EDC

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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.
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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).
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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.

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CRKT Eros SS Review
Ken Onion, one of the most famous knife designers in the world, helped put Kershaw on the map in the mid-90s thanks to his highly-praised knife designs. A few years ago, Onion left Kershaw to design for CRKT, resulting in a series of quality knives. While most of Onion’s CRKT knives were well-designed, the Eros in particular seemed a bit busy for a gentleman’s folder. Onion responded with a more finessed update to the Eros in the Eros SS.
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The Eros SS comes in two sizes: small and large (pictured). Both run AUS-8 steel and have stainless steel handles (hence the “SS” designation). Both, like the original Eros, also have a bearing pivot—the IKBS system. This pivot design uses a track and small ball bearings to both improve the smooth action when opening the knife and to help with centering and stability. The knife deploys via a flipper mechanism, and locks with a framelock. There is a non-moveable pocket clip for right hand, tip-up carry. The handle itself has an attractive bead blasted finish. The blade is full of nice touches: dished out grind lines, with a hollow grind, and a nice rounded spine. The entire package is very, very slim and sleek. It easily slips into your pocket and virtually disappears.

Very few knives on the market are as clean-looking as the Eros SS. Its wonderfully slim profile makes it one of the finer choices for a gentleman’s blade out there. It also marks an interesting milestone in Ken Onion’s design journey. Very little separates the appearance of the Eros from Onion’s earlier effort, the Kershaw Leek, but handling the Eros, even for a moment, communicates a more refined, mature design. For example, both have a thin, precise needle tip in their blade. However, the Leek’s lack of a belly directs much of applied cutting force straight to the tip, whereas in the Eros, a distinct belly helps distribute wear across the entire cutting edge more evenly. Additionally, even though both knives lie in the same price point, the Eros SS sports a much cleaner design, foregoing the row of fasteners found in the Leek for only two in the Eros. The Eros’s clip is more refined, much less like a wide paint scraper than the Leek’s clip. Lastly, for a gentleman’s knife, the lack of an assisted opening is ideal – speed is not at a premium in this type of knife, so a smooth manual open in the Eros SS is much preferred. The overall design is clean, albeit not the most secure form factor to accommodate an assist. In keeping with a sleek design, the Eros lacks any form of jimping – although not an issue, given its intended use. The Eros SS design is an improvement over one of the industry’s best-sellers, and a clear, though modest step forward for one of the knife business’s greats.

I carried the Eros with me at work in slacks and suits for about two weeks. It performed perfectly as a gentleman’s knife. The flipper was smooth and elegant in every addictive deployment. It was never threatening or aggressive, but it handled a surprising number of tasks. Of course, it handled basic tasks like package opening and food prep well. However, it was the Eros’s ability to handle things like heavy-duty plastic packing straps that really got my attention. The tip is thin and allows for very precise control. You’ll have no problem cutting out newspaper articles or other precision tasks. The tip and the blade’s thin dimensions bar any sort of prying, but I think the form factor alone tells you this is not a knife cut out for that. The AUS-8 steel, as usual, gets sharp, holds an edge for only a little bit, and sharpens easily. No other steel is more “par” for modern knives than AUS-8 and it is, in all honesty, a perfectly workable steel.

Everyday Carry Score: ★★★★½
Pros:
Solid, elegant Ken Onion design language
Smooth IKBS flipper deployment
Slim, attractive profile
Excellent lockup
Cons:
Could benefit from better steel than AUS-8
Very thin, pointed blade shape
Lack of grip and jimping
I have few complaints about the Eros SS. It hits the mark perfectly as a gentleman’s knife: its IKBS-based flipper works flawlessly and its framelock is excellent. While a similar knife in the Kershaw Leek exists, the Eros SS outclasses it overall with its classy finish, satin blade, and real, legitimate belly. As a dressy, urban EDC blade, the CRKT Eros SS translates to something like a cleaner Leek, a budget flipper Sebenza, or an updated CRKT S2. Given that lineage and its designer, it’s easy to see why the Eros SS is as good as it gets. High-res
CRKT Eros SS Review

Ken Onion, one of the most famous knife designers in the world, helped put Kershaw on the map in the mid-90s thanks to his highly-praised knife designs. A few years ago, Onion left Kershaw to design for CRKT, resulting in a series of quality knives. While most of Onion’s CRKT knives were well-designed, the Eros in particular seemed a bit busy for a gentleman’s folder. Onion responded with a more finessed update to the Eros in the Eros SS.

Read more