Most of the multitools we see on the market are from the big three; Leatherman, SOG and Gerber. There are other companies that produce tools as well but are not what I consider key players. Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) is one of those companies and they seem to wow us with innovative designs but never stay in the limelight long enough. CRKT produces a lot of in house designs but I consider them more of a publisher. They collaborate with a lot of knife designers and as a result they able to give us innovative designs at affordable prices.
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.
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.
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.
What kind of people would write collect and review multitools? Quite simple really- we are designers and do-ers, outdoors types and indoor types, mechanics, doctors, problem solvers and problem makers. As such, we have, as a world spanning community, put every type, size and version of multitool, multifunction knife, pocket knife and all related products to every test we could manage in as many places and environments as there are.