Monday, January 08, 2007

My Keychain Is Prepared For Disaster

Here's a photo of my current primary keychain, which I will warrant is more prepared for disaster (both man-made and natural) than most people's pockets, purses and man-bags:

My Keychain

First, holding it all together in the middle is a flat wire gate carabiner from Bison designs. (It was originally blue.) Because it's a biner, I can add and remove individual items pretty easily; I can also clip it to the top of my pocket. It's pretty secure, though I still have to make sure everything stays together, lest disaster happen.

Then, starting at the top and going clockwise, I've got:
  • My car keys and remote; they're together on their own split ring. Also on that section is an orange Photon II keychain light. For fun, there's a now-obsolete NYC subway token.
  • An ARC AAA LED flashlight. It looks a lot like a Maglite Solitaire, but it's not -- it costs 3 times as much (so, about 30 bucks) and it is worth every penny. It's incredibly reliable, practically indestructible, and it doesn't have a bulb to blow out -- the LED will last thousands of hours.
  • A Swiss Army Knife Rally, which has a blade, bottle opener, phillips screwdriver, nail file/flat screwdriver, tweezers and toothpick.
  • A Spyderco Ladybug knife; it's on a quick-release plunger so I can detach it if I need to go somewhere where knives aren't allowed. It's got a partially-serrated blade that's a smidge under two inches.
  • A safety pin. Useful things, those.
  • My housekey (The cuts are photoshopped so you can't dupe it from the photo, though if you were going to break in, it would be easier to just make a bump key.)
  • A green Traser Glowring -- it will glow in the dark for about 10 years, because it has a little vial of Tritium gas, which is radioactive (but perfectly safe). If you want one in the US, you need to find someone abroad who can send you one, since they're not available here and can't be shipped in.
  • A storage capsule, also by Bison Designs; I keep a rolled-up twenty and some Pepcid AC antacid tablets (critically important, for reasons I've mentioned before).
So why carry all this crap on my keychain? It's not just "be prepared" stuff -- I use a lot of what's on it pretty much every day.

The lights are probably the most useful things. Lights are incredibly handy to have even if you're not worried about blackouts or being stuck in elevators or on the Metro. (Flashlight geeks like to say that there's a 100% chance of darkness every night -- what more reason do you need?)

On any given day, I'll use the ARC for looking under my desk, poking in the dark corners of my laptop bag, or checking inside my mailbox.

The knives I use less often, but only because I usually have a handier knife or multitool available.

Now, there's other stuff that gadget and personal preparedness types might carry that I think is overkill, at least for a primary keychain -- whistles, magnifying lenses, hotspark fire starters, pens, mini-compasses, mini-prybars, small multitools, GI can openers, etc.

Plus, I try to avoid any other keychain junk: USB drives, SecureID tokens, buyers club cards, wifi hotspot detectors, coin purses, condom holders, laser pointers, and the like.

(Besides, if I need to carry any of that other stuff, it'll usually be in another pocket or my laptop bag.)

Short legs = short pants = small pockets, so I don't want too much stuff dangling from my keychain.

As it is right now, it's fairly discreet, with no jingling. Everything goes in my pocket except the car remote, which I let drape over the edge of my pocket.

I guess it also helps that I only need to carry two keys.


E :) said...

I'm not completely clear on the need for more than one knife, but that's just me! I've just condensed my keyring, and it's the best thing I've done in ages. Well, not really. But it's much easier to carry.

Joelogon said...

The swiss army knife isn't particularly sturdy, and the ladybug doesn't have a bottle opener, so two knives.

[Crocodile Dundee reference pre-emptively removed due to attack of better judgement.] -- Joe

Alan said...

victorinox has a minicamp version of swiss knife. It comes with a LED too (in Red). You can change it to white if you wish to use it as flashlight. I really think a decent swiss knife can do the job. But then it's your preference. Hope you can trim down your keychain a bit :)


Joelogon said...

Alan -- I like having the lights separate from the knife. And I'm pretty much fine with the size of the whole thing. Though I have to revist now -- the wire gate on the carabiner broke, so I need a new one.