Like many other folks, my first thoughts on the new CRKT Eat'n Tool were less than serious, and I wondered how any real multitool enthusiast or user would make use of this tool. After carrying and using this tool I realized I was looking at this tool all wrong- it's not an Every Day Carry (EDC) type tool, it's a specialized tool for a camper or hiker who wants a lightweight spork with some extra functionality for maintaining equipment. For the type of user who really cares about weight, the Eat'n Tool might just be the ticket.
With the current trend going towards smaller, more conveniently carried tools, CRKT has once again managed to follow the crowd, but do it in their own inimitable way. Initially they shrank their first tools, the Zilla and Guppie into the Zilla Jr and Li'l Guppie , but the Cicada is something entirely new, not only to CRKT, but also to the multitool world.
The Cicada is a lot of tools in a small package
Gerber Legendary Blades has been making knives and tools now for 70 years; hard to believe they have been in the market since before Leatherman was founded. Since Gerber released their first multitool (1991) they have been churning them out in an effort to keep them selves ahead of the pack. Gerber continues to innovate and gives us tools that we both thought were cool looking and some that made us wonder what they were thinking. Gerber went back to the drawing board and decided to create a tool from scratch that was very different than the usual Gerber product line. There seems to be a trend involving a lightweight tool that features a minimal amount of basic functions. Gerber has come through and brought a design which I feel will do the Gerber product line some justice.
Dubbed the Crucial the new tool features several basic features that you would use on a daily basis and cuts out the tools you probably wouldn’t need. At 5 oz the Crucial is quite a light tool, perfect for EDC (Everyday Carry) and right at home in your pocket. Featuring sleek curved handles which are both ergonomic and have a sense of flair, they house a number of simple tools to get most jobs done.
The Freestyle has been one of the most anxiously awaited models from Leatherman for some time, but has gone through a number of changes since it's inception. Originally it was expected to look like the Skeletool series, and in fact, we had heard about the Freestyle long before the Skeletool emerged. Still, at the 2008 SHOT Show I had seen three very similar variations of what was expected to be the Skeletool, Skeletool CX and the Freestyle. At the time, the Freestyle was expected to have the same basic layout of the Skeletool, only with a fixed “multipurpose” driver expected to fit both slotted and phillips screws, rather than the interchangeable bit drivers found on the Skeletool series.
In the multitool market, manufacturers primarily create tools with pliers as their primary function. Occasionally we see interesting designs that depart from the norm and are pretty much in a league of their own. When CRKT/I.D. Works created the Zilla and the Guppie; there was a surprising acceptance by the multitool community. Someone had decided to try something different with a unique flair to them and they appeared to be an instant success. After the original release there were some folks claming that the tools where too large. A small and more compact version of the tools are what would hit that certain sweet spot with the consumers. With reduction in size came compromises. The Zilla Jr. could not accept standard hex bits anymore and the ‘Lil Guppie no longer had the ability to use bits at all and was reduced to using drivers that were part of it’s design. I.D. Works came up with an excellent solution to remedy the problem. A hex driver, one that would not replace the smaller tools but would compliment them instead. Thus was born the Get-A-Way Driver, a unique hex driver that is more than ordinary and features an impressive array of tools that defiantly make a complete package with the new CRKT tools.
Small, yet deceptively versatile, the Get-A-Way Driver works well by itself or with other tools
Ever since Columbia River hit the scene with their tool line by the I.D. Works division, the knife/tool community has kept an eye on what is new from CRKT and the imaginative guys behind the tools (Launce Barber and Tom Stokes). Besides the release of the Get-A-Way Driver, they have released a carabiner tool that sports some neat features.
OK, this really doesn’t fall into the traditional, mainstream “pliers-scissors-screwdriver” multi-tool category but it’s still a neat multi-tool so I thought I’d share it with you guys. It shows us that multi-tools can be of all shapes and sizes.
My father was a BIG tobacco smoker back in the 1970’s and 80’s. According to him, he would smoke cigarettes in the morning, a cigar for lunch and a pipe in the evening. He quit smoking in the late 1980’s and about 10 years ago, gave me an assortment of cigarette lighters, cigar cutters and pipe tools. I never really looked at them and always kept them in a cigar box but this past month, I rummaged through the box to see what I had. When I saw this neat little item, the first thing I thought was “cool, it’s like a mini multi-tool.”
The KF4, though now retired, was introduced by Leatherman in 2001 with the launching the Juice line. It’s been released in “solar” yellow as well as “storm” grey. You’ll also see my customized beater in a few picks.
As far as the tools go, the KF4 tool list reads like a fully equipped large multi-tool, with the notable exceptions of scissors and can/bottle openers. Everything on this tool solidly snaps open with back springs like a slip joint pocketknife.
Similar to it's more affordable cousins, the standard Skeletool and the yet to be released Freestyle, the Skeletool CX is the premium model in this particular line. It boasts the same features as the standard model, but with a few extra bonuses.
Early last year the tool world was all abuzz about the new Guppie multitool from CRKT. It was based on a wrench platform and had a form factor like no other device that comes to mind. In 2008 the Guppie gave birth to an offspring that was designed to be precisely 50% lighter than the original. Fittingly called the Li’l Guppie, this new gadget from CRKT seems to be targeted at the keychain tool niche currently occupied by such tools as the Leatherman Micra, SeberTool M4 and SOG CrossGrip.