It seems to me there is no ideal toolkit. I travel with two knives similar to the one you lost and I have often wandered which Leatherman I should request for a birthday present, but none seems ideal. I also have one or two utility screwdriver/flashlight combos given away at trade shows and a Gerber Solstice plus a set of adaptor plugs.
However Murphy's Law seems to dictate that whatever you take with you, you will never be able to MacGyver the tool set to do what you want. When I was in South Africa now, I needed a hammer drill, concrete drill bit and a socket set.
The ideal tool kit is a local resident who has a full set of tools.
Of course, I could purchase a bunch of tools individually, but then I'd have to think about things and I'm a bit short of time. (If I were to go this route, which tools would you suggest as a minimum set?)
Don't forget a magnifying glass, and maybe even a head-mounted LED flashlight.
One question that I have is how to get a tool kit through security at an airport with all the changing rules etc. Of course if I was inclined to check a bag it would be a lot easier but I typically travel with just a carryon and a backpack.
I've got a small RadioShack Leatherman tool that I carry everywhere except when I'm flying. This tools is small enough that you could probably fit it inside the iFixit tool bag. Of course, RadioShack doesn't carry it anymore but it looks a lot like the Leatherman Squirt. I've got the version with wire strippers but there's times I'd rather have the pliers...
Not top quality but pretty handy for most things, and excellent value. I keep one in my desk drawer at work, and it saves me having to go into the workshop next door if I have something I want to take apart.
I had an all-singing, all dancing Victorinox swiss army knife but I mistakenly kept it in my pocket and they took it off me at Johannesburg airport years ago. I had as sad a face as Max when this happened. Although Jo'burg is an excellent airport otherwise, I get the mutters whenever I go through it for this reason.
I also had a couple of keyring screwdrivers, about an inch long, which were taken off me at Sydney airport some time ago. I pointed out to the officious little @#$%&* who took them off me that my 3-1/2 inch long car key would be my weapon of choice if I wanted to do someone some damage, but he would not relent. Fortunately they are cheap and I managed to replace them.
Two sales engineers are going to demo their product the next day and decide to do a dry run in their hotel room. The equipment fails. One of the engineers suspects a cold solder joint, so he calls down to room service and asks them to send up a screwdriver and a soldering iron.
Fifteen minutes later a waiter shows up with a glass of orange liquid. He says: "Here's your Screwdriver, but our bartender didn't know how to mix a Soldering Iron."
[IIRC I heard this one from Dr. James Meindl when I was a grad student.]
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