everstryke pro review

Everstryke Pro Review: A Compact Waterproof Survival Lighter

everstryke pro review

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.

We’re talking about the very popular Everstryke Pro Emergency Waterproof Lighter. (You can Click HERE to get your FREE Everstryke Pro).

 

everstryke pro review
Click on the image to see how to get your FREE Everstryke

Everstryke Pro Review

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.

everstryke pro review

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.

everstryke pro review
Shown next to a .22 LR, you can see how compact the Survival Life Everstryke is.
everstryke pro review
The capsule length is about 2 inches, including the housing for the clip.

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.

everstryke pro review
Unscrew the cap of the Everstryke Pro lighter to access the striker wheel and wick.

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.

everstryke pro review
The black O-ring seals out water and prevents 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.

everstryke pro review
The hollow cylinder slides out for refilling with fuel and adjusting the flint.
everstryke pro review
The foam is shaped to seat around the flint, which can be adjusted using a flathead screwdriver.
everstryke pro review
The foam (on right) pops out, revealing the wick.

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.

everstryke pro review
Adding fuel to the housing.

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.

everstryke pro review
Provides a wider, steadier flame than a match and won’t burn down to your fingers.

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.

everstryke pro review
The Survival Life Everstryke fits easily on a keyring and unclips for quick access when needed.

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.

everstryke pro review
Had to give it dunk to see for myself.
everstryke pro review
After being submerged for 10 minutes, no water had leaked into the cap and it was ready to light.

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.

cold weather survival gear
The Everstryke Pro combines both a fuel-based system and flint and steel striker, so you can spark a fire under any conditions.

Click Here To Get Your Everstryke Pro Lighter Today!

 

Get Yours Today

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!

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BOB, GHB, EDC, INCH… Which Survival “Bag” Is Right for You?

Choosing The Best Type Of Survival Bag

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.

Choosing The Best Type Of Survival Bag
Keep in mind that your bug-out bag may also include items for your family members.

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.

BackpackBag NameFeaturesSizeCost

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$79
Rebel Tactical Assault 3 Day Pack
Expansion Zipper
1 large compartment, 6 pockets
3220 cubic inches$48
Modern Warrior ACU Military Camo Backpack
1 large compartment and 2 smaller pockets1463 cubic inches$34.99
Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack
1 large compartment and 7 pockets
Expansion zipper
3900 cubic inches$147
High Sierra Tech Series Titan 65
4 large compartments
Integrated rain cover
3966 cubic inches$113
Outdoor Products Stargazer Backpack
1 large compartment, 4 smaller pockets3440 cubic inches$77.49

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.

Choosing The Best Type Of Survival Bag
A 72-hour pack can serve as a lightweight option for day hikers to prepare for the unexpected.

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.

Choosing The Best Type Of Survival Bag
Forced to leave your car behind, you’ll be glad to have your get-home bag well-equipped to commute on foot.

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.

BagBag TypeCostFeatures
5.11 Rush 24 Back Pack
Backpack$$$$Extremely high quality construction and well thought out pocket design make this a flexible and practical bag for real-world use. Molle integration along with hydration bladder compatibility mean easy customization to suit your exact needs.
Maxpedition Falcon II Backpack$$$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
Backpack$Sturdy option at an economical price. Plenty of MOLLE attachment points and straps to carry extra gear. Multiple compartments ideal for easily accessing Level 1 items. Padded straps provide comfort for prolonged wear.
ALPS OutdoorZ Little Bear Hunting Lumbar Pack Lumbar Pack$Compact with mulitple compartments. Removable straps offer improved weight distribution.
Mountainsmith Lumbar Backpack Lumbar Pack$$Reinforced with high tenacity nylon wide. 14L capacity and extra mesh pockets on the waistband provide sufficient storage space for its compact profile. Shoulder strap pad for messenger carry or separately purchase Mountainsmith Strapettes for additional carrying options.
High Sierra Diplomat Lumbar Pack Lumbar Pack$HEX_VENT mesh padded back panel wicks moisture. Multiple compartments and 2 external water bottle holders (BPA-free bottles included). Webbing and tuck-away mesh pouch for loading additional gear.
Rapid Dominance Classic Military Messenger Bag Messenger Bag$Cotton canvas with polyester lining. Large 16L capacity and 2 inch wide comfort strap to handle larger loads. Subtle appearance conceals its purpose.
UTG Urban Messenger Bag Messenger Bag$No top flap enables all compartments to be readily accessible while on the move. Specialized slots for holding tools. Detachable pistol holster with belt loop. Discreet for daily carry.
Maxpedition Last Resort Tactical Attache Messenger Bag$$$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 Hydration Pack$$$Sufficient gear storage capacity plus 3L hydration bladder. High density nylon harness with EVA foam shoulder padding. MOLLE attachments on front panel for additional gear.
CamelBak M.U.L.E. 100 oz Hydration Pack Hydration Pack$$$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 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.

Choosing The Best Type Of Survival Bag
Your INCH bag should include gear for making fire, as well as means of obtaining and preparing food.

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).

Choosing The Best Type Of Survival Bag
Whichever bag you choose, the most important thing is that it equips you for YOUR survival situation.

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.

Final word…

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.

Your Thoughts

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!

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Best Multitool For Backpacking & Survival

best multitool for backpackingJust 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:

Folding Multitools

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.

We recommend: The Leatherman 830850 Skeletool CX Multitool

best multitool for backpacking review leatherman skeletool
Click the image to see the best price for the Leatherman Skeletool and user reviews on Amazon

Pocket Multitools

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.

We recommend: The Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp Pocket Knife

best multitool for backpacking Best pocket Multitool review fieldmaster
Click the image to see the best price for the Swiss Army Fieldmaster and user reviews on Amazon

Keychain Multitools

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.

We recommend: The Gerber 31-001134 Dime Micro Tool

best multitool for backpacking best keychain Multitool review gerber dime tool
Click the image to see the best price for the Gerber Dime and user reviews on Amazon

One-Piece Multitools

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.

We recommend: The Leatherman Brewzer

best multitool for backpacking review leatherman brewser
Click the image to see the best price for the Leatherman Brewzer and user reviews on Amazon

Wallet Multitools

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.

We recommend: 11-Function Stainless Steel Survival Pocket Tool

best multitool for backpacking review Wallet tool
Click the image to see the best price for the Credit Card Wallet Knife and user reviews on Amazon

Specialty Multitools

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.

best multitool for backpacking review crkt eatn tool
Click the image to see the best price for the CRKT Eat’n Tool and user reviews on Amazon

Tool Options

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.

best multitool for backpacking
The best survival multi tool puts an entire workshop in your pocket.

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.

best multitool for backpacking
Which tools do YOU need in a multitool?

Functionality

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!

Suitability

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.

best multitool for backpacking
The blade on a pocket multi tool is essential when building a fire or constructing a shelter.

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.

Special Considerations

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.

Legality

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.

For folks that still want to be as prepared as possible, never fear: Industry is here! A number of savvy manufacturers have begun offering TSA-compliant multitools. Check out the Victorinox Jetsetter or Leatherman Style PS for bladeless multitool options.TSA-EDC-Kit-Intro3

Price

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.

Your Thoughts?

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!

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Nitecore Mega Review – 2 Flashlights + A Titanium Tactical Pen

nitecore flashlight review 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!

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Top to bottom: NPT10 Titanium Tactical Pen, MT06 EDC Light, and EA21 Flashlight

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.
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Nitecore Review: EA21 Flashlight comes with multi-position clip, lanyard, spare o-rings, and carry pouch that clips easily to a belt or MOLLE webbing.

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.

Battery Smart

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.

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Nitecore Review: Compact EA21 flashlight fits well in a pack or cargo pocket. Dual button control is very useful once you get the hang of it.

My Testing

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.

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Nitecore Review: The EA21 has a multi-position metal clip for several different carrying options.

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).

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Click on the image to see the best price for the EA21 and user reviews 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.
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    Nitecore Review: The NTP10 has a lightweight yet indestructible titanium body.

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).

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Nitecore Review: Testing the NTP10 on an unsuspecting pallet. Flat top design works well for applying force.

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.

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Nitecore Review: Spiral cut of the NTP10 Tactical Pen adds grip and style points.

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.

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Nitecore Review: NTP10’s Fisher Space Pen cartridge is pressurized for smooth writing, even when upside down.

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.

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Nitecore Review: NTP10 Tactical Pen has a sharp Tungsten tip for breaching and combat.

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.

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Click on the image to see the best price for the NTP10 and user reviews 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.
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    Nitecore Review: The MT06 is built tough from aerospace grade aluminum alloy.

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.

Best EDC Bag

Everyday Use

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.

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Nitecore Review: MT06 Flashlight delivers high quality light with a low profile for every day carry.

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.

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Click on the image to see the best price for the MT06 and user reviews on Amazon

Final Thoughts

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 EA21Nitecore NTP10Nitecore MT06

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All 3 of the Nitecore reviewed products are compact and durable.

About Nitecore

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.

Your Thoughts?

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!

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How To Build a TSA-Approved EDC Kit

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Whether you’re heading off on vacation with the family or attending to business in some other part of the world, traveling by plane presents unique challenges for packing your EDC kit due to the rules set out by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding what can and cannot be brought on planes.

What is permitted for checked baggage differs from what is permitted for carry-on and to add to the confusion, regulations are constantly changing. Before packing for your trip, make sure you’re current with what is and isn’t permissible by checking the TSA Prohibited Items list for travelers.

Preparing Your EDC Kit for Traveling

When preparing your EDC kit for travel, evaluate the items you typically carry with you and pare down to only those you will need during your trip. Think about what new threats or challenges you are likely to encounter traveling by plane, in the area you are headed, as well as during activities you plan on engaging in at your destination.

After careful analysis, consider what you already carry that may address those challenges and what additional items need to be brought along. For necessary items that aren’t permitted by the TSA, there are modifications that can be made or alternatives that will ensure your EDC kit is compliant with federal law.

TSA Restriction Highlights

When dealing with TSA restrictions, if you have any doubts, it is best to leave questionable items at home or packed correctly in your checked bags. Carrying any item classified as a ‘weapon’ by the TSA on your person can result in a civil penalty.

The chart below serves as a quick reference guide for what is and is not permitted in carry-on and checked baggage:

ItemCarry-On: ProhibitedCarry-On: AllowedChecked: ProhibitedChecked: Allowed
Sharp ObjectsBox cutters, knives, axes, ice picks, swords, and scissors with blades greater than 4 inchesScissors with blades less than 4 inchesNoneAny of the carry-on prohibited items, but must be safely sheathed or wrapped
Self-Defense/ Protection ItemsBilly clubs, black jacks, brass knuckles, kubatons, mace/pepper spray, stun devices, and night sticksSelf-defense spray with less than 2% tear gasNone, except sprays with more than 2% tear gasOne 4 fl. oz. can of mace with safety mechanism to prevent discharge, must be less than 2% tear gas
ToolsAxes, crow bars, hammers, drills and bits, saws, and any tool less than 7 inches in total lengthMust be less than 7 inches in total length - wrench, pliers, screwdriver, etc.NoneAny of the carry-on prohibited items, but must be safely wrapped
Firearms - must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided container, and declared at check-inAll firearms, parts, and accessoriesNoneFlares, gun lighters, and gunpowderAmmunition, bb guns, compressed air guns, firearms, flare guns, parts of guns, pellet guns, realistic replicas, and starter pistols
FlammableAny flammable liquid, torch lighters, and aerosols (except those for personal care)One book of non-strike anywhere matches, and one lighterAll flammable items/liquids, and lightersUp to 2 cigarette lighters in TSA-approved cases
LiquidsAll flammable liquids3-1-1:
Less than 3.4 oz.
1 gallon bag
1 bag/person
All flammable liquidsAny non-flammable liquids
Sporting GoodsBats, and hockey/ lacrosse sticksIce skates, tennis racketsNoneAny sporting goods

Alternatives and Modifications for Typical EDC Kit Items

Sometimes, there are items you just can’t do without – restrictions or not. In this article, we’ve evaluated alternatives and modifications for twelve of the most common EDC items that may run afoul of TSA regulations.

Wallet

A must-have for carrying ID and currencies, but resist the temptation to conceal credit card sized knifes or utility tools in your wallet as they are likely to be confiscated by the TSA. It is best to leave these types of tools at home, but if it is a necessity for you, pack them into your checked luggage to avoid any needless hassles.

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A TSA Agent’s view of your bag

Key Ring

Keep your key ring stripped down to items you will need for traveling from your home to the airport, such as your house and car keys. If you have any self-defense tools like kubatons or knives, make sure to remove these as they will not be permitted. If they will serve some utility at your destination, pack them carefully into your checked luggage.

Phone

Phones are allowed as carry-on, as are back-up battery packs. If you have any credit card sized utility tools or knives concealed in your phone case, make sure they are removed.

Watch

A watch is a safe, compact way to carry survival items such as a compass and paracord, as all items are safe for carry-on.

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With full body scanners there really is no where to hide prohibited items. Play it safe and travel smart.

Folding Knife

Folding knives are not permitted in carry-on. To choose a suitable alternative that is TSA-approved, consider the ways in which you typically use your knife and what other items could provide similar utility.

A great, travel-safe alternative is the Wenger 16912 Air Traveler Swiss Army Knife, which doesn’t have a knife but contains several other tools that serve a similar purpose such as 1.8 inch scissors, a nail file with an unsharpened pointed end, tweezers, and a mini screwdriver.

Flashlight

While some flashlights are permitted, remember when choosing your flashlight that it is considered a tool and therefore must be less than 7 inches in length. Also, be sure to avoid any aggressive-looking tactical flashlights to dodge any additional scrutiny. To see our detailed guide for picking the best EDC flashlight, CLICK HERE.

Be sure to remove the batteries to avoid unintentionally draining them and keep them in a Ziploc bag, similar to how you would store your liquids. The TSA agent may want to try out your flashlight to see that it works, so having batteries packed close by is advantageous.

 

EDC List
Learn how to pick the best EDC flashlight

Tactical Pen

This is a tricky one as it may raise suspicion in the security line and will be up to the discretion of the TSA agent whether it is permitted or not. If a tactical pen is a must-have item for you, pack it in your checked luggage, especially if it has features that could be categorized as weapons.  Check out our comprehensive Tactical Pen guide HERE.

Glass Breaker and Pry Tool

These types of tools are not permitted, but you can replace them with similar items that are less than 7 inches in length such as a wrench or screwdriver.

Our personal choice is the Boker Mini Blade, which is 4.5 inch minibar tool made of high tensile resilient steel and has a fine edge perfect for prying into tight spaces.

Paracord

In reasonable quantities, paracord is a generally accepted item to bring on airplanes. There are several wearable options that save space and raise little suspicion such as bracelets, necklaces, belts, and watch wristbands.

A low-profile paracord belt is a great way to carry 70 feet of 550 pound commercial grade paracord, however it will need to be removed and scanned at the TSA checkpoint. If you’re looking for a good option, check out the Bison Designs Double Cobra Paracord Survival Belt.

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Make sure you know the rules for wherever you are traveling. Different countries have differing requirements.

Multitool

Typically, most multitools contain a blade and are not permitted by the TSA. Similar to a folding knife, determine the features you are most likely to use and find travel-safe alternatives that can accommodate your needs.

For a utilitarian multitool that is also travel-safe, we recommend the Leatherman 831488 Style PS Multitool, which boasts a host of useful tools and is permitted as carry-on.

Firestarting Kit

TSA regulations allow one book of safety matches as well as one TSA-approved cigarette lighter. Additionally, you can carry up to two additional lighters in your checked baggage as long as they are in TSA-approved containers, such as the Colibri Tranzpack TSA and DOT Approved Airline Lighter Case.

Back-up flammable items or fuel are not permitted even in checked baggage so if you are headed to a situation where you’ll need these items, make sure you can pick them up when you land.

For more information on permissible and banned firestarting items, check out this quick reference guide from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA).

Survival Whistle

Whistles are allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage, however check yours first to make sure it doesn’t contain any fire-making items. Strike-anywhere matches are not permitted in any luggage so you will need to ensure these items are left at home.

Checking Your Bug-Out-Bag When Traveling

If you feel that the nature or length of your trip necessitates having your bug-out-bag on hand, you’ll be happy to know that many of the objectionable items for carry-on are perfectly acceptable in checked luggage as long as they are packed properly. For a FREE Bug Out Bag Planning Tool CLICK HERE.

Bug out bag contents

However, while most items can be checked, under no circumstances can you bring any flammable liquids, torches, strike-anywhere matches, flares, gun lighters, or gun powder. If you’ll need any of these items once you reach your destination, such as fuel for camping stoves, make preparations to buy them once you land.

On the plus side, if you intend to bring any tools, blades or firearms, these items are permitted in checked luggage as long as they’re properly packed. For tools and blades, ensure they are sheathed or the sharp edges well-wrapped to avoid any injury to baggage handlers.

For firearms – including ammunition, bb guns, compressed air guns, firearms, flare guns, parts of guns, pellet guns, realistic replicas, and starter pistols – make sure they are unloaded, packed in a hard-sided container, and declared at check-in.

Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?

If you are looking for even more information on how to build your ultimate EDC kit you can check out my book, The Every Day Carry Guide.  It is a comprehensive manual that will teach you:

  • How to be prepared at all times – no matter where you are
  • How to build your first EDC kit from scratch
  • How to refine an existing kit to make it more effective
  • How to pick the best gear to realistically make you more prepared
  • How to assess threats and risks in your every day life

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Conclusion

You don’t need to abandon your EDC kit when traveling by airplane, there easy ways to modify your kit that will retain its usefulness while complying with TSA regulations.

The regulations are not static and frequently change, so make sure you check out the TSA guidelines at least a week prior to any air travel. TSA agents also have the authority to confiscate items at their discretion that raise any alarms.

If you have any doubts, there is a handy Can I Bring… tool and TSA app that can both be found here. If you’re still unsure, your best bet is to leave the item at home. If the item is a must-have for your journey, look for travel-safe alternatives or places you can purchase one once you reach your destination.

Your Thoughts?

Have you ever had an item questioned at security that you thought was safe for carry-on? Share your experience with us in the Comments section below, thanks!

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