Anyone familiar with CRKT knives and tools knows that CRKT has never been interested in making the “same old, same old” kind of product, and you have to respect both their ability to create new and exciting products and share the lime light with their designers. Elsewhere designers aren’t credited on a product unless they have a big name, and how are you supposed to get a big name without being able to put it on anything?
Since the dawn of the knife man has had to sharpen his knife from time to time as the need arises, sharpening is a skilled labor, you have to learn how to use a stone to hone your edge or take the cheating route and use any one of the numerous gimmicks that they have for sharpening. Well Columbia River has a production knife that sharpens itself, I had to see it to believe but it’s true. And best of all, this puppy’s affordable.
Recently Tom Stokes designed a knife around another designers revolutionary opening design, which resulted in the Fulcrum Flame, a knife I own and like very much. Inspiration struck Tom again when looking at the Ashworth Turtle knife, and this time the result is the Gekkota. The Gekkota however has more in common with the money clip or dog tag style tools usually found in promo catalogues or discount outlets- or rather it's function has more in common with them. The overall quality of the Gekkota is the usual CRKT standard.
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.
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.
I was lucky enough to first see the CRKT Flux at the 2009 SHOT Show in Orlando- and in fact, I had the designer, Tom Stokes walk me through the components. I was fascinated as Tom showed me the concept of a multitool that is customizable to your intended needs, similar to the failed Coleman Pro Lock . Coleman unfortunately did not support the Pro Lock and as a result, the Pro Lock never amounted to much. Let's hope that CRKT doesn't make the same mistake with the Flux.
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
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.
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.