Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tool Kit to Go

I've been going through the digital pictures on our computer, trying to figure out just what all is in there, and I came across some pictures of a kit of tools. I had taken the shots so I would remember what was included in the kit, and then promptly forgot about the pictures and the kit. I guess this would qualify as a "Desert Island tool kit", only in this case it was "Alaskan Wilderness tool kit."

Two summers ago, my brothers and I were planning a raft trip down the Nelchina River, onto Tazlina Lake, and down the Tazlina River.

Here’s a Google Map of the area:

View Larger Map

Part of our plan involved building some kind of mast from driftwood or downed timber, and rigging a sail (blue tarp) to take advantage of the prevailing wind on the lake. To this end, I put together a tool kit that would be as versatile and as small as possible.

Unfortunately, events conspired to keep me from going on the trip, but the tool kit went without me.

Here’s the kit I put together for the trip:

Utility Knife
Sharpening Stone
Auger Bits (5)
¼” hex driver for brace
Flat and Phillips hex bits (3)
Various Screws
Vise Grips
Adjustable Wrench
Sven Saw (not pictured)
Rope (not pictured)
Ubiquitous Blue Tarp (not pictured)
Dry Bag (not pictured)

It all conveniently fit in the shop apron that I no longer wore...

...which then folded up into a perfect package to fit snugly into a small dry bag for the trip.

It was a fun challenge to put the kit together - trying to keep it as simple as possible tool wise, but as complex as possible capability wise. And of course, it would have been better if I had actually gotten to use it...maybe next time.

A few random notes:

The blue thing on the drawknife is part of a plastic document binder - it snaps on to the blade and protects fingers that wander through the gap in the folded handles.

The film canisters (hey - remember film?) contain an assortment of screws and nails.

The Vise Grips and wrench were specifically taken for working on the raft frame.

The mast was designed to be lashed together.


  1. It was an awesome tool kit! We built 4 boats and 3 cabins while on the trip, without Dan. Next time, Dan!


  2. WOW! That sounds like a way cool trip. You guys are lucky to be able to do something like that. If I tried that out here in NJ, the marine police would arrest me and issue a breathalizer..... "Put down the hatchet sir!".

    Cool idea to pack the tools in the apron too. Kind of a dual purpose tool roll.

  3. Josh - I thought that hatchet was on the dull side when you brought it back!

    Bob - Alaska is pretty awesome! I grew up in NJ (not far from you actually...) but came up here after college, and it's been great! Not much in the way of old tools though...can't have it all!

  4. What a fun exercise to figure out how to get by with the least number of tools possible. Very pioneerish!

  5. VC - It was a fun exercise - of course it would have been even more fun to be the one to actually use the kit, but oh well...

    At least with the pictures, I can put it together again quickly.


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