For years the Leatherman Crunch has been the only player in the folding, locking plier head category- many other companies like Kershaw and Schrade have tried locking plier tools, but none seemed to be that successful, leaving the Crunch the only one available to anyone needing a locking tool. Gerber has now thrown their hat in the ring with a locking plier tool, which also incorporates Gerber's traditional sliding head to boot!
With the modern trend towards minimalist tools and the success of Leatherman's Skeletool which dominates the category, Gerber initially released the Crucial, which met with lukewarm success. While it was a decent tool, it didn't give much in the way of competition. This year (2010) Gerber ups their ante with the introduction of the Octane, a tool that incorporates some of the things Gerber does best, along with some great new ideas.
Form should follow function in a tool, and yet “pretty” tools seem to sell better. Gerber took that to heart when designing the Strata- it is certainly pretty enough to sit alongside Gerbers fashion models like the Suspension and Resolve, and yet it's tough enough to have a place on any handyman's belt. Even I dismissed this one initially, as it seems a bit fancy at first look, but given how many times I've been wrong before, I decided to give this one a closer look. The folks at www.RockyNational.com were only too happy to help me out.
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.
Sometimes the simplest designs are the best, which explains the myriad of one piece tools on the market these days. The Spare Tool follows that example in spirit if not in form. Technically it has more than one piece in the design, and is somewhat larger than the average one piece tool like Atwood's Prybaby, Gerber's Shard or Raker's Ring Tool. However, it does fit the pattern of a basic prybar, bottle opener and a few other functions rolled into one basic piece of steel like the others.