The three absolute necessities for survival are shelter, water, and fire.
I’m going to save the solutions for shelter and water for another time and focus on fire and how there’s an indispensable tool that can get a fire started at any time.
This simple self-contained fire starting device is made out of solid stainless steel, and has no problem igniting in the rain or snow, and and is even 100% waterproof. It’s also so small and unobtrusive that you can attach it to your keychain or backpack and never have to worry about getting a fire started again.
At its essence, the survival life Everstryke lighter is a capsule lighter, which is basically a miniaturized kerosene candle with its own starting mechanism. In order for the Everstryke Pro to be effective, a source of fuel must be supplied, but I’ll elaborate more on that in a second.
I’ll begin my Everstryke Pro review with a general description of the product. Closed up, it’s slightly larger than a .44 magnum cartridge and includes a clip for attaching to your gear (such as the zippers and clips featured on the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag). In total, it weighs about as much as the aforementioned round of ammunition.
The cap of the Everstryke Pro, made by Survival Life, screws off, revealing a wick and striker wheel, which throws sparks quite profusely and makes this a great tool for igniting tinder, even in a long-term survival scenario with no fuel.
The main lighter housing features an O-ring at the base of the point where the cap screws down, keeping the wick from getting waterlogged should it ever get submerged, making this lighter 100% waterproof. In fact, you can click here to see a video of the Everstryke Pro being submerged into a FISHBOWL for an hour and then being taken out and lighting up with no problem at all. The high-quality outer construction and O-ring also help keep the fuel from evaporating.
How To Fill A Capsule Lighter
The striker and wick are mounted on a hollow cylinder that fits inside the lighter housing, which, when you remove it and flip it upside down, reveals foam that you saturate with fuel to feed the wick, as well as a screwdriver-adjustable flint. We recommend getting a high-quality lighter fluid such as Ronsonol.
To fill the lighter, remove the internal cylinder, take lighter fluid (the sort you use for charcoal barbeques) and carefully fill the housing halfway – it doesn’t take much. Then, slowly re-insert the internal cylinder. The foam should sop up the fuel, and in short order, the wick should get wet with fuel; the lighter is now ready to use.
To avoid getting lighter fluid all over the place in the event of an overflow, fill your Everstryke Pro lighter over a sink or outdoors. Always ensure you wash your hands and give the lighter a wipe-down before attempting to light it to avoid any accidents.
Field Testing The Everstryke Pro Lighter
I tested out this product under two real-life conditions: The first, lighting a wood stove at a shop I’m painting; and the second, burning trash in an incinerator. After testing it out for a few weeks, I found it to be a fairly capable fire starter creating a flame that is wider than your typical match, giving you a more effective flame for igniting tinder or kindling.
For those accustomed to butane lighters, this unit can seem reticent to light, at most taking up to about a dozen strikes to light the wick. However, this is about on-par with flint and steel fire starting kits without the hassle of collecting fine tinder to light it.
One potential disadvantage, especially for those who live as far north as I do, is the potential for the lighter fluid to ignite at colder temperatures. This can be problematic for the Everstryke Pro in freezing temperatures, although this would affect any lighter of this type, including a Zippo. A quick fix if you’re in a situation where you need to use a lighter, such as this one, in freezing temperatures is to warm it up on your hands for 30 seconds or so and to try igniting it again.
It’s modestly weatherproof, maintaining a hot flame in light snow and a moderate breeze. Of important note is that, much like a Zippo, the Everstryke Pro lighter may not light the very first time you strike it. This is a function of a reliable lighter that uses lighter fluid instead of a butane-based, BIC-type lighter. Slower ignition time is just one of the trade-offs made when choosing a refillable lighter over a disposable one.
Summing It Up
As you can see from our Everstryke Pro review, its compact size, simple design, and affordability make it a useful addition to any camping or survival kit.
How many sources of fire do you currently have in your survival bag? If you don’t have a small source of fire with you at all times, consider getting yourself the Everstryke Pro to never be left out in the cold. For a limited time get your Everstryke Pro for free, you just pay $4.95 shipping!
Here at BOBG headquarters, we’re as interested as anybody in saving a few bucks on gear. Considering how many food and tool preps we’d like to carry and to set aside, it can be tough to justify the cost of all the gear. Luckily, we have a few staffers that excel in finding freebies and hot deals. One of the free survival tools he recently found is the EDT mini multitool. If you’re into free tools, take a look at the EDT multitool review below!
Where to Get ‘Em
The folks over at SurvivalLife.com are a great source for free survival tools. They mix it up with handcuff keys, multi tools, fire tools, and even a pocket Bill of Rights. As is the case with any free stuff, their items can be hit or miss. This EDT multitool is pretty fairly in the hit category. To get your free EDT multitool, CLICK HERE.
The EDT Multitool
The EDT mini multitool is set up in the traditional folding configuration with a set of pliers inside the butterfly style handles. On the end of one handle is a carabiner clip that operates equally well whether the tool is open or folded closed.
On the end of the opposing handle is an exposed miniature Phillips-style screwdriver head. This screwdriver winds up snugly against the back side of the carabiner when the tool is closed, preventing it from digging a hole through a pocket or bag.
Both of the utility tools included in this little gadget are designed to open while the handles are folded closed. On one side is a small 1.5” knife blade, and on the other is a serrated bottle opener. Both have spring indents that help keep them from folding shut during use.
This tool is pretty stoutly built. Everything is screwed, rather than riveted, together. It’s constructed entirely of metal; even the handles are aluminum that has been painted in a digital camo style pattern. This does put the tool at a bit of a weight disadvantage, bringing it about equal to the weight of two Classic model Swiss Army knives.
The pliers are definitely the best feature of this tool, other than the price. These spring-assisted pliers are well-constructed, closing snugly and evenly all the way to the tip.
In the last two weeks, these pliers have been used to pull a couple of splinters during a big fence building project, squish a few ticks, pry out one bent 16 penny nail, and pull back the sheathing during a repair on an extension cord that got caught up in an electric trimmer. The pliers have held fast and done their job throughout.
The blade is functional, in that it cuts things that aren’t terribly difficult to cut. When new, it was extremely troublesome to open the blade without a small pry lever. The high pivot tension combined with no thumbnail slot makes for a rather inconvenient combination.
After a little bit of twisting with the appropriate sized Torx bit, though, it got to a point where it could be opened reasonably safely yet not close without warning. Once that little fix was done, the blade was serviceable. It wasn’t sharp enough to cut thread or trim fingernails easily, but could sharpen sticks and open bags of concrete well enough.
The bottle opener is about as useful as the blade; if one pays close attention when setting the tool on a bottle cap and makes sure to pry carefully, the bottle usually opens before the cap splits on the bottle.
In two weeks, no screws of an appropriate size showed up that Phillips-style driver fits, but surely it would do the job; it’s a screwdriver. As an aside, there may be an alternative use for this little driver. In a pinch, this screwdriver could probably be used as a glass breaker with the tool opened halfway.
Summing it Up
All in all, the EDT multitool is worth about what you’ll pay for it. If you’re looking for a handy set of folding pliers that hang on a small carabiner, you’re in luck. If you want a free multitool that will serve as a make-do until you can dig up a real multitool, you might be a little disappointed.
Have you got any free gear that met or exceeded expectations? What is it, where did you get it, and how is it holding up? Enlighten us in the Comments section below, thanks!
Note: This article was contributed by Dan F. Sullivan of SurvivalSullivan.com. To learn more about Dan you can see the About the Author section at the end of the post.
It can be a little intimidating for newbies to know what all these bug out bag acronyms mean, let alone knowing which ones to focus on. Ask 10 people and you get 10 different answers, right?
Different people live in different situations and have different needs which is why we need to make it clear what each of them is and to point out the differences so you can make the right choice.
The BOB (Bug-Out Bag)
Designed to help you survive for: up to a week
Obviously, if you’re looking for information on bug out bags, there is no better resource than the site you’re on right now. Bug-out bags are the first thing newbie preppers take care of when they start.
I’m just gonna say it, there’s no such thing as the perfect bug-out bag. Age, location, climate, skill and many other factors come into play when deciding which backpack to get and how to assemble it. I won’t go into details on what it should contain as there are plenty of good resources such as this one and this one but, if you’re completely new to this, let me talk a little bit about the purpose of a BOB.
A bug-out bag is simply a backpack filled with emergency essentials that allow you to run from danger, whether it’s natural or man-made. Typically, a BOB contains a lot of tools and items to aid in your survival but it should also contain food and water for up to a week (although opinions differ on this one). Beyond that, you should either be at your bug-out location where more supplies await your or you should pre-pack some tools that will aid you in procuring food and water.
Another very important set of tools to keep in your BOB are the ones that help you survive in the wilderness. You just never know if you’re going to make it to your destination so having a tent or a tarp, several ways to start fire, a couple of light sources and so on… these are all important.
VVV Gear Paratus 3 Day Operator's Pack
Modular design - 3 packs in 1
2 large compartments, multiple interior pockets/organizers, two attached MOLLE pouches
Heavy duty zippers
2890 cubic inches
Rebel Tactical Assault 3 Day Pack
1 large compartment, 6 pockets
3220 cubic inches
Modern Warrior ACU Military Camo Backpack
1 large compartment and 2 smaller pockets
1463 cubic inches
Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack
1 large compartment and 7 pockets
3900 cubic inches
High Sierra Tech Series Titan 65
4 large compartments
Integrated rain cover
3966 cubic inches
Outdoor Products Stargazer Backpack
1 large compartment, 4 smaller pockets
3440 cubic inches
The 72-Hour Pack
Designed to help you survive for: up to 3 days
Out of all the survival bags in this article, this is the only one I don’t recommend. The 72 hour pack is nothing more than a simplified version of the BOB that has a catchy name, reason for which survival companies use it to sell you this pre-packed bag. In reality, you’re much better off doing it yourself as you’ll save cash and make it such that it can help you survive for much longer than 3 days.
It’s obviously better than nothing so if you really want one, that’s up to you, but this article plus the well-researched articles on this site make this type of bag a poor choice for newbie and advanced preppers alike.
The GHB (Get Home Bag)
Designed to help you survive for: up to a day
The second favorite bag for preppers is the get home bag and it is built with one purpose in mind: to help you get from when you are when disaster strikes either home or even to your bug-out location (BOL) if it is feasible.
There’s an excellent chance that you won’t be at home when disaster strikes and that you’ll have to get there in record time and, possibly, even have to face certain obstacles. A GHB is also useful when you’re forced to leave your car.
The main difference between a GHB and a BOB is that a GHB is made for short distance emergency traveling (typically less than 100 miles), it has a lot less items in it and it’s also lighter.
The thing is, most of the items you have in your get home bag are already in your bug-out bag but the entire reason you need this second one is because you know you’ll be away from your main BOB when it happens.
When the line between get home bags and bug-out bags is really blurry is when we’re talking about cars. It’s good practice to have supplies in your car because it’s going to act as your bug-out vehicle so, when you think about it, the emergency survival bag you have in your trunk can act as a get-home bag just as well as it can be a BOB.
Whether it’s one or the other, it all depends on how much you pack. At the end of the day, the more you have the better but keep in mind that a heavy pack will make it harder for you to move.
5.11 Rush 24 Back Pack
Extremely high quality construction and well thought out pocket design make this a flexible and practical bag for real-world use. Molle integration along with hydration bladder compatibility mean easy customization to suit your exact needs.
Maxpedition Falcon II
Tough ballistic nylon construction protects gear and stands up to any conditions. Compact size keeps shape even when full making it easy to stash at work. Removable waist and chest straps distribute weight evenly.
Explorer Tactical Assault Pack
Sturdy option at an economical price. Plenty of MOLLE attachment points and straps to carry extra gear. Multiple compartments ideal for easily accessing Level 1 items. Padded straps provide comfort for prolonged wear.
ALPS OutdoorZ Little Bear Hunting Lumbar Pack
Compact with mulitple compartments. Removable straps offer improved weight distribution.
Mountainsmith Lumbar Backpack
Reinforced with high tenacity nylon wide. 14L capacity and extra mesh pockets on the waistband provide sufficient storage space for its compact profile. Shoulder strap pad for messenger carry or separately purchase Mountainsmith Strapettes for additional carrying options.
High Sierra Diplomat Lumbar Pack
HEX_VENT mesh padded back panel wicks moisture. Multiple compartments and 2 external water bottle holders (BPA-free bottles included). Webbing and tuck-away mesh pouch for loading additional gear.
Rapid Dominance Classic Military Messenger Bag
Cotton canvas with polyester lining. Large 16L capacity and 2 inch wide comfort strap to handle larger loads. Subtle appearance conceals its purpose.
UTG Urban Messenger Bag
No top flap enables all compartments to be readily accessible while on the move. Specialized slots for holding tools. Detachable pistol holster with belt loop. Discreet for daily carry.
Maxpedition Last Resort Tactical Attache
Heavy duty water resistant nylon exterior. Removable divider lends to customizing main compartment. Multiple hook and loop pockets for smaller gear.
Camelbak HAWG 100 oz Hydration Pack
Sufficient gear storage capacity plus 3L hydration bladder. High density nylon harness with EVA foam shoulder padding. MOLLE attachments on front panel for additional gear.
CamelBak M.U.L.E. 100 oz Hydration Pack
Separated compartments for Level organization. Compact size easy to manuever thrrough crowds. Multiple hydration tubing exit points. fleece-lined pouch ideal for safely storing eyewear.
Osprey Men's Manta 36 Hydration Pack
Weather protected with integrated raincover. Over 30L capacity rivals a backpack and hipbelt provides support for heavier loads. Airspeed suspension and BioStretch harness team up for a comfortable and ventilated fit.
The INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) Bag
Designed to help you survive for: up to a few months
People who prefer INCH bags are planning to survive harsher conditions and longer periods of time without a permanent shelter. A bug out bag can take you to your bug out location but if you’re not able to get there within a few days, maybe a week, surviving is going to be very tough for you. An INCH bag assumes your home and your bug-out location are compromised.
The contents of an INCH bag is very similar to that of the BOB although more items will be required. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get more food but more ways to procure that food. Keep in mind you might be forced to live in the wilderness for months on end and even have to make a permanent shelter with your bare hands.
The EDC (Everyday Carry) Kit
Designed to help you survive for: up to a few hours.
The everyday carry kit is the smallest “bag” you can have. I wrote bag inside quotation marks because you don’t really need one. Your EDC is all about the items you carry with you on a daily basis when to help you get away from danger and to one of your other survival bags.
Items that could be a part of your EDC: your phone, wallet, a small flashlight, a button compass, paper clips, a Paracord bracelet, a Bic lighter, a bandanna and so on. They are only limited by the number of pockets you have and by how much you’re willing to carry with you every single day.
The funny thing is that even with EDCs, you may not have all the items with you at all times. Your phone is within a couple of feet from you most of the time but sometimes you forget (or just leave it) when you go about your day. Your flashlight or multitool may be uncomfortable to keep in your pocket. That is where having a designated EDC bag can come in handy.
Your EDC kit may fit easily in a small pouch or you may prefer a messenger bag or backpack that can fit your laptop and other larger items. For help choosing an EDC bag, CLICK HERE.
Can One Survival Bag Double As The Other?
Definitely! Your EDC can also be your GHB or your GHB can act as your BOB. It depends on a lot of things but I think the factor that matters the most is your lifestyle.
For example, if you’re travelling a lot by car then it makes sense that your get-home bag and your bug-out bag are one and the same and safely secured in your trunk. Spending so much time around the car, it may not make much sense to have both (unless you’re more advanced and you don’t mind the extra investment).
Another example is when you’re taking your laptop to work each day and you have one of those backpacks that can fit any portable computer nicely. That backpack plus whatever you have in your pockets can make a nice EDC-GHB combination for urban environments starting from the premise that you’ll have that bag near you at all times.
The issue with these acronyms is not that they exist. The real problem is that people think in terms of “Hey, I gotta have this or that type of bag” instead of thinking about all the various scenarios that may occur and then making their choice.
So, what you should be asking yourself are things like “Well, if I’m stuck in the city and all the means of transportation suddenly stop working, how do I get home?” Questions like these help you narrow down the events with the highest likelihood of occurring so you can figure out which items you need so you can FINALLY figure out which survival bag to get.
I hope that makes sense and that you assemble the right bag(s) for you and feel confident you’ve made the right choice.
Have you started building a BOB, GHB, INCH, or EDC kit? Do you agree that a 72-hour pack is a weaker option for most preppers? How do you handle overlap in the purpose of each bag? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, thanks!
About the Author
Dan F. Sullivan runs SurvivalSullivan.com. He describes himself as:
My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don’t take orders from anyone. I’m taking matters into my own hands so I’m not just preparing, I’m going to friggin’ war!
Just by reading this, you’re showing that you’re likely all about organized and efficient daily preparation. Most dedicated preppers and EDCers will take a certain pride in getting the greatest amount of performance out of the smallest and most efficient possible package. Many of us also pride ourselves on being the person who can, under almost any circumstance, immediately find a creative fix for any problem.
When it comes to packing a lot of usability into a single unit, the only thing that comes close to a prepper’s ingenuity is a well thought out multitool. An appropriate multitool can offer a solution that will make quick work of unexpected jobs, solve minor problems, or get you out of a tight jam with minimal hassle.
With all the cool multitools on the market, making the final selection can be tough. Whether you’re looking for the best pocket tool for your EDC kit, the best multitool for backpacking, or the best survival multitool, we’ll help you make the right choice. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to deciding the right one (or three!) for you. Read on to find your ideal tool for every job!
Types of Multitools
Multitools can be had in any number of configurations. If there’s a need, there’s a multitool to fit. Multitools can be simple one-piece affairs or complex 20-tool behemoths. Between these extremes are tools to fit every need or desire. Let’s look over a few of the basic styles:
These are the full sized multitool style popularized by Leatherman, Gerber, and countless other brands. When someone says “multitool,” this is what first comes to mind for most folks. They’re designed like a pair of collapsible pliers with tools that fold out of each handle. When not in use, the handles both swivel up butterfly-style and nestle together around the plier head.
These multitools typically offer the largest number of and most stoutly built tools, and invariably include those handy pliers or large scissors. The folding handles will often also provide some sort of locking function for tools so as to prevent accidental closures. Generally these multitools are a little big and bulky to be carried in a pocket, so they’ll come with a cloth, leather, or Kydex multitool pouch for belt carry.
Just because you carry a big tool doesn’t mean you have to look like one; a belt mounted multitool pouch isn’t for everyone. Following the pattern of the classic Swiss Army Knife, pocket multitools can offer as many tools as a folding multitool, but are generally much less bulky and don’t require special carrying considerations. The flip side of this is that most of the tools don’t lock in the open position, and there’s rarely anything more than a perfunctory scissor or plier option.
Designed to be ultra-small and easy to carry, keychain multitools are typically found as super compact versions of the folding or pocket multitool styles. The Victorinox Classic or Gerber Vise would be excellent examples. These small multitool options usually trade having a large variety of tools for easy portability.
These are the smallest, least complex, and most lightweight multitools out there. They’re really nothing more than a small piece of steel or titanium that has been shaped and scalloped to provide several commonly used tools in a super simple, durable form. One-piece multitools generally provide a bit of leverage for prying, a flathead screwdriver, and a bottle opener. Popular offerings include the Atwood Prybaby, the Gerber Shard and the Leatherman Brewzer.
Inexpensive, easy to store, and packed with great functionality, these ultra-thin multitools have been gaining popularity as of late. These are not typically designed for regular use, instead offering a nice last-ditch option that will rarely be forgotten due to its ease of storage in something you’re rarely without: Your wallet.
Typically, these tools are equipped with a sharp edge that can pass for a blade, a number of low-profile wrenches, a bottle opener, and a ruler. The idea is thin functionality that can go wherever you do.
The lightweight “EAT’N Tool” from CRKT is particularly cool, designed as a lightweight spork equipped with a bottle opener, pry tool, and a few wrenches that do duty for stove maintenance.
When it comes to options, most multitools have plenty. Generally all multitools will offer a few basics, including a blade, can and bottle opener, and flathead screwdriver. From there, the options open up in every direction. The Victorinox brand pocket multitool is famous for its little bitty toothpick and tweezers. The full sized multitool style nearly always provides relatively large pliers or scissors. Many choices have an ever handy corkscrew for impressing the ladies on impromptu picnic trips.
Each multitool finds its own niche by offering different combinations of options. When searching for just the right one, keep your eyes open for multitools equipped with carabiners, pocket clips, replaceable tools, vise grips, magnetic drivers and bits, integrated smartphone stands (yes, seriously!), or clever weight-saving measures. Any of these items might be just the ticket in your search for the best survival multi tool.
In true prepper style, always be considering alternate uses for tools. A magnifying glass, for instance, can be used for starting fires, while magnetic screwdrivers could be used to construct a field-expedient compass. These uses might not come in handy every day, but when they do you’ll be extra thankful for them.
All this being said, don’t mislead yourself into thinking that there’s any one multitool that can truly do it all. Expect to carry one multitool for EDC, another one for camping, a day at the range, or to be left in your BOB. Still another may be the best survival multitool or the best multitool for backpacking or fishing with the family. Each has its place, and each can provide the right tools for certain settings.
Decision Making Factors
Buying the right multitool is a challenge. A lot is riding on the choice, and there are so many options available. When you’re browsing the myriad options intent on finding your ideal multitool, you’ll have lots to consider. Your decision making process for any multitool should take into account each multitool’s functionality, suitability, and ease of use.
First off, ensure the multitool you’re looking for has all the parts and tools you need. You’re aware that there are all kinds of cool multitools with onboard magnifying glasses, flashlights, and the like. The real question is whether these are necessary for your usage.
While it’s easy to over-tool, it’s not tough to under-do it either. It’s often tempting to go super simple, but make sure you still end up with enough tool to get your jobs done. Of course, the environment in which you’ll most be drawing upon your multitool’s functionality will go a long way toward impacting your choice. If you’re looking for a tool to carry and use every day at your retail job, something like the Victorinox Midnite Minichamp, with its integrated package opener and ballpoint pen, might be a good bet.
If your idea for a multitool is more about general preparedness with a focus on easy portability, then maybe a Leatherman Micro is the right choice. For cooking on the trail, the best multitool for backpacking should include utensils and openers. One way or the other, you might have more trouble finding a multitool that you can’t put to use than finding one you can!
All the features or tools in the world aren’t going to justify your multitool selection if the multitool doesn’t adequately fit your intended usage. Consider also how easy the multitool is to carry. For instance, if you never wear a belt you likely won’t find yourself sporting a multitool pouch.
Likewise, if you’ve got large blacksmith’s hands and are expecting to be performing lots of tough tasks at construction job sites, a keychain multitool probably isn’t your ideal option. While the best multitool for backpacking might include specially shaped pot-gripper pliers on a really lightweight multitool, it may be too specialized for good EDC. Perhaps a smaller pocket multitool or a multitool with a pocket clip would be better suited to everyday use.
To learn more about assessing your EDC needs, CLICK HERE.
Ease of Use
Make sure your multitool is easy to put to work. Fumbling around to get your multitool out of your pocket or to open a commonly used tool is going to end up being really irritating in no time. As such, consider a multitool with a pocket clip.
If you think you’ll be using the bottle opener a lot, make sure that particular tool folds out quickly and easily, maybe even requiring the use of only one hand. When multitools are too difficult to use effectively, they aren’t serving their purpose. Make that tool earn its keep.
Common Mistakes When Buying a Multitool
As with any purchase, it’s easy to be led astray when searching for the right multitool. Oftentimes folks will order what was expected to be their ideal tool sight unseen. When it arrives, they’ll find that it’s overly complicated to use, too large or heavy to carry comfortably, suffers from poor construction and materials, or has a layout that’s difficult to use or just plain inconvenient.
To avoid this, get your hands on as many tools as possible before you purchase. Poke around at your local sporting goods and hardware stores, consult your friends, and even check out an online multitool forum or two.
When you get a chance to play around with some multitools, remember to carefully consider how you’ll be carrying your multitool, what features you expect to be using most often, and whether you’ll really need some of the fancy extras that may be offered. If trying a few multitools in person is not an option, at least make sure you purchase your multitool from a reputable dealer with a good return policy.
Sometimes buying and carrying cool multitools isn’t as fun as it sounds. Keep your head up and remember to consider the law and your bank account before committing.
When you’re purchasing or carrying a multitool, remember to think about where you’ll be traveling. Certain locales have pretty strict laws or statutes regarding knives, including restrictions on blade length, locking mechanisms, or carrying methods. In particular, know that TSA has reneged on their 2013 allowance of small blades on airplanes. As of early 2015, knives of any shape, size, or mechanism are not allowed on planes by TSA.
If you’re looking for a cheap multitool, carefully weigh your pros and cons. While the “three-for-one” deals at the Lowe’s checkout counter are tempting, they rarely offer the quality of a proper multitool. If you’re just wanting an extra light-duty toy to use in non-crucial scenarios, then perhaps giving in to consumerism and getting that cheap multitool isn’t such a bad thing.
Your friends here at TBOBG certainly aren’t immune to such temptations, as can be evidenced by the assortment of multitools collecting in every gear box and junk drawer. If you’re going to be using your multitool for real EDC or in the woods or other hard-use scenarios, though, you’re likely better off investing in higher quality tools.
Most well respected multitools are priced in the $40-100 range. This also usually includes a good warranty; Gerber offers a lifetime warranty, and Leatherman is well known for honoring its 25-year coverage. Your wallet might not thank you in the short run, but the performance and durability of a good multitool will well outweigh the short term cost.
That About Does It
You’re now as qualified as anyone to make the final decision regarding your new multitool purchase. Just keep in mind your prospective uses, consider the tool’s abilities and limitations, and enjoy the process. It’s tough to beat the feeling of carrying an entire toolbox on your person at all times, but let’s make sure they’re the right tools for the job.
Do you have a favorite multitool? Which features do you use most often? Have you encountered any drawbacks in quality or design? Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!
In this review article, I’ll give you the rundown on a trio of tools from Nitecore including the general-use EA21 flashlight and the EDC-focused MT06 flashlight and NTP10 Titanium Pen.
I’ve had these tools for several weeks now, and have had plenty of opportunities to put them through their paces. The MT06 EDC light and NTP10 tactical pen have been riding with me daily as part of my EDC gear. Meanwhile, the EA21 has served me well on home duty and on a few camping trips.
Read on to see how I tested them and what I thought!
EA21 Nitecore Flashlight Review:
The EA21 has proven to be a very useful, versatile light. As mentioned, I’ve used it primarily as a general-purpose light for both around the house chores and camp duty. Before we get to the real dirt, let’s hit some quick points:
All the output options you could ask for: 5 brightness settings ranging between 1 and 360 lumens plus Strobe, Beacon, and SOS modes.
Handy 5” x 1” size makes for easy storage in a bag, cargo pocket, or glove box.
Drop-proof LED for those all-too-common impacts.
Built to withstand dunking in a deep creek with IPX-8 water submersion resistance.
Light, sub-4oz weight including 2x AA batteries.
Multi-position metal clip to suit every carry option.
Includes a carry pouch, spare o-rings for backups or maintenance, and a lanyard attachment option.
So Many Options . . .
I’m not ashamed to admit that after pulling this light out of the box I had to look over the instruction booklet to figure out how to use all its modes. After getting used to it, I’ve found I really like the functionality of the unique dual button setup, which became intuitive after a short learning curve.
I can easily go into Turbo mode (a blinding 360 lumens) or Ultra-low mode (1 lumen) or just turn the unit on and off without cycling through all the other brightness and strobe settings. If you need them, however, these emergency modes are quickly accessible. The buttons also provide a nifty locking function that keeps the light from being accidentally turned on when it’s packed in your bag.
A neat function that I haven’t seen often is the inclusion of a battery power indicator. A simple battery uninstall/reinstall procedure will key a secondary red LED light to let you know how much life the installed batteries have left.
On that note, the EA21 has got enough smarts programmed in it to automatically adjust brightness after twenty minutes on the high setting to keep from killing the batteries or overheating. As an aside, that red LED is also available as a secondary illumination option for low light needs such as map reading and other situations where you want to preserve your night vision.
In my real world use of the EA21 I got to search around for my breaker panel after a power surge at my home. A week or so later I had some furry night creature digging around in my campsite. When the little critter got close to blindness after I shined the full Turbo setting on him, he went scurrying on his way. I was able to follow him with the light while he ran across a field and disappeared into some trees a hundred or so yards away.
One thing to note is that as with most intensely bright LED lights, the EA21 gets pretty hot after about ten minutes on the high output setting. I’d be hesitant to stick it right back into a pack or touch the business end of it with my bare hand after extended use. It’s also a little big to be carried in a jeans pocket. I would say that the Nitecore EA21 is best suited to keep in a pack, vehicle, black out kit, or medium to large sized EDC bag.
My Thoughts on the Nitecore EA21
The Nitecore EA21 is a great general purpose flashlight with some useful extra features for those who demand more than a basic light. The handy size, battery familiarity (who doesn’t have extra AAs?), and plentiful modes allow for excellent usability in lots of settings.
The extremely bright Turbo mode can certainly disorient would-be attackers, while the Ultra-low mode can be used without giving away your position in sensitive settings. As an addition to a BOB (in the locked-off setting, of course), on car trips, or as an at-home night security tool, the EA21 is great choice (CLICK HERE to see the EA21 on Amazon).
NTP10 Nitecore Titanium Pen Review
This part of our Nitecore review isn’t for a flashlight; it’s for their Titanium tactical pen. In the world of tactical pens (see our guide on tactical pens HERE!), there’s a full range from simply obscene to obscenely cool. The Nitecore NTP10 definitely fits in the latter category. Here come the bullet points:
Built from CNC milled titanium, the body of this pen is indestructible.
Designed as a standard-sized pen at 4.25”, but a crazy light 18 grams.
Equipped with a Fisher Space Pen cartridge for smooth writing anywhere.
The cutout body makes for a superior positive grip during writing or defense use.
Extra strong replaceable tungsten tip for busting windows or bad guys.
Included storage/gift case to keep a low profile or impress friends.
Writes and Fights
In the month that I’ve been carrying around this titanium pen I’ve used it to write notes, sign forms, and punch massive dents in seasoned old pallet wood (no bad guys could be found to test the tungsten tip out).
I’ve also received several compliments on it; the NTP10 looks really cool with its spiral cut styling and matte titanium finish. Besides looking good, those spiral cutouts provide excellent grip for the occasional smashing the pen is designed to endure.
In use, the NTP10 is smooth and functional. The Fisher Space Pen ink cartridge works every bit as well in your exciting cubicle as it does in the dull confines of outer space for which it was designed. The pen itself is quite comfortable in the hand whether in writing mode or held ready for battle.
My Thoughts on the Nitecore NTP10
The NTP10 is as functional as it is cool. The only drawback I found during my evaluation was regarding its super sharp window-breaking carbide tip. It’s a dead giveaway to airport security screeners; getting onto a plane with this pen might be a difficult proposition. That same tip can also damage pants pockets or cloth bags if not properly secured.
I’d suggest keeping it clipped into a jacket pocket or proper pen slot in a bag. Alternatively it can be stored in its included aluminum case; though that significantly reduces its readiness factor. Also, it’s a nice size (about the size of a standard Bic pen), but might be a bit small for those with very large hands or while wearing gloves.
In short, the NTP10 is a really cool, unique, and functional piece. If you’re looking for a unique daily carry item with multiple uses, this titanium tactical pen should be an intriguing option. For more information on the NTP10 you can CLICK HERE to check it out on Amazon.
MT06 Nitecore Flashlight Review
I have been very pleased with the MT06 over the past month or so of carrying it. I’ve kept it in my every day carry bag, and it has shined in every test. First, here are some highlights:
Two simple no-hassle brightness settings: 165 lumens and 32 lumens.
Extremely light at just 1.58 oz. with AAA batteries.
The 5” x 0.5” size is perfect for clipping into a pocket or small EDC bag.
Powerful 92m max beam distance for those long shots.
Proprietary LED is resistant to impacts from waist-high drops onto pavement.
Water won’t be a concern due to an IPX-8 water submersible rating.
Form & Function
One of the big advantages of the MT06 in my view is that it doesn’t have that suspicious tactical look to it. There’s no “skull smasher” crown and no crazy knurling. This light is designed to be carried anywhere with a low profile and simply meet a utilitarian need for a dependable quality light.
A bit thicker than an average pen, the size is just right for clipping into a pocket or EDC pouch. Its standard rear-mounted button makes for easy on/off toggling with one hand.
The two light modes come in pretty handy. Navigating through a dark car lot at night I was thankful to have the 165 lumen high mode. Then when I had to search around for the keys that my sweaty hands had just dropped between the seat and the console, the low 32 lumen setting was bright enough without causing a blinding reflection.
Like the EA21, if you leave this light on high mode for too long it will switch to the lower setting automatically to maximize battery life and minimize heat. High mode can be easily reactivated by clicking it back on.
My Thoughts on the Nitecore MT06
While it’s refreshing to have a good EDC light that doesn’t look like it belongs mounted on a SWAT weapon, Nitecore might also have done well to incorporate some form of EA21-style lock setting on the MT06. With the easy-to-tap rear button there’s a small chance of the light being turned on if it’s left to bounce around in a bag.
Otherwise, this little light is an awesome companion to the rest of your EDC gear. The MT06 packs convenience, performance, and easy utility into a modestly priced (see the best price for the MT06 HERE on Amazon) flashlight.
Really, all three of the tools in our Nitecore review were useful and practical. The two lights are incredibly efficient; just a few years ago flashlights like these would have cost a fortune.
All three items seem to be of very high quality. I had no problems with them, and can’t see them failing or falling apart in hard use. Each tool had its job to do, and each fit the bill. In spite of the minor drawbacks for each I can definitely see all three of these pieces serving me well for years to come. If you want more in formation about these 3 tools you can see them each on Amazon by clicking the links here:
Nitecore has been around since 2004 and is a well-respected brand in EDC and preparedness circles. A member of Portable Lights American Trade Organization (PLATO), each of Nitecore’s offerings are independently tested and rated (For the unaware, PLATO is the organization responsible for the handy lumen/runtime/beam properties charts on the packaging of all those fancy flashlights you’re always playing with at REI.). Since their introduction, Nitecore lights have gained favor with outdoor enthusiasts, members of the military, and others looking for high quality handheld lighting solutions.
Have you used the EA21, NTP10, or MT06? Do you have another Nitecore flashlight that you like? Want to see another Nitecore flashlight review? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!