I have an air compressor, tire patch kit, and your basic sockets and such. But the most important tools, for me at least, is my cell phone and credit card. I'm not the most mechanically inclined person in the world, and even if I was.....I just can't picture myself tearing my bike apart along side a highway in Utah when the temp is 105. So unless it's something VERY simple, like a low beam headlight, I'm making a phone call. I admire those of you who can perform such work, but I'm afraid I don't possess those talents.
I think it is too often assumed with these threads about carrying tools means making repairs, or always having to do major work to the bike.
Over the years, I have never needed to do anything major, but I have still often been saved by my tools. It's like a First Aid kit, but for a bike. A first aid kit doesn't help much when you really need a doctor or EMT, but it is usually all you need.
1. My Zumo 550 locked up for no good reason once on a trip. The owners manual suggestion was to pull the battery and let the unit reset. But the battery compartment has an allen head screw. Thank goodness I had my tools.
2. I was doing a quick check on the bike one morning at a hotel. When I grabbed the antenna mast, it pulled right out. I was able to reinsert it and tighten the set screw.
3. I had a foglight bot come loose once. Also my Butler mug holder pivot bolt loosened, and a couple of other bolts I can remember.
4. My wife's headset became intermittent. I carry a travel size can of WD40. Sprayed it and it was fixed.
5. Broke a throttle cable on my previous bike. I was able to grab the broken end with vise grips and tape the vise grips to the hand grip and make it home.
Countless little other things. I have needed to use cable ties and electrical tape to jury rig various broken and loose items on previous bikes. All of them were minor, stupid problems.
Having basic tools and supplies can be the difference between a minor problem turning a trip into a disaster, or turning it into something to chuckle about years later. A credit card and towing package is great for a major breakdown. But they don't help much with the little problems in life.
Just something to think about.