The Best Multi-tools and Keychain Tools

Multitools are ounce for ounce the most useful thing you can carry, albeit at somewhat of a compromise. They may never be the best tool for the job, but they’re rarely the wrong one. Recently, the multitool market, once justifiably dominated by Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife tools, has seen much greater diversity with the rise in popularity of one-piece multitools—ultra-compact pieces of metal designed to hang on your keychain with a number of functionalities. In the third installment of Carry Smarter, we list our top picks from both classic multitools and the new wave of one-piece multitools.

The one-piece multitool trend has not gone unnoticed by the big manufacturers—both Leatherman and Gerber, among others, now sell one-piece tools. Of all the mass-market one-piece tools out there, the Shard stands a cut above the rest. Its simple, functional design features a swift and easy-to-use bottle opener, a decent pry tip, and most notably, a unique 3D Philips screwdriver on its end. Its black coating hardly holds up to everyday wear and tear, but the premature patina is forgivable given the Shard’s price and performance.
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This gem is one of our favorites – we’ve mentioned in another post how much we love it. Few tools are as classy, useful, affordable, and well-made as the Cadet. Victorinox swapped its iconic bright-red cellidor scales in favor of a ribbed aluminum material they call Alox—making the tool not just visually appealing, but also more durable and much thinner. The Cadet’s tool implements are uniformly excellent as expected in a Victorinox knife. Unfortunately, you won’t find scissors or pliers on the Cadet, as it foregoes these implements to achieve a great balance of useful tools and slimness. The Cadet is often found riding shotgun to much more expensive custom knives in a given carry, and understandably so—it’s a real worker that makes any EDC better, regardless of your budget.
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Released just less than two months ago, the ClipiTool is a strong newcomer to the multitool market. It’s a phenomenal tool—compact, inexpensive, and very easy to use. Being a Spyderco design, it unsurprisingly has wonderful ergonomics with a one-hand opening blade, a pocket clip, and an in-hand feel unmatched by any other multitool available. Its blade is also impressively useful, thanks to its full flat grind. The ClipiTool line offers three variants: blade + scissors, blade + saw, and blade + driver/opener. We prefer the driver/bottle opener configuration best, as it provides more distinct functions instead of merely different methods of cutting.
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Of the myriad of options from Leatherman and SOG for general purpose, medium-duty work, none are better than the Skeletool CX. An inconvenient commonality of multitools is that they’re heavy, bulky, and generally lacking a strong knife implement. The Skeletool CX avoids all of these missteps with its excellent knife, robust drivers, and comfortable design that feels great in-hand and rides lightly in the pocket. Perhaps its only minor shortcomings are that its pliers are stubby and aren’t spring loaded. Nonetheless, the Skeletool represents a huge leap forward in design from Leatherman. The CX is the version to get for its better blade steel alone, as its carbon fiber doesn’t significantly reduce weight. Overall, its great medium-duty tools and fantastic knife implement make it a viable replacement to a dedicated pocket knife in your kit.
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If the Skeletool doesn’t have enough tools to get the job done, you have a few options—the Victorinox Spirit or Swiss Tool, the Wave, a few SOGs, and the Charge. Natural selection in the marketplace has shown the Wave reigns supreme. Time and time again, companies release tools designed to best the Wave with little success. Even Leatherman’s own feature-packed Charge, meant to improve upon the Wave, falls short. The Wave’s success lies in its compliment of tools—it has everything you could reasonably need and nothing you don’t. Furthermore, its blades can be easily accessed using one hand, without opening the tool. Its pointed pliers are decent, but we feel their lack of a spring-loading mechanism holds the Wave back from truly being heavy-duty perfection.
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Carabiner-based multitools seem so promising in theory—always hanging around, doing work even when they’re not being used—but they are often disappointing in practice. Although a few carabiners deviate from this trend, none are as awesome as the Carabiner V.3. While it features only a minimum selection of tools, each one is extremely well-executed. An amazing one-piece design outfitted in premium materials, hand-made in small batchces by master craftsman Jens Anso, makes the V.3 easily worth its steep price.
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Once legendary, Gerber’s quality has declined significantly over the past decade. Compared to the competition, recent Gerber products have suffered from dreadful fit and finish causing multiple major recalls, and exorbitant prices for subpar materials. The Dime, however, is a glimmer of hope for a turnaround to Gerber’s former glory. With its more complete tool complement, the Gerber Dime outclasses the popular Leatherman Squirt as the new reigning champ of the keychain tool market. The Dime was the first keychain tool to feature a useful clam-shell cutter for stubborn retail packaging, setting an example for other keychain tools to follow suit. Its fit and finish varies wildly, but for the price, a good copy of the Dime is a steal.
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In this Internet Age, where a mill and a blog can give rise to a new tool brand, the market has seen a proliferation of one-piece multitools. Peter Atwood is the most famous and his tools are the most sought-after, but the Chopper from TT PockeTTools matches, if not bests the functionality of Atwood’s finest designs. The Chopper is a perfect one-piece multitool—compact, with a great bottle opener and a handy assortment of other implements. The snag edge, just under the pry, is perhaps the best surprise here—enough to tear open a package but not so sharp as to cause concern when stuffed in your pocket. Compared to Atwood’s tools, the Chopper is fairly affordable and reasonably available to purchase (the newest batch will restock in May).

The Best EDC Flashlights

The Best EDC Flashlights
Compared to knives, people have only recently started carrying flashlights on a daily basis. In the past, carry options were limited to giant, dim Maglites or plastic Energizer torches. Since then, innovation in LED, battery, and optical technology brought a new generation of lights that outshine their predecessors. These brighter, smaller, and more useful modern lights are worth including in your EDC. In the second installment of Carry Smarter, we recommend our favorite lights to carry with you.

When buying an EDC light, there are many features and technical nuances to consider. If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, choosing your EDC light can be daunting. Some features are straightforward, such as a pocket clip, battery type, or output. Keep in mind that while there are plenty of great lights that take common AA and AAA batteries, the best of them will require lithium ion or rechargeable cells. Also, there’s more to a light than how bright it is – generally, anything with more than 100 lumens will be sufficient, and anything over 400 is overkill. Runtime, beam and tint quality, and a good user interface are just as important as brightness, if not more so. Lastly, some terms worth explaining – CRI refers to a light’s ability to preserve colors accurately (think of how your skin looks under a fluorescent bulb versus sunlight), and tailstanding refers to a light’s ability to stand vertically to act like a candle in an emergency situation by bouncing its beam off of a ceiling for diffuse illumination. With that said, let’s take a look at our favorite lights to EDC.

This is the entry level for modern flashlights. Compared to an old Maglite, it’s a revelation – two to three times brighter than the MiniMag on a single AA battery. While it uses a twist, twist-again UI, its modes are well-spaced and fortunately start on low to preserve night vision. The clip is an excellent bolt-on clip, which is unusual at this price point. Most inexpensive lights have flimsy clips that clamp using friction and simply don’t stay in place. Finally, this light tailstands well. A light of this size and price isn’t without drawbacks – on high, it puts out a meager 70 lumens with an overly bluish tint.
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This tiny jewel truly demonstrates just how far flashlight technology has progressed. It’s only the size of a AA battery, but ten times brighter than the colossal, common 2D Maglite. It not only has a screaming high output, but it also has a beautiful medium mode and a perfect, moonlight low. You’d be surprised just how often its dimmest setting is more than enough to get the job done. No light is a better showcase of flashlight technology than the HF-R. It’s called “Holy Flashlight” for a reason.
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No flashlight manufacturer stays on the cutting edge of LED technology like FourSevens does. The super compact Atom AL is one of the most affordable lights on the market to use a staged twisty UI – one that accesses output modes by continuously twisting the head of the light in one direction, without needing to toggle on and off to change modes. If you’ve been turned off by hassling with complicated UIs, using the Atom AL will spoil you – it’s amazingly easy to use. The light is also compatible with a headstrap for hands-free work (or if tremendous dork is more your style).
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While the diminutive D2 comes in at only 1.5” long and 0.5” in diameter, its ability to reach a 100 lumen high is no small feat. In addition to its impressively compact design, the D2 is unique in that it operates using a quantum tunneling composite (QTC) UI. The QTC material in the light varies its conductivity with applied pressure – in the absence of pressure (twisted off), the material acts as an insulator and the light stays off. Twisting the light compresses the material, increasing its conductivity to produce infinitely variable output. Although QTC lights can be inconsistent when dialing in a desired output, the well-machined fine threading on the D2 mitigates jumps in brightness levels and allows for more a more stable, precise output.
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Much like the smooth, heavy knobs of quality, vintage audio gear, the HDS Rotary’s selector ring provides a classy, silken feel and very intuitive user interface. Using the ring, you can seamlessly dial into one of 17 separate outputs, as the jump from one brightness level to another is so subtle, it’s virtually unnoticeable. Additionally, you can select brightness and then turn on the light – allowing for convenient, direct access to your desired output without the hassle of cycling through modes and ruining your night vision. The Rotary’s stroke of genius that sets it apart from the many selector ring click lights on the market is its design. Putting the click button and selector ring in such close proximity allows for one-hand operation. Add to this a 200 lumen output, immaculate fit and finish, and a build quality so robust it turns tanks green with envy, and you have one of the most praised lights ever made. As such, they aren’t easy to come by.
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Jason Hui of Prometheus Lights is no stranger to making quality lights, with his full-sized, custom Alpha flashlights under his belt. The Beta-QR is Hui’s sophomore effort – a smaller, more mainstream production light that maintains the look and feel of a custom light. Fortunately, it isn’t as expensive as its luxurious design would suggest. Its unique list of features starts with an ingenious quick-release method of connecting to a keychain. Above all, it boasts a beautiful and uncommon Nichia 219 emitter, producing beautifully accurate light with a CRI of 93 out of 100.
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Even for the discerning flashlight enthusiast, the McGizmo Haiku needs to be experienced to understand why it costs a hefty $500. Simply put, there is no flashlight in the world that can fit in your pocket and do things as well as the Haiku can. It can be fitted with a high CRI emitter and operates via a fantastic clicky UI. It’s supernally beautiful and incredibly well made. And yet, the Haiku’s success lies in its reflector – it’s been tweaked and redesigned until it reached an unparalleled usefulness, able to balance the light’s smooth, flawless beam between flood and throw better than anything else on the market. Even though it has a maximum of only 140 lumens, you’ll reach for the Haiku first and frequently for lighting tasks. $500 for a flashlight is quite an investment, but if you need the best, the Haiku delivers.

One of the best lights in the world regardless of price, the SC52 can do it all. It has the versatility to reach over 250 lumens on a single alkaline AA battery or an utterly amazing 0.01 lumen low for a three-month long runtime. Zebralight has worked extensively and almost exclusively with AA battery lights. While other manufacturers relied on the newest LED or most powerful battery on the market, Zebralight focused on efficient circuitry for the common AA. The result of their efforts is absolute mastery of the battery like no other, giving us a light with runtimes and outputs that lap the competition.
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The Best Pocket Knives Under $350

A symbol of preparedness, the pocket knife is widely regarded as a staple of everyday carry (EDC) gear. A knife is like a truck – just having one expands the kinds of things you can get done. Most EDCers will use a knife for general utility: opening packages, cutting thread, or mild food preparation. A 3” blade and most types of locks will be sufficient to perform these tasks. Choosing the right EDC knife and budgeting a purchase can be daunting. We’ll save you the headache of the trial-and-error process of the upgrade treadmill and present our favorite EDC knives under $350 in the first installment of Carry Smarter.

The Utilitarian EDC Stater Kit

The Utilitarian EDC Starter Kit

Since day one, we’ve been committed to spreading the word of EDC. That’s why we helped our friends at Broquet proudly bring you The Utilitarian — a starter kit designed to easily upgrade a wallet and keychain, two of the most common essentials, into a fully functional carry. Featuring solid picks from Machine Era Co., Gerber, and NiteIze, this kit has something for newcomers and veteran EDCers alike. Read more for our exclusive coupon code and giveaway!
BUY ($69)

You can share your passion for EDC and give the gift of self-reliance for 10% off using coupon code: EverydayCarry at checkout.
We received The Utilitarian starter kit from our friends at Broquet to aid in the photography and writing of this feature. In the Broquet spirit of giving great gifts, and in line with our goal to spread the concept of Everyday Carry, we’re giving this kit away to one lucky reader! Enter the giveaway in our widget below. Good luck and carry on!

My everyday carry

Meze 11 DECO Elegant Wooden Earphones

Meze Headphones aim to set the stage for audio gear that looks as good as it sounds with their new 11 DECO earphones. Beech wood enclosures housing 8mm neodymium drivers provide a natural warmth to their sound signature and a touch of elegance to its design. Featuring a smart-phone compatible microphone for hands-free calls, a tangle-free cable, and an included protective case, the 11 DECOs make a great addition to a stylish EDC.
BUY ($79)

We received a new sample pair of the Meze 11 DECO earphones from Meze Headphones for the purpose of photographing and writing this feature. Enter our giveaway below for your chance to win this pair:

Distil Union Wally Bifold Wallet Review

When it comes to most wallets, what you see is what you get — minimalist wallets often emphasize form over function and traditional wallets get bulky and boring. The Wally Bifold from Distil Union, on the other hand, puts its own spin on the traditional bifold form factor with its interesting, minimalist operation. Read more for my full review of the Wally Bifold wallet and for your chance to win one courtesy of Distil Union.

Upon first glance, the unassuming Wally Bifold could easily be dismissed as another boring, leather wallet. A closer look at its curious ribbon pull-tabs and shiny metal clip peeking out from within would tip you off that this isn’t like most wallets you’ve seen. It most resembles the Wally Stick-On wallet that we reviewed previously: the two halves of the wallet function like vertical versions of the Stick-On’s ribbon and pocket system, holding up to 12 cards. Internally, a metal moneyclip holds cash in place. What’s interesting is that the Wally really embraces the “traditional” bifold form factor, at least externally. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Minimal wallets are all the rage as of late, but in pursuing extreme minimalism, so many of them miss the mark and completely lose that intuitive, familiar gesture of actually opening a wallet to grab some cash, then shoving it back into a pocket comfortably, and without worry of anything getting scratched. With the Wally Bifold, that feeling remains intact. While it isn’t constructed from the most luxurious leather out there, it’s well-made, comfortable in hand and in the pocket, and ages beautifully with use without getting worn out. I can’t ask for much more than that. One minor change that could make the wallet seem more luxurious would be to make the ribbon tabs out of leather instead, with some nice metal hardware to match the clip.

Using the Wally Bifold, I get the benefits of having that familiar leather wallet feeling, but elevated with its interesting operation. Most of the time when I use the bifold, I don’t ever actually open it — pulling the ribbon tabs lets me access my cards without having to open my wallet up and reveal how much or how little cash I have inside. Using the tabs is satisfying, intuitive and simple, as is storing cards when I’m done with them. It works how I expect, and I really appreciate the lack of a steep learning curve with this wallet. But its simplicity and convenience do have its drawbacks: when holding the wallet upside down and shaking it, the open pockets let cards fall out. Granted this never happened to me in practice, it’s worth noting if card retention is especially important to you. Considering the leather can stretch over time, I think the wallet could be improved by making the pockets a bit more snug, which would slim down the wallet’s footprint overall.

But for me, the real test of a worthy EDC wallet is how it performs at the register. With the Wally, I can easily recognize and pull a color-coded tab for the card of choice, pay, and slip it back into the wallet without fighting zippers, rubber bands, flaps, or buttons. Paying with cash, and more importantly, putting away my change in small bills, is a breeze. That’s where I think the Wally Bifold edges out so many minimalist wallets on the market: I don’t feel limited in how much cash or change I choose to carry, and I am never slowed down by needing to quadruple fold bills before they fit my wallet.

Compared to other popular minimalist wallets, the Wally Bifold still manages to stay comfortably slim, even when fully stuffed.  It slides smoothly into the pocket and sits there comfortably against my body thanks to its streamlined leather construction. Between storage, retrieval, and comfort, the Bifold carries well.
Reviewer Score: 5/5

Carrying cash is a breeze
Intuitive, hassle-free pull-tab operation
Large capacity while remaining comfortably slim


Card retention not the most secure by design, also possibly resulting in larger footprint than needed

I’ve reviewed plenty of wallets for the site, but none have managed to impress me how the Wally Bifold has. It might not have the “cool” factor that other wallets do, but at the end of the day, it just does what a wallet is supposed to do, in its own unique way. Looking for a slim, comfortable, easy-to-use wallet that isn’t limiting? Meet Wally.
BUY ($59.99)
Lindsay at Distil Union has kindly provided a brand new Wally Bifold as a prize for our latest giveaway. Enter in the widget below. Good luck!

Tactile Turn Mover Pen Review


Tactile Turn have been turning heads among pen addicts and EDCers alike with their machined aluminum pens in recent months. Now, they’re back on Kickstarter in all new materials. Do these new pens continue to live up to their names as movers and shakers in the pen market? Read more for my hands-on review of the new Brass Tactile Turn Mover, provided by Will from Tactile Turn.
Tactile Turn have returned to Kickstarter to start production on these updated versions of their already successful Mover and Shaker pens, which we recommended in Vol. 4 of our Carry Smarter buying guide series. The new Mover and Shaker pens are essentially the same great pens — expertly machined clicky pens that accommodate a variety of refills with a unique micro-ribbed grip section, but updated with new materials and finishes this time around. I was sent the Mover in Brass, which is the longer pen in the Tactile Turn lineup at a respectable 5.55” length. The brass barrel affords a significant heft, weighing in at 2.51 oz — over twice the weight of its original aluminum counterpart. Along with the heft comes a bright, beautiful golden hue, contrasted against polished stainless steel hardware on the pocket clip and click mechanism. The Mover employs sleek, industrial design language that when combined with the gleaming brass and steel hardware, results in a striking, almost luxurious look. Much of the Mover’s sexiness comes from its impeccable fit and finish. It takes close inspection to even tell where the barrel unscrews to access the refill.

Included out of the box is a Pilot G2 refill, but the Mover can take at least 20 different refills to suit your preference. The refill of your choice is deployed using a sturdy metal clicky, or knock mechanism. Having a retractable tip and a quick and near-silent knock mechanism is ideal for EDC, mainly for its convenience and ease of access when you need to get writing without fussing over unscrewing caps, keeping track of a loose cap, and so on. I’ve tested the pen both out in my day to day as well as at my office desk, and it was consistently up to the task every time. When making quick notes or signing receipts, I had no trouble unclipping the pen, advancing the pen tip, and scribbling here and there. One of the standout features of Tactile Turn pens is the grip portion. It flares ever so slightly out from the already beefy barrel to give you plenty to hold on to, then provides extra surface area to grip through fine, precisely-machined grooves. It rides the sweetspot between being comfortably grippy without being overly aggressive, which is important to control a pen this heavy. 

For longer writing sessions at my desk, it handles like no other pen I’ve used before. While I expected a pen this heavy to make writing effortless, as the weight of the pen itself imparts most of the downward pressure when writing, I was really impressed by how comfortable the writing experience was. Above the famed smoothness of the G2 refill and the precision the grip provided, the almost magical balance of the pen is what really elevated the Mover from writing instrument to an inky extension of my hand. The writing experience for me was similar to using a fountain pen in that no pressure was required, but with the awesome durability and convenience of a clicky ballpoint. Sort of like the best of both worlds from an EDC standpoint.
I’ve heard some common excuses for not carrying a pen, even from people who wish they had one with them: they lose or break them all the time. I can’t foresee that happening at all with the Mover. The pocket clip is super sturdy and rides really low and snug in my pants pocket. Factor in the heft of brass and it’s not going anywhere. And if it does, you’d be sure to feel it. A solid machined brass barrel is near indestructible, so there’s no worry of leakage in my experience. There were only a few instances where the knock mechanism seemed a little loose from riding in the pocket, and over 2-3 weeks of EDC the clip has let up ever so slightly. Overall, I’m confident I can carry it anywhere.

Reviewer Score: 5/5

Superb fit and finish, durable materials, EDC-friendly design
Excellent balance in hand, effective grip, pleasant heft
Comfortable, smooth writing with included G2, also very versatile in accommodating refills


Pocket clip loosened up ever so slightly over time
Barrel might be too wide, heavy, or rigid for some

I don’t throw out a 5/5 score very often, but after extended use and carry, the Mover is hard to fault. It’s beautiful, it’s well-built, it performs when and where I want, and it absolutely slays each page with a robust elegance. Its flaws, if any, are minor or a matter of preference. Its Kickstarter price of $60 is still a great value, considering how long this pen should serve you. If you’re looking for a pen that lets you make a statement in more ways than one, this is it.

Review: distlunion Wally Stick-on


distilunion Wally Stick-on Review

For the minimalists out there, chances are your phone and your wallet make up the bulk of your carry. The Wally Stick-On wallet adheres to your iPhone, slimming down two of your most essential items to one. It’s promising in theory, but how well does having a wallet stuck to your phone and vice versa really work? Read more for my review of the Wally Stick-On wallet and to enter a Wally Case giveaway, all provided by distilunion.

The Wally Stick-On is a single-piece leather cardholder that attaches to the back of an iPhone using a high quality, 3M adhesive backing. It’s shaped and cut to protect the back of the phone from scratches, with some clearance left for the rear-facing camera and dual flash. With proper application, it sits tight and flush, without adding much thickness to the phone. At first glance, the Wally looks like nothing more than a protective leather cover for the back of your phone, especially when empty. A quick pull of the ribbon tab pushes the Wally’s contents up for quick and easy access: distilunion recommends three cards and a trifolded bill. After using the cards, pushing them back into the Wally also pushes the ribbon tab back into place. There’s no fussing with snap enclosures, zippers, or fighting resistance of rubber bands and magnets here. The ribbon  is easy to use for both retrieving and storing cards. It’s a surprisingly satisfying experience coming from such a simple mechanism.

Admittedly, I began testing the Wally with some skepticism — while I’m all for minimalist wallets, I’m not one to use a phone case. I find cases can change the physical feel of using a phone, while adding bulk and weight. I had to get used to the Wally Stick-On in a number of ways: first, my phone felt completely different in hand. However, the added thickness of just a few cards combined with the texture of the leather lent a pleasant, comfortable curvature to the phone, reminiscent of the iPhone 3GS ergonomics. The next thing I had to adjust to was the unwarranted anxiety of having your phone and wallet stuck together — sometimes I’d think I left my wallet at home. But for everyday use, it’s convenient and really simplifies my EDC. It carries not much thicker than do a phone or wallet on their own, so I could comfortably keep it in my front pocket where I’d normally keep wallet, and just as easily throw it in my back pocket where I keep my phone, which is some welcome versatility when it comes to carry options. However, with this setup, I couldn’t carry as much as I used to or wanted to. For the Wally to really excel at what it does, I needed to limit my cards to my three most important ones and carry a single $20 bill or no cash at all. Otherwise, the leather on the Wally stretches out a bit, and also pulling the adhesive towards the top of the wallet off slightly. While distilunion offers “recharge” packs to make the Wally stick like new, fixing stretched out leather is more involved. Although the capacity of the Wally leaves something to be desired, I really appreciated its simple, effective operation, the convenience of combining my phone and my wallet, as well as the pocket space it affords. Eventually, one of my coworkers saw the Wally, ripped it off my phone and stuck it to his, then immediately stuffed it with business cards. By effectively ending my testing period prematurely, he revealed just how appealing and versatile the Wally can be even for people who already have a wallet they prefer.

Reviewer Score: 4.0/5

Intuitive, efficient and satisfying operation
Protects phone without much bulk
Versatile as a secret pocket
One less thing to carry, and it carries well


"Uh oh, I lost my phone!" becomes "Uh oh, I lost my phone AND my wallet!"
Limited capacity and organization
Doesn’t handle cash or change well
Affects physical handling of phone

Calling the Wally a wallet might be a bit of a misnomer — it certainly can hold cards and some cash, but it really feels more like a phone accessory with a wallet functionality. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just speaks to how readily the Wally unobtrusively takes a back seat and gives access to your cards while protecting your phone, and how versatile it can be as a secret pocket for business cards, emergency cash, or anything else you want with you out of sight and out of mind until you need it.
BUY ($39.99)
Because the review sample I tested has been slightly stretched and severely de-stickied (as well as taken by my coworker), we’re giving away a brand new Case version of the Wally, courtesy of DistilUnion. Good luck and carry on!

Review: Native Union JUMP Cable


Native Union JUMP Cable Review & Giveaway

If you rely on your smartphone everyday, battery life shouldn’t stop you from getting the most out of your phone. There are several ways to keep your phone charged, but not without their flaws. Most power banks are too bulky to EDC, wall chargers are very limiting when out and about, and cables can tangle or fray when tossed in a bag. Native Union puts forth their JUMP Cable as a 2-in-1 solution for mobile charging on the go. Read more for my review of the JUMP Cable and for a chance to win one for your EDC, courtesy of Native Union.

Despite what its name may suggest, the JUMP Cable is more than just a cable — it’s an 800mAh external battery too, providing over 30% of charge to an iPhone 5, or somewhere between 24-28% for a 5S, depending on usage during charging and age of the battery. The JUMP can also be used as pass through cable for high-speed (2.4A), prioritized charging using what Native Union calls AutoCharge technology. The USB to Lightning version of the JUMP is MFI certified by Apple, allowing you to confidently sync and transfer data using the cable. Physically, the cable is braided and slightly stiffened, making it less prone to tangling and fraying when carried. The ends of the cables are also very slim, resembling 1st party Lightning cables, ensuring compatibility with most phone cases. The ends of the cable snap flushly into recesses in the center of the battery when not in use, while the stiffened cable wraps perfectly around the perimeter of the battery portion. Best of all, unlike most external battery bricks, this thing is impressively compact at just 1.96in x 1.96in and 1.4 oz. Native Union has received several accolades for their product design — after seeing how they’ve managed to eliminate the hassle of carrying a brick of a battery and the tangly, fragile mess of an overly long charging cable, I’d say their praise is very much deserved.

Charging your phone with the JUMP is easy enough — pull the Lightning end of the cable out of its center slot and unravel the cable a bit, plug into the phone and press a small button on the JUMP to begin. Three small LEDs indicate the charging state and capacity of the JUMP. According to specs, a full discharge in battery mode should take about 35 minutes at 1A, providing around 24%-28% of charge to my iPhone 5S. In my testings, I didn’t quite get as much of a charge. For me, it took about 20 minutes to completely discharge, giving me a consistent extra 20% of battery. That was without actively using the phone, just as if it were in my pocket or on my desk. As a disclaimer, I use my phone a lot. So much so that I’ve jailbroken it to use it in even more ways. I use my phone so much for music, photos, texting, and most importantly, keeping tabs on the blog when I’m away from my desk. I feel a distinct anxiety when I see a single pixel sliver of red and a 1% in the top right of my screen. So although the JUMP Cable delivered less than its promised 24%, I figure for the average, non-jailbroken iPhone user, the JUMP should charge adequately. With that said, I think even 20% under high stress is a welcome boost at the end of the day. It’s enough to get my phone out of the red and to get me to a power source.
I can forgive the marginal discrepancy in performance because the product, by design, foregoes huge capacities for something that’s truly pocketable. I respect that decision and admire the execution of it. I effortlessly carried it in my coin pocket, zip wallet, and bag. It doesn’t scratch anything, discharge on accident, tangle or fray. But the plastic housing can get scratched a bit, and the white plastic parts of the cable can get dirty — neither of which affect performance. My other complaint would be that when actually charging your phone on the go, it does kind of dangle awkwardly from the bottom of the phone. It’s just a mild inconvenience to deal with for half an hour or so.

Reviewer Score: 4.5/5

Very compact and lightweight, easy to carry
2-in-1 function as battery and passthrough cable
Quality construction, fit and finish of a well-designed product


No elegant solution for how to carry the JUMP on the go during charging period
800mAh capacity might not suffice for power users

Considering the JUMP Cable’s massively successful $372,000 Kickstarter campaign and the fact that I begrudgingly carry a 0.8lb external battery and a 10ft long cable to charge my phone on the go, I had high hopes for the JUMP. While it can’t charge my phone 8 times over, it’s still a wonderful for what it is — an elegant, well-executed way to provide a small but significant charge to your phone at the end of the day. You can pick one up for yourself at Native Union at the link below, or enter our giveaway to win one of three JUMP Cables (Lightning or Micro USB), graciously furnished by Native Union. 
BUY ($50)

Carbon Fever: 7 Carbon Fiber Essentials

There seems to be an idea that carbon fiber is popular for one’s everyday carry because of its dominant color and premium price, but there is some science to the fiction for why it’s a fantastic material to use on products. In the seventh installment of Carry Smarter we cover a complete carbon fiber carry and see why its properties make good equipment even better.

Despite not having a lot of real estate to work with, sunglasses frames can still benefit from carbon fiber’s light weight and high temperature tolerance. Ray-Ban infuses its classic Aviators with carbon fiber to make its arms lighter and tougher without added weight.
BUY ($138)

Flashlights with magnetic control rings are rare by themselves, and ones with premium material construction are even rarer. Niteye’s EYE10 TIC falls into the latter camp with a titanium/carbon fiber body on top of its base rotary system model that has four modes and an output of 260lm. Withstanding high temperatures along with minimal thermal expansion are definitely key benefits for anything that produces a lot of heat, and the carbon fiber on this light is no different.
BUY ($297)

The Spyderco Sage 3 is already a great everyday carry with its 3” drop point blade and ambidextrous Bolt Action Lock, but add in light weight, chemical resistance, and high tensile strength in its carbon fiber/G-10 scales, and the result is this easy-to-carry, handsome, and highly-functional knife.
BUY ($134)

Multi-tools are generally quite heavy and bulky so the light weight yet high strength of carbon fiber is a welcome enhancement. The Leatherman brand needs no introduction in the world of quality EDC. In addition to its sleek carbon fiber accents and highly capable tool complement, the affordable Skeletool CX packs a better 154CM plain edge blade compared to its standard counterpart into the same five ounce frame.
BUY ($60)

What makes for a great EDC pen is usually a combination of good writing action, reliable ink, and portability and weight. At a mere 0.5 ounces including its refill, carbon fiber certainly allows the Tombow Zoom 101 to fulfill the latter categories. It also doesn’t hurt having the pen in one’s bag or pocket due to the high stiffness and strength its full CF body affords, making it a solid carry.
BUY ($91)

Being worn on the wrist certainly exposes a watch to the wear and tear of the environment and other elements, so if there’s a type of product that could benefit from high strength and heat resistance, a carbon fibre-infused timepiece would be it. The Seiko SNAE17 Velatura chronograph definitely looks the part of the roadworthy watch; the addition of a carbon fiber face adds some welcome function to its sleek form.
BUY ($369)

While a completely carbon fiber-covered wallet would be rather uncomfortable or impractical as an everyday carry, a money clip would fit the part far better. So in the true spirit of utility, how about one that adds a bottle-opening feature to its already thin profile? The Flexy money clip does just that, at an astonishingly light 0.46 ounces, yet still strong enough to pop open a brew thanks to the strength afforded by its multi-layer CF construction.
BUY ($45)

Review: BigiDesign Ti-POST RAW



Whether you like letting your ideas flow on old fashioned pen and paper or getting your work done with the processing power of a modern tablet and stylus, the Ti-POST RAW from BIGiDESIGN is designed to handle it all. In this review, I put this titanium machined pen (graciously provided by BIGiDESIGN) to the test.
We gave BIGiDESIGN a nod of approval in our Best EDC Pens buying guide a while back for their Aluminum Pen + Stylus. The Ti-POST RAW in this review boasts many of the same features but comes upgraded in titanium and attempts to address some of the balance issues found in earlier versions of the pen.  
There’s a lot of great things to be found in the pen upon first glance. I immediately appreciated its solid TA2 titanium body, its beautiful machining, and flawless fit and finish. The pen’s overall aesthetic relies mostly on its pristine machining and much-desired titanium materials, as the rest of its features are fairly sterile and understated. The only branding on the pen appears as an almost indistinct periodic table “Ti” etched into its deep pocket clip. On the other end of the pen are its sturdy titanium threads for twist cap posting and its optional conductive stylus tip. While these external features are great, much of the Post Raw’s appeal comes from within. It can accommodate almost any refill you can throw at it (35+ refills!) to really configure the pen to your personal needs and preferences.

Untwisting the cap via its surprisingly smooth, grit-free titanium threads unveils the business end of the pen, which comes pre-loaded with a Uni Signo 207 refill right out of the box. The surrounding grip area is markedly narrower than the rest of the body, with only three minimal “rings” etched into the barrel to serve as a grip. Initially, I was concerned that this “grip” wouldn’t suffice, especially given how smooth and how heavy the body can be. Fortunately, I discovered just how well-balanced the pen really is, which comes as a surprise considering its noticeable overall length when posted. By letting the pen rest most of its heft between the base of my thumb and index finger, I needed much less of a grip on the writing end of the barrel and was able to let the pen do most of the work. Writing becomes easy and comfortable, even with just the included refill. If your refill of choice is supported and you figure out how to balance the pen, you’re in for a smooth writing experience. I didn’t test the pen’s writing performance without the cap posted because in practice, it would be easier to lose the cap that way, but a cursory run indicates it balances similarly. Its stylus end works and feels sturdy, without much of that hollow balloon feeling when gliding across a tablet surface I find in other styluses. If a stylus isn’t a necessary part of your EDC, it can be easily unscrewed and replaced with a flat endcap to cut down on its length a bit.
At just over 5.3” including the stylus when capped, the Post Raw takes up as much pocket space as the average click pen, if not a tiny bit more. It isn’t the most compact pen, but it still carries great thanks to its deep, sturdy titanium pocket clip. Furthermore, each pen comes packaged with a high quality felt pen sleeve if you’d rather pocket it loose, throw it in a bag, or just want extra scratch protection from the rest of your gear. It seems like these guys get the big idea behind everyday carry given all the thought they put into the pen’s carry options.

Reviewer Score: 4.0 of 5

Pleasant heft and balance facilitate smooth writing
Clean titanium construction
Very deep pocket clip
Versatile refill compatibility


Loose, threaded cap not ideal for EDC — makes quick jotting inconvenient
When cap is posted, pen is slightly long, slightly long overall
“Grip” portion of barrel could be more aggressive

For the casual writer whose ideas come frequently and without notice, the Ti-POST RAW might be too slow to get set up in time to jot them down. Its postable twist cap, heft and balance, and refill compatibility seem to encourage longer writing sessions and cater best to pen enthusiasts. With that said, the pen has many strengths that warrant a spot in an EDC, and could, with time, convert the quick jotter into a more serious writer. It’s something to be used and envied at the office, but designed well enough to be carried along to wherever inspiration strikes.
BUY ($75)

Machine Era Co. Wallet Review


Last September, Machine Era Co. invited early adopters on Kickstarter to rethink their everyday carry with the introduction of their fully machined, aluminum slim wallet. The campaign was met with tremendous support, raising nearly $250,000 from over 5600 backers. In this review, I attempt to rethink my everyday carry as well and share my thoughts on this wildly successful wallet, courtesy of Machine Era Co.

The Machine Era Wallet takes an industrial approach to a modern, minimal wallet through its design and choice of materials. Its understated design, essentially an assembly of a metal plate and a thick elastic band, immediately appears somehow striking yet barebones. The Machine Era Wallet forgoes conventional design cues in favor of rugged functionality, constructed from a high grade 6061 aluminum. The flat black anodized finish not only adds to its aesthetic, but also offers improved corrosion resistance and a comfortable, grippy texture to the surface. I found that with normal use the finish comes off, especially in areas of high wear such as the corners and the top edge that grazes against the pocket the most. It also tends to show scratches and smudges easily, but it appears more like a nice patina than a poor anodization job. The machining overall is excellent, with enough curves and chamfer to the plate that its lines look nice and clean but still handle comfortably.

The aluminum plate has two notches on its sides machined out to fit a thick elastic band, which holds 2-6 cards and tri-folded cash snug to the wallet’s interior. Cash or cards can also be held onto the back of the plate as well, for even easier access. A minimal wallet like this lacks any other organization, so storing cards is a matter of stacking them behind each other. When retrieving cards, I’ve found the most convenient method is to slide cards up and fan them out that way rather than digging through them from the top. Some might find this inconvenient when retrieving the last card in the wallet, but organizing the cards by most frequently used towards the front should minimize hassle. I must be one of the few people still using cash these days, as many modern slim wallets on the market don’t really address what to do with loose bills. This wallet accommodates tri-folded cash, which works decently for the odd note here and there. But folding cash in thirds really adds up thickness quick, and storing them on the outside of the wallet or on top of your cards makes the wad easier to push or slide out. I noticed this happening a lot when I’d try to stuff the wallet into my front pocket with a bunch of singles folded up. It’s a problem that I don’t think would happen to most users, but it happened in my experience. I also appreciated that I could use my bus pass without removing it from the wallet since the elastic band leaves most of the card exposed. Others might consider this a privacy or security risk, however. Overall, storing and retrieving cards is quick and painless. With cash, the wallet operates best with just a few bills.
With the average user’s amount of cash and cards, the wallet slides into the pocket really nicely. It’s slim, sturdy, and lightweight at just 1.3 oz due to its aluminum body, which also happens to handle moisture well. A potential drawback is comfort — while I found it slim enough to be comfortable, others might not appreciate a rigid metal block rubbing against their thigh. Similarly, I wouldn’t recommend back pocket carrying a wallet like this (or sitting on anything in your pockets in general) for comfort reasons.

Reviewer Score: 4.0 out of 5

Well-machined, minimal durability Easy to operate and comfortable to use Carries well, slim and lightweight


Limited performance for cash carriers Finish wears and shows imperfections easily

Machine Era Co.’s years of tweaking this design ultimately resulted in this solid, simple, but very efficient wallet. It might not look like much, but that’s part of its appeal — it capably handles your cards and cash in ways you think it couldn’t upon first glance. In that regard, I did rethink my everyday carry, and quickly saw its success on Kickstarter was no fluke. Admittedly, it doesn’t handle cash as effectively as I’d like. But for true minimalists who don’t deal much with loose bills, I’d confidently recommend the Machine Era Wallet in a heartbeat.
BUY ($28)

Mini Review: Fenix E12, PD12, & E35UE


Fenix E12, PD12, & E35UE Mini Review Roundup & Giveaway

Fenix has built a reputation in the EDC community as one of the leading flashlight manufacturers, using high quality materials and solid designs. In this mini-review roundup we take a quick look at some of Fenix’s newest offerings, the E12, the PD12, and the E35 Ultimate Edition, graciously provided by Fenix Outfitters.

Fenix E12
My immediate impression of the E12 is that it’s nothing flashy — it brings a simple, unassuming sensibility to the table. It’s styled very traditionally, with the usual black knurled aluminum body that you’d expect from Fenix and other practical flashlight brands. It’s decently compact for a 1xAA light as its head, battery tube and tailcap are all flush with each other. Unfortunately, the E12 does not come fitted with a pocket clip of any sort, limiting carry options to a keychain (which, I feel is just barely acceptable at its size) or deep pocket carry using an included wrist lanyard. Both a keyring and lanyard can attach to the tailcap, which also houses a reverse clicky switch. The switch is protected by a scooped “bezel” to allow tailstanding and easier access to the switch. At the business end of the light, there’s some interesting optics going on around its XP-E2 emitter. Turning the light on starts on its 8 lumen low mode, and soft presses of the tailcap cycle through its 50 lumen medium and 130 lumen high mode. On low, 8 lumens is plenty for walking around at night or scanning dark spaces, and personally I feel it’s more than enough. A 50 lumen medium is great for covering a larger area. Most impressive, however, is its 130 lumen high — it’s great to have that power when you need it in a compact light, and it’s this capability that Fenix tends to highlight, with good reason. You’d likely find yourself using low and medium modes in everyday situations, but I wish a moonlight or lower low were offered to help space out the levels better. The E12 produces a surprisingly wide, white hotspot, with relatively little usable spill in a bluish tint. It might not appeal to the most discerning flashaholics, but it makes its case as an simple, easy-to-use, reliable primary or backup light. I can see this doing well in a mini EDC pouch kit or a beginner’s carry as an intro to higher quality lights.
Reviewer Score: 2.5/5

Sturdy build quality, clean fit and finish from Fenix
Pushes the envelope with an impressive 130lm high
Simple operation


Lack of pocket clip and sized slightly too large for keychain, making it hard to EDC
Mediocre beam pattern and tint
Wide hotspot makes low mode appear brighter than it should

The E12, to me, seems average in many ways. Its $30 pricetag is a good indicator of what to expect — it’s a step up from keychain lights in build quality and output, but doesn’t stand up to $60+ EDC lights. Its strength lies in its reliable construction and simple operation at an affordable pricepoint.
BUY ($27)

Fenix PD12
The PD12 falls into the “primary EDC” flashlight category, with its compact size, decent set of features and other design cues that reinforce its role as a general utility light. For a CR123a light, it’s not the most compact, but still highly pocketable. This is mostly due to its wider head design: it allows for a deeper reflector around its CREE XM-L2 T6 neutral white LED emitter, some adequate heatsinking at the base of the head, and a less commonly seen electronic side switch. The other half of the light is less interesting — just a knurled battery tube with a scooped rear bezel to allow for tailstanding and a wrist lanyard attachment. The build quality, fit and finish, is superb as always from Fenix. Unfortunately, the PD12 also lacks a pocket clip — which I feel is necessary on a light this small meant to be used for everyday carry. A quick press of the electronic side switch turns the light on instantly. More interestingly, the light has “mode memory,” meaning it turns on at the last output level used. Modes through which it can cycle include a 10 lumen low, 80 lumen mid, 200 lumen high, and long-holding the switch accesses a 360 lumen burst mode. The memory feature is nice, but for general usage I often find myself using mainly the dimmest mode, which usually fires first. I can see value in memory for those who use their flashlights in emergency only situations and want the brightest light possible, or often work with the brighter modes. For a light like this, where the side switch encourages an “underhand” grip and discourages a traditionally tactical “ice pick grip,” memory for instant-on high might not be as useful. To turn the light off, a longer press is required. I have some issues with the switch and UI in my testing, though. Physically, the side switch lies very flush to the flashlight body to prevent accidental activation in the pocket. I found that this made locating the switch with my fingers in the dark to turn the switch on more difficult than it needs to be. A glow in the dark button or some texturing on it might have helped with tactile feedback in the dark. Secondly, accessing burst mode through a very long hold causes the light to turn off completely first (a long hold turns the light off), then holding for a moment longer unleashes a whopping 360 lumens. Because there’s no head-twisting involved, it’s sort of a necessary evil, but it is a bit jarring to reach burst after complete darkness in that brief pause between modes. Luckily, the PD12 delivers a beautiful beam pattern in a pleasant neutral tint. Its hotspot is tight and clear with plenty of usable surrounding spill, allowing it to perform well in general up close and short distance applications, but its deep reflector and high output levels really give it some distance as well.
Review Score: 3/5

Good output/size ratio
High quality construction
Great beam tint and pattern


No pocket clip
Side switch difficult to locate

The PD12 is a solid light, but it’s not the only neutral white 1x123 light, it isn’t the most pocketable, and the operation isn’t for everyone. Because of some key oversights like the lack of a pocket clip and the missteps associated with the electronic side switch and its resulting UI, I give it a 3/5. I would recommend it to someone interested in buying one as it is a good light — it’s just that there are others that outclass it in certain aspects.
BUY ($47)

Fenix E35 Ultimate Edition
Last up for review is the fittingly Ultimate Edition of the E35. It’s the largest of the group, accommodating a 1x18650 battery or 2xCR123a configuration. With the added length from using these battery types comes plenty of power and longer runtimes than the previously mentioned lights. As expected from a Fenix light, it’s built very well and looks great. While the E35UE lacks a pocket clip as well, it isn’t too much of an issue considering its size alone precludes it from comfortable pocket carry. The light also utilizes the electronic side switch, but unlike the PD12, is much easier to locate due to the rubber texturing on the button. The side switch again encourages an underhand grip, which is great for exploration and general path illumination. A short hold (it feels longer, though) of the button fires up the E35UE’s CREE XM-L2 U2 emitter in whichever mode was used last through a memory function. The light can cycle through a 10 lumen low (lasting 140 hours), an 80 lumen mid, and a 200 lumen high. Holding down the switch longer turns the light off, and longer still accesses a monstrous 900 lumen burst mode. That’s some serious power coming from this light, which can really help in outdoors applications. The beam itself is interesting — a cool white, huge hotspot helps illuminate larger areas. Its spill is comparatively less useful, as it exhibits a dark ring right around the hotspot, which brightens back up towards the edge of the beam. In application, I found the hotspot is big enough so that the usable spill doesn’t matter as much. The wide hotspot of a beam and the 140-hour long runtime on low make a winning combination for a long-lasting emergency light, especially backed by Fenix build quality.
Reviewer Score: 3.5/5

Fenix build quality
Impressively high output on burst, great runtimes on low
Useful, wide hotspot
Balanced ergonomics on underhand grip with longer battery tube


Hold switch activates too slowly
Can’t ramp up into burst mode, requires light to turn off and back on again — can be disorienting in the dark
Dark ring in spill

The E35UE can really satisfy those looking for power, but brighter isn’t necessarily better. What I appreciate in the E35UE is its great runtimes, usable low mode paired with its big hotspot. The lack of a pocketclip isn’t really a dealbreaker, as I see this right at home in a bag, glove compartment, or tool chest. Not everyone thinks to keep a larger light in their rotation, but a light this capable for only $45 is well worth the versatility it provides.
BUY ($45)
You can enter our giveaway to win one of the lights reviewed today at our widget below. The contest will last for one week. Good luck and carry on!

Review: OBSTRUCTURES Pry/Open Tool


While most of us try to get by with just our EDC pocket knives, there are a few common tasks that a knife just isn’t cut out to do. OBSTRUCTURES designed their PRY/OPEN pocket tool to take the brunt of wear and tear on a knife from prying, scraping, poking and turning. Read more for my review of these “knife saviors” courtesy of OBSTRUCTURES.

The PRY/OPEN line comes in two sizes: small and large (which this review will focus on), made of beadblasted stainless steel, and a limited edition titanium version of the large tool. The large stainless steel version is significantly more substantial feeling, weighing 48g at 3/16” thick compared to its slimmer titanium counterpart, which weighs next to nothing — barely under 16g at 1/8” thick. Both have a 3-3/4” length, putting them a bit outside ideal keychain tool length. The small tool, on the other hand, is more compact at 1/8” thick and 3” long, weighing in at 19g. All three tools share an industrial, geometric aesthetic in their design. They look great, but their well-executed and nicely machined straight lines and hard edges cause slight discomfort when gripping the tools.
On one end of the large PRY/OPEN, you’d find the first half of the tool’s namesake functions in a prybar with tips that double as screwdrivers. On the other side is a bottle opener and a long flathead driver/prying edge. A pocket clip runs along the back of the tool. Above the clip is a hole for a split ring, and in the body of the tool, a long slit that serves as an attachment point for an included cable ring. Ridges adorn the outer edges of the tool to bring together that rugged geometric look and provide a grippier texture in hand. The smaller tool lacks the split in its prying end and the long boxcutter/driver hybrid in favor of a smaller flathead driver. The PRY/OPEN doesn’t have wrenches for an oxygen tank, it doesn’t have O-rings to hold double-sided bits, or a sharp edge in a kydex sheath. For me, and likely for many other users, the large tool brings a sensible selection of functions for daily utility: opening boxes, opening bottles, driving screws, carrying keys, and occasional prying, scraping or prodding — without having to use and ruin your knife.

My favorite feature on the tool has to be the large, flat pry end. While it isn’t actually a sharpened edge, it’s able to rip through packaging tape when opening boxes, sparing your knife’s edge unnecessary damage and sticky residue. It also works well on larger flathead screws that are normally turned with a thumbnail or coin. The split pry end mostly saw use for its screwdriving function, which works decently, and not much for prying (it just isn’t a commonly needed function for me). While I can’t personally attest to it, OBSTRUCTURES demonstrates its prying ability on a paint can and a large nail, as well as the tool’s other functions in a short video. The bottle opener does its job well, especially on the large tool — the added thickness of the tool gives more of a grip when lifting caps compared to its thinner counterparts. However, the ridged gripping on the sides of the tool do tend to cause some discomfort when applying a lot of pressure to lift the cap.

In addition to the fairly standard complement of tools in most one-piece multitools, the PRY/OPEN also functions as a suspension clip for a keyring using the provided aircraft cable ring. Personally, it’s not my favorite hardware for keys, but it works well enough in this application. With the cable looped through the body of the tool, a set of keys can suspend in the pocket using the tool’s pocket clip, just like a larger suspension clip, but with one caveat — the length of the tool sometimes prevents actual suspension (e.g., clipping the large tool really low on slanted slacks pockets). The extra long slit for the ring allows keys to be conveniently pushed out of the way when either side is in use, while also acting to skeletonize the tool and bring its overall weight down. Alternatively, keys can be attached on a split ring through a hole above the pocket clip, but I found it to be an awkward place for keys to hang, especially when trying to use the boxcutter/bottle opener end of the tool. I found that for carrying keys, these work best in their intended role as suspension clips, rather than hooks on a belt loop — there’s zero curvature and too wide of a clearance to be secure on a loop.
Like the OBSTRUCTURES wallets, the PRY/OPEN tools can be used and carried in a number of ways and it might take some trial-and-error to find which method best fits your carry. They can be clipped to a bag strap, attached to keys, hanging from a pocket, and so on. However, of the many ways the PRY/OPEN could fit into my carry, I found it best carried like it were a pocket knife — clipped on my front pocket without any keys attached so I could access it quickly and use it unobstructed. 

Reviewer Score: ★★★★☆

Serves its purpose as a knife “savior” well
Strong general complement to an EDC with its well-chosen, versatile feature set
Solid construction and machining
A wholly capable, TSA-compliant and non-threatening tool to use instead of a knife for certain tasks


Straight edges and geometric design cues limit comfort
Large steel version fairly heavy
Suspension clip performance limited by length of tool and compatible hardware

Before going into this review, I really was not a believer of one-piece multitools. In my day to day, I didn’t need multiple wrench sizes, a bit driver, or a prybar, which seemed to be requisite features in more popular one-piece tools on the market. With its well-selected functions, the PRY/OPEN changed my mind about one-piece tools, so much so that it’s now a staple in my EDC. I prefer the titanium version for its smaller footprint and impressive weight, which you can purchase at the link below.
BUY PRY/OPEN S,L,Ti ($32/38/55)

Southpaw Gear

With 10% of the world’s population being left-handed, it’s an unfortunate truth that EDC gear that accommodates them is in short supply — and that’s not all right with us. In the sixth installment of Carry Smarter, we give you southpaws a hand with our lefty-friendly and ambidextrous recommendations so you don’t get left out.

Pushing a pen against a page instead of pulling it as designed often leads to inconsistent writing action, with smearing and skipping being key drawbacks when writing left-handed. The Zebra Surari ballpoint not only writes exceptionally smooth but also dries particularly fast due to its unique emulsion ink. Furthermore, its light weight and clicky activation make it a great carry choice.
BUY NOW ($5.25)

Smudging while writing towards the right and binding getting in the way while writing from the left are the consistent gripes of the left-handed writer. The Doane Paper Flap Jotter deftly addresses both needs by not only having excellent absorption and bleed prevention with its 70# paper stock, but its wire-o-bound flap cover also gets out of your way while allowing the Flap Jotter to lie completely flat for optimal writing position.
BUY ($13)

For southpaws who wear their watch on their right wrist, the 3 o’clock crown on most watches can be inaccessible or visually off-balance. Orient’s M-Force Beast “destro” dive watch provides lefties with some suitable wrist presence and a more natural 9 o’clock crown position. An in-house automatic movement, lume markers, and power reserve functionality lurk within this 47mm beast of a timepiece.
BUY ($795)

In a market dominated by tactical knives, it’s rare to see a newer knife designed with everyday utility in mind. The Spyderco Chaparral deviates from the tactical trend, providing a small but highly usable and staggeringly thin blade, great ergonomics, and sleek handles in a lightweight package. Fortunately for lefties, this incredible value of an EDC knife features ambidextrous thumb holes for deployment, a central back lock, and a reversible clip for left-hand carry.
BUY ($98)

The Benchmade 556 “Mini Griptilian” is a highly-recommended EDC knife because of the tremendous value you get with its quality and features for its price. What makes it even more appropriate for lefties is the fact that the 556 is completely ambidextrous, from its dual-sided thumbstud deployment and center AXIS lock to its reversible clip position. Coming in a variety of blade profiles as well as scale colors, the Mini Griptilian is an inexpensive yet fantastic EDC addition for any hand orientation.
BUY ($89)

The Chris Reeves Small Sebenza barely needs any introduction being one of the most desired and well-built custom knives on the market. It’s already a rare and special knife in its original right-handed configuration, but the fact that Chris Reeves Knives went out of their way to create an actual left-oriented framelock is truly something remarkable. If there’s one “grail” EDC knife for lefties to try and get their paws on, this is it.
BUY ($350)

Nearly every multitool on the market, especially those featuring one-handed opening blades, are designed with the right hand in mind. The CRKT Zilla aims to even the score with pliers that unlock from either side of the tool, as well as an assisted-opening center blade that makes ambidextrous deployment convenient. Throw in a wire stripper/cutter, bottle opener, and screw bits within ergonomic scales, and the Zilla holds its own as the right tool for the job.
BUY ($29)

Review: H.L. Human Pelican Clip


H.L. Human Pelican Clip Review & Giveaway

Many new keychain gadgets try to revolutionize the way keys are carried or cram as many other tools into a keychain as possible. The Pelican Clip from H.L. Human takes the old-school approach of hanging keys from a belt loop — that’s it! Read more to find out if the Pelican Clip fits the bill and for a chance to win one for your everyday carry courtesy of Jeffrey Bruckwicki from H.L. Human.

The H.L. Human Pelican Clip is not a 13-size wrench, nor is it a bottle opener, a measuring tool, bit driver, or anything like that. It was designed with a simple, specific purpose: to hold your keys on your belt loop. It does this the old-fashioned way via an included .825” split ring that connects your keys to a slim, minimal, but respectably sturdy stainless steel clip.
The Pelican Clip unsurprisingly looks like a pelican, with the main opening of the hook craned like the bird’s head and neck, with the smaller, narrow opening towards the bottom resembling its bill and pouch. The narrow clearance, curvature, and bumps formed at the opening of the hook act as retention mechanisms, while the upper opening gives some flexibility to the clip and adds length to allow for a backpocket tuck. The fit and finish isn’t breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s decent enough. The waterjet cut edges have slight roughness to them, but they allow a belt loop to pass without snagging nonetheless. However, I thought the edges would be more comfortable if they had more of a chamfer to them. 
Clipping keys to a belt loop as intended with the Pelican Clip is a two-handed task. This might be inconvenient to those used to something like a carabiner, but the tradeoff of a two-handed operation is a result of good retention from H.L. Human’s design. The narrow clearance compresses the belt loop as it passes through, ensuring the clip won’t slip back off the loop once it’s in place. There’s enough resistance when adding the clip that it feels very deliberate, providing a sort of feedback that lets you know your keys are not going anywhere. For additional security, you can tuck the clip into your backpocket too. Removing the clip feels no different than hooking it on, and similarly requires two hands to do. Overall, it isn’t the most convenient, but I felt confident leaving my keys on my belt loop with the Pelican Clip despite it lacking any dedicated locking mechanism.
While the Pelican Clip’s design lends itself best to external carry, the clip actually works fine as a suspension clip for those who prefer to front pocket carry their keys. One caveat is that longer keys, flashlights, or other gadgets might not suspend as well, given the extra length in the upper opening of the clip that allows for backpocket tucking.

Reviewer Score: ★★★☆☆

Strong retention for a non-locking clip
Very sturdy solid steel construction
Can be used as suspension clip


Could use deeper chamfer for more comfortable handling
Inconveniently requires two hands to operate, usually
Single purpose tool amidst multitool alternatives

There isn’t too much to be said about the Pelican Clip — it’s a single purpose gadget that does its job decently, but offers little else. For the minimalists who appreciate simple design or  those looking for a durable key clip they can use and abuse, the affordably priced Pelican Clip would be a solid choice. Grab one for your everyday carry at the H.L. Human shop, or enter to win one of two Pelican Clips using our giveaway widget below.
BUY NOW ($11)