable lighter or matches)
- paper + pushpin (rather than a post-it)
- A hand drill, instead of an electric one
- Lighting up with sunlight or candles
- Hemp textiles
- To water plants with a drip irrigation
- paper sheet for note-taking
- To clean with a broom (rather than a vacuum cleaner)
- To find one’s way with map & compass (rather than by GPS)