DPx Knife Review

DPx Knife MEGA Review

DPx Knife Review

This is not your ordinary review, it is a MEGA Review!  I recently had the opportunity to test out not one, but three, survival knives from DPx Gear and use them in a real-world scenario. The three knives I’m going to discuss in this mega-review are as follows:

DPx Knife Review
Left to right: HEST Original, HEFT Assault 4, and HEST II Woodsman

I’m familiar with the DPx line of knives from reputation, as this company is known for its focus on hard-use knives designed by experienced, military personnel and adventurers, however, this was the first time I had the opportunity to try them out under real survival situations.

According to their website, DPx knives are tested and used in locations including Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Burma. From the get-go, I was excited to see if these knives could perform up to expectations.

DPx Knife Review

DPx Knife Review

DPX Knife Review First Impressions

From first glance, I knew these were superior quality knives. Simply by looking, I could tell there was serious craftsmanship that went into their assembly; these were not some cheap trinkets that would fall apart after a year of use.

DPx Knife Review
Left to Right: Leather sheath, HEST II Woodsman knife, HEFT 4 Assault knife, Nylon sheath with Kydex insert, HEST Original knife, Kydex sheath.

Picking them up, each felt solid in my hands and had a full tang. Examining the blades, they were very sharp out of the box and much thicker than other knives of this size, indicating superior quality and an ability to handle abuse.

Additional details setting these knives apart from less expensive alternatives included well thought-out jimping, storage space in the handle, a hex driver, a wire breaker, and a bottle opener – for a little reward after a hard day’s work!

DPx Knife Review
Cracking one open with the HEST Original. Cheers!

Blade Steel

I was really excited to check out the HEST II Woodsman and the HEFT 4 Assault as both are made from Niolox steel (the HEST Original is made from 1095 high carbon steel, but more on that later), a relatively new blade material that I had never had the chance to use before.

DPx Knife Review
Testing out the 1095 high carbon steel blade of the HEST Original while preparing to build a fire.

Originally developed for the food processing industry (think large scale, factory-based food processing), Niolox came about as processors were looking for something that would deliver superior edge retention, resist corrosion, and last for thousands of cuts and slices before needing replacement. Using this material to fabricate knives is a no-brainer, what I was truly curious about is how this new material would fare against the old, reliable 1095.

DPx Knife Review: Testing Process

I decided the best way to test these knives out was to take them into the elements and see how they stacked up against real-world tasks. Myself and two other experienced outdoorsmen went on a weekend camping trip (this is where we went if you are even in Australia), each one taking one of the knives.

DPx Knife Review
All three blades sank into a large cuttlefish bone we found on the beach.

We didn’t have a set plan of exactly what skills we would test the knives with, but decided that we would simply keep the knives on us and use them as the need arose. Over the course of the weekend, the knives were tested out on the following tasks:

  • Cutting rope
  • Batoning branches
  • Shaving wood to start fire
  • Gathering mollusks to practice scavenging skills
  • Pounding tent stakes
  • Preparing food
  • Cutting open boxes and packages
  • Light digging
  • Sheaths tested for usability, ease of deployment, and comfort

DPx Knife Review: HEFT 4 Assault

Best Use: This knife is ideal for bugging-out or bushcraft. It was by far the largest, heaviest, and most heavy duty of the knives. A real ‘workhorse,’ this knife is good for medium to heavy duty tasks around camp.

DPx heft 4 assault review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEFT 4 Assault on Amazon.

What I Liked: 

First off, I like that this knife is made of Niolox steel and it provides good form and balance (balance is right where your index finger sits, which results in excellent control). Another perk is that the jimping is also wire stripper and makes for an excellent grip. The G-10 scales are removable, so there’s space to wrap paracord around your knife or store items inside. There’s also a bottle opener that works competently (more on that below).

DPx Knife Review

As for the blade, it was very thick which made for great batoning and prying.  I was really impressed when by accident, I jammed the knife into a rock and the tip did not snap, due mainly to the thickness of the blade, strength of the Niolox steel, and probably a bit of pure luck!

DPx Knife Review
Harvesting limpets with the HEFT 4 Assault.
DPx Knife Review
Limpets are related to clams and are a great source of protein!

The blade also proved to be quite resistant to corrosion as it was exposed to seawater and then sheathed for 48 hours, with no visible rust. The Niolox passed this corrosion resistance test with flying colors. Additionally, the nylon sheath is nice and streamlined with a pocket that can hold a sharpening stone, fire starter, compass, or anything other small tool, and it also has a molded kydex insert.

DPx Knife Review

In terms of use, batoning through tree limbs was a breeze, due mainly to the thickness of the blade. Versus other, thinner, knives, the .19” thickness gives the blade a hatchet-like cross-section, an indispensable quality for bushcraft.

DPx Knife Review
Note the thickness of the spine, which provides a solid striking surface for batoning.

Cosmetically, there were no nicks in the edge after an entire weekend of use but there were some scratches on the blade coating. This is not something that particularly bothers me, my gear is meant to be USED so if it’s not a little scratched, it’s not useful.  However, if you’re a collector or enjoy displaying your knives, this may not be the one for you.

DPx heft 4

Last but not least, the craftsmanship is top-notch. This knife is made for DPx in Italy by master bladesmiths at LionSteel.

Minor Cons:

As I mentioned before, the bottle opener worked but could be better. It was not as useful as a ‘church key’-type opener, which admittedly would be impractical on a knife, but it’s nice to have in a pinch. Another issue (that applies only to lefties), is that the kydex molding of the sheath makes this a right-hand draw knife. If you were truly motivated, you could pull out the molded liner, but it’s pretty snug.

Final Thoughts on the HEFT 4 Assault:

I absolutely loved this knife. It’s the perfect size for all but the most heavy-duty of tasks.  You are not going to want to use it to take down a tree, but for the other 95% of the functions you’ll need for bushcraft, survival and camp, this knife is up to the task. If you like the idea of this knife but want it larger, you’re in luck – it has a big brother, the HEFT 6.

A big plus for this knife is the jimping. It really bit into my thumb and gave me serious confidence that my grip would not slip. Also, the Niolox steel more than lived up to expectations and truly impressed me. The edge held its sharpness after a long weekend of use, the steel did not corrode despite being submerged in seawater and wet beach sand, and the tip did not break after an accidental plunge into a rock (oops!).

DPx Knife Review
Well-designed jimping provides a more controlled grip.

If you’re looking for a quality knife and have the budget for it, or want to upgrade your existing knife, this is a good choice. If for some reason you try it out and it doesn’t meet your expectations, I would still recommend purchasing a knife made from Niolox steel.

DPx Knife Review: HEST Original

Best Use: This is a great choice for backpackers or people who want to carry as little weight as possible. It’s fully functional for light to medium tasks around camp and would suit someone looking for a high functioning knife at a reasonable price without sacrificing on quality or someone who wants a quality knife but isn’t prepared to splurge on Niolox steel.

DPx hest original Knife Review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST Original on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Of the three knives, this was by far the lightest and the micarta handle provided the best grip. It was very sharp out of the box and the 1095 carbon steel is easy to sharpen and holds a razor’s edge; it’s also less expensive than many other types of steel. The flat pommel made it great for striking and pounding while the partial serration was good for cutting rope and prepping food.

DPx Knife Review

The knife has a slim profile, even with the sheath, and the kydex sheath came with multiple carry options, including paracord and belt clip, and can be carried either vertically or horizontally. It’s made in the USA, can be carried on the right or left side, and in a pinch, the pry bar would work well to break glass.

DPx Knife Review
The versatile kydex sheath can be secured horizontally (shown) or vertically.

Minor Cons:

While the 1095 steel is light and inexpensive, it is not as corrosive resistant as other steels and had to be washed after exposure to seawater (I learned this from past experiences with this material rusting). It’s also worth noting that the blade is powder coated to help protect everything but the edges of the blade from corrosion.

DPx Knife Review
The partial serration on the HEST Original blade was useful, especially for cutting open fruit and preparing foods.

Final Thoughts on the HEST Original:

DPx Knife Review

This is a very good, basic knife with a well thought-out, quality sheath. I enjoyed the flexibility provided by the partial serration and the micarta handle provides a solid grip even in wet conditions. There’s good balance in your hand – this knife feels good to hold. It’s a great option for someone looking for a quality, entry-level knife that will last for years to come.

DPx Knife Review: HEST II Woodsman

Best Use: A good knife for light to medium tasks around camp. It looks good enough to give as a gift, such as to groomsmen or on special occasions. 

DPx hest Knife Review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST II Woodsman on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Aesthetically, this was by far the best looking knife of the three with a really nice leather sheath that looks good and feels nice. It’s also made from Niolox, which is a fantastic steel as mentioned in the HEFT 4 Assault section above.

DPx Knife Review

The size and shape of the blade make it a well-balanced knife and it’s the perfect size for use around camp or all-day carry without it being noticeable. For the size of this knife, it has a very thick blade at .19”.  For comparison, the popular ESSE 3, has a blade thickness of .125”. The flat pommel made it easy to pound tent stakes into rocky ground. And as a knife that is made in Italy by master bladesmiths, the craftsmanship is top tier.

DPx gear
The flat pommel allows for pounding tasks, like driving tent stakes into the ground.

Minor Cons:

Due to its sheath design (vertical mounting, right side draw), this knife can only be carried one way – this is by no means a deal-breaker, but if you intend to hang it off the molle points on your pack or vest, you will need another sheath.

DPx Knife Review
The vertical leather sheath is high quality, though it does not accommodate left-handed access.

Also, the fact that it is right-hand carry only is a negative for lefties.  Lastly, the wood handle provided good grip retention (and looks awesome) but is not as “grippy” as micarta or G10.

Final Thoughts on the HEST II Woodsman:

This is a really nice looking blade that I would be happy to give (or receive!) as a gift. As with the HEFT 4 Assault, the Niolox steel exceeded my expectations. For a multipurpose knife, the HEST II Woodsman has great balance and blade shape. As compared to the other two knives in this review, the HEST II Woodsman is a good compromise on size and cost.

DPx Knife Review
Note the integrated hex wrench and wire strippers on the HEST II Woodsman.

DPx Knife Review: Conclusion

DPx Knife Review

All three of the knives reviewed – the HEFT 4 Assault, HEST Original, and HEST II Woodsman – are all really good knives and it’s obvious that there was substantial attention to detail given to their designs. All were clearly made with the intention to be used, hence the focus on design as well as testing. Each was well-made and included clever add-ons such as bottle openers, pry bars, and hex wrenches. Any one of these knives will serve its owner well for a very long time.

For an experienced outdoorsman, these are easy to recommend, and are differentiated enough that each appeals to its own target users. DPx offers variations on all three of these models, so if you’re looking for a particular blade shape, finish, or handle combination to suit a particular need, you’re sure to find it.

If you do select one of these knives, I do recommend choosing one with a Niolox steel blade, if at all possible.  Niolox steel had a good edge, great corrosion resistance, and exceeded my expectations in testing.

Your Thoughts

Do you have any questions about the features or performance of these DPx knives? Are you interested in seeing more MEGA reviews like this one? Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

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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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edt multitool

Free EDT Multitool Review

edt multitool

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.

edt multitool
Clip it to your belt loop, MOLLE strap, or keyring for quick access.

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.

edt multitool
Unlike many folding tools, the EDT Multitool blade and bottle opener can be accessed from the folded position.

Durability

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.

edt multitool
The framework is very sturdy, though you can see the paint starting to wear after use.

Functionality

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.

edt multitool
The pliers really stood up to the test, performing well on intricate jobs.

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.

edt multitool
Compact in size, the EDT Multitool proved a useful addition to my survival gear at an awesome price – free!

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.

edt multitool
After 2 weeks of field use, there was some evidence of wear and tear around the edges but the tools themselves held up.

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.

edt multitool
Click the image to get your free EDT Multitool!

Your Thoughts

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!

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advanced tactical hip bag

Advanced Tactical Hip Bag Vs. Maxpedition Jumbo EDC Bag

advanced tactical hip bag

Note: This review was contributed by one of our readers. Jeremy from Alaska compares his previous EDC bag from Maxpedition to his newest one, the Rothco Advanced Tactical Hip Bag.

concealed carry

Introduction

I carry concealed on a very regular basis, but sometimes there are situations where on-body carry is just not practical for me.  So, I take the next available option:  off-body carry in a “man-purse.”

Now, set aside your reservations for this, because I understand most, if not all, the disadvantages to taking this approach.  This review is for those who take this option.

advanced tactical hip bag

About two years ago, I bought a Maxpedition Jumbo EDC, and found it quite adequate to the task for my every day carry needs:  from handgun, holster, and reloads, to first aid kit, multitool, flashlight, cellphone, handheld electronics and accessories, water and a few snacks.

EDC List
Learn how to pick the best EDC flashlight

However, the Fastex clasp over the main lid broke which, paired with a couple of minor annoyances I had with that bag, gave me good opportunity to look for a new bag.  Since Maxpedition’s “tan” is actually a greenish-tan better suited for the Army’s digital sage pattern, I sought something closer to the coyote tan of my other gear.

The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag

Bug Out Bag Guide offered the perfect replacement.  I wound up paying about $15 more than I did for the Maxpedition, but just out of the packaging, it seems to have been well worth it.

advanced tactical hip bag
Click On The Image To Find Out How To Get Your Own Advanced Tactical Hip Bag

Overall Layout

Now, both bags follow largely the same layout:  The main bag partitioned into a rear compartment for handgun & holster, and the main compartment itself.

advanced tactical hip bag

Outside the main bag are four smaller external compartments, one being open-ended, cinchable, and able to be further secured by a velcro tab much like you find on some rifle magazine pouches. There are three other zippered ones on the top, front, and the opposite side.

advanced tactical hip bag

advanced tactical hip bag

The main lid extends over the front to secure the main compartment and cover the aforementioned front compartment, which itself features an extra open pocket.  The lid has a zippered pocket, too, and a strip of velcro long enough to accommodate two flag-sized patches, or nametape, etc.

advanced tactical hip bag

Both offer a padded shoulder strap that can quick-release with its Fastex buckle, and is anchored to one end of the main bag that features a small area of MOLLE/PALS webbing for attaching a small gadget pouch (radio, etc).  Both bags also offer breathable cushioning on the bag’s back.

advanced tactical hip bag

But, it’s the details that set the two apart, and all in all, I think the bag offered by BOBG is the better of the two.

The Details

Concealed Handgun Compartment

I carry a full-size HK USP45 (one of the larger service semiautos).  The Maxpedition accommodated it and a Bianchi Black Widow holster just fine, with room to spare for an extra magazine.  BOBG’s offering does it at least as well.  Both also feature velcro backing on one side of the compartment, to help further secure handguns in holsters.

Main Compartment

Both bags feature enough space to fit a military-issue IFAK (enclosed in its case) with just a tad more room to fit in, say, a pair of sunglasses in their case.  The compartment of both have a mesh pocket on one side, and a regular pocket on the other.

Where they differ most significantly is how they keep out dust and moisture, given the gaps left open by the lid.  The Maxpedition does nothing to keep small loose items from spilling out, but the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag (henceforth referred to as “ATHB”) has a liner you can cinch closed to prevent that as well as block dust and moisture from getting in.

advanced tactical hip bag

Neither bag is completely waterproof, but BOBG’s bag does feature a moisture-resistant lining (the sort you find on the lid of old-school ALICE packs) on practically all of its interior surfaces.

The underside of the Maxpedition has a single loop of webbing to hold the main compartment’s strap in place.  The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag has two more to either side.

Exterior Compartments

advanced tactical hip bag

Both are comparable, including the MOLLE webbing on the side compartment.  The Maxpedition is a tad roomier on the side compartments (for example, you can fit three USGI 30-rd M4 mags into the open pocket while the ATHB can fit only two), and offers paracord attached to the zippers (to make them easier to grasp while wearing gloves). It also features a strip of webbing in the front compartment for a flashlight, multitool, pens, etc.

Best Tactical Pen

The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag instead has a zippered mesh pocket and a clip lanyard.  The ATHB also offers another pocket inside the other side compartment (the one with the MOLLE webbing) that can fit a full-size double-stacked pistol magazine.  Furthermore, the ATHB’s top zippered pocket features MOLLE webbing, something the Maxpedition lacks.

advanced tactical hip bag

Strap

Both feature an adjustable strap that runs through a shoulder pad, secured by velcro, and permanently sewn into one end of the bag (behind some MOLLE webbing), and fastened by a quick-release Fastex buckle on the other end of the strap.  The Maxpedition strap is sturdier, and has a plastic D-ring above the MOLLE webbing, while the other end features another section of velcro for another patch.

advanced tactical hip bag

However, the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag has a metal clip (almost like a miniature carabiner), and yet another Fastex-secured small pouch for a knife, multitool, flashlight, cellphone, pistol magazine, and a sleeve for a pen.

advanced tactical hip bag

I wore my Maxpedition on pretty much a daily basis, taking it to work, hiking, etc.  I’ll be happy to submit a review on this bag after a couple months’ worth of use.  If you want to get your own Advanced Tactical Hip Bag CLICK HERE NOW.

UPDATE: After Using The Bag For 2+ Months!

Two months owning the bag, and I still like it very much.  Here’s a follow-up review I had promised.

I discovered a way to free up the main compartment by moving my rip-away IFAK to the outside.  I secure it by sticking it on the loop strip on the external flap and running a carabiner through the top pocket’s center MOLLE loop with the other running through the IFAK’s top handle (see attached photo).  It makes opening the flap (and accessing the front pocket) a little more cumbersome, but it works until I can get something on the order of AR500’s EPIK just to use with this bag.

Also, while the thinner main strap might be something of a compromise, I figured recently that it might be a good thing if you find yourself having to cut it away.

Overall, the bag has survived a few hikes and two months of nearly daily use.  I have thus far been very satisfied with it.

Your Thoughts

Was this review helpful to you? Have you experienced similar challenges with finding the right gear for your needs? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below, thanks!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Specialty Multitools

These multitools have particular applications in mind. Specialty multitools are designed for firearm maintenance, fishing, and all sorts of other specific tasks. Gerber offers the AR-15 centered eFect, while new manufacturer Minke is working hard to cover the fishing crowd.

We recommend: Gerber MP1-AR Weapons Mutli-Plier

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Click the image to see the best price for the Gerber Ar-15 Multiplier and user reviews on Amazon

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.

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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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