My favourite tool in my toolbag!

Published On 2011/06/19 | By Kurt Bales | On the Job

It’s seems to be the craze this week to write all about our tool bags. Stretch wrote an article on it, followed by Jeff Fry‘s blog post and Tony Mattke over at Router Jockey. Not to be out done (and ever the trend setter) Jennifer Huber wrote her post 18 months ago!

So I guess to be just like the cool kids, I should write a post about my tool bag. Well I was going to, then I realised that despite how nerdy we all really are, there a limit to how many pictures of screwdrivers, cable testers and multimeters that we can actually all look at. Yes I carry the usual sorts of cables, screwdrivers, multimeters and crimping kit. I used to take my Leatherman everywhere until a run in with Airport Security on the way to Cisco Live in Melbourne (a moments silence please!).

Instead I have decided to write about my second most useful bit of kit I carry around. Up until yesterday I might have told you my favourite tool was the cage nut tool, but seeing as Jeff has already extolled the virtues of this tool I decided that I should talk about my “Second Favourite Tool”.

Now wait for it… My blog post is about the roll of purple masking tape I keep in my bag!


I first bought this roll of tape for a data centre move I was doing that involved unracking 5 racks worth of equipment and moving it across the other side of town in a single night. Since then I have always kept a roll in my bag ever since.

Now I don’t want to take any of the mystical powers away from Duct Tape (which still remains “The Force” for all things DIY), but there are certain advantages to having a paper based tape in your tool kit:

  • You can tear it with your tiny girl hands
  • You can write on it with pen, pencil, sharpie or even crayon (dont ask)
  • You can remove it very easy (So the exact opposite reason to why Duct Tape is great)

The advantage of the purple colour is that it is a less used colour in the data centre so you can usually see it in the rack (Except the last time I used it when the rack was full or purple cat-5 cables… or if you use Extreme Networks switches).

I will often use this purple tape to tag cables as I unplug them from active equipment during moves or upgrades. Now Im sure everyone labels there cables in a sensible and efficient manner, but just in case its easy enough to remind yourself “Router-A:Gig0/0” at this stage. I then work through what ever changes I was making and as I plug equipment back in I remove the tape. In theory if I follow this procedure I should be able to look into the rack and not see any purple tape, and thus I should have every thing plugged back in as before.

NOTE: Purple Tape cannot stop you from plugging a cable into the wrong port!

Now please by all means, go and spend lots of money of good screwdrivers, cable testers and other tools, but think about throwing in a roll of paper based masking tape as well.
Postscript: Please don’t be dazzled by this blog’s first every use of images! Welcome to the future people – this is what 2011 is like 🙂

Like this Article? Share it!

About The Author

Kurt is a Network Engineer based out of Sydney Australia. He a the Senior Network Engineer at ICT Networks where he spends his time building Service Provider networks, and enterprise WAN environments. He holds his CCNP and JNCIE-ENT, and currently studying for his JNCIE-SP and CCIE R&S. Find out more about Kurt at and you can follow him on Twitter.