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Showing 26 posts tagged Featured

Orbitkey Key Organizer Giveaway
Revamp your keyring with this elegant, practical, and highly customizable key carrying solution from Orbitkey. Its specialized locking mechanism securely stores, organizes, and silences a wide number of keys. A stylish leather band or flexible elastomer band protects your other essentials from scratches and easily fits your style and your keys. Read more for our giveaway furnished by Orbitkey, or use our exclusive coupon code EVERYDAYCARRY to save 15% off of your order at their shop. 
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Orbitkey Key Organizer Giveaway

Revamp your keyring with this elegant, practical, and highly customizable key carrying solution from Orbitkey. Its specialized locking mechanism securely stores, organizes, and silences a wide number of keys. A stylish leather band or flexible elastomer band protects your other essentials from scratches and easily fits your style and your keys. Read more for our giveaway furnished by Orbitkey, or use our exclusive coupon code EVERYDAYCARRY to save 15% off of your order at their shop. 

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BIGiDESIGN Ti-POST RAW Review
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.
[[MORE]]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
Pros:
Pleasant heft and balance facilitate smooth writing
Clean titanium construction
Very deep pocket clip
Versatile refill compatibility
Cons:
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.
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BIGiDESIGN Ti-POST RAW Review

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.

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

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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.
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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
Pros:
Sturdy build quality, clean fit and finish from Fenix
Pushes the envelope with an impressive 130lm high
Simple operation
Cons:
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
Pros:
Good output/size ratio
High quality construction
Great beam tint and pattern
Cons:
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
Pros:
Fenix build quality
Impressively high output on burst, great runtimes on low
Useful, wide hotspot
Balanced ergonomics on underhand grip with longer battery tube
Cons:
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!
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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.

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OBSTRUCTURES Pry/Open Tool Review & Giveaway
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” and for a chance to win one for your everyday carry, courtesy of OBSTRUCTURES.
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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: ★★★★☆
Pros:
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
Cons:
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)
You can get your hands on one of the stainless steels PRY/OPEN tools, generously provided by Matt Hall from OBSTRUCTURES, in our latest giveaway in the widget below as well. Good luck and carry on!
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OBSTRUCTURES Pry/Open Tool Review & Giveaway

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” and for a chance to win one for your everyday carry, courtesy of OBSTRUCTURES.

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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.
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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) High-res

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.

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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.
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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: ★★★☆☆
Pros:
Strong retention for a non-locking clip
Very sturdy solid steel construction
Can be used as suspension clip
Cons:
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)
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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.

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OBSTRUCTURES A3 Wallet Review & Giveaway
It seems every week or so, a new minimalist wallet pops up on the market. However, few wallets even come close to resembling the OBSTRUCTURES A3 aluminum wallet with its 3-plate, rolling O-ring design. It looks promising in theory, but how does it handle? Read more for my hands-on review of the A3 and for your chance to win an A3 or A2 wallet courtesy of OBSTRUCTURES.
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Upon first glance, the A3 doesn’t immediately present itself as a wallet. Even with a few cards and some cash inside, calling it a wallet feels like a misnomer. Rather, it’s a unique assembly of three, well-machined aluminum plates held together by two large rubber bands (O-rings) merely being used in the way a wallet would be. The smaller, outermost triangular plate serves as an easy-access “pocket” for frequently used cards, while its central cutout doubles as a bottle opener. The two larger plates house your remaining cards, bifolded cash, and other essentials. They’re cut asymmetrically to provide “tabs” to more easily grip and index the wallet, which is crucial to its operation. The plate system is highly modular — optional spare parts let you build a wallet that fits to your preferences. All in all, an empty wallet weighs in at 2.7 oz, which is actually still hefty for a wallet, even compared to bulkier leather wallets it’s meant to replace. It’s also not the most compact, as the main plates are larger than a standard credit card. The black hardcoat plates are smooth to the touch and hide wear and scratches fairly well. The lines are clean, but its hard edges can be slightly uncomfortable when handling the wallet.
The concept of the wallet is unconventional in theory, yet simple enough. The large O-rings clamp the plates together tightly, sandwiching cards and cash in place. To open the wallet, spread the plates apart like opening a book to roll the upper O-ring down and access the wallet’s contents. Cards, bifolded cash and other essentials sit between the plates at the “spine” created from opening the wallet. The O-rings snap the wallet shut when not in use, and rolling the O-ring back up locks the wallet nice and tight.

Unfortunately, I found that in practice, using the wallet is not as easy as I’d have liked — almost frustratingly so. During my initial testing, the O-rings were still very tight, making opening the wallet difficult and uncomfortable. The best solution to this was to roll the O-ring down manually, but that was an extra, inconvenient step I had to take when I wanted to access my cash quickly. Opening the wallet in a rush proved similarly difficult. The resistance on the O-rings just make handling needlessly unintuitive. It’s understandable because of how drastically different the A3’s design is, but in a minimalist wallet, I expect and embrace less material, less weight, fewer moving parts, and lack of organization — but only when resulting in simplicity and efficiency. I became frustrated with needing to properly index the plates’ asymmetric tabs to keep the wallet open. Otherwise, I felt like I was fighting the resistance in the bands to keep it open, often resorting to holding the wallet against my stomach for more support to keep the wallet from snapping out from between my thumbs and fingers, already white from the amount of pressure I had to use to keep it open. Furthermore, the lack of any real “bottom” to the wallet also caused issues with storing and retrieving cards — they would sometimes slide “past” the wallet or sit inconsistently not flush with other cards. This was exacerbated by my lack of control of the wallet when trying to keep it open. Even when I got the hang of operating the wallet per OBSTRUCTURES’s very useful instructional video, I had still had to navigate cards and cash around my fingers holding the wallet open. It just felt like a hassle to receive my change at the register and need to step aside to focus on stuffing it into the A3. When I showed the wallet to my coworkers and let them try slipping a card into it for the first time, they also needed to brace the wallet against their body for more support — it was unintuitive to them as well.

I carried the A3 like a traditional front pocket wallet, and even in the pocket I found the O-rings to be bothersome. They add thickness to the plates and their rubbery grip makes slipping the wallet in and out of the pocket more difficult. Provided you can overcome the learning curve and realize that it’s not a conventional wallet in the slightest, the A3 can really be a perfect wallet for some users. It’s still very sturdy and looks very slick. Grabbing and stashing cards and cash can be a snap with good muscle memory and lots of breaking in the O-ring. I just found that in my experience, the A3 didn’t work well for my smaller hands and smaller pockets.
Reviewer Score: ★★½ out of 5
Pros:
Sturdy, slim construction compared to conventional wallets
Accommodates bi-folded cash (rare for minimal wallet)
Bottle opener and RFID blocking
Outer “pockets” easily accessible and quick to close
Cons:
Uncomfortable and unintuitive to operate initially
Hit-or-miss O-ring system
Fairly heavy even compared to bulkier leather wallets
Limited organization
Metal plates can scratch other essentials, rubber O-rings impede retrieval
The A3 challenges wallet conventions in its design, construction and operation. Unfortunately, I found its learning curve to be challenging as well. It takes some breaking in of the wallet and practice to make the operation of this wallet reasonably convenient. I expect this wallet to not “click” with many users, but for others, can be their holy grail of EDC wallets. Fortunately, OBSTRUCTURES offers different sizes and configurations of their plate/ring wallets, and their standard offerings are fairly affordable. You can grab one at their store, linked below, or enter to win an A3 or A2 courtesy of Matt Hall of OBSTRUCTURES in the contest widget below. Good luck and carry on!
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OBSTRUCTURES A3 Wallet Review & Giveaway

It seems every week or so, a new minimalist wallet pops up on the market. However, few wallets even come close to resembling the OBSTRUCTURES A3 aluminum wallet with its 3-plate, rolling O-ring design. It looks promising in theory, but how does it handle? Read more for my hands-on review of the A3 and for your chance to win an A3 or A2 wallet courtesy of OBSTRUCTURES.

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Monteverde OneTouch Stylus Tool Pen
Every once in a while, we see multitools with pen implements, such as in credit card tools or some Swiss Army Knives. The Monteverde OneTouch Stylus Tool Pen flips the script — it’s a pen first and foremost, with extra tools built right in. In this review, we look at the ballpoint pen version, graciously provided by the folks at PenChalet.
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Don’t be fooled by its retractable ballpoint tip, its hefty, hexagonal barrel, or its strong and springy pocket clip, even if it seems like just a pen. Look closer and you’ll see four scales on its body: three metric (1:100, 1:200, and 1:300) and a four-inch ruler. That’s odd. You might notice a level built into the barrel, too. Interesting. The tailcap of the pen doesn’t feel like a clicky, it’s actually a capacitive touch screen stylus. And behind that? A Philips and flathead screwdriver bit! It’s not just a pen after all, it’s a craftsman’s toolkit trapped in a pen’s body. Even with all those tools, it weighs in at just 1.3 oz and manages to stay decently sized for an EDC pen at 5.875” long. It’s well made, with some nice attention to detail in its design — a knurled grip at the tip of the pen also helps twisting to deploy and retract the pen, the anti-roll hexagonal barrel rounds out towards the grip area for a more comfortable writing experience. Construction seems solid and the fit and finish out of the box is great too. The markings on the rulers are clear, clean and defined. Unfortunately, the outer coating isn’t as durable as I’d like for an everyday carry pen. On any other pen, I wouldn’t mind scratches, dings, and a general patina from normal use and carry. But on a pen with usable markings on the barrel, the finish being prone to scratches and wearing away is disappointing.
In the hand, the pen’s heft gives it a nice, substantial feeling. The pen is a tad backheavy with all its other tools implements in the tail end. Because it’s also a ballpoint pen, the need for relatively more pressure to write, combined with balancing the pen demands a slightly more labored grip. Overall, it writes comfortably — unless you have a very high grip, you might have some issues as you’d be holding a hexagonal barrel with harder edges. Normal to choked up grips would enjoy a knurled, rounded tip. Writing is “smooth” mainly because of the wide tip of the ballpoint. While not scratchy, it doesn’t feel very finessed either. It’s acceptable performance from a ballpoint, especially for just quick markings or jotting notes down.

At the other end of the pen are the other tool implements. On one unmarked side of the barrel, there’s a bubble level. I admittedly only used this twice during testing: one time to check if a computer monitor was level, and another to check if a desk was  even. Adjacent to the level is the pocket clip. It’s fairly strong and its retention is good. My only gripes with it are that it’s difficult to clip onto thicker material like denim, and the coating scratches easily. Beyond that is the pen’s capacitive stylus. It requires very little pressure to properly glide its rubbery tip on glass surfaces and touch screens. Less pressure is recommended especially because the tip is hollow, like a balloon. Pressing and dragging too hard gives weird feedback as the tip gets pushed in. Unscrewing the stylus end reveals the Philips/flathead double-sided bit and driver. When the bit driver is in use, the stylus piece conveniently screws onto front end of the pen. These smaller precision bits work well for tinkering with electronics, gear, and other small-scale projects. I found that while convenient to be able to simply pull the bit out and reverse it to change between flathead and Philips, it’s prone to falling out of the driver during use (even during a light-duty project like swapping out a laptop hard drive).

Reviewer Score: ★★★☆☆
Pros:
It’s a multitool, in a pen!
Cohesive industrial design elements (heft, hex barrel, knurling and threading) make it feel like an instrument 
Comfortable and intuitive to use the pen and other tools
Cons:
Ruler markings and overall finish very prone to scratches and wear
Lackluster writing performance in ballpoint variety
Slight issues with bit retention
While the ToolPen offers a certainly unique complement of features in an uncommon form factor, a handful of performance limitations really holds it back from being a must-have. Instead, it seems best suited for specific users such as craftsmen and tinkerers. As a standalone pen, it performs adequately — not the best, but certainly not the worst. Its other tools (especially the precision driver and stylus) come in handy enough to make this pen a worthwhile addition to a backpack, briefcase, shirt pocket or desk drawer.
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Monteverde OneTouch Stylus Tool Pen

Every once in a while, we see multitools with pen implements, such as in credit card tools or some Swiss Army Knives. The Monteverde OneTouch Stylus Tool Pen flips the script — it’s a pen first and foremost, with extra tools built right in. In this review, we look at the ballpoint pen version, graciously provided by the folks at PenChalet.

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Father’s Day is fast approaching, but there’s still time to give him the perfect addition to his carry. Whether he’s a jetsetting businessman or spends his weekends outdoors, Dad deserves nothing but the best and most useful gear. Get him something practical and memorable from our Father’s Day EDC Gift Guide.
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BUSINESS
For the dad who puts on a suit for his nine to five, his carry should reflect his business needs. Lightweight so they don’t slow him down as he makes strides in and out of the office, while still promoting usefulness.
Titanium Multi-tool Collar Stays: Practical addition to dress shirts with additional applications. ($30)
Al Mar Hawk Ultralight: Sleek, lightweight, with a useful blade length and profile. ($100)
Victorinox Altius 3.0 Slim Bi-Fold: High-quality leather and slim profile makes it perfect for slacks. ($55)
Citizen Eco-Drive Dress Watch: Timeless looks with modern watch technology. ($112)
Waterman Hemisphere Ballpoint Pen: A luxurious ballpoint pen that’s great for general use. ($58)

TECH
For the dad living in the digital world, his carry should be efficient and practical in connecting him with his technology. The techie dad’s gear is as modern as his lifestyle is, working in sync with the rest of his carry.
Victorinox Cybertool 34: Everything you need for tech-related tinkering. ($94)
SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive: Unqiue USB drive that plays well with Micro USB devices. ($20)
FourSevens Atom AL Flashlight: Handy, efficient with power, and has some unique features. ($35)
Limefuel Blast 15600mAh Battery Pack: Plenty of charge for all modern devices. ($45)
Grid-It Organizer: Excellent organizational aid, especially for wires and devices. ($13)

OUTDOOR
For the dad who likes to rough it up and blaze trails on the weekend, his gear should be high quality, rugged, and built to last against the elements. Unexpected adventures await outside, so this dad’s carry should be exceptionally reliable.
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp: Hands-free, powerful, with many useful modes. ($36)
ESEE Izula Wallet Kit: Quality set of survival tools in an efficient package. ($58)
Condor Small Assault Pack: Solid fit and finish with plenty of room while remaining compact. ($50)
Timex Expedition Trail Watch: Outdoor-oriented with plenty of tactical features. ($70)
Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter: Lightweight, compact, and waterproof. ($13)

ACTIVE
From running a marathon to biking on a mountain pass, the active dad’s carry has to keep up with his lifestyle. The active carry should be resilient in rain or shine, light enough not to slow him down, and help him get the most from his activities.
Timex Ironman HRM Watch: Perfect companion for fitness training. ($87)
JLab Waterproof MP3 Player Headphones: Take your music with you without the hassle of wires. ($110)
SPIbelt Metallic Running Belt: Sleek and secure storage that doesn’t disrupt movements. ($20)
Fitbit One Wireless Activity Tracker: Beneficial fitness information with an added sleep tracker. ($89)
Lifeproof Nuud Case for iPhone 5S: Light in weight and profile but not in protection. ($90)

DIY
For the dad that likes to build, tinker, restore, and repair. Heavy duty needs mean a heavy duty carry, but utility doesn’t have to mean giving up the practicality of a sleek loadout.
Surefire P2X Fury Flashlight: Substantial power with military-grade hardware. ($105)
Monteverde Toolpen: Suitable for both handcrafted and digital projects. ($20)
3M Safety Glasses: Light, comfortable, and designed for a secure fit. ($8)
Gerber Boxcutter: Industrial quality in a tiny package, with replaceable blades. ($13)
Leatherman New Wave Multitool: Endlessly practical yet stylishly compact. ($79)
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Father’s Day is fast approaching, but there’s still time to give him the perfect addition to his carry. Whether he’s a jetsetting businessman or spends his weekends outdoors, Dad deserves nothing but the best and most useful gear. Get him something practical and memorable from our Father’s Day EDC Gift Guide.

Read more