October 14, 2013
I just updated my utility belt.
Well, metaphorically speaking – every self-respecting geek has one.
Lately I've been trying to minimize what I carry around even further. After having children I've come to appreciate the value of less stuff in my life. So here's my everyday carry in 2013:
Compared to my 2011 everyday carry, I have managed to reduce in size almost everything on it:
I have no idea why I was using a size #1 S-Biner for so long when the smaller size #0 model does the job just fine. And I gave up the USB flash drive altogether in favor of storing files on whatever smartphone I'm always carrying around with me anyway. (But if you need one, look at the USB 3.0 models, which are almost like little SSD drives in your pocket.)
I also flirted with the idea of dropping the standalone flashlight and relying on my smartphone camera flash as a flashlight, but in my testing smartphones make weak flashlights. It might replace one of those button battery style LEDs in an emergency, but it's not even close to what a decent AAA LED flashlight can do for actual nighttime navigation. It is interesting that LEDs haven't advanced much in the last few years on AAA flashlights. There are somewhat newer Cree XP-G2 models which I also experimented with, but I ended up preferring the minimalist, compact form factor of the iTP EOS. Don't forget the lithium AAA batteries to keep the weight down and runtime up, though!
The Leatherman Style is a fantastic new addition, because it keeps the core functions I used the most on the Leatherman Squirt and removes the extra stuff I didn't. Here's an expanded view of the other side.
So: scissors, knife, screwdriver. Hard to see, but detachable tweezers are also wedged in on the corner. That works for me. These are the functions I used the most on my Leatherman Squirt, by far. The Style is leaner, smaller, lighter … meaner.
(And there's also a nail file, on the other side of the screwdriver, but what is this obsession with nail files on multi-tools? Who are these people filing their nails all the damn time? I've never filed my nails once in my entire life! Can anyone mansplain this to me?)
I also purchased an updated Leatherman Squirt PS4, the one with the integrated scissors as well as the pliers. I'm showing it here fully expanded, next to my old red Squirt that didn't have the scissors.
The pliers are great, and probably the only reason to carry this slightly larger multitool if you need it. But I hardly ever did. The physical dimensions aren't terribly different, but the Squirt PS4 is 56.4 grams, versus the Style at 23.1 grams. Quite a weight savings.
(I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the Squirt and Style are only two of the literally dozens of great Leatherman utility tool choices, from pocket to multi-tool. I like the smallest ones in the model range for my minimalist EDC needs, but you might want more. Of particular note is the Style CS which adds an integrated clip and bottle opener, but bulks up to 41.1g)
So that's my updated utility belt in 2013. Less is more, folks.
But there is one more thing…
If you were worried that Haitz's Law wasn't working for us on these LED flashlights, have no fear. Because for $75, you can now own a compact, roughly AA-sized LED flashlight that produces an astonishing 850 lumens. (For context, the AAA flashlight pictured above produces around 90 lumens on its highest setting.)
I got this Fenix PD35 flashlight
to play with, along with some rechargeable 18650 Li-ion batteries (think fatter AA, two CR123A batteries stacked on top of each other), and it is nuts. It's actually painful to look at when lit, and it gets pretty warm in your hands on the high and turbo settings. If you've ever dreamed of carrying a lightsaber, and I know you have
, wielding this baby will make you realize that dream is closer today than ever before.
It's also a pretty nice flashlight. Just try to resist making lightsaber noises while using it.
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Posted by Jeff Atwood
Fool around enough in the woods and you'll eventually break or tear a nail, in those instances the nail file is indispensable. The one included in Leatherman tools (I use a Leatherman Style CS which benefits from a built in clip and bottle opener) has always been great in that there is actual grit in the file so it isn't just for show and can keep your nails nice and smooth.
The file isn't necessarily a nail file, it is handy for throwing a quick edge on a saw or knife blade or filing something fit that's just a little too big.
You're tempting me with that flashlight, as mine is currently only capable of about 500lm. It still seems to be good enough for me though, plus it's titanium (Jetbeam TC-R1) which feels really good.
Also, the battery is an 18650, which means it's 18mm in diameter and 65mm long. You're missing the 6 in the number.
My favorite part of this post is the blurred out keys in the second photo. Highly respect the diligence.
Just the other day I fired up my battery powered barbecue rotisserie for the first time in ages and it didn't work due to corroded battery terminals. Two seconds with a nail file and it was fixed :)
The file is useful as previous commenters have pointed out, but you have to watch out -- I had a Leatherman Squirt a few years back, and the rough edge of the file was enough to scratch up anything else I put in the same pocket if I carried it every day.
One other concern -- the Leatherman Style looks awesome, but is the blade short enough for air travel? I recently picked up a Victornox Manager (http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Swiss-Manager-Pocket-Knife/dp/B000FNFXK4) to replace my Leatherman (and the collapsible pen I'd been keeping in my wallet!) specifically because the blade meets EU airline regs, which allow folding blades under 6cm x 1cm. Do you know if the Leatherman is the same way?
Number pad door lock. Keyless ignition in the car. Never having to to free-up a hand to dig in my pockets: Priceless.
Bright flashlights may be macho, and they have their uses, but for getting around in the dark it's best to use the dimmest one that gets the job done, and preferably monochrome. Otherwise your rods don't adjust to the dark, and you can't see a thing outside of the narrow shaft of light. Or if you insist on being macho, use the bright flashlight and wear an eye patch.
"I've never filed my nails once in my entire life! Can anyone mansplain this to me?"
As other people have said, it's useful for more than nails.
Plus, ever get a little tear in a fingernail at the tip? Annoying as HELL, and a file's the best tool for that job.
(Also, contra Mr. Crandall, I have an electronic front door lock - but they still have a key for backup.
And you do NOT want to get locked out of your house because you didn't notice the low-battery warning or something.)
Not as common as the CS, but the Style PS is about to lighten my current carry -- mostly because it's easy to unclip but keeps the pliers and scissors that I find are the most-used tools for me on a Squirt PS4.
It's also possible to use small (4mm) screwdriver bits with it, wedging them into the carabiner section: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDsYphq5klg [not my video]
"Now, I want you to go in that bag and find my leatherman."
"Which one is it?"
What's with the "Bad Mofo" sticker? Pulp Fiction?
Nice idea to ditch the USB over the phone, but it means always carying a USB cable, and my phone wont boot a computer...
Well, apparently one of the things that you can use the nail file for is fixing your shotgun in a pinch...
Quite like the "bad mother..." on the blades.
Oh dear. Your blurring out your keys is a bit of security theater, I'm afraid.
By the looks of your keys, you're using the same-old, same-old pin and tumbler locks that have long since been compromised. It isn't like the tech is new; it is over 150 years old. An attacker can either bump or pick your locks and they're in a matter of seconds.
In any case, just like in computer security, an attacker will take the easiest route: instead of painstakingly recreating your keys, she will use a "Skeleton Brick" to open a back window or a coat-hanger to open the garage door.
The picture doesn't do the Style justice in terms of size, it's roughly a quarter of the size of my Ford keyfob. So dinky!
I've never thought about having a torch on my keys but now seriously considering one if that's anywhere near as small as the Style. Any idea where I can purchase the ITP 96 lumen in good old England? I've only been able to find an 80 lumen on amazon uk.
Are the bottoms of your keys NSFW?
Ditto, David Crandall. Been using number pad door locks since my kids were early-teens, losing house keys every other week. WELL worth the investment. Office is keycard. Car is keyless ignition. Much lighter in the pockets.
I do carry full size Gerber EOD multitool (my preference, the C4 punch is invaluable) and AA Led flashlight in laptop bag, and another set in car, but do not carry them on me.
@Ambarish. How would you mansplan it?
Note to self: Must get a cool flashlight.