“As long as you’re here, do you think you can look at this switch that’s flickering?” or, “…lose baseboard?” or, “…thing with a broken thingamajig?” If not for that, no one would invite me over. Fine. I get some free food and beer (or wine from my classy and/or Italian friends) and I get to do some problem solving. That’s why there’s an EDC (Every Day Cary) version of my workshop stowed under the backseat of my truck. What’s in it?
You should absolutely have one of these, whether you’re a homeowner or renter or apartment dweller- an experienced builder or a DIY neophyte.
It’s a drill – it’s a power screwdriver – if you steal attachments from your rotary tool is can be a sander or an etcher in a pinch. They’re lightweight, versatile and not too pricy. This one also holds a charge pretty well, but I have AC power in my truck so I can charge it when I’m out and about if I need to. With a basic set of drill bits from 1/16-inch to ½-inch and an assortment of screwdriver bits and socket drivers you can get a lot of jobs out of the way without digging deeper into the bag.
3/8-inch Drive Ratchet
This combo tool from Craftsman’s MACH Series saves a lot of space in the go-bag because of its multi-functions.
It’s a push-twisting screwdriver, a ratcheting screwdriver and obviously a 3/8-inch drive ratchet. It also pivots to reach awkward angles. It came in a nicely organized plastic case, with slots for all the metric and imperial sockets and a variety of driver bits. I saved that case for something else, and to fit it all in the go-bag I just keep them in separate zip top bags.
Sometime the drill driver is too much gun. And sometimes you don’t want to go ratchet. So go basic. These little guys are perfect for that. Attack switch plates without fear of splitting the plastic, adjust little setscrews, open a can of paint.
I carry both the slip joint and groove joint (or water-pump or channel lock) pliers because they have different points of leverage and sometimes one is better than the other.
The slip joints are good for small nuts and bolts, the groove joints were designed for plumbing fixtures. Either can also crimp, twist and pry. And sometimes you use both at once to hold one side of something still while you twist the other side of that thing.
Yes, I know these are also pliers. These long nosed pliers are from the electrical family rather than the plumbing family.
Useful when rewiring a switch or lamp they can also poke, tweeze and hammer. I use them for all those things, but in my kit, mostly they cut wire, so that’s what I call them. These also have a little built in LED light to shine on your work, which I have yet to break.
Tape Measure and Pencil
This is a tape measure and a pencil. I use them for measuring and for writing down the results. Not very sexy, but that’s what they do.
Duct Tape, Baling Wire and WD-40
If it moves and it shouldn’t, use duct tape. If it doesn’t move but it should, use WD-40.
I didn’t make that up, but I have a few things to add. Don’t use duct tape anywhere you don’t want it to be permanent. It’s not designed to be removed. This is not masking tape. But if the navy can use it to repair submarines, I can use it to hold the sideview mirror onto my old truck. Artfully applied, baling wire is a solution to all kinds of problems. It can be wrapped around two points and then twisted to draw them closer together. WD-40 can obviously lubricate things, but it’s also good for removing gummy sticker residue and all kinds of other things. It’s mostly fish oil.
“This is just a quick job. I won’t even have time to hurt myself.” That’s when you hurt yourself. See that divot in my thumb? Protect your eyes and your hands. It only takes an extra second.
You may have noticed there’s no flashlight or utility knife here. That’s because those aren’t in the bag. I have multiple flashlights in the truck and multiple sharp bladed implements within arm’s reach at all times. I’m also not a car guy or an electronics guy, so people don’t ask me to fix those things. Your EDC is a reflection of your skillset, so build your own go-bag with that in mind.