Flag on the field

By on November 15, 2012

How many times have you dropped a tool when working on your campsite, or even in your back yard?

I can’t count the amount of tools that I have lost or that later I have found damaged from days or weeks of exposure.  Losing an important small tool while working on your car can turn an otherwise routine chore into a miserable affair.  My dad actually taught me a nifty trick that he used to keep his tools from getting lost that it is extremely simple and inexpensive.

The simplest way to keep your tools from getting lost is to attach a piece of brightly colored duct tape to your tool. This process is called flagging.

My dad would actually flag his tools with different colors, red for metric, orange for standard, yellow for specialty tools, etc. The duct tape is inexpensive, with its only flaws being that it looks tacky and will peel off fairly quickly.

A few years back we actually found a product called plastidip. It’s a bit more expensive, but will actually put a rubber coating on the tool that won’t peel off like duct tape does.

It was originally intended as a way to make metal tools much more slip resistant.  All you have to do with this Plastidip is drop the end of the tool into the mixture, pull it out and allow it to air dry

This is a simple process that will save you a ton of time if you find yourself to be a bit of a butterfingers (like I am).

Flagging my tools keeps me from spending minutes or even hours looking for a tool lost in the grass and having to backtrack everywhere I had gone to find it.

You can also use it to coat the teeth of pliers to help keep them from damaging nuts and bolts.

I have seen several other “Out of the box” uses of plastidip, such as putting a small amount on socks and shoes to make them slip resistant. What would you use it for?

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'Above Average' Joe

About 'Above Average' Joe

I am just an average guy with a passion for learning. I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. I look forward to growing with you! Feel free to follow me on google+
  • Allen Wilson

    How about using plastidip on keys to color code them?

    • Joe

      that sounds like a great idea, I “borrowed” my wife’s nail polish once and used it to paint some of my keys but this seems a bit more durable!

  • Phiil

    In my youth, we painted a liquid rubber onto statues to make molds to cast plaster duplicates. Plastidip sounds similar.

  • Mike

    I hope “Plastidip” has improved since the 1980’s. I Plastidipped a pair of Channel-Locks back then. It seems like the stuff never completely dries on the inside. Whenever I used them, a little squeezed out at the top and got on my hands or whatever I laid the pliers on. Finally, about a month ago, I pulled the stuff off and wiped the excess off with WD-40. I will not repeat that mistake.

    • Miles


      I have used Plastidip for a number of years and never experienced that problem. Perhaps you put it on too thick.

  • Caribou

    I have been flagging my wrenches for years only I use a different color tape for each size. It saves a lot of time looking for the right one.

  • Herb Wyatt

    It cures and adheres better if the item is very clean. I used it to dip fishing lures, mainly jig and fly heads but also bodies of plugs and spoons for color and to secure thread wrappings and dressings.