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#9130 - 01/22/04 07:46 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?

Well, maybe the feeling silly part is because both the large SAK in my pocket and my "pen knife" (Midnight Manager with pen, light, etc.) on my beltloop also have can openers, and I have never opened a can with any of them. So it is not so much that I have something "useless" on the keyring as much as that I have 3 of them on me. <img src="images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

But then, I have 5 knives, 4 lights, 3 pens and I do not know how much stuff distributed on me and rarely use more than one at a time of the duplicates.

#9131 - 01/22/04 11:30 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?

I actually have a leather key case (Ghurka), and it fits in a flat pocket behind the keys. For years I did carry one, taped closed, on a split ring attached to a key ring. I currently have another in my wallet (in a folded, cut corner of a plastic bag, taped) that I have to remember to take out before I fly next time.

I wouldn't want to be without one. They weigh almost nothing, they're small and flat, and so long as you get real ones and not knockoffs, they work very well. I use them very, very rarely... but when you need one...

Case in point.. many years ago, I had agreed to feed the cat of a lady friend's sister while she was on vacation. The first day we had a huge blizzard, car travel was impossible, and I ended up walking (postholing through snow) for about 3 miles ("but I have promises to keep, and miles to go...").

When I got there the cat food was all laid out, but they'd taken the canopener with them on vacation. My choices were to use a $250 knife to open a can, search someone else's house for other possibilities and possibly ruin assorted implements not belonging to me, or posthole back a mile and a half or so to the nearest convenience store, buy a canopener, then back the same distance... until I remembered the P38. Problem solved, Tabby happy, I'm happy.

I have ALWAYS carried one backpacking. There's no other convenient way to open a can that's nearly as lightwieight, and it's so light it's worth having just on the odd chance you buy some canned food in a country store somewhere, or trade for some on the trail.

They also work fine as a striker for ferrocerium sparkers like the BSA Sparklite, so- throw the striker away, substitute a P38, gain in weight barely measurable with expensive scale, gain in utility huge. I keep a dozen or so spares in a drawer- they're cheap, so if one gets lost (or confiscated at a metal detector) someday, no big deal.

#9132 - 01/23/04 01:31 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?
Craig Offline

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 1784
Loc: Collegeville, PA, USA
wouldn't want to be without one. They weigh almost nothing, they're small and flat, and so long as you get real ones and not knockoffs, they work very well.

So how can a mere mortal tell the real deal from the knockoff?

#9133 - 01/23/04 09:16 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?

So how can a mere mortal tell the real deal from the knockoff?

That's easy- the knockoffs bend or break when you use them.

Sorry. <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Let me get back to you. I remember that all or almost all of the "real" ones seemed to have one of two contractor's names on them, may as well wait until I can check my hoard.

I bought a dozen from somebody on eBay who advertised them as "real US GI" or somesuch, and they did prove to be the genuine article. Since then I bought a few more at a surplus store where they were out in a can and you could handle them.

A few of the knockoffs I've seen were actually larger... IFIRC, at least 20 percent larger than the real thing. Seems like that might be a good thing- more leverage- but they bent. That was a long time ago, though, so they may no longer be on the market.

#9134 - 01/23/04 10:02 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?
Zip06 Offline

Registered: 03/10/03
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
Presumed Lost. The P38 certainly ranks up there with the discovery of fire. The P38 has a big brother, the P51. We used to refer to the P51 as the Officers Model. You can get either at a Army Surplus Store for about a dollar. American ingenuity.

#9135 - 01/24/04 01:32 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?


I've check my hoard- most of them (including some that are almost black with age and carry) are labeled "US SPEAKER". Some are labeled "MIL-J 0387". The "Speakers" seem to be a tad better- looks like heavier plating, and they have a little more resistance to falling open, but they all lose the plating with pretty quickly and they all fall open and need to be taped or contained, so I wouln't worry about the difference. Both work fine.

The oldest-looking of them all is labeled "US G G GREENE 1956". It probably came out of a c-rat box in the '70s. It's pretty black, has seen a lot of use and carry, and still works fine.

I'd check surplus stores. I've seen them wrapped in brown paper, or loose. I wouldn't buy any that came in a retail bubble pack.

#9136 - 01/24/04 02:22 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?

"ranks up there with the discovery of fire"

Yup. There are a lot of fields where Americans can be proud of our ingenuity, but very few where we've come up with the tiniest, lightest solution to a problem. Not exactly what we're know for. <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

The thing is, it's much rarer now to come across a can without some sort of easy-open device... so, in this day and age, it's still worth carrying the tiny P38 against that eventuality. I don't think it would be worth carrying anything larger or heavier.

#9137 - 01/24/04 02:47 PM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?
NeighborBill Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 385
Loc: Oklahoma City
The p-51 usually comes with the T ration packs (feeding a dozen souls per meal), is designed to open LARGE tins....
Member of the toughest, meanest, deadliest, most unrelenting -- and ablest -- form of life in this section of space, a critter that can be killed but can't be tamed. --Robert A. Heinlein

#9138 - 03/18/06 08:06 PM Re: Steri-Pen Water Purifier
JIM Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 1032
Loc: The Netherlands
I don't know anything about purifying water with UV- light, but I do know about a pen that uses a variaty of filters. Its about 3 inches long and purifyes about 100 litres before you have to clean it .
For more info look at careplus.nl
''It's time for Plan B...'' ''We have a Plan B?'' ''No, but it's time for one.'' -Stargate SG-1

#9139 - 03/19/06 02:11 AM Re: What are your 10 most important tools?
brian Offline

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1468
Loc: Texas
In order of importance and when not tweaking for a specific environment..

1 Knife
2 Fire Starter
3 Communication Device (Radio or Cell Phone etc)
4 Flashlight
5 Whistle
6 Mirror
7 Water Purification
8 Water Storage
9 Compass
10 Cordage

That's whats most important above all else IMO. After that comes FA supplies, particularly wound managment and meds for dealing with fever, allegies and stomach problems that could cause dehydration.

After that I'd say duct tape is next on the list. Everything else (pocket saws, other tools, food rations, etc) is much less necessary or more easily improvised (for me anyway YMMV) IMO or simply more easily done without in a short term (72hr) survival situation.

Keep in mind this is my list for my knowledge level, mindset and skillset. YMMV greatly.

One more note. I find the first 3 items to be trememdously more important than the rest (but you asked for ten so I gave you ten ). A reliable knife, fire starter and communication device (one that will actually work inthe area you're in of course) will take you a looong way with the right skills and mindset
Learn to improvise everything.

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