We've all been there: you're away from home, you need to fix something, and you don't have access to any tools. With a little preparation, you can trick out your pockets with just about everything you need to repair things on the go. Here are a few ways to do just that.
Most of us probably keep our pockets pretty empty. Maybe a set of keys, a wallet and a phone. It's easy enough to turn your phone into portable toolbox, but you can do so much more than that with those empty pockets. Of course, you don't necessarily need to keep this stuff in your pockets at all times — the point is they're small enough to pocket, which also means they're great for go bags, glove compartments and purses.
Turn Your Wallet Into a Toolkit for Just About Anything
We're typically big fans of downsizing your wallet, but that doesn't mean you can't still stuff some important tools in there. While it might expand your wallet a bit, at least you'll be able to handle all sorts of situations you might come across.
If organisation is your thing, PocketMod is a printable organiser that fits right in your wallet. It sounds simple, but you can use it for just about everything, including directions when you're going rural, notes and so much more.
We're also big fans of the TOOOL Emergency Lockpick Card. It's shaped like a credit card, but it includes an entire lock-picking toolkit so you'll always have it with you in case of an emergency. If you have a tendency to lock yourself out of the house, this is the best way to keep a lock-picking set with you without wasting space.
Finally, if you want to stuff a whole toolkit into your wallet, the Tool Logic CC1SB Credit Card Companion or Tool Logic SVC2 Survival Card Tool both provide you with a handy set of tools for all kinds of situations. The survival version has a blade, a torch, a whistle, a fire starter and tweezers. The regular version comes packed with a blade, a magnifying glass, a screwdriver and tweezers. Essentially, it's enough to get you out of all kinds of situations, and it's not much thicker than a credit card. While you're at it, don't forget to stuff some duct tape in that wallet too.
If you'd rather keep your wallet thin, we've also shown you how to trick out your keychain with lots of tools.
Build a Pocket-Sized First Aid Kit that Fits in the Palm of Your Hand
First aid kits are always a good thing to keep around, but the problem is that they're never readily available when you really need them. Thankfully, many variations exist on tiny, pocket-sized first-aid kits that can help you out in all sorts of situations.
The general go-to for small-sized first-aid kits is the Altoids or Eclipse mints tin. It's small, it's strong, and it can hold a lot of different stuff. This one manages to pack in gauze, cotton buds, alcohol pads and Band-Aids. This one takes it even further and somehow manages to stuff in all that plus a suture kit, razer blades, super glue and more. If survival is more your game, this kit includes a Leatherman, lighter, magnifying glass, wire, matches, and just about everything else you could feasibly need to survive a night in the bush. Essentially, you'll have plenty of materials to choose from if you need to repair yourself or just MacGyver your way out of a weird situation that requires a suture kit.
If you're a cyclist, the folks over on Hackerspace have a guide to putting together a very small first-aid kit packed with the essentials like Band-Aids, pain meds, anti-bacterial ointment and more. The whole thing fits into a small container that attaches right under your bike's saddle.
Build a To-Go Electronics Kit to DIY Anything, Anywhere
You wouldn't think you'd be able to pull off doing any electronics DIY projects on the road, but you can actually pack quite the punch into a small case with a little ingenuity.
For example, the pocket-sized Arduino kit stuffs an entire arduino workshop into a double-stacked Altoids tin. With it, you get the Arduino, servos, LEDs, a breadboard and more. If that's too big for you, you can make an Arduino kit the size of your palm instead.
Alternatively, everyone knows that a good soldering kit is handy to have around. this kit packs an entire soldering system into a Altoids tin. It's a little tough to make, since you have to hack a cold heat soldering iron, but the final product is a small, totally portable soldering workstation.
Build a Kit of Take-Anywhere Tools
While tiny tools that fit in your wallet are all great, their usage is limited to pretty small-scale repairs. Just because you only have a little space doesn't mean you can't build a worthwhile toolkit though.
For example, you can use an old CD wallet to hold a bunch of smaller tools, such as pliers, screwdrivers and knives. Admittedly, you'll need big pockets to carry it around, but it's still small enough to sit in your glove compartment unnoticed.
If that's a little too big you, this (admittedly ugly) toolkit includes tape, pliers, a knife, hot glue, a solder, a lighter and more. Toss in something like a Swiss-Tech Micro-Max, and you have pretty much everything you need. If you want to make a great-looking case for it, we've shown you how to make your own pocket-sized, grid-it-style organiser before that would work perfectly.
You can pack just about anything into a small container and stuff it into your pocket with a little ingenuity. Whatever you think you'll need (or whatever you hope you'll never need) can be an arm's length away.