Tuesday, 4 July 2017

EDC - Everyday carry, pocket tool update

Around 18 months ago I started carrying a small penknife (Victorinox Spartan) as part of my main Every Day Carry (EDC). I found it initially very useful for those bottle opening and daily cutting tasks. The pen knife has a small utility blade (which I used daily) and a larger main blade. Plus an easily accessible bottle cap opener, again in regular use.

Over the months though I've discovered that for around the house DIY problems the Spartan wasn't really enough to get any significant tasks done. At the same time as I bought the Spartan I also picked up a Leatherman Wave - really great full-size multi-tool and still one of my favourite possessions. It sits on my desk at home and is my 'go to' item for pretty much everything. An issue for UK EDC'ers though are the strict UK knife laws. In essence we cannot carry (without good reason - more on that later) a knife with a blade of longer than 3 inches or that locks in anyway. So unless I have a very good reason for carrying such a blade (and the Wave has three locking blades, count them !) if I get stopped by a police officer out and about carrying the Wave I could very easily end up in prison. The reason for legitimately carrying such a tool would generally be work or pastime related (carpet fitter, electrician, going camping etc) but unfortunately keeping on me for EDC and daily use/repairs and such simply isn't a justification under law.

The other point I would make about the Wave is that whilst it's great for more serious work tasks some of the tools I use regularly on the Spartan (corkscrew, bottle opener, small driver etc) are actually quite hard to get to, only being accessible once the pliers are unfolded and quite stiff on my Wave.

So over the months I've been thinking about what I need for regular on-going EDC carry. Recently I've been sporting the Spartan and also a Leatherman Style PS - this is a really cool key ring sized tool with no blade (hence keeping the Spartan handy) and some scissors plus a carabiner/bottle opener - it's meant carrying two tools in one pocket with some replication of function but both open beer (!) so it doesn't matter which one comes to hand and I've liked having a blade or a pair of (admittedly) small scissors on hand. Plus the real winner with the Style is the fold out pliers - they're not super strong but enough for that immediate/emergency use case. One other advantage of having a non bladed EDC multi tool on-hand is that if I go somewhere where even a legal blade is inappropriate I can leave the Spartan at home or in the car. For example, over the last few weeks I've been visiting university open days with my daughter - some threatened bag or pocket checks on arrival (given the UK terror situation) so I just left the penknife at home and carried the inoffensive Leatherman.

Last great idea from Leatherman is that the Style pairs with another tool they've developed called the Hail this is another really well thought out mini tool that I'm now keeping in the car as an easily on hand scraper, driver and 10mm wrench - plus if you watch the video on that link you'll see how it pairs with my Style if I want additional functionality.

That said, I've now moved on a stage. The two tool approach was just to replicative and messy so I've moved on the Leatherman Juice CS4 now hopefully this device is going to combine the best of both worlds from the Spartan and the Style - decent mid sized pocket blade (non locking), corkscrew plus bottle opener, scissors (larger than the Style) and also pliers plus a saw blade for emergency use (seat belt release and so on if required). The main issue with this new mid size multi-tool though is the mass - it's much heavier than the Style and Spartan combined and as I carry it in a front jeans pocket or suit trouser pocket generally it can get in the way. With that in mind I'm going for the Juice's slightly smaller cousin the C2 (as a birthday present hopefully) as a back up - slightly less utility onboard but a smaller more 'pocket sized' device. I think ultimately I'll probably end up carry them in rotation as tasks and my day demands, or stick on in my bag and keep the other on hand in pocket.

Will let you know when and if that one arrives as to the final pocket multi-tool carry.

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