by Norman C. Berns
I’m on the road about as often as I’m in my office. But this was a bigger trip than usual, driving halfway across the country shifting from years of work in Minneapolis back home to New York. With the car already jammed with more than I could ever need, I was left with limited space for my toolkit, room for only the absolutely essentials.
I grabbed a few of my favorites.
CRKT’s Zilla Tool was just enough to handle stray nuts, bolts and the occasional loose screw. So I could keep on cooking along the way, the Crossover Shear – strong scissors with the soul of a kitchen knife. And because you never know what might need a quick slice, I added the exceptionally beautiful and astonishingly functional, big bladed Natural.
Those are tools I already knew and used often. I wrote about them at https://www.reelgrok.com/review-detail.cfm?rid=151and https://www.reelgrok.com/review-detail.cfm?rid=145. But for this trip, I needed to add a few others to round out my traveling kit.
I knew I’d need a flashlight because I always need a flashlight. And I knew I’d be eating, too, and handy utensils wouldn’t always be at hand. Those were two new, whoppingly good tools from Columbia River Knife & Tool, CRKT. I expected them to be good, but these were much better than I’d imagined.
I chose the Williams Tactical Flashlight because it was small (under 5” long and about 3 ounces) and surprisingly versatile for its size. I didn’t quite know yet how versatile it would prove to be.
There are six separate settings, from a dim 3 lumens ideal as a midnight guide without waking my wife (and it can keep running at the level for a whopping 11 days) all the way up to a blinding 320 lumens designed to stop any opponent, even strobing the light to add disorientation to the glare.
No, really. I tried it on myself in high-powered strobe-mode. That’s a test I never plan to repeat. Trust me; it works all too well. Fortunately, I had no call to repeat the experiment with a real invader.
As it happened, on my first night with the light, we had a blackout. Total. Pitch. Black. The hardest part was finding the light. Once in hand, I set it at 10 lumens and stood it on its base so the light bounced off the ceiling for an ideal night light. When the darkness lasted longer than our fascination with the Flashlight, we set it at 75 lumens, making the room bright enough for comfortable reading. When the lights finally returned after a few hours, we no longer cared much. We had our light in hand.
The lightweight flashlight has a solid hard-coat, anodized aluminum body for toughness and an industrial grade rubberized cap switch to control lighting modes. Fairly expensive at $125 (about $40 an ounce!), this flashlight earns its keep in any emergency. When you need help, it delivers.
And because eating is one of my favorite preoccupations at home or on the road, I knew I’d need something simple andhandy for the trip. That led me to the gorgeously designed CRKT Eat’N Tool, that begins with a large spoon/fork (a spork, a foon?) on one end and a nicely oversize (and surprisingly comfortable) hand grip on the other.
That leaves room for a pry tool of sorts, a can opener, bottle opener, and little carabiner to carry it all on your belt or pack. There’s a box wrench, too, but that may be one tool too many for me.
The light weight 3Cr13 steel is available in gray or black. It’s a funny little utensil for sure, but a life-saver when carry-out meal are just too good (or messy) for plastic spoons or the beer was left unopened. (Or, I suppose, a stray bold has come loose.) For a measly $15, this no-brainer is now an essential in my traveling tool kit.
Like all my favorite tools, this pair fills a need and handles their task with class. Can’t ask for more than that.
Columbia River Knife & Tool
Williams Tactical Applications Flashlight – $125
Eat’N Tool XL – $15