About a year ago, I revealed that I am a Class A nerd when I wrote about my top five keychain tools. Now, I am going to confirm it by providing you with yet another top five keychain tools. I love this stuff, and today, you are going to see some old, new and cheap tools that get toted around with me. Sometimes, they are attached to keychains. Other times, they are attached to backpacks or shoulder bags, and sometimes they just ride along in my pocket. It just depends on the day. With that, here are my top five keychain tools — part two.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five .38 Special Self-Defense Rounds
- Top Five New Old Guns
- And Top Five AR-15 Accessories
- Top Five Autoloading Pocket Pistols
- Top Five Materials for 1911 Grips
1. CRKT Viva
CRKT Viva demonstrates the evolution of the keychain. You can attach a keyring to this device and clip it onto a belt or pocket. It features a functional pry bar, flathead screwdriver, box wrench set and bottle opener. The Viva weighs 1.1 ounces and measures just shy of 4 inches long. Made from stonewashed stainless steel, the Viva is nearly indestructible.
Retailing for $9.99, it most often gets called into action in my world as a keychain and carried clipped to a belt loop. The next most popular tool is the unbelievably handy pry bar. After that is the bottle opener. When I use the box wrench (which is not often because it is just difficult to find a scenario in which I can actually fit the Viva on a bolt), I like having the leverage afforded by the belt loop. The Viva has replaced the traditional carabiner as my everyday keyholder.
For more information visit CRKT.com.
2. Disposable LED Light
This is one of those cheap trinkets you pick up at a trade show or convention when traveling for business. The next time you have the opportunity, get as many as you can! Keep one on your keychain or use one as a zipper pull on your favorite bag or backpack. You never know when having that small light will come in handy, but it’s more often than you think.
A simple squeeze of the light between the forefinger and thumb activates the light. Many such as this one have a small switch you move to keep the light on without having to pinch it the entire time. When the battery is dead, just pitch the whole light and find a new one. You can also buy these in bulk online. A five-pack will run you less than $4.
Shop Amazon for disposable keychain flashlights.
3. Swiss Army Knife (Evolution Series)
I actually found the Swiss Army Knife you see here in a park a long time ago. (If it happens to be yours, just let me know when and where you lost it, and if your story fits mine, I will send it back to you.) Anyway, this medium-sized, light-duty knife has proved its worth time and time again. Fitted with 14 functional tools, I have used this tool consistently since I found it. It includes two knife blades, scissors, two flathead screwdrivers, a bottle opener, a can opener, an awl/reamer with sewing eye, a wire stripper and bender, a corkscrew, tweezers, a toothpick and a keychain.
Serving as a keychain where it takes a truckload of abuse, it still functions perfectly despite showing some wear and tear. Favorite tool: the smaller of the two knife blades. It is eminently handy for the most mundane cutting chores for which even a folding knife is overkill. I don’t even mind that the blades don’t lock in place. You just have to be careful and know the limits of the tools. Current versions of this knife include the Evolution 14, which retails for $38.75.
For more information visit SwissArmy.com.
4. Boker Vox Access Tool
In the same vein as the Viva is the Boker Vox Access Tool — a titanium pry, cutter, bottle opener, carabiner, shackle opener and glass breaker. Weighing a mere 0.7 ounces, the Vox measures just under 4 inches long. Although I use it primarily as a pry and cutter, I am intrigued by the glass breaker, which is supposed to be its main feature.
This tool rides easily on the keychain containing my car keys (in case I need to shatter the window of my own car). The two rubber O-rings you see on the end keep the glass breaker from contacting anything and doing any damage. When it comes time to break glass, they O-rings give way, allowing the glass breaker to do its work. The Vox Access Tool sells for $29.95.
For more information visit BokerUSA.com.
If you’ve got three extra feet of paracord lying around, get it and look online for instructions on how to make a paracord keychain. You will find a dozen one-minute videos allowing you to turn that three feet of paracord into a keychain or pocket pull. What’s paracord useful for? Better to ask what paracord isn’t useful for, which is not much.
The point of having the paracord keychain is not to create another keychain, but rather to create a keychain you can unravel and use as a tie-down. To tie down what, you ask? Well, whatever you need to tie down. Paracord is super strong, lightweight and eminently useful for a variety of things. And once you make the keychain, you’ll get hooked making a paracord bracelet and a few other items.
I made the one you see here by doing exactly what I told you to do. It took about five minutes, and I used a lighter to melt the frayed ends of the paracord just enough to keep them from coming undone, but not so much that they melted into the rest of the cord. Paracord retails for about $45 per 1,000-foot spool or just under $6 for 50 feet. 550 Paracord has a 550-pound minimum break strength and will not rot or mildew if it gets wet.
I’ll be back in about a year with five more keychain tools. In the meantime, what are your favorites?
About the Author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.