What’s in MacGyver’s Toolbox

To many, the outdoors is a place of refuge – a chance to escape the maniacal distractions that accompany day-to-day city life.   It’s in our blood, as if fulfilling our animal duties passed down from our hunter-gatherer ancestry.  It’s also a great way to have a great party without anyone bothering you. Whatever the reason, a camping trip is pretty much a guaranteed good time, as long as everything goes smoothly.  If something goes wrong, and something will, it’s good to be prepared.

Here’s a list of items that will help you in a pinch, holding you over until you can make it back to your nearest convenience store.

 Gorilla Tape
I can’t say enough about this stuff, really. Here’s a quick rundown of ways this tape has saved me:

Car repair – This tape has held my muffler in place until long after I made it to civilization.  It’s also slowly taking over the original upholstery, keeping my seats in tact indefinitely.
Boat repair – Cheap inflatables are fun until they cheap out on you.  A roll of Gorilla Tape will extend your floatie’s life for generations.
Insect catcher – Make a giant ball of tape on a stick, sticky-side-out.  It does its job, turning the ball into a giant insect lollipop. They make great gifts.

Chances are someone’s got one with them. Chances are even better that there are at least three in every carload.   Your smartphone can be used for:

GPS Tracking – It’s surprising how many people don’t have a GPS app.  I’m a fan of the $0.99 MotionX app. I’d be pretty interested to hear you justify not spending a buck on knowing where you are.
SOS – There are some GPS-enabled SOS add-ons like Inreach.
Signal Mirror – Even if the battery is dead, your phone can save you.

Beer Bottle
I’m willing to bet that there might be one or two of these laying around.  After the bottles have fulfilled it purpose, you have another great use – Music!  If you are stranded for an unknown amount of time, an impromptu bottle-band might be what saves your group from insanity. Or it could drive you to the point of insanity, depending on the group’s musical ability. Speaking of insanity, a broken bottle is a good way to keep others in line, if it comes down to that.  Just sayin’.

There are many times that the shovel will come in handy, digging holes, notwithstanding.  Just bring it, and you’ll be happy you did.

It’s amazing what a little bit of plastic will do.  I’ve used a garbage bag as an emergency poncho and heat sealer in extreme weather. Even more useful is taking the shovel (see #above) and using the bag as a catch basin for water. Fresh water will keep you alive for weeks, even if you don’t have food.

It seems to make all your problems go away.  At least until the morning.  But who care’s about the morning!  We’ve got a bottle of Whiskey!  See? Problem(s) solved!

Swiss Army Knife
Think of all the things he accomplished with his SAK. If he can do it, so can you.

Season 1 Episode 10 - Picks a lock with his Swiss Army knife
Season 2 Episode 2 - Repairs a post mix soda gun by bleeding off some built-up carbon dioxide that has caused a valve to stick. He takes off the button panel of the soda gun, removes the troubled valve spindle (both with his Swiss Army knife) and inserts a miniature pirate’s sword from a plate of olives.
Season 2 Episode 3 - Cuts the fire hose with his Swiss army knife, ties the nozzle end to the door, the other end to the hand rail, and lays the hose very flat against the ground so the elevator’s doors won’t close on it.
Season 2 Episode 4 - Removes a crystal out of his watch with his SAK and holds it so a fine point of light is focused at the fuse’s end to light it.
Season 2 Episode 21 - Fixes a boy’s bicycle with a nameplate, a screw and his Swiss knife.
Season 3 Episode 3 - Escapes from two mafia hit men using a fire hose to slide down a metal wire. First cut off with his Swiss army knife of course.
Season 4 Episode 4 – Fixes a typewriter, from which the pin that holds the ribbon has broken off, with the ink cartridge from a ballpoint pen. He uses the ink cartridge to rethread the ribbon, as well as to hold it back in place, and then cuts the cartridge down to size with his Swiss Army knife.
Season 4 Episode 9 - String & SAK used to released wire set to trigger Pete’s deathtrap.
Season 4 Episode 11 - Uses the tweezers from his Swiss Army knife in order to pick the lock of the other motel room.
Season 4 Episode 18 -  Hot-wires an elevator by simply holding his Swiss army knife between two cords in the control box on top of the elevator.

Use these items, and your camping trip will be less stressful than normal.  This list may require additional items depending on the season and your location, which is why we have a comments section!  Let’s hear some other ideas out there for everyday items that will save you in the wild!

By Steve Andrews