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Gear Check: Empty Your Pockets!

 
master pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Okay, this is for fun. Growing up, I was told that if you don't show up with tools, you might as well stay home.

So, when you're working in the yard, what essentials are always in your pockets or on your belt? As in, if you don't have it you know you'll regret it.

Here's my list (hope uploaded photo works) left to right:

- thick neoprene camera case for cell phone
- building and car door keys, with whistle for wayward dogs (or if the wind knocked down my ladder)
- silicone earplugs on string (hearing protection)
- thin, sharp folding pocketknife
- Bic lighter
- 1-AAA LED flashlight with rechargeable NiMH cell
- chisel knife for cutting, digging, prying, and general abuse work
- pruning shears (the thin kind, either Gardena or Fiskars)
- Leatherman pliers (brand name, always; I've tried them all [ask my wife], and come back to Leatherman every time)
- leather gloves, usually with tips repaired with good ol' Canadian hockey tape
pocketstuff.png
Doug's Yard Essentials
Doug's Yard Essentials
pocketstuff2.png
Better Photo (working out the bugs in Linux)
Better Photo (working out the bugs in Linux)
 
Posts: 121
Location: Saskatchewan
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I keep things much simpler for the things that I keep in my pockets, I carry a bic lighter, ear bud headphones, small two bladed pocket knife, and a small belt knife for more demanding tasks.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
master pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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My wife gives me a hard time about it. But then she's always walking back to the garden shed for something, or asking me "Honey, do you have a ...?"
 
gardener
Posts: 803
Location: Durham, NC
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I'd say the only tool that I carry around, and curse myself when I don't have it, is a tape measure.  The second most common is a japanese hand saw.  Those two items have caused me more trips back into the workshop than any other.

You said pockets but when I'm working in the yard there are three items I have near me at all times: A wheelbarrow, a fiskars flat shovel, and fiskars pruning shears. My favorite garden hand scoop is also fiskars. I'm not a fiskars diehard, but these things have risen to the top.  I have shoveled at least 100,000 gallons of red clay with that shovel and it has given me not one ounce of trouble.
 
master steward
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The only tools I always have with me are a set of ear plugs and my cell phone.  And the phone is only to take a picture so I can remember something.  Mainly for calls/texts but it's side benefit counts as a tool for me.  When I'm actively doing a project I have a tape measure on my hip as well.  
 
master gardener
Posts: 867
Location: Coastal Salish Sea area, British Columbia - USDA zone 8-9
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what i most likely have on me at all times is....
small openel folding knife
1-2 headbands for my long hair.
small cabinet makers tape measure from lee valley( it measures 10ft max)

Occasionally i have money in my pockets for bribing the animals hahah!
 
Douglas Alpenstock
master pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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You folks travel pretty light! To me, knife, pliers, lighter and hand protection are the absolute minimum. I put those on when I put on my pants.

I suppose my thread title wasn't very descriptive. I was curious to see what you carry as you worked in your gardens or on your properties. I only carry half that stuff when I'm tooling around town.

My place is very spread out, so it's easier to carry some key "capabilities" than to walk back and forth. It's a natural extension of being an outdoorsman for so long: what you have attached to your person is what you have; the rest is a question mark.

Anyway, I'm loving it. Keep it coming!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1633
Location: Victoria BC
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4" Cold Steel Scimitar folding knife and a good 18650-based flashlight are in my pocket or in arms reach.

Cellphone and waterbottle if I leave house.

Headlamp, 2nd waterbottle, couple of energy bars, Lighter, compass, keys, athletic tape, bandages, hand sanitizer, mask, and cash if I am leaving the property. Everything but the waterbottle lives in my vest anyhow.

Vicegrips, screwdrivers, wrench, sockets, multimeter live in the truck, which is pretty well the only way I leave the property.

The rest is task dependent, I don't want to carry all that jazz some of you have listed while I use a pickaxe or work under a vehicle!


Douglas, my place is pretty spread out too, but unless I'm going out in the bush for some fairly specific task, I'm probably somewhat near one building or another. I've tried the multitool thing a couple times and just don't like em much; I find it more effective and actually cheaper to own extras of a few key things and keep them in several places, including on the tractor. The main few that come to mind are vice grips, those big square-nosed pliers with wirecutter, crescent wrench, hammer, pipe wrench... all from thrift stores for a few bucks a pop.
 
gardener
Posts: 3717
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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1 basic Swiss Army knife with a ring attached that holds a gate key and a house key (on a skate lace, looped to a belt loop or I'd loose it for sure!)
1 flannel handkerchief
1 carabiner watch on a belt loop
Maybe my cell-phone (mostly for photos) (I'm trying hard to remember it, but no guarantees!)
Lately I've often added either my pruners or this neat pair of scissors that are tough enough to cut many thin plants, to a back pocket, but that's based on my plans.
1 pair rubber gloves
1 pair work gloves

I travel light!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1496
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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4 tec screws for metal x 20mm
3 tec screws for timber x 3 inches
1 1/4 drill bit
1 3mm drill bit
3 8mm Dyna bolts
5 Roof screws with seals
4 receipts from the hardware
1 x Orange skin
1 x apple core
1 toothpick
3 cable ties
2 cable connecters
5 sets of keys
1 blade
3 nails various sizes
4 body washers
2 standard metal washers
1 5mm nut
1 6 inch drill extension bit
 
pollinator
Posts: 196
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Pocket knife.
Ear buds for listening to podcasts.
Rubber palm cloth gloves.
Hair tie.
Shop towel.
String.
Phone/camera.
Trowel.
Pruning sheers.
 
master steward
Posts: 15056
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I only have 5 acres, and spend most of my time in the 1 acre around the house because I have to keep tabs on my kids. I don't usually carry much, because it'd take a lot of time to snag it all, and I'm often in and out of the house a lot feeding kids, figuring out why they're screaming for me, making sure they didn't break anything, etc. So all I usually have is:

  • Pruning shears (I try to always have those on me--they're invaluable! I use them for chop and drop, pruning trees, cutting twine, removing blackberries, even picking up slugs to feed to my ducks)
  • Handkerchief (my nose runs a lot)


  • Sometimes I also grab gloves. I used to grab them more often, but ladies pants don't hold gloves--they spit out gloves...and then I lose gloves, and then I'm sad. So, I often find myself carefully pruning blackberries with my pruning shears and hands.

    Now, if I'm leaving the property and taking my kids for a walk, then I have snacks and bandaids and stuff. And if I'm planting trees or something at the top of the property, I'll load up a wheelbarrow with scythe, shovel, plants, and whatever else I need. And, if we're getting in the car, I have the kids "diaper bag" (which is now a bag with spare clothing, rags, water, food, etc in it) and my "purse" and all the things I cram into it,
     
    master gardener
    Posts: 2422
    Location: southern Illinois.
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    I carry a cheap pocket knife.  No phone or anything else.
     
    John F Dean
    master gardener
    Posts: 2422
    Location: southern Illinois.
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    I should add that if I am going out for a specific task, I will take what I need for that task.   As a long time backpacker, I hate added weight.
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
    master pollinator
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    Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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    D Nikolls wrote:Douglas, my place is pretty spread out too, but unless I'm going out in the bush for some fairly specific task, I'm probably somewhat near one building or another. I've tried the multitool thing a couple times and just don't like em much; I find it more effective and actually cheaper to own extras of a few key things and keep them in several places, including on the tractor. The main few that come to mind are vice grips, those big square-nosed pliers with wirecutter, crescent wrench, hammer, pipe wrench... all from thrift stores for a few bucks a pop.


    Good point. My old place was like that, and like you I had essential tools in each building. As I develop the far corners of my new place, I'm pretty sure that small buildings will pop up like mushrooms.
     
    Jay Angler
    gardener
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    Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

    D Nikolls wrote:Douglas, my place is pretty spread out too, but unless I'm going out in the bush for some fairly specific task, I'm probably somewhat near one building or another. I've tried the multitool thing a couple times and just don't like em much; I find it more effective and actually cheaper to own extras of a few key things and keep them in several places, including on the tractor. The main few that come to mind are vice grips, those big square-nosed pliers with wirecutter, crescent wrench, hammer, pipe wrench... all from thrift stores for a few bucks a pop.


    Good point. My old place was like that, and like you I had essential tools in each building. As I develop the far corners of my new place, I'm pretty sure that small buildings will pop up like mushrooms.

    I've taken this a step further, although not consistently yet, and I label a tool that belongs in a specific location with a name - so the pair of hearing protectors that I specifically asked to be left with the mower have "Lawn" painted on them. I use those cool little bottles of paint that come with a lovely small brush in the tall cap. Normal people call it "nail polish" but why bother polishing nails when you're planning to whack them with a hammer? Better to use the stuff for small labeling jobs.
     
    gardener
    Posts: 3291
    Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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    My "going out in the world" kit is "wallet, keys, cellphone" and there's a small box knife on the keychain.  But in my garden?  I don't load up my pockets to go out in the garden, that's where the fallen green tomatoes and distorted cukes and other daily incidental harvests go.  The only thing in my pockets when I hit the garden is my cell phone.

    Since I am mostly a container gardener, my approach is to saturate the area with light tools.  Chief among these are trowel-equivalents, usually stainless steel serving spoons from garage sales.  They stow neatly with the handle end pushed down in the soil in the inside of any container, left sticking up to provide perches for the small birds that are an essential part of my integrated pest management ("an ecosystem in every pot") program.  I'm always within a few paces from one of these.

    I do all my pruning and trimming with cheap (a handful for a buck) dollar store kitchen scissors, usually bought in bulk with junk-drawer assortments at estate sales.  I don't *quite* have one in every container and bed, but again, I always have one within a few paces.  Cheap pruning shears (again, bought used) are scattered around also, but these tend not to be stainless (unlike the scissors) and are prone to rust, so I have many less of them.  

    I have no use for a lighter (I don't smoke and I don't use plastic rope and I burn things outside with extreme rarity ... years can go by between incidences) or a flashlight (the phone is one).  Knives are handy and all, but I keep one in the tool box that lives in every vehicle so I'm rarely more than fifty feet from one.  Multi tools are nice but by the time I've fiddled out the right accessory, I could have walked over to the toolbox for a better version of the tool.  For me, those empty pockets are much more useful.
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
    master pollinator
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    Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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    I have been asked: why do you need two knives?

    The small one is kept sharp and washed regularly. It does clean jobs, like trimming damage off a ripe strawberry that is otherwise perfectly good (to be eaten on the spot).

    The large one is the "crud and abuse" knife. It will invariably be "spiced" with dirt, weed juice, spruce sap, oil from opening seals on jugs, and the guts of slugs and cutworms that required a vigorous "edit." None of which enhances my lovely strawberry.

    Some two-blade trappers knives have independent channels so the blades don't actually touch. That would work too.
     
    master pollinator
    Posts: 3101
    Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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    I can't get any work done in girl pants. As mentioned before, the pockets really suck, and there is no room for me to move in them. I'm usually in a pair of men's dickies to do any work. In my pockets: Kleenex. Phone for pictures. Washcloth for wiping sweat. Random tool that won't fit on my belt.

    On my toolbelt: Multitool. A tool pouch that holds a three-finger claw weeder thingy and a small bypass pruner, with a small amount of space for an additional small hand tool. 20" blade Machete (the backside of the blade is also a rough saw), a 6 inch fixed blade SOG I confiscated from Hunny. A pair of cheap rubberized garden gloves are tucked under the belt.

    I use most of this stuff for something any time I step out the door. Every time I step out to the garden for just a second, I regret leaving the toolbelt behind.

    I suspect this getup may help repel the neighborhood gossip's visits. Blessed silence.
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
    master pollinator
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    Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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    Joylynn, that's awesome!! LOL
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 559
    Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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    (reposting the 'pockets' fragment of my original post that moved on to a new thread about portable sheds...)
    (I also feel like it may have come before Douglas's post about his two knives... mine are for the same reasons)

    FOR MY POCKETS:
    Swiss army knife (the nice jobs knife)
    Locking/folding knife (the dirty jobs knife)
    Wallet
    Keys (houses, truck, tractors if I'm doing that...)(shed is a combination lock)
    Cell phone (like Mike and others: taking pictures, my photographic memory, and calls (hopefully never an emergency, *knock wood*, but that's #1 reason to have while working alone))
    Pat myself down before I walk out the door...*pat, pat, pat, pat, good to go!* (home, work, even other random doors! )

     
    Douglas Alpenstock
    master pollinator
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    Kenneth Elwell wrote:Pat myself down before I walk out the door...*pat, pat, pat, pat, good to go!* (home, work, even other random doors! )


    Haha, too true. BTW I think your two-knife post did come first, so the glory is all yours.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 161
    Location: Sierra Nevada Foothills, Zone 8b
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    I carry my knife and my phone in my pocket to work but when I leave the office I grab my 3L camelbak. On the back of it I attached an old ammo pouch to hold my "survival kit": Toilet paper, a flashlight, a couple granola bars, two packs of alka-seltzer, a bic, couple bandaids and a survival blanket. Good enough to survive a night in the woods with a broken ankle, i spose. Somebody will come find me, right?!
     
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