The EDC Tool Roll is a feature on Jerking the Trigger in which we profile various every day carry worthy tools. The tools shown aren’t multi-tools but rather real tools, that by virtue of their compact size, light weight, usefulness, or unique functionality, can find a place in any range kit, emergency kit, or every day carry bag.
Feel free to comment on the tools that you carry so we can all learn! The discussion on these posts has been very valuable so far.
I used to have a small ratchet from Home Depot’s Husky line that I found extremely useful for its small size and versatility. I gave it to a friend thinking I could just buy another one but when I tried, I found that they had changed the tool. Fortunately, I came across the same ratchet under a different brand name – the VIM Tools HBR5.
The HBR5 is an extremely compact and thin ratchet that can be used with both bits and sockets. One side accepts any standard driver 1/4″ driver bit. The other side is a 5/16″ hex that comes with a removable 1/4″ socket adapter installed. Both ends are reversible and have a textured speed wheel for turning the bits or sockets with your fingers. The ends are offset and have 52 tooth ratchet mechanisms that require a short 7 degree sweep.
There are similar ratchets available with finer toothed mechanisms but I have never found anything that is is quite as thin and compact as the HBR5. At 4.5″ long it is easy to carry in your pocket or range bag and long enough to apply solid torque on fasteners. It is thin enough to get into places that don’t have room for a traditional driver. The ratchet ends are the pass-through type so even with a bit installed, the tool is very low profile.
The HBR5 is easily the best tool of its type that I have tried and is one of my all time favorite tools. It splits its time between my EDC kit where it is used mostly as a bit driver with an extension and my range bag where it is kept with two Altoids tins full of 1/4″ Craftsman sockets.
Where to Buy: These used to be available in the Husky line at Home Depot and they still offer a similar tool but it is larger, thicker, and feels more coarse. The only place I have ever seen VIM Tools is online. I purchased mine at Amazon: VIM Tools HBR5 at Amazon
Alternatives: There are a number of bit ratchets on the market but I haven’t found any that are as refined as the HBR5. Chapman makes a number of excellent ratchet kits with similar functionality but they use proprietary bits. Gearwrench makes a similar tool in kit form but the tool itself is thicker. Stanley also makes a kit under both the Stanley and Bostitch brands that you can find at some Wal-Marts but again, it’s thickness makes it less useful. Finally, a reader named Brian recommended the Tekton 1485 bit ratchet which could work if you like a padded handle. Thanks Brian!
Do you have compact bit ratchet that you prefer or another tool you would like to recommend? Tell us about it below.