Monday, January 28, 2013

Rant: The Politics Of "Every Day Carry"

I'll just come right out and say that I don't believe that politics have any place in the average Outdoors/EDC blog or community discussion. Throughout modern history, it's traditionally been considered impolite to discuss politics at the dinner table, right? I believe this holds true for social networking, blogs and discussion forums unrelated to politics as well. In any intimate or close community setting.

First off, if we can't all respect each other's beliefs, then how is a meaningful discussion about anything ever going to be possible? The answer of course, is that there hasn't been much meaningful discussion when it comes to politics, and people's passions have bled over into areas they would never go in so-called "real life" settings. The Internet does something to people's ability to self-edit. I try to live my Internet life by "would my mom be ashamed if I posted this?" and I'm here to tell you, some people's moms would be seriously ashamed.

Secondly, I don't even understand why every discussion of knives, multi-tools, flashlights or any outdoors topic has to devolve into political discussions, or at least have political undertones and snarky remarks. There's no need, it accomplishes nothing, and more importantly, I don't think most people want to hear it. I certainly don't, and you won't hear it from me.

I respect that some people live at either end of the spectrum, but most of us are somewhere in the middle. I get that blogs are the ultimate soap boxes, but my thought is that they are soap boxes to advance our ideologies, not undermine them.

The goal of this blog is to advance the philosophy of "every day carry" so that we as a society can return more to our roots of self sufficiency and social responsibility that made this country so great to begin with. I don't believe that most people are adequately prepared to face daily life, and I have found personally that what I carry with me on a daily basis can improve my life and make it less stressful. It's very empowering to know that wherever I am, just having a simple multi-tool, pocket knife and small flashlight on me at all times is going to help me solve situations that would leave most people stuck. And that's just daily life. In an emergency these same tools could mean the difference in surviving.

I am not a passive participant in life. Sitting on the sidelines isn't my thing. That is my "every day carry" philosophy. So, I don't plan on straying this blog very far from that. And as an reader of blogs, I much prefer outdoor/ EDC blogs and discussion groups that stay mostly on topic for what they say they are. I'm a happy, well adjusted guy; I really don't need to hear someone else's negativity day in and day out. It's good to know people's opinions. I like seeing a wide variety of opinions, and yes, including negative ones. Just not the same negative ones endlessly rehashed.

So, please, before you post your next rant on the evils of some political party or political figure, remember that most of us are tired of hearing it. And that goes equally for both ends of the spectrum. We get it, believe me. But we come to EDC blogs and discussion to discuss EDC gadgets with people who use and understand these gadgets. That's what I believe most of us are here for, regardless of any ideology.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1

About Swiss+Tech

Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1
Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1

Swiss+Tech makes a wide variety interesting keychain tools and widgets. They are an American company but I have been unable to figure out where their tools are made. My guess is Hong Kong or Mainland China.

Product Description

Price: About $10
It looks to me like Swiss+Tech is just slinging multi-tools to see which ones stick. Most of their designs don't appeal to me, but this one did. It's basically a clever bit driver with built-in flashlight, except that it takes standard bits.

My review sample was a stocking stuffer, I believe from the local Safeway. But you can get it from Amazon, too.

Official Specs (From the Swiss+Tech Store)


Product Features:
- Flat Head Driver
- #2 Phillips Driver
- #1 Phillips Driver
- 5/32" Allen Driver
- 2 LED Flashlight
- Key Ring

Specifications:
•Product Size: 2.6" x 1.3" x .4"
•Product Weight: 1.12 Oz.
•Bit Size: 1/4" x 1"
•10,000 MCD, 50,000-hour LED bulb
•2 Hours Continuous Use
•2 CR1025 lithium batteries
•Magnetic Socket
•Unique Patent Pending Design
•Lifetime Limited Warranty

Basic Design


This tool has a clever design. It's a simple bit driver with an LED on each side of the bit to light your work. The bit storage holds 4 bits with a little plastic cover which flips down. The cover seems a little flimsy, but overall, I like the design.

Flashlight


It's got a pair of small LED emitters on either side of the bit holder. I would guesstimate the combined output to be about 10 lumens. On the plus side, it even has a neutral tint, with no blue or purple hue to it like most LEDs in that class. 

I have not tested the run time, but 2 hours seems entirely reasonable given the LED and batteries. 

Driver


The driver takes standard bits. It looks a little flimsy bit it feels solid. It has a magnet in the rear of the socket and seems to hold the bits securely. I haven't had an issue with them being loose or falling out on me. 

Bits


The bits are a little on the cheap side and I'm not sure I would trust them with a serious task. If they were non-standard size, I probably would've never bought this tool. But they are standard size, which turns the into a serious tool.

Bit Storage


The storage area has room for four standard size bits. I tried a bunch of different driver types like Torx and they all fit just fine. As I've mentioned, the plastic cover for the bit storage feels a little flimsy, and because of this I am not certain how well it would do in a rugged environment on your keychain.

Usability


It's got a good feel to it- the design is well thought out, including the button for the flashlight.You almost have to press the button to get a good grip on it, but that's just fine with me.

Conclusions


I would have small reservations carrying this on a keychain if your keys get banged around much. Other than that, it's a neat little bit driver which lives full time in my EDC bag, which is one of the best compliments I can give it.

It would be even better if Swiss+Tech upped the quality on this, but as a light duty backup bit driver, I expect it to serve me well, with different bits in it of course.

Gallery

Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1: Closeup of driver bit and flashlight
Great design ... bits, not so great

Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1 shown with store-bought bits
Take your pick of bits!

Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1 shown on scale
The weight is reasonable for a tool of this type, with all four bits in storage

Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1 shown with Spyderco Dragonfly pocket knife and Fenix LD01 AAA flashlight
This goes in my EDC bag along with a couple other EDC legends, the Spyderco Dragonfly and the Fenix LD01

Swiss+Tech XDrive Pocket Driver Tool 6-in-1 shown with bits in the background
The oversize flashlight button has a great feel to it




Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool

About Swiss+Tech


Swiss+Tech makes a wide variety interesting keychain tools and widgets. They are an American company but I have been unable to figure out where their tools are made. My guess is Hong Kong or Mainland China.

Product Description
Price: About $10

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The Micro-Max Stainless 19-in-1 Steel Series keychain tool boasts a pair of pliers and a plethra of screwdrivers, and even a tiny drill bit! I was a little skeptical of this tool, but for 10 bucks and with 4 stars on Amazon, I figured I would give it a whirl. My review sample was purchased from Amazon.

Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • 2 hex wrenches (1/4", 7/16"), 6 screwdrivers (#0,1,2 flat, #0,1,2 Phillips)
  • Pliers, bottle opener, wire cutter and stripper, wire crimper
  • Hand drill, file, 2 rulers (mm and inch), 2 ruler extensions (mm and inch)
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Overall Design


A couple things stand out about the overall design of this tool. First off, it attaches to your keychain by clamping the pliers down, similar to the IDL T7 tool. And like the T7, this tool folds completely flat and is very compact.

Unlike the T7, however, the screwdrivers, which are the "arms" of the pliers fold out parallel to the pliers, which in my opinion is a fatal design flaw. You can't put much force on the pliers without the arms folding on you, and the same goes for the screwdrivers. So, if you don't plan on using much force on what you are fixing, then you're fine. But to me, neither is of much use if I'm precluded from really cranking down on something.

But wait, there's another fatal flaw, and for the same reason. Since the arms don't lock open or closed, the tool wants to fall off your keychain without a rubber band (see below.) So, even if it looks good and is suitable for light duty, it'll probably fall off your keychain anyway.

Fit and Finish


Overall, fair to good. It's a little rough around the edges and the pliers don't mate perfectly on mine, but overall it's well machined and highly polished. It's a good looking tool. The machining on the pliers is so-so, but the good machining on the screwdrivers more than make up for it. If the screwdrivers locked, the well-machined tips would really be useful. Poorly machined screwdrivers tend to strip screws, a problem these screwdrivers wouldn't have if they were actually usable.

Usability


I tried using the pliers on something, but it was nearly impossible to get enough force on the arms without them wanting to fold up. The screwdrivers are semi-usable if you only fold them out 90 degrees. Since the main draw for me was pliers and screwdrivers, I did not attempt to use the other tools.

Conclusions


My advice is to avoid this tool. It's fairly well machined, and it sure looks good, but in my opinion, it's more eye candy than a serious tool you'd be able to depend on. The screwdrivers are well machined but hard to use with any real amount of force. And given that it wants to unfold and fall off a keychain, I would say this tool would only be well suited inside a nerdy EDC bag, where you might use the screwdrivers on something light-duty like a computer motherboard or something.  But overall, as a multi-tool, you can do much better. Get a Squirt PS4 instead, and sleep well at night in the knowledge that it won't fold under pressure-pun intended. Or get the budget IDL T7, which is similar but with a better design.

Gallery

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
It certainly has a lot of tools...

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The screwdriver tips are well-machined

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The "drill" is too small to be useful, but hey, it looks cool

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
It's a good lookin' multi-tool

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
I like how the screwdrivers fold into the other screwdrivers

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The pliers handle doesn't lock, so good luck putting any real force on it

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The weight is entire reasonable for a multi-tool this size

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
I have to admit, it does look cool on my keychain, with the Gerber Shard and Fenix E01

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
I put a rubber band on mine to keep it secure on the keychain. I'm trying to be a good sport with giving this tool a chance





Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Fenix LD01 [AAA Flashlight]

About Fenix


Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with detachable clip
Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with detachable clip
Fenix is a Chinese flashlight manufacturer known for making high quality flashlights. They are also known for fairly conservative designs compared to their competitors. They have a pretty good following among "flashaholics" who appreciate their no-nonsense designs.

Product Description


Price: around $30 to $35 online

The LD01 is a 3 mode LED "twisty" flashlight which takes AAA batteries. It features a Cree XP-G R4 emitter and a hard anodized aluminum body with a spring at the tail.

My review sample was purchased in a gift box from Amazon.com and came with a Fenix E01 flashlight, which is widely considered to be one of the most indestructible flashlights known to man.

Official Specs








Note that my own tests show closer to 1 hour on high with a fully charged Eneloop.

Overall Design


Mode Switching: The LD01 features a M-L-H mode order with no memory. While it isn't my preferred mode order, I do appreciate that arguing mode order is like arguing politics. Still, it would be nice if it had a mode memory.

Emitter: Newer versions of this like, like mine, feature a Cree XP-G R4 emitter, which I think has a slightly better (warmer) tint than the slightly brighter R5. Mine has an almost creamy tint, just like another AAA favorite, the Thrunite Ti.

Body: The head has some aggressive knurling on it for a good grip while twisting. Other than that, the body and the anodizing are good, but nothing special.

Tail: The light can tail stand, even on a keyring. This design seems to give the light a more stable tail stand than any of my other AAA lights.

Clip: The clip is a typical snap-on variety.It's fairly tight and sturdy for being a snap-on clip, but it still isn't as secure or stable as a screw-on clip. C'mon Fenix, give us a real clip!

Batteries: The light can pretty much take any battery that fits. It officially supports AAA batteries, both rechargeable and disposable, but it's also widely known that it will (unofficially) run a 3.6V Li-Ion 10440 cell if you are careful not to run it on high for more than about 5 minutes.

Circuitry: Newer models like mine are current controlled - no obnoxious PWM, not to mention highly efficient.

Fit and Finish


Overall, good. The anodizing on mine is acceptable. Most of these flashlight companies claim a hard anodizing but I highly doubt that even from most of the higher end lights like this one. My Sunwayman lights all have top notch anodizing and among other makers, it's hit and miss.

Other than the anodizing, the rest of the light has an excellent fit and finish. The emitter is perfectly centered, the o-rings were lubed and the light made a good connection right out of the box. There were no scratches, tool marks or irregularities in the body or threads.

Usability


Overall, excellent. This is an EDC light in every sense of the word. It has what I would consider a great balance between flood and throw, though it leans a little towards the throw side with the smaller die XP-G.

I don't know if it's because the threads are of such a high precision, but this light suffers from the "mode skipping" less than my other twisty mode lights.

With a 10440 lithium ion battery in it (NOT OFFICIALLY SUPPORTED), this thing is a real pocket rocket. I usually keep a 10440 in it most times, and if I need to run it on high for more than a couple minutes, I go grab a bigger light. But for most times, having the powerful battery allows this to be my day to day EDC with a fairly large property. It'll light up my entire back yard.


Conclusions


This is a fantastic light. I almost didn't buy it because of all the hype, and then I almost didn't write the review, again, because of all the hype. But this light deserves another review. As far as I am concerned, all the hype is true, though I hear some of the earlier versions weren't nearly as good as this one. This light is an AAA light that is absolutely worth $35.

At any given time, the LD01 is probably in my pocket. Sometimes for camping or road trips, I will swap out a bigger light like the Sunwayman V11R, at which point the LD01 usually goes onto my keychain as a backup.

Since the day I bought it, this light has never been far from my side. From home to hotel to wilderness, it's held up well and earned my respect. My only real complaint is the M-L-H mode order, which I think is idiotic.This light has an almost cult following.

Gallery

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with Fenix E01
Shown with the E01 that came in the gift set

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with Fenix E01
Two solid, but radically different flashlights

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, closeup of reflector
Here you can see the orange peel (OP) reflector

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, clipped to pocket
The detachable clip is pretty decent - one of the better ones

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with Spyderco Dragonfly pocket knife and Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-tool
EDC Trifecta of Awesome: Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, with Spyderco Dragonfly and Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-tool

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight - Closeup of Cree R4 emitter
Closeup of the Cree XP-G R4 emitter

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight - Closeup of threads
Closeup of the anodized, trapezoidal threads

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown on scale
Less than an ounce with a 10440 li-ion battery in it!

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with Sunwayman V11R EDC flashlight
EDC Pals, the Fenix LD01 and the Sunwayman V11R

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with Ultrafire 10440 3.6V li-ion battery
Remember, the 10040 is not officially supported, and can explode or melt if you over discharge it, so be careful!

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with 2nd gen. Eneloop AAA
Shown with 2nd Generation Eneloop AAA low self discharge battery

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with 2nd gen. Eneloop AAA
My LD01 came in a gift pack with an E01

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown in wilderness with Spyderco Ladybug pocket knife
Shown on the trail with a Spyderco Ladybug pocket knife
Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, back of gift set packaging
Back of the gift set packaging

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown in wilderness with Spyderco Ladybug pocket knife
Small but rugged

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown in wilderness with Spyderco Ladybug pocket knife
Package came with extra o-rings and split rings too

Fenix LD01 AAA Flashlight, shown with Fenix E01 flashlight
Same grippy knurling on both lights. I just wish the LD01 had more of it, like its companion, the E01


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Knives Make Poor Self Defense Weapons

Most people I talk to are surprised to hear my thoughts on knives for self defense, given how many knives and other sharp objects I actually own. While I generally consider myself a pacifist, I'm not morally opposed to harming another individual who means me or my family harm. But I truly believe that for most applications, a knife is one of the worst possible tools for self-defense. I understand that I'm probably in the minority among cutlery enthusiasts, but I do know from various discussions on the Internet that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

First off, it's probably been 25 years since I was in a dojo or actively practiced any form of self defense. However, I have never stopped contemplating the philosophical aspects of self defense, which is where my main interest lies, though someday I may be called upon to put my philosophy to the test.

Before I give my thoughts on knives, I would like to point out that I believe that for most encounters, having to defend yourself in the first place is a failure of your self defense strategy. I honestly haven't seen many situations in my entire life which didn't have some non-violent way out. Most people just plain suck at even simple conflict resolution, which I believe lies at the heart of all true self defense. Like Bruce Lee said, the art of fighting without fighting. I believe avoiding a fight is the highest form of self defense.

The main reason I believe that knives make lousy self defense weapons in general is that as a weapon, it gives you the fewest options of any weapon other than a gun. With a knife, defending yourself requires killing or maiming your attacker, which again, I'm not morally against per se. But my attacker is also another human being; somebody's son. So, I'm not against harming my attacker, but that is not my main intent, which is to remain unharmed myself. If I can plot a course through a sea of hotheads and come out the other side with no one harmed, then I would very much prefer that outcome.

Again, the goal of self defense is not to harm others, but to avoid harm yourself. I think other options like pepper spray, mace and even small batons are a far superior solution to that one time in one hundred where there's no peaceful solution, like being mugged or something. Make your attacker reconsider the attack just long enough to get away. It seems like that should be your ultimate goal in most situations. And as such, weapons like knives and guns should be last ditch weapons relegated mostly to home defense.

Now, for home defense I do keep a Cold Steel Tanto GI knife in my nightstand, and yeah, I am a collector, with, uh, just a few knives. So, I do think knives are passable home defense weapons; not ideal, but passable. Also, I live in a semi-rural area, and something that goes bump in the night is more likely to be a wild animal, which as my dad points out, probably isn't aware of my tendencies towards pacifism. But so far, I've even managed to have peaceful encounters with the wildlife.

I have been even thinking of using something like a big can of bear spray as a first line of home defense too in addition to a high lumen strobe light which I have used semi-successfully on a few wild animals. And tactical flashlights also make great Kubotans as well.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: Leatherman Juice Xe6 [Multi-Tool]

Product Description

Price: $60-$70 online

The Juice Xe6 is a classic multi-tool, made in the USA by the company that basically invented the multi-tool
Leatherman Juice Xe6 Multi-Tool Product Link
Leatherman Juice Xe6 Multi-Tool Product Link
(though you could argue that is SAK.)  It has as many tools as you can pack into that small of a space, and they are all high quality. I would consider this more of a "gentleman's multi-tool" because it looks like it's designed more for a weekend trip than a job site. This is evidenced by the overall design, and well, tools like the corkscrew.

One note is that the tool does not come with a clip or sheath of any kind.

My review sample was purchased from Amazon.com

UPDATE 10/24/2013: I have updated the review with better photos!

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Opened Up
Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Split View Side
Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Split View TopLeatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Side Corkscrew

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Knife Nick

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Bottom

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Top

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Another Side View

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Another Top View

Official Specs (From Leatherman's Web Site)

Here is a link to the user guide as well.
Tools:
Needlenose Pliers
Regular Pliers
Wire Cutters
Hard-wire Cutters
420HC Knife
420HC Serrated Knife
Scissors
Saw
Extra-small Screwdriver
Small Screwdriver
Medium/Large Screwdriver
Phillips Screwdriver
Diamond-coated File
Wood/Metal File
Bottle Opener
Can Opener
Corkscrew with Assist
Awl

Features:
Lanyard Ring
100% Stainless Steel
Anodized Aluminum Handle Scales
Available Colors: "Storm" Gray and "Thunder" Purple
25-year Warranty

Measurements:
3.25 in | 8.25 cm (Closed)
6.7 oz | 190 g (Weight)
2.6 in | 6.60 cm (Blade Length)


Made In The USA


While I like to judge each tool on its own merits, it is gratifying to see high quality, made-in-the-USA tools like this. I don't have that requirement for purchasing knives and tools, but it's a nice perk.

Overall Design


If I had to describe the overall design with one word, that word would be "compact."  Clearly the goal of this design is to pack the most amount of tools into the smallest possible package, and I think they have done that here successfully. 

The tool layout is fairly straightforward, Every tool that can be realistically accessed from the outside, they put on the outside. This design presents some challenges like some tools being harder to get to than others, and some tools needing other tools open to get to that tool. For example, the saw is very hard to get to without opening the awl tool first.

This design, while being very efficient, also makes it kind of like solving a puzzle to decide where the tool you want resides. But rest assured, every tool you need is there, if you can find it.

One area of the design I was really disappointed with, is the fact that the pliers are not spring-loaded. I thought I read somewhere where Leatherman said something along the lines that it wasn't possible to build spring which was reliable enough for their exacting standards. Which is nice, but it seems like every other multi-tool on the planet has that, including a couple Leatherman's I own like the Squirt and the Wingman

There's also what I would call a design quirk, which is that the can opener seems to get "tangled" in the corkscrew. This is mentioned in a bunch of other reviews. You have to open the can opener all the way to get full functionality of the corkscrew. It's a good thing I don't drink much wine.

It's also curious that Leatherman chose to use rivets instead of screws to hold the tool together, which means it cannot be taken apart. If this were any other tool it would be a deal breaker for me, but Leatherman has such a good warranty and reputation that I'm not worried. If it needs to come apart, it goes straight to Leatherman.

Handle


The Juice has aluminum scales. They almost feel plastic but they are a thin, anodized Aluminum. They feel a little cheap, but that's the only thing about this whole tool that feels cheap. Ok, the rivets too. They are even a little too smooth, giving this too something less than a perfect grip. It would've been nice to see some sort of texturing or knurling.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Opened Side

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Opened Top View


Knife (plain)


The hollow ground, non-locking, plain-edge knife is easily accessible from the outside and looks to be great quality. Mine came with a good edge that I would expect from an American made knife. I'm glad they didn't do a chisel grind with this knife.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Plain Edge Knife
Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Plain Edge Jimping

Knife (serrated)


The slip joint serrated blade is made from the same high quality steel, and even has a little jimping on the spine of the blade, though it mostly looks to be for show. Since the jimping is only on the last maybe half inch of the spine, it's hard to hold the tool to where my thumb makes good contact with it. But either way, it's nice to see a separate serrated blade, as I absolutely hate partially-serrated blades, which I think give you the worst of both worlds.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Serrated Knife View 1

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Serrated Knife View 2

Scissors


The spring-loaded scissors are on the opposite side of the plain edge knife. They are high quality with a sturdy looking spring. The ergonomics are passable. My average size hands can easily accomplish a task like cutting wrapping paper. They are non-locking, which is fine for scissors.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: View Of Scissors 1

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: View Of Scissors 2

File


The Juice has a first rate file, which is coarse on one side and fine on the other. It's even in a fairly convenient spot next to the serrated blade. Unlike most multi-tools, this is a real file.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: View Of Coarse File

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: View Of Fine File 1

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: View Of Fine File 2


Awl and Opener


Both fine tools, though I'm not sure they need to be on the outside of the tool. In fact, the can / bottle opener gets in the way of the corkscrew.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Can Opener

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Awl 1
Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Awl 2

Corkscrew


It's functional, but I don't really like the design. I've only used it a couple times and the best thing I can say is that it was better than not having a corkscrew.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Corkscrew


Saw


There's a saw tucked away on the outside of the tool, under the awl, which is a strange location to me. The blade looks a little thin, but it has nice, sharp teeth and looks plenty functional, though I think it's almost redundant with the serrated blade. It certainly didn't get much love from Leatherman.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Saw 1

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Saw 2


Pliers


Other than not being spring-loaded, the pliers are great. The quality of the machining and steel are excellent, and the wire cutters are actually useful. They are a little more narrow then I would expect, but for the most part that has been a good thing, as the thinner pliers get into tighter spaces. But they don't look quite as beefy as other models, so I'm not sure I would use them regularly at a job site or anything.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers 1

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers 2

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers 3

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers 4
Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers 5


Screwdrivers


There's 3 flat head and 1 Philips screwdriver on the inside of the tool. The location is good and the tools themselves are great. Just like the other tools, the quality of the steel and machining really shines. This is especially important for screwdrivers, where the cheaper ones are more likely to strip your screws. The screwdrivers to me are just another reason why this tool is better suited in an electronics bag then in a shop or on the trail. I would rather use this tool to take apart a computer than any muli-tool in my collection.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Flathead Screwdrivers

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Large Flathead Screwdriver

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Small Flathead Screwdriver

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Flathead Screwdrivers Folded

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Medium Flathead Screwdriver

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Philips Screwdriver 1

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Philips Screwdriver 2


Lanyard Ring


There's a little fold-out lanyard attachment ring on the inside of the tool. I really wish there was a clip too. But I guess it's better than nothing, and I understand that lots of people are big fans of lanyards. It's easy to miss this little ring if you're not looking for it.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Philips Lanyard Ring 1

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Philips Lanyard Ring 2


Fit and Finish


Overall, superb. This is a higher-end, American made tool and it shows. My only real gripe is that the Aluminum scales look and feel kind of cheap, even if they aren't. But other than that, my sample didn't have a single flaw that I could find. Both knives came razor sharp, and there wasn't one scratch or tool mark. Whoever made this took pride in its construction. My Wingman, while a great tool in its own right, isn't even in the same ballpark as the Juice when it comes to fit and finish.

Usability


Overall, good. Day to day it's a little quirky as an EDC, but all the tools are there, even if you have to fumble with a few of them. The knives would obviously be better with locking mechanisms, but this doesn't take as much away from the tool as I thought it would, maybe because I always have a dedicated EDC knife too.

There's a couple things that take away from a perfect usability. First, put a spring in the damn pliers. Seriously. If Leatherman did that, this would probably be my permanent EDC. I could live just fine with the other flaws.

Second, it really needs to come with a clip or include a sheath. I made the mistake of not purchasing one separately the same time I bought the Juice, and I never seem to get around to ordering one. Every time I pick up the Juice and think that I need a sheath, I just put it down and clip the Wingman to my belt instead. But I don't really like being nickel and dimed with a product, and I think that Leatherman should include a sheath or at the least a removable clip. It's not an optional accessory if not having it makes the tool much less useful.

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool: Closeup In Hand


Conclusions


I'm really on the fence about this tool. It's so well made and such high quality that I naturally want to carry it. But every time I leave the house, I clip the Wingman to my belt instead, because it has the convenient deep carry clip. And every time I need a pair of pliers, I grab the Wingman first as well, because it has the spring loaded pliers.

I think once I get a sheath for the Juice, then it will live in my electronics bag with my laptop, tablet and all my other gizmos and doodads. The Juice to me is more nerdy than it is outdoorsy. For camping I still prefer the much cheaper but still capable Wingman.

But all things considered, the Juice is a fine multi-tool and it's ingenious in the number of tools it packs into so small a space. I'm not sure what role it will play in my collection, but I know that when I need it, then it will be up to the task. And either way, I'm going to have a Leatherman as my EDC. I think I will try the Charge Ti next...

Gallery


Leatherman Juice Xe6 Multi-Tool on scale
It's a pretty good chunk of steel!





Leatherman Juice Xe6 showing closeup of pliers
Closeup of the non spring-loaded pliers. Other than that one detail, they are excellent quality




Leatherman Juice Xe6 multi-tool showing closeup of awl and saw
Closeup of the Awl and Saw tools. You have to open the Awl to get the Saw out



From top: Leatherman Squirt PS4, Leatherman Juice Xe6 and Leatherman Wingman multi-tools
Blades out, from top: Leatherman Squirt PS4, Leatherman Juice Xe6 and Leatherman Wingman multi-tools



Leatherman Juice Xe6 multi-tool showing spring loaded scissors
Closeup of the spring-loaded scissors

Leatherman Juice Xe6 multi-tool showing closeup of scissors
Closeup of the spring-loaded scissors. They have an acceptable feel to them


Leatherman Juice Xe6 multi-tool showing closeup of Philips screwdriver
The Juice has a nice, beefy Philips screwdriver - none of that semi-flat crap you see on most multi-tools

Leatherman Juice Xe6 multi-tool showing closeup of corkscrew and bottle/can opener
Closeup of the bottle/can opener and corkscrew - opener has to be open to access the corkscrew

Leatherman Juice Xe6 multi-tool showing another closeup of corkscrew and bottle/can opener
Another closeup of the corkscrew.

Leatherman Juice Xe6 multi-tool shown with Ka-Bar Becker BK14 Eskabar
Shown with a Ka-Bar Becker BK14 Eskabar fixed-blade knife - made in the USA, baby!

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool Shown With Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool

Leatherman Juice XE6 Multi-Tool Shown With Squirt PS4 and Wingman Multi-Tools