You’re on a mission to Mars. Mission Control has put together all of the tool kits, but you have a say in the matter and can make the decision about four of the tools. That is, you use what you’re given, except for 4 tools (or kit-like groupings) that you can pick. What do you choose?
Here are the tools I would want to add to my kit:
1) PB Swiss Hex Keys
These are the best of the best, and I very much enjoy using them. I am “take it or leave it” about some PB Swiss tools, but not their hex keys. They’re simply a pleasure to use, and I would absolutely bring a set with me, even if I had to tape them to my leg inside of the space suit.
2) NWS “Fantastico” Wire Cutters
NWS, or NWS-made Irwin high-leverage cutters, are excellent for cutting all sorts of wires and wire-shaped stuff (such as small nails). They don’t fit as well in small spaces, due to the spread of the handles, but they cut better than any other wire cutters I’ve used before.
I’d try to add other NWS pliers to the mix too, but these Fantastico or Power Slot cutters would be the only must-have.
3) Hitachi 18V Cordless Power Tools
I’d want to bring my Hitachi 18V brushless impact driver (reviewed by Ben here). I was yo-yoing about whether this would be a must-have, or a Milwaukee M12 cordless power tool kit, but I feel that I could very well just use what I’m given for most tools and tasks. For fastening tasks, I have really grown to like Hitachi’s Triple Hammer impact. I think the Milwaukee M18 Surge impulse driver would be my backup choice.
I’d make sure to bring some Bosch impact-rated screwdriver bits, and maybe Milwaukee Shockwave drill bits.
4) Spyderco Para3 Folding Knife
As mentioned in my pseudo-review, the Spyderco Para 3 folding EDC knife is compact, utilitarian, comfortable, and just about perfect. It’d be my everyday knife for small tasks around the space station or colony base.
I would probably choose something a little different for field use, maybe something a little larger than the Bradford Guardian 3 that I reviewed. It seems like it’d be easier to have some kind of magnetic holster for a fixed blade knife, than to fiddle with a folder while wearing space gloves.
Keep in mind that you’ll have pre-determined tool kits at the ready for your use. You can override four of those tools with your own “picks.” Off the top of your head, what do you add to the kit?