Think of a one-piece pocket tool as a sidekick to your knife. At first glance, they're often just a funny-shaped piece of steel small enough to slip on a keychain or drop in your pocket. They might not look like much, but they're designed to shrink a handful of tools into an easy-to-carry package that keeps you running light and always prepared.
Even though a knife is the No. 1 tool you must carry in a survival situation, a blade has its limitations. A knife can chip, bend, or snap if used as a pry bar or screwdriver. And yes, if there are no other tools available, there may come a time to push your trusty blade to breaking point. But pocket tools are designed to pick up those tasks and then some, like turning hex bolts. Additionally, many pocket tools, because they don't have sharp edges, can travel with you as you board planes, drop your kid off at school, or otherwise go where a knife is viewed as a weapon.
The result? For an ounce or two of weight, you'll have more tools at your disposal than most college students can find in their dorm room. How's that for preparation? Here, we examined seven tools to see how they navigate modern life.
If you read our Survivalist Spotlight on Les Stroud in Issue 21 you'll remember how critical he said it is to carry cash as part of your EDC. However, we often overlook the importance of the tools we use to carry our money, credit cards, and IDs until they're lost or stolen. Ask anyone who has experienced that headache and they'll tell you it's no laughing matter, particularly if you're away from home. For more ways to integrate one-piece tools into your EDC gear, check out our OFFGRIDweb-exclusive review of three metal-framed minimalist wallets and a leather key fob bottle opener from Trayvax.