Readers, I’m not so much into gadgets and gizmos as many people, but one of the things that I have done is to amass what I call a “micro” toolbox. When you’re in a bind, you may have only what is on your belt or in your pockets to rely on. But what about things you may need in a pinch that may require tools…except you can’t drag around a giant toolbox with you? This may just foot the bill for you and give you some food for thought.
Although I live an “Uncle Cave-man” type of lifestyle, the fact that I am writing this article to you on a computer and use the internet should prove to you that I still need a certain number of things to carry out tasks besides a bow saw and a stone axe. Let’s go down a list of some things you can “miniaturize” and take with you in a small tool kit for your needs in a possible 72-hour emergency. Many of these are low cost and can be picked up in the Dollar Tree/Dollar store. Remember: You’re not going to stick-build trusses or frame a house – just make a small tool kit you’ll be able to use in a pinch that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
12 ESSENTIAL TOOLS YOU NEED FOR YOUR BUG OUT BAG
- Hammer: no, not the 30-oz Estwing, but a small hammer, just enough to tack in some nails and build a small lean-to or shelter [Pack some nails in a variety of sizes in a small container…don’t forget them]
- Screwdriver: once again, your dollar stores have the ones that have “bits” for different screwdriver heads, such as standard or Philips.
- Drywall saw: yes, the small one with a triangular-thin blade and big teeth…excellent for small branches, and can be used for the game you shoot, as well
- Exacto/razor knife: the one with break-off, disposable blades
- Allen wrench: you never need one until you need one…and when you do, nothing in the world will work except the Allen wrench…also at the Dollar Tree
- Star-nose bits for the screwdriver: once again, you’ll never need them until you do…and your life will be horrible if you don’t have one and the need arises…make sure they fit in your multipurpose screwdriver (#2); you can get them at the hardware store for a couple of dollars
- Pen Torch with Butane: I recommend Benz-o-matic’s ST-200. It is about 6” long, and it can hot-blow, solder, and be used as a torch with a flame more than 2,000 degrees F! It runs about $23, and the butane (use Benz-o-matic to keep it from gunking up) about $4-5 per can. If you need to “unfreeze” something in a heartbeat, such as a lock or a moving part, or if you must solder something together to repair it…there’s your racehorse.
- Tape measure: get a good one, a 12 foot one for your minimum size, and use the ones by Stanley, not the generic junk…in this case the adage “cheap you buy, cheap you get” applies. Use Stanley’s “Fat Max” brand that is wider with more visible numbers, unlike the others where even an eagle or an owl couldn’t see the numbers and markings.
- A small pry bar: the type that is either rounded or hexagonal. You can pick up one of these at the Dollar Tree, but if you’re going to put a lot of force on it, you may want one of the more expensive ones at Home Depot or Lowe’s. You never know when you need to lever something in a small space.
- Eating utensils and accessories: yes, a fork, knife, and spoon, and a small hand-held can opener. [Note: if you’re out in the wintertime, and a can of food has frozen, you can poke a couple of hole in it with the can opener and thaw it out on a fire]
- Small power tools: Cordless Dremel with bits, a cordless screwdriver (that can double as a drill if it’s a good one) and bits…these are your “primaries” with your “Uncle Cave-man” manual tools to back them up if needed. The Dremel, especially, has drills, sanders, and cutting wheels that can really help in a bind.
- A set of micro/precision screwdrivers: once again, the Dollar Tree is your best bet.
There are many reasons to pack yourself up a small tool kit such as this one.
Firstly, you do not know when or where you are going to run into a situation that you need these tools in a hurry. Many of you may say that you already have a big Sears craftsman toolbox in the back of your truck or the trunk of your car. That’s fine, and guess what? So do I. But in addition to this full-sized toolbox, I have the smaller one, for the “What if’s” that always arise.
What if you have an accident and you need to get away from the vehicle to seek shelter? What if you’re compromised, in some way, and must abandon your vehicle completely? Wouldn’t it be nice to have that small tool kit that can be made to attach to your happy bug-out backpack? You can potentially grunt it out and lug the full-sized toolbox with you, but if that’s not an option, your backup will be this compact bag or box of tools…micro-tools, if you will…to help you out as you are in motion.
With these tools at your disposal, you can solder, fix, fabricate, and build what you need in a pinch. Survival is more than living with an entire arsenal of weapons and a warehouse full of tools and supplies. It is also about living “on the cusp” and being able to be “Johnny-on-the-spot,” to either make or fix what you need when the situation calls for it. Such is adaptability, and along with good coffee, it is the factor that has enabled us to survive as a species. Invest in that small tool kit and tailor-make it for your needs, both immediate and the ones you forecast for the future. JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT, and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
This article first appeared at Tess Pennington’s Ready Nutrition.com.