While the last thing an overlander needs is to carry more stuff, there are some simple, small, lightweight additions to the overloaded overlanding tool kit that can make a big difference later. And even maybe replace some of the heavier tools that rarely if ever get used.
Obviously you can sharpen and hone your knives with a knife sharpener, but it also works great to touch up larger cutting tools, take off sharp edges of metal and glass, as well as broken fingernails. But a real treat with the knife sharpener is that the ceramic and diamond aspects can be used to sharpen what would usually be disposable utility knife blades. Just a few well-angled strokes will get that dull disposable blade back in the game.
Metal Zip Ties
Plastic or nylon zip ties (aka cable ties) are a mainstay of every overlanding kit. However, their handiness comes with a lack of strength. While plastic zip ties are indispensable, you can turn up the level to 10 with stainless steel zip ties. Although stainless is many times the cost of plastic ones, the metal zip ties will vastly outperform plastic across four main; overall strength, twisting strength, heat tolerance, and UV durability. Other than cost, the metal zip ties have all the same benefits as the plastic ones plus their own significant advantages. There is one downside to the metal zip ties, especially the stainless steel ones, and that is removing them.
Turning your zip tie needs to 10 is easy with the metal zip ties, but what if you want to go all the way to 11? Well that’s when you use plumbers tape or pipe strap. Essentially just a roll of metal with holes, plumbers tape provides an unlimited number of options when paired with small bolts, or even just twisted knots. Anytime your repair of modification borders on hot metal whether engine or exhaust, a metal fix-it solution is required. And unlike metal zip ties, you can use plumbers tape with reckless abandon because it is inexpensive and reusable allowing you to double or triple-up your on-the-fly engineering design without mentally calculating how many dollar-fifty zip ties you are stringing together.
Also read: 5 Best Pliers Brands for Overlanding
More properly known as Snips, these tools are amazingly handy and versatile. While masquerading as a pair of ordinary scissors, the electrician’s snips will give you not only more tools, but an oppositional cutting platform that can snip through a surprising amount of materials including the metal plumbers tape noted above. Your mileage may vary when attempting to slice stainless steel zip ties. They even double as tiny needle nose pliers. You can pick up a dime off the sidewalk with these! Snips have small wire strippers built into the spine of one of the knives, and usually have rough, almost file-like surfaces to grind away corrosion and anything else that needs tough love. Learn to hold them correctly. These are not your kindergartner’s scissors. And they are not trauma shears. They are snips.
Micro Screwdriver/Torx Set
Although your overlanding vehicle might not contain any micro fasteners, almost every other hard object does, from electronics, high-tech camping gear, folding knives, laptops, cameras, phones, GPSs, sunglasses, and many other larger tools. Carrying a lightweight set of micro bits will solve many problems, and avoid many others by heading them off before failure or loss. Whether tightening a pocket knife pivot screw, or snugging up the ear pieces on your sunglasses, or diving into all the “no user serviceable parts inside” things you overland with, having the micro bit set opens up an entire new world of independence. Just keep a magnifying glass handy as well, and never drop a screw into the dirt without a magnet handy.
So there you have it: about a pound of more stuff worth its weight in gold!
All photos by Doc Montana