The idea for this website actually spawned when I was getting ready for spinal surgery. Down on my back, there just wasn’t much I could do physically and for one reason or another I became obsessed with my key ring. I researched the web and studied my priorities and after awhile, put together a set of priorities for my ring.
Above all else, I wanted a key ring with the following characteristics:
1. Light. I knew my setup was going to have bulk, so I decided that the best way to make this liveable was to make the ring as light as possible.
2. It seemed I was always looking for a bottle opener, so I decided my rig would have one integrated.
3. I also often find myself looking for a general duty knife. This setup had to have one.
4. And, of course, everyone is always looking for a pen… Especially when you don’t have one.
5. I love flashlights and felt like this was the perfect opportunity to have one with me at all times.
With the above list in mind, I started after it. The first and maybe most important characteristic of a good key ring is the foundation. I didn’t want a huge split ring because I was afraid of the weight and a carabiner didn’t seem to fit the bill as the bulk added just wasn’t worth the carrying value to me. So instead of those traditional options, I opted on a 3mm titanium welded ring from Berkely Point . To compliment this incredibly light piece of round art, I also purchased a selection of titanium McGizmo clips and split rings in various sizes.
The idea is simple. The titanium ring acts as the foundation of the setup while the accessories are clipped to this ring by way of the McGizmo clips. The small titanium split rings are used to attach the tools to the McGizmo clips. This keeps the package incredibly light and strong, but also gives you a way to easily remove keys and tools while in the field.
With the foundation procured, I began to work on the tools that would grace it. First on the list was the Leatherman Micra. In its stock form, the Micra houses a pair of really nice scissors, two screw drivers, a wedge, a nail file, tweezers, a bottle opener and a knife. I knew right away that I had no real use for the screwdrivers or the nail file and quickly removed them. In their place, I substituted the only two traditional lock keys that I carry.
The “key in a Leatherman” hack is a common mod found all over the internet and it worked out perfectly for me. Essentially, you simply remove the chosen tools from the Leatherman, use them as a template to cut down your keys, and then insert the keys into the Leatherman in place of the removed tools. It’s brilliant and the end result is a super compact key ring accessory with not only a good selection of tools, but your keys to boot!
That hurdle jumped, I moved on to the light. I’ve long loved flashlights for the same reasons I love knives – they are just so damn tactile. So, this one was a fun one to research. I tried a number of different flashlights from folks such as Fenix and Mag, but none of them shined as bright or as consistently as a light sold by a little company in Phoenix, AZ. The Arc-AAA is pretty damned expensive, but I don’t know that it can be beat. It’s small, very lights, and bright as hell. I was sold… and still am.
Of course, the final requirement yet to be met was the pen. There are a number of different micro pens on the market, but I liked the form, size, and weight of the titanium EDC Pen from J.S. Burley’s. Due to its TINY size, the pen isn’t the most usable… BUT, it works in a pinch and that’s the idea.
Of course, nothing ever seems finished. While the “Complete Key Ring” has proven to be bulky it’s light enough that the bulk hasn’t bothered me all that much. That said, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to adding a very small and light carabiner to the setup. This would allow more options for attaching the ring to various other objects and hopefully lighten the load on my pockets.
Much more on that later…