Product Review: Multi-tool

productReview1Today’s product review is of my current EDC multi-tool. I will be breaking down my review in 4 criteria: usability, portability, durability, and prepping value. In my previous post “Every Day Carry” I mention a multi-tool is a vital component of my tools assortment that I like to carry every day with me.

The multi-tool is the SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool. My reason for this multi-tool over others is some of its specialty items that I think would be good in an emergency situation. The SOG V-Cut comes really highly rated and if needed can cut you out of a seatbelt in a vehicle emergency. Additionally, I like the sheath it comes in and I also like the ability to order replacement items off the multi-tool if needed.

Usability (Rank 4): This multi-tool just works. The model I currently use has the following tools:

  • Pliers – Uses the SOG assist, which allows you to clamp down with less manual force.
  • Hard Wire Cutter – A great item for my field of work. This cutter does quick work of networking cable and/or zip ties.
  • Crimper – I have not used this, but I heard it for blasting caps…… interesting.. prepping value?
  • Straight Edge Blade – Great as a backup knife. Sharp and uses the SOG Assist which flips open with just a flick of your thumb.
  • Serrated Blade – Same as the straight edge w/ the SOG Assist. I have used it to saw through small limbs (less than ½ inch limbs)
  • Three-Sided File – not used but it has a nice grit to it.
  • Large Screwdriver – I use this at least once or twice a month. Works great and its sturdy
  • Philips Screwdriver – Same as the Large Screwdriver.
  • Can Opener / Small Screw Driver – I have used both from time to time. Both sturdy. I would say that the can opener is a little difficult to work, but in a pinch works.
  • Bottle Opener / Medium Screw Driver – I have used the driver with no issues.
  • Ruler – This is imprinted on the side of the tool. I would say calling this a ruler is a little far stretch but it works if needed.
  • V-Cutter – one great item that I have yet to use (and hope not to). Sharp. I have tested on twine and it cut it without any problems.
  • Lanyard Ring – I don’t use this feature but would be good to use if out in the woods. It is made of good quality and I wouldn’t expect issues from it.
  • Nylon Carrying Pouch – Works great. I currently use it on my belt and I have never felt it was going to fall out of it.

With all the tools that come with it, it makes a great compliment of various tools that help me during my day and also if and when a SHTF scenario occurs. I feel very confident that with this tool, I can survive an emergency (work or SHTF).

Portability (Rank 3): The SOG is quite easy to carry both in the sheath and on the lanyard. The nylon pouch has a clip on the back that allows you to either clip it to your belt or on a bag. It is made of a strong plastic and I have used it a solid 4 years and it has never broken on me. The reason I scored this down to 3 is it would be nice to include some sort of clip directly on the tool. Like I said above I have not used the lanyard ring yet but it is made of a good quality steel.

Durability (Rank 4): The tool is made out of 420 Steel with a black oxide finish. With my continual use the finish has not diminished. The tools themselves are sharp and as if they are the day I bought it. The blade knives have stayed sharp and I have yet to sharpen them. As far as wear, I have dropped it and its even gotten wet. Both instances have not caused any issues with the functionality of the knife.

Prepping Value (Rank 5): Two strong points for the SOG multi tool is the V-Cut and it’s SOG Assist. The SOG Assist can come very valuable in a situation where one of my hands is incapacitated. I would be able to open and use the knife, serrated knife, and the pliers with one hand. The V-Cut speaks for itself. I travel 30+ miles to work and if I faced an accident that I was trapped in, I could use the tool to cut myself free. I also think the V-Cut has double bonus of the ability to cut small rope/yarn. In a SHTF scenario, I can use that to make cord or cut cord without expending my knives blade.

Overall Rank: 4

The SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool is a great addition that I have relied on for many years. I will continue to use this as my main EDU multi-tool. Although priced in the mid-range of multi tools, I think the specialized technology and tools command the price.

Let me know if you have questions or want further details

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Product Review: EDC Flashlights

productReview1Every Monday I plan on highlighting and writing reviews on items that I am currently using for my prepping needs. Today’s product review will be my EDC flashlight. As each item is particular I will try to break down each criteria and give them a ranking of 0 to 5 (5 being the best)

In one of my previous posts “Every Day Carry”, I mentioned I carry a flashlight with me at all times. Its primary reason is for my work (I work in information technology). There is many times that I need to in and around corners of servers and computers.

 

The flashlight I absolutely love and carry with me is the Streamlight 66118 Stylus Pro Black LED Pen Flashlight

streamlight

Some of the criteria with a flashlight selection are:

Usability

Portability

Durability

Cost to Operate

Prepping Value

 

Usability (rank: 4) – This flashlight packs a nice punch. It is rated at an output of 48 lumens. It runs off 2 “AAA” batteries. To operate the flashlight, you simply click the button at the back of the flashlight. It cannot get any simpler than that.

Portability (rank: 5) – This stylus flashlight is very compact and it packs a nice punch. It comes with a holster and clip which makes it easy for me to clip it on to my pocket and go. I usually carry this pen on my right pocket clipped and I hardly ever realize that I have it on my person. The holster can be added to a belt for easier access. Id imagine if you are in a field that requires it readily available this would be a good asset.

Durability (rank: 4) – The outside body is made out of aircraft grade aluminum. It is impact resistant and I have put it to the test. I have dropped mine on various occasions and have not had any issues (albeit a few scratches). The LCD is rated at 30,000 hours which means you could use this flashlight eight hours a day, every day for ten years and it would still have some life it in.

Cost to Operate (rank: 3) –  I have used this flashlight at least once to twice a week for about a year now and have yet to replace its batteries. I like to use Duracell Coppertop AAA Alkaline Batteries . No issues there. As of writing this post, the cost to operate this flashlight is about $1. It is rated to run roughly 4.5 hours on single batteries. My recommendation if you will be running alot of hours through this flashlight is to invest in Duracell Rechargeable Batteries Startup Kit . It is a little more costly but your cost to operate will break even after you reuse the batteries 20 times or so.

Prepping Value (Rank: 4) – Although a good flashlight, I would consider it an entry level and acceptable for every day carry. I would not recommend having this flashlight as your main source of illumination in your preps. For this a more powerful light or a headlamp would be more appropriate. I would not dismiss it though as it can be a valuable tool when SHTF. Its portability is what really wins me over.

Negatives – I will say that the flashlight in my opinion does get a little scratched pretty easy. This could also be due to my normal use and handling.

Overall Score:  4

The Streamlight 66118 Stylus Pro Black LED Pen Flashlight is a very good flashlight at a decent price. I recommend anyone prepping to pick one of these up and add it to your everyday carry regimen. Of course, I would not rely solely on this flashlight in a SHTF scenario.

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