I’m Gonna Be Honest, Your Multitools Make You Look Like a Serial Killer

Because a healthy lifestyle includes a clean diet, exercise, sleep and cutting the BS, we give you I’m Gonna Be Honest: an occasional dressing-down of popular opinions that, well, shouldn’t be. Whether you agree or disagree, we’re happy to start the conversation.

I love a Renaissance festival.

While not the most historically accurate of events, the communion of women living out their Daenerys Targaryen fantasies, knights in not-so-shining armor and rag-clad ruffians hawking (and making crass allusions to) barrel pickles creates a world unto itself that is wholly separate from the McDonald’s down the road.

Which is why, when you see someone walking the grounds with a gem-inlaid longsword or double-bitted labrys axe, you don’t call the police. But take those weapons out of context, like the time I saw a hipster Templar knight in the subway, and you can and should feel alarmed.

So what do we do with the proliferation of edge-of-the-earth, military-inspired tools that have made their way into the everyday-carry arsenal of average Joes everywhere? Because, I’m gonna be honest, some of today’s “badass” multitools make you look more like a serial killer than a survivalist. 

While I may be alone in my editorializing, I’m not the first to tackle the grey area between “gear” and “weapon.”

Consider the case of a 5-in-1 axe, spade, hammer, knife and saw. Sound familiar? It’s because I just described the the Combar, a “rugged heavy-duty multi-tool” from a company called Aclim8 that recently raised over $237K on Kickstarter.

Where this story gets interesting is what happened when the campaign ended and they migrated to Indiegogo. After a few days live on the site, Indiegogo’s Trust and Safety team closed the campaign “due to a violation of [its] Terms of Use.” The violation? According to the Community Guidelines for Campaign Owners, weapons are prohibited, including “firearms, knives, brass knuckles,” among other things.

Aclim8 quickly took to Facebook to comment on the closing, saying that preorders would move to their own website, but not before taking a couple personal shots at Indiegogo: “The Indiegogo ban simply makes us more determined to bring the Combar to market and put it in the hands of people who know better than some judgemental desk jockeys who have never spent a night outdoors.”

[WHISTLES] Red card! 

Look, we can certainly understand the annoyance of being shut down by one crowdfunding platform after thriving on another. But Aclim8 should have taken a look at the rules (Kickstarter’s no-weapon policy isn’t as detailed) and maybe taken some of their own advice. If the Combar is simply an outdoor tool, why do you list one of the uses as “self protection”?

Herein we get to the crux of the issue: the internet is rife with new professional-grade tools that are being promoted as everyday-carry options. But if it has an automatic blade (or switchblade), axe blade, cleaver, more than three blades, etc. — anything that’s not required for your job, basically — there’s no need to grab it off the counter with your keys every morning. Ask any outdoorsman, any real outdoorsman.

Before you call me a “judgmental desk jockey,” a plea: I’m not here to take away your tools. I’m here to suggest that those dressing up as G.I. Joe take a moment and contextualize.

For those whose day-to-day peaks with cutting open a FedEx box or cracking open a few beers, here are some more polite-society-appropriate EDCs:

Listed clockwise starting from top left

  • Swiza Black D01A stylish all-black look with a safe rubberized grip, locking blade, corkscrew, tweezers and punch/reamer awl with sewing eye.
  • Opinel No. 09 DIYAn everyday pocket knife (ergonomic handle, hefty blade with a wire cutter and wire stripper) with a Phillips screwdriver for 3.5-5mm screws and a flathead screwdriver for 4mm screws.
  • The James Brand ElkoOne blade. Minimalist style. Keychain-able.
  • Leatherman Skeletool CXModern engineering, dynamic design and enough utility to get the job done (pliers, wire cutters, knife, large-bit driver) without going overboard.
  • Huckberry EDC Kit 2.0No knife blade, what gives? Chances are you don’t actually need it, especially with the Nite Ize DoohicKey (box cutter, bottle opener, wrench, ruler and screwdriver), Inchworm and Peanut Lighter.

Main image: Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Nota bene: If you buy through these links, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.