My goals: When I administrate computers, I have most everything I need on a single boot device so I don't have to fool around downloading, installing, or searching.
My boot stick includes what I most frequently need. It isn't that complicated, but it took a while to actually figure it all out. Best of all, you can easily make your own!
I find a USB 3.0 "thumb drive" to be ideal. These devices are inexpensive, portable, fast, and readily available.
What not to use:
- Small thumb drives. You may be able to get away with a 16 GB device, but anything less than that will limit your flexibility.
- Hard disks or SSDs. They're more expensive, bulky, and HD's are less reliable
- SD Cards. An SD card is an option, but the truth is that as of this writing, a standard USB 3.0 thumb drive is more universal.
I use the following four partitions:
- Yosemite Installer (6.5 GB)
- Lion Installer (6.5 GB) (for those older Macs!)
- Memtest Partition (50 MB)
- Installable Software Partition (Remaining Space)