Connect, Cut, Burn: 3 Essential Travel Tools

Jonathan Uncategorized

I’m a boy scout who never joined the scouts — I believe in the motto “always be prepared”, though the scouts and I may have differed on a few points. (My version of a one match fire involves a roll of toilet paper and a bucket of gasoline.) In the US, this translated into prepping for the zombie apocalypse (I could have lasted a few weeks at least) and owning a tool box that weighed more than I did.

So what do you do when you have all these cool toys but are coming to Costa Rica in a backpack? My solution…bring smaller toys. Here are a few things I brought or picked up quickly after arriving that Crystal thought was crazy.




1) Carabiners

I love to climb, but that isn’t why these are on the list. The tiny but tough metal clips have come in handy almost everyday in Costa Rica. Want to hang something up out of the way? Use a carabiner! Hammocks? Super easy! Keep a bag of chips closed? This is a quick reusable way to do it. I have even hung curtains with them. She will never admit it, but I think even Crys has used them here.

2) A Leatherman Tool and a Swiss Army Knife

These are two things I wish that I had brought from the States. It isn’t that the quality of knives in Costa Rica is bad but I left nice examples of both in a box in my parents’ basement. These don’t replace my gigantic tool box, but they sure come close. I found there is a big debate among travelers on whether a Leatherman tool or a Swiss Army Knife is the better option. Personally, I think that debate is stupid. Bring both. They both have roles to play, whether opening a bottle of wine or tightening up a few bolts on the rebellious stove. They are both important, light and easy to carry.

3) A Zippo Lighter

No matter where you are in the world, fire is always a helpful tool. Especially if you have a pyro streak like I do. Whether you smoke or not, a lighter is great to have. And I know of no better lighter than a Zippo. The downside to lighters is that they are a pain to fly with, so instead of bringing one with me, I bought a Zippo as soon as I got to Costa Rica. I use it constantly to light our gas stove. At first I used matches…three close calls and a couple of minor burns later, I realized I needed a lighter stat. Haven’t been burned since.

These are a few things that have come in handy so far. I’m sure there will be more. What are some of the crazy but useful little things you always bring on a trip?