Guest Post: The 1 pound tool kit

I have seen a lot of recommendation lists for BOB and EDC, and I have studied each one, always taking in new ideas and double checking myself.  One thing I have that I haven’t seen a lot of is a portable toolkit, at least not like mine.  I know that a lot of preppers won’t put anything in their bag that doesn’t have at least 3 uses, and not all items in this kit meet this requirement.  I call this a first aid kit for gear and machinery.  It is kept in my truck kit (sort of a GHB designed to roll into my BOB).  I also have a large tool kit in my truck, which is also my BOV, but this small one is designed for carrying on a motorcycle, bicycle, or… on foot (I hope it never comes to that).

These simple tools could come in handy with minor repairs and adjustments to cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, generators, and firearms.  However, the contents depend entirely on your unique situation and skill level, there is no sense packing a spoke wrench if you don’t know how to adjust bicycle spokes.  Here are the contents of my kit:

(note: the ruler is included in the pictures for scale only)

 

Case:  I used a Crystal Light powdered drink container, small (6.5”x2.75”x2”), light weight, and just the right size to fit in my inner backpack pouch or a magazine pouch with a lot of room to spare.  I used strong strapping tape to place Velcro on the sides to hold the lid in place, works great!  Any light container will work, such as a school pencil box or a small cloth bag.

 

Tools

  • 4” Vice Grip Pliers:  Instead of regular pliers (have those on my Gerber), it can get a better grip on stripped bolts and works as a clamp for hands free, 4” size fits in tight spots.
  • 6” Adjustable Wrench:  Will fit any bolt up to ¾”.
  • Stubby Screwdriver:  Hollow handle with flat, Phillips, and hex bits in the handle.  It is a ¼ in drive hex shaft that also turns the 2 drill bits I included.
  • Drill Bits:  7/32 and 9/64 with ¼” drive shank to fit the screwdriver handle, can drill through wood or even thin metal.  I can drill a perfect hole in a branch as thick as my wrist in well under 30 seconds, and the 7/32 bit I included is the perfect diameter for para cord!
  • Hacksaw blade:  I broke it off at 6” long to fit in the kit and wrapped 1 end in 2′ of duct tape for a handle.
  • Telescoping magnet:  Ever drop a screw in the grass and didn’t have a spare?  I did, which is why I included the magnet to help pick up or find lost hardware in a hard to reach spot.
  • LED Light:  Small with flexible neck to hook on to something for hands free use, just because I had room.
  • 6” Chisel:  Flat end, is helpful for stripped and rusted bolts, cutting into wood (or sheetmetal) and can be used as a small prybar.

 

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Supplies:  I also included a few supplies for repairs, such as a tube of super glue, 5 zip ties, 6′ of wire, 6 nuts and bolts (Longer is better, I can cut them down to size with my hacksaw), and WD40 in a no mess pen.

 

I put most of this kit together from items I already had around the house, but I estimate the value at about $15-$20.  The kit weighs just a little over 1 pound and, if I do need to lighten the load, I can toss it out and not be out too much money.  However, I think it will be among the last things I give up.  A Gerber Mutli-tool has some of the same capability, and I carry that on my belt also.  Consequently, I may remove either the adjustable wrench or the vice grip, but I like the ¾” capacity of the wrench and the locking grip of the vice grips, decisions….decisions… tell me what you think.

 

There is only one Law on the bugout trail, and that is Murphy’s law:  If anything can go wrong, it will.  In much of the U.S., it is difficult to travel more than 20 miles and not find mechanical devices of some kind, and after TSHTF, it will probably be broken if it is not in use.  So, short of pulling a small hardware/tool store in a little red wagon, this is my solution for maintaining my equipment and making the best of any possible  resource I may find.

 

I am very interested in suggestions for improving my kit, if you have any, please comment!

 

Thanks,

 

Al


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8 Comments

  1. Instead of the hacked off hacksaw blade you could get a couple of bayonetsaw blades in conjunction with the vicegrip. There’s a litte stub that fits perfectly in to a hole in the bottom of the jaws of the vicegrip. It also makes using the saw a lot safer.

    You will probably be missing the ducttape from the sawhandle at some point so put some around your container, maybe in different widths to give yourself some options.

    The kit looks great but it still looks like you could add some sewing supplies. Som artificial sinew and an awl sewing needle or two and maybe a curved one would be a great addition.

    Great looking kit with some good and usefull tools!

  2. I was going to advise wirecutters…..but being as how you mention the Gerber multi-tool, I guess that covers it. I carry the Gerber with the carbide cutters, three cutting surfaces, should one edge get dull, turn the carbide bit. I have cut fence wire and such with it, no problems. It is my EDC, and I work in the industrial maintenance trades; heavy machinery. I also ride Harley’s…..(never ride without tools)….indispensable.

  3. Very good concise toolkit. ‘Used to be an active craftsmen, and carry something similar in an old medicine bag tied to my belt. Brings back found memories. Well done. Eminently practical. Often overlook in BOB prep. Didn’t see a jeweler’s phillips and reg screwdriver. Would come in hand, esp if you wore glasses. A couple spare of those screws too. I used a bit of strong wire I carried, to make my glasses work through a camping trip. Those additions would add minimal weight. A very small insulated pair of side cut diagonals would help if you needed to cut some live circuit, or strip back insulation. Most multi-tools are not insulated. Alternatively, you can pack a roll of electrical tape, and quickly wrap the tool to insulate it. Electrical tape stays on if wound around, and makes a great wilderness bandage.

  4. I like it!

    Only suggestion: Ditch the crystal light container for something a little more durable, such as a thermos. If memory serves correctly, the crystal light container’s plastic is designed to break down in sunlight, to protect the environment. Plus, it’s not very impact resistant.

    Three small suggested additions:

    Electrical tape
    Duct Tape (or Gorilla Tape!)
    A marking instrument, such as a pencil or a sharpie

    Great job on the toolkit.

    Ken

  5. Thanks for the input!
    I should have mentioned, I also have a roll of duct tape in the bag (just not in the kit), but I didn’t think about the electrical tape… that will definitely go go in, not really sure why I haven’t already! I also have a sewing kit in with my fishing kit in my BOB, I just put all the small sharps in one place. I think a spare sharpie will go in too…. now the container is getting small though and I really want to keep it light. Might have to find a good pouch or one of those hard plastic waterproof kits, if I can find one small enough.

    Thanks again for the suggestions

    Al

  6. A few drywall screws and a few nails can be handy. Steel wire, 5-10 feet of fine steel wire and a couple feet of strong wire for repairs and fabricating things. You can substitute 6 wire rebar ties for the heavier steel wire. Box cutter and extra blades including a couple of the hooked end blades. A dozen or two asst zip ties. Small pry bar, I have a small 4 inch, flat on one end with the other end bent for better leverage. xacto knife or scaple with a small piece of tubing as a blade protector. Small magnifier, I have a cheap one given away by my bank that folds into a plastic protector but I also carry an eye loop. The eye loop is about three times as powerful. Small four way rasp and a small triangle file. A pair of wrap around safety glasses, great for walking through brushy areas or traveling at dusk or nighttime. Mechanics gloves, lightweight and still allows you to pick up a washer or other small item. Small squeeze light and a light you wear on your head.

  7. Great idea for a compact kit. I have one similar I carry in my small backpack I carry especially when I am in someone else’s vehicle. You are at their mercy, and most people are not prepared for any kind of difficulty. (oh they say I have my cell phone, I won’t need anything like that) Yeah, well I don’t want to depend on you, I’ll just be prepared myself. I carry my kit in one of those notebook zipper bags, they are fairly heavy duty, lay flat, and are inexpensive. doublebhomestead.wordpress.com

  8. I definitely agree on the small prybar and the 4-way file/rasp. Those probably get used more than anything else. (for me). I also keep a couple Dollar Store eyeglass repair kits for the fine screwdriver and bolts. I also replaced my spool of surplus steel ‘tripwire’ for about 20 ft of soft 20ga copper wire and some zipties. (if you ave a folding wallet, some zipties can be easily carried by sticking them into both compartments – they bend.

    If you live in a state with a lottery, the gov’t can actually provide you with something useful, for a change. When you pass a lottery dealer, snag a couple of the free 3-inch long free pencils intended for filling in the # boxes, and stick ’em in the tool kit. Maybe, after wrapping them in duct tape and PVC electrical tape, even.

    A (cheap) replacement for magnifiers (which are more and more useful, the older I get) is to go to a Dollar Store and pick up a pair (or 2 or 3 or 10) of inexpensive plastic reading glasses. The magnification and a case to keep ’em unscratched will set you back 2 bucks, and they’re less likely to fall off than a loupe. You’ll look extraordinarily geeky, but you can ‘stack’ multiple glasses to get more magnification, if needed. When the earpieces break off (and they will) bend a couple paperclips and hang them from the earpieces of your regular glasses, or safety glasses.

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