It's more than a house. It's an adventure.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Time for a new keychain

Inspired by Jeff at Coding Horror, I started thinking about my own current key-management last week. No, not PGP keys - the keys to my house and car.

For the last 7 years or so, my keychain has been a cheap (non-climbing-use) carabiner with a 3-inch piece of nylon webbing attached. The webbing has 2 loops on it - the carabiner goes through one, a standard keyring goes through the other. My car key and fob (which controls the door locks) usually snaps right into the carabiner, so that I can easily detatch the 'biner while driving (otherwise, it bangs into my knee constantly). The keyring itself has about 4 keys on it, only one of which I use regularly - my house key (we had all 3 exterior doors keyed identically). One is for my parents' house, another is for a padlock I'm not even sure I own anymore. Do I need to carry all these? The whole setup is bulky, and not very utilitarian. It's getting long in the tooth.

Anyway, back to Jeff's keychain. I've often found myself needing a bottle opener, knife, scissors, or other tool at odd times. I own a Gerber Multitool which I bought at least 10 years ago, but I can't carry that around daily. It's great on weekends, but it just doesn't go with dress slacks and a nice shirt. So a Leatherman Squirt like he has looks to be a good fit. Hang it off a conventional ring with just my car stuff and a housekey, and I'm good to go. I'm thinking scissors will be handier day to day than pliers, but OTOH, I can in a pinch use the knife to cut, skip the scissors and get the pliers.

I went into the local(ish) Dick's Sporting Goods tonight and after waiting about 15 minutes for someone to help me, I learned that they didn't have the Squirt I was looking for. They did, however, have a Gerber Shortcut, which is basically the same thing. It looked nice, and at $10 less than the Leatherman, was attractive fiscally. But the outer casing seemed to be plastic, which is a major turn-off. Gerber's site says it's all Aircraft Aluminum, so I'll have to take another look. The display model was also dented (the colored part), which made me think it was plastic.

So, decision yet to be made there. I definitely want to put the contenders side by side and give them a thorough checking over.

I also plan on getting a Mag-Lite, the single-AAA "Solitaire" size, to hang off the keychain. But again, time plays games with me. The site says they have one coming out with an LED instead of a standard light bulb. Great for battery life and durability. Mag-Lites are already rugged, and well worth the extra price. They take a serious beating and for their size are tremendously light. I had an imitation brand once and the device paled in comparison to the real deal. That plus the terrific battery life of the LED makes waiting on that new Mag-Lite worthwhile.

One thing I won't be putting on my keychain, at least not yet, is a USB memory device. That Iomega Micro Mini looks like a good one to put on a keychain though. My Lexar Jumpdrive's cap is always coming loose, I don't want that happening on my keychain. And it's a lot of extra bulk to carry for probably infrequent use. Just not worth it now. Maybe later.

When I get everything, I'll snap pictures before and after.


  • look into Princeton Tech lights. don't know if they make anything that small in a stick style light, but I like them much better than mag lights for small stuff. I think a photon-style light is way better for keychain use though.

    I have a beaner that I wear through my beltloop that lets me take the keys I want. I have my Jetta remote/key, my Dakota key and topper key, my Dakota remote (separte so I can idle the truck and lock it in the winter if I want), my PO key & work RFID tag, and a bottle opener. lets me take whatever I want and have what I need and not what i don't.

    oh yeah, and I wear my Gerber multitool and Gerber folding 4" all the time except at customer sites.... relaxed dress code is nice.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/15/2006 10:17 PM  

  • Didn't find anything small enough from Princeton Tech. I think those photon-style lights are too bulky to carry around in my pocket.

    I sometimes hang my carabiner off my belt loop, but it's more a convenience thing than anything else, and only occasionally. I'll keep it on hand for those types of occasions, but I think it'll be leaving my daily use.

    I just don't have that much I need to carry around all the time - my car key (not even my wife's car key) and my house key. I just need enough connected to them to not worry about losing them.

    By Blogger dakboy, at 6/16/2006 8:37 AM  

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