A good tape measure is such a luxury in archaeology. Usually after a couple of weeks in the field they get dirty, don’t retract, get bent, and are generally a hassle to deal with. The best is when you have at least two–one big fat one (my best one ever was “Big Daddy” brand and I bought it at a dollar store…someone stole it) and one very thin one that you can sling around, take points off profiles, etc. It’s actually hard to find cheap, decent tape measures with metric measurements on them in the states.
They’re also generally the first thing to go missing from your toolkit. So I try to look for them every time I’m in a dollar store and will buy several when I can find them for cheap. I hate walking around sites all day looking for equipment!
(the comic strip is from http://www.xkcd.com, if you’re looking for some time spent in delightful procrastination)