January 30, 2012

11 Essentials for the Modern Man

Every man loves gadgets, tools, toys and gifts. I scour catalogs and websites looking for the next cool thing. Occasionally, I find items that become truly essential. Items I use daily and can’t leave the house without. Some of these items are pricy, but there are also several that are less than $10. All of them are top quality and built to last a lifetime. Ladies, with Valentine’s day fast approaching and Father’s day a few months later, look no further than this list to make your man happy.

Saddleback Leather WalletSaddleback Leather Wallet – A man’s wallet is his life. Look in a typical guy’s wallet and you’ll see cash, credit cards, pictures of loved ones, business cards from someone he met in a bar 3 years ago, old fortune cookie fortunes, shopping lists from last Christmas, and receipts from everything he has ever bought. His wallet becomes a part of body, molding to his shape over time. When you have that kind of relationship with an item, you want it to last. There are no better wallets on earth than the wallets made by Saddleback leather. They are beautiful, built to last, and come with a 100 year warranty. That’s right, they are guaranteed to last 100 years. Saddleback also makes the finest briefcases, ipad cases, and luggage around. My iPad case is guaranteed to last 97 years past the useful life of the iPad! I have many of their pieces and will never go back to cheap store-bought leather goods. Buy one of these and you’ll thank me for years to come.

Gerber shardGerber Shard Keychain Tool – Second only to a man’s wallet is his key-ring. Men learn at an early age to never go anywhere without keys, and to keep all keys on a single ring. I’ve written in the past about my Proto keychain screwdriver, the best gadget I’ve ever had. Gerber has come out with a worthy successor in the Shard Keychain tool. On a single piece of forged steel, you get 3 screw drivers, prybar, wire strippers and a bottle opener. It works perfectly as a box cutter, a paint can opener, and even as a self-defense weapon in a pinch. I find new uses for it every day.

Leatherman Skeletool CXLeatherman Skeletool CX – Sometimes you need more of a tool than you can fit on you keychain. When I need something heavier duty, I turn to my trusty Leatherman. Most Leatherman tools are big, bulky items that are a pain to carry except on your belt. That works fine if you’re in construction, but tends to ruin the clean lines of a business suit. The Skeletool is a smaller, lighter weight multi-tool with a carbon fiber body that fits easily in a pocket. It includes the normal pliers, screw drivers and ultra-sharp blade that you would expect from a leatherman. It also has a handy bottle opener/caribiner that let’s you clip the tool onto your bag. I keep one in my briefcase always (except when flying), and usually have one in my pocket.

style="margin-right: 2px; margin-left: 2px;" Serepick Titanium Lock picks and Practical Lock Picking – There are certain skills every man should know, and how to pick a lock is one of them. Your kid loses the key to their bike lock. Your co-worker is out sick and she has the key to the supply cabinet. Your relative passes away and no one can find the key to “that” closet at the end of the hall. Screw calling a locksmith! For most locks, you don’t need a lot of complex picks. The 2-piece titanium Bogota picks from Serepick will open most padlocks, deadbolts and wafer locks with ease. And they’re small enough to carry every day. I keep mine tucked into my Saddleback wallet. And since they’re titanium, they don’t show up on metal detectors, so the TSA won’t hassle you if you carry them on a plane. If you don’t know how to pick locks, pick up a copy of the definitive book on the subject: Practical Lock Picking by Deviant Ollam. Deviant is one of the founders of TOOOL, The Open Organisation of Lockpickers, and his book makes learning to pick easy. NOTE: DO NOT EVER PICK A LOCK YOU DO NOT OWN. Consider yourself warned.

Para-cord Survival BraceletPara-cord Survival Bracelet – Para-cord is an extremely useful thing. It’s strong, light and has a million uses. It makes great shoe laces, works well as an emergency dog leash (ever need to wrangle a dog that’s gotten out?) and can tie anything down in the back of your truck. These bracelets are carried by our troops overseas to fix broken straps, tie gear to back packs, and make a handy emergency tourniquet. Buy them by the dozen.

CRKT Eat'n ToolCRKT Eat’n Tool – This has a lot of similar uses to the Gerber Shard, but first and foremost, it’s a high-grade aluminum spork. With wrenches, screwdrivers, a bottle opener, and a carabineer. Did I mention it’s a spork? Perfect for camping, hunting, or emergency lunches in the office. You’ll feel like a kid again, using this to eat your chili. It also makes a great weapon. One of these in each hand will transform you into wolverine. This is a must have.

IronkeyIronkey Encrypted USB Drive – It’s a digital world, and we just live in it. A USB key is essential for carrying and moving files. But you want your data secure, right? Well the Ironkey has military grade hardware encryption. If you forget your password, it self destructs. If you tamper with the hardware, it self destructs. It probably would stop a bullet, although I haven’t tested that. It’s perfect for that powerpoint presentation or pictures of you from the company party. Ironkey also bundles a version of firefox with TOR built in to let you browse the Internet without leaving a trace. If James Bond carried a USB drive, it would be an Ironkey.

WiThings Digital ScaleWiThings Digital Scale and Digital Blood Pressure Cuff – If you are worried about your health, and who isn’t, you need tools to help you live better. WiThings makes an awesome digital scale that is wifi enabled. It measures weight, body fat, and BMI, and then uploads it to their website. They have a great web interface and even better iphone and ipad apps that let you trend your readings over time. The blood pressure cuff is also cool. It connects to your iphone or ipad and uses the same app as the scale to record your blood pressures and trend them. One of the nice features is that it will take multiple readings at one sitting, and then average them. There’s also an easy data export feature if you want to send your records to your doctor. Set up of both devices is a breeze. You can define multiple users and the scale will recognize who is standing on it, based on past readings. If you are dieting, or you should be, these should be top of your list.

Rolex SubmarinerRolex Submariner Watch – Every man needs a great watch. There are no better watches than the classic Rolex Submariner and the sleek Rolex Air King. They are stylish, sophisticated and utilitarian. Rolexes will last a lifetime and never lose their value. Your kids will fight over it when you are gone. It may be a digital world, but the modern man still needs a classic analog timepiece.

Editor’s Note: I have no relationship or interest in any of these products. I do receive affiliate fees from Amazon if you buy clicking my links, and if you pick up a copy of Deviant’s book, he might buy me a beer at the next DEFCON.

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