Single-handedly, my husband, the Paranoid Dad, has kept our local Home Depot in business for the past decade. He owns just about every type of tool and home project supply imaginable . That collection of tools could make a huge difference in our very survival if we ever had to leave the safety of our home in an emergency. Often, however, hand tools are overlooked when families have to quickly bug out.
In our home, my husband is the pro when it comes to his tools, so he is the one to determine which tools to pack up in an evacuation. Whoever the tool pro is in your home, it’s worth planning ahead so you have the right tool for whatever situation you encounter. I asked the Paranoid Dad for a few minutes of his time, and here are his suggestions for a “Bug Out Tool Kit”.
First, pack the basics, no matter where you’re headed. In fact, it would be worthwhile to have duplicates of some of these, and keep a small tool kit in the trunk of your car. If you have just one set, keep them in a kid-proof tool box. I can’t tell you how many tools have disappeared from our garage because one kid or the other decided to “fix” something and never returned what they borrowed.
These are the basics the Paranoid Dad would pack up first.
- Claw hammer. This multi-use tool can be used from hammering nails to demolition.
- Set of screwdrivers, both Phillips and straight. There should be different sizes of each type. Larger screwdrivers can be useful for prying and chiseling.
- Pair of lineman’s pliers, often called by the trade name, Kleins. These are especially useful because they combine the flat surface of regular pliers with a cutting edge. Make sure your pair can cut through steel in case they’re needed to cut through wire or nails.
- Utility knife, aka box cutter, with extra blades in the handle.
- Wood saw and a hacksaw. The hacksaw can be used to cut through steel, plastic and wood, but the wood saw is useful for cutting through large branches and small trees.
- Crescent wrenches in two sizes, small and medium.
Once the basics are in place, a few additional tools you might add are files, prybars, box-end and open-end wrenches, and channel locks. Include other tools specialized to whatever disaster scenarios are most likely in your neck of the woods, such as a small axe, a chain saw, or perhaps a soldering gun.
Handyman tools are just part of what should be packed. Common tools for simple vehicle repairs as well as repairs to bicycles, motorcycles, and even wheelchairs should also be considered.
A final category of tools are those used by anyone in the household who relies on them for a living. An electrician may want to pack his collection of specialized tools, likewise for a carpenter, a machinist, mechanic, or a plumber. These are usually quite expensive and during a long evacuation period, they might come in handy for earning money while away from home.
If you’ll be making purchases to complete your tool kit, look for tools that can do more than one job (multi-use) and kits of tools in multiple sizes.
The problem with an emergency, is that you never know beforehand exactly what type of “job” you’ll encounter. Take time now to inventory what tools you already own, which tools are necessary to acquire, and then put a plan in place so you’ll have what you need, when you need it. Bob Vila was right when he said you need the right tool for the job. If the job is ever survival, you want to be sure you’re equipped!