A flashlight with 41 bulbs
Courtesy of 6deal.com

Fabulous Flashlight

So what if you've got a half dozen flashlights. When the lights go out and you need to find one of them, this is the flashlight you’ll use to do it. The one I have has 14 LEDs, but this one has 41 bulbs. Suddenly, I'm a little jealous.

White Flashlight Torch Lamp
$11.79 (plus shipping)
Available at 6deal.com

Two wrenches
Courtesy of Home Depot and Lowe's

What a Wrench

Everybody needs a good wrench. You could go, say, with your monkey, your pipe, your socket -- but those are so last century. Why not go for that next generation spanner? Crescent's RapidRench works on 38 different bolts, wing nuts, hook eyes, and more. And if you want a wrench with batteries, the Black & Decker 8-inch automatic adjustable loosens just about any nut (up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter).

Crescent 8-inch RapidRench
Available at Home Depot

Black & Decker 8-inch Automatic Adjustable Wrench
Available at Lowe’s

A swiss army like knife set
Courtesy of Coleman

Take a Hike

I like my Swiss Army Knife. I love this 15-in-1 multi-tool from Coleman, which combines two blades with the usual assortment of screwdrivers, can openers, and other stuff, plus, a serious pair of pliers. No tweezers or toothpick, though, but hey, you've got a blade and a pair of pliers.

Camper's Tool
Available at Coleman.com

A citizen watch
Courtesy of NextDayWatches.com

One to Watch For

I've always loved this particular stainless steel timepiece, in any of its color schemes. I wish I could afford one. It's a thing of beauty with all those dials and markings, features like water resistance at 100 meters, and a solar-powered battery -- eco-friendly enough to almost make the hefty price tag seem necessary.

Citizen Perpetual Calendar Watch
Available at NextDayWatches.com

Timex Expedition With Chronograph watch
Courtesy of Timex

Easier on the Wallet

If the last one is not going to work for your budget, there are several lower cost alternatives that still let you go in style. Consider the ever-trusty Timex Expedition, which features the INDIGLO night-light and water resistance to 100 meters.

Timex Expedition With Chronograph
Available at Timex.com

Vinyl record converter
Courtesy of Hammacher Schlemmer

Rockin' Out

When you want to kick it with some old-school grooves (and who doesn't?), you need to dust off those ancient long playing vinyl records. But they're so -- not portable. Thanks to new technology like this device from Hammacher Schlemmer, you can convert old records into digital files ready for your iPod or other MP3 player.

LP-to-MP3 Converter
Available at Hammacher Schlemmer

Electronic meat timer
Courtesy of Brookstone

Get Your Grill On

You're the grillmaster at your house, and everybody knows it. So maybe you need an assistant to watch the meat while you watch a few minutes of the game. The Grill Alert promises to monitor the food and notify you -- electronically, via your handy belt receiver -- when it's cooked just right.

Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer
Available at Brookstone

A marble designed pen
Courtesy of Turnbarry.com

Something to Write Home About

You could go for the pack of cheap stick pens from the office supply store, or you could go broke buying one of those pretentiously named luxury jobs. We suggest splitting the difference with the handsome and hand-turned ballpoints and fountain nibs from Turnbarry.

Choose from seven certifiably cool basic styles, some of them imitations of vintage classics in wood or acrylic and multiple finishes. You can even design your own.

Turnbarry Pens
$35 to $40 (each)
Available at Turnbarry.com

A multi-purpose crow bar
Courtesy of The Stanley Works

Hammer, Crowbar, Etc.

This utility bar has as many functions as it has syllables. Need to hit a nail on the head? Use the FuBar. Need to pull the nail back out? Grab it with the FuBar. Want to tear down a house? Well, you get the picture.

Stanley FatMax Xtreme FuBar Utility Bar
About $40
Locate a Retailer at StanleyTools.com

A rolling backpack
Courtesy of eBags.com

Not Your Average Backpack

As a traveler, I have a basic rule for all luggage: no wheels, no way. I love my rolling backpacks, which combine multi-pocketed functionality with the ability to carry them on my back (in a pinch) or pull them along on their own wheels. One of those is usually all I carry. And while there are many variations, you'll love this version, which offers side access to a padded notebook compartment and a monopole handle that locks into place so you can pull and push.

eBags Router Wheeled Laptop Convertible
Available at eBags.com

--Nick Patterson, Associate Livings Editor, Southern Living

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