Best Pocket Tool (3 of 3)

Maratac ¼” Pen Driver

Tool one and modifications abandoned, I came back to this driver I had found in my initial searches but had passed over at the time because I wanted something that held more bits if possible. Perfect being the enemy of the good in mind, I purchased this and resolved to use it, and boy am I glad I did!

Admittedly, my time on this tool is still quite low, only about 3 weeks, but I’m very satisfied with it already. I wasn’t originally sold on the idea that this did not have a cap to help retain the bit that is in it and to protect whatever else is in your pocket/the pocket itself from the bit. However, I have found this hasn’t been a real issue. The magnet that retains the bit is super strong, and I have been keeping this clipped to the pocket like a knife, that keeps the tip from rubbing against pretty much everything. Carpenter jeans or pants with a mid leg pocket are even better for this.

The included bits were a Phillips #0, #1 and two flat heads; a large and small. I swapped the Phillips #1 and the small flat head for a T15 Torx security and a Phillips #2. As we know, Phillips #2 is the most used screw size in everyday life and the T15 Torx security bit is specific to me and my work tasks; I have a large number of computers that use that to secure the case side for some reason. I opted to keep the Phillips #0 because it will will work in a Phillips #1 screw in a pinch and let me get at smaller stuff. I kept the larger flat bit because I figured most Phillips needs are covered, so a small flat bit wasn’t needed as a Phillips backup, there are occasionally the huge flat head screws you come across that need a big bit, and if I decided to pry on anything with it, the bigger bit will probably be more handy.

Now, how do we make the perfect more perfecter? A number of ways of course! You didn’t think I’d be satisfied with this things how it is did you?

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Best Pocket Tool (2 of 3)

The Custom Pocket Tool Kit

I hadn’t really explored this option until now so I started down the rabbit hole, and boy what a rabbit hole it is. There are innumerable videos on YouTube about what people allegedly carry in their pockets and the infinite utility they find out of random and weird tools and gadgets. Frankly, I think a lot of this is overstated, but for sure there are weird and unique little things that people have/do that help them do their specific weird/unique little thing.

After contemplation and viewing some other people’s EDC for ideas, I determined that a compact driver of some sort with a variety of bits and an extension could fit in a small pouch or case and I could easily fit a couple of other nice to haves in that form factor. And while the videos were sometimes questionable, it did help me narrow down specific tools that I wanted. I settled on the following for the kit:

Topeak Mini Rachet/Driver Kit

  • This is a nice little kit packed with tools in a small form factor make for biking. The standard ¼” bits can be used in the driver as either a ratchet at the ratcheting end, or on the handle end as a standard screwdriver. It included a nice assortment of bits and a small extension. I swapped around the ¼” bits to have a selection of 11 bits I wanted and ditched the included tire tool.

Klein Tools 7 in 1 Extension/Nut Driver Set

  • A wonderful tool that add not only a long ¼’ hex extension that is compatible with anything that accepts standard ¼” bits, but ingeniously has three nut drivers that service six different nut sizes that slip over the extension for storage. Quite the “force multiplier”!

Knipex Cobra XS

  • These 4” pliers are all the rage for the EDC crowd for some reason. I don’t quite get it myself, but figured, what the hell, I’ve got room in the kit to throw those in and being small and flat they don’t really add any bulk.

EDC Organizer/Pouch

  • A cheapo pouch to hold everything together.

All assembled, this was a pretty handy kit that was small but with decently big capabilities. It was however a little more bulky than I was hoping for and because of this, I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with it/where to put it.

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Best Pocket Tool (1 of 3)

TL;DR A verbose and not especially eloquent but assuredly boring read about my iterative process to find the best pocket tool for EDC. There’s a few pics and lots of links too. 7118 words.

(Part 1: 3000 Words)

I have been on an eternal quest to find the best EDC tool(s) to supplement the typical knife, flashlight, pen, etcetera that fit my specific requirements. For our purposes here, EDC means what is carried on my person and in my pockets, on my belt, in my boot etc. Effectively, it is affixed to me in some way. Supplementing the pocket knife with crap I keep in my bag is very easy, supplementing it with only what’s in my pockets is tough! This search also must be considerate of my carry choices and methods with carry being either strong side or appendix, with speed loaders or a magazine in the pocket. So pocket space is a premium!

Requirement wise, I’m an IT guy, well THE IT guy, who works in a manufacturing company. While I do make my way into the shop when needed, I’m primarily in the office, and I don’t find myself doing as much field surgery these days in the office or shop. That said, it is quite aggravating to find myself at the furthest end of the building from my office, only to discover I need a screwdriver or Torx driver of some specific size and that no one in the machine shop I work in seems to possess such a tool but me. I also occasionally find myself doing some minor spelunking in the walls and ceilings to pull and mend cables, and there is the infrequent surface mount box or receptacle I have to open up. A screwdriver is also of course handy for rack mounted items. Considerations for this EDC outside of work are moot. If I’m doing real work on something that requires real tools, I’m not going to waste time and aggravate myself with pocket tools. I have sets of real tools for this purpose, and if it can break and fuck up my day, then I won’t leave home without the means to repair whatever “it” is. For me, the EDC that fits work requirements is sufficient for play requirements.

The conclusion is that in addition to the knife, flashlight, pen, etcetera, I would like to have a couple of other tools in my pocket with me all the time to save myself a long walk back to my office or from doing a tool scavenger hunt. The screwdriver is the most used tool after the actual knife, or maybe even before, and so my initial requirements developed as follows:

  1. Must have at least a Phillips screwdriver. Multiple sizes are better.

  2. Must have at least one flat head screwdriver. Multiple sizes are a bonus.

  3. Must fit in my pocket, be compact, not be obstructive, and work with gun carry options.

  4. Any additional tools, farkles, and greebles I can fit in the required form factor is a bonus.

These requirements in mind, I came to the following ways to meet these requirements. A bit of testing and experimenting with each category would eventually yield what I have settled on today.

  • A multi-tool/Leatherman/Swiss Army Knife of some sort. One thing to do the knifing and tooling in one package.

  • A custom made kit built of the tools I want/need to fit the size I want.

  • A purpose built tool to meet my requirements.

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