#99 - Feature on Tools

4 minute read

Motto: A Tool is Only as Useful as Its Operator’s Ability to Use It

This column was co-written with the intelligence column I just posted. The two go hand-in-hand and very well could have been combined. The first paragraph from my post on intelligence may have sounded impressive to some. Just for reference: Today’s post is an article on acumen and aptitude. A blurb on brains and brilliance. A commentary on capacity and comprehension. A discourse on discernment and deciphering. An item on intelligence and intellect. A piece on perception and precocity. A story on smarts and savvy. A write-up on wit and wisdom. Impressive? What if I showed you this and this? Just because I used internet resources to help me build out that paragraph, does that take away from it? Did I not still write it? I think a huge portion of being smart is just knowing what tools are available and how to use them. I think a huge part of being successful is just doing so. Being an engineer and coming from the son of a long line of carpenters, I like tools. Tools perform functions. Functions are useful. I like useful things.

I have written at length on several occasions about my Every Day Carry (EDC) on this blog. I have went camping twice since my last EDC writeup and I’ve done a lot of thinking (and buying… much to Melissa’s chagrin) and I’ve decided it’s time to update my (new) EDC.


  1. Nexus 4 - Took all these pictures using it and my tripod mount
  2. Sog Flash 2 - Legal carry in this area& it looks more like a pen than a knife in your pocket
  3. D-Ring with my apartment keys - usually attached to #5
  4. Money clip/wallet - small enough to carry in my front pocket
  5. KU Lanyard with my work and car keys, also my keychain Leatherman


Option 1: Maxpedition Sitka - better for outdoors/rural carry Option 2: Timbuk 2 Messenger, Small - better for the city

Tech Stuff:

  1. USB wall outlet
  2. USB car outlet
  3. USB thumb drive - Kingston, 16gb
  4. Small cinch bag for #5
  5. Nexus 4 headphones
  6. USB adapter (to connect #8 to #3… or a keyboard)
  7. New Trent mobile charger w/ laser pointer & flashlight - Charges the tablet and/or phone a few times over per cycle
  8. Nexus 7 - probably still the best tablet for the money you can buy
  9. Case Logic sleeve - I used to do the kind of case you had to open, but came to prefer a sleeve
  10. Micro USB cable - for every phone that isn’t Apple based
  11. Mini USB cable - for my GoPro & whatever else

Pen-related items:

  1. Moleskine - For doodles and thoughts, goes with the 4 pens
  2. Post its - You always need to be able to leave notes
  3. Streamlight Flashlight - I get a lot of compliments on this thing. I use it all the time
  4. Sharpie - Always handy
  5. Stanley Pocket Screwdriver - Not for any heavy duty work, but works in a pinch
  6. Paper Mate Flair Pen - I switch between these and Pilot G2’s and they are both fantastic

The rest of it:

  1. Handkerchief - for cleaning things other than noses
  2. Leatherman Wingman - cheap but good!
  3. Altoids go kit - Band aid, Q-tips, tweezers, finger nail clippers, Chap Stick, tooth pick things
  4. Paracord - cause you never know what you need it for, you just always need it
  5. Portable kleenex - for cleaning noses
  6. Portable toothbrush & toothpaste

Optional Add-On - GoPro:

Example loadout unpacked and packed up & waterproof. I went on a float trip/campout recently, as I just wrote about in the last column. During this trip I was impressed with a something I saw. Two of my fellow floaters had a waterproof tote containing all the things you need for a successful camp. I was very impressed. I made a list of things I’d put in mine.

What that translates to is “I made a list of things that I will put in mine someday”.

I want to say more about tools. But this post has taken ABSOLUTELY FOREVER TO WRITE.

I wanted to push this column out the door before I wrote about Melissa’s return. Also, I wanted the last 10 days or so to be post #100.

Top 5: Most Useful Tools

  1. Flashlight
  2. Knife/Multitool
  3. Smartphone
  4. Google (really, the internet)
  5. Your body and mind


“Aaron, you appreciate useful tools - and I like that” Josh told me this over a year ago when I told him my method of looking for parking spaces by looking for the lack of the shadows cast by vehicles