Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Multi-Tool That You Can Carry On

There a very few things that are more useful to a frequent traveler than a light and compact multi-tool - many people carry one around everywhere in their daily lives. This is, however, impossible to do while traveling if, like many frequent travelers, all of your luggage is carry-on: no knives allowed...

Swiss Tech's $9 Utility Key, a truly minute stainless steel tool, is shaped and sized exactly like a key, and lives on your key ring. It includes a small flat screwdriver, an eyeglass screw driver, a Phillips screwdriver, a bottle opener, along with - yes - very small serrated and straight knife blades. It is an extraordinarily useful tool if the alternative is none:-)

The Utili Key should not be confused with the Utili Key XT, another multi-tool from Swiss tech that replaces the 2 knife blades by a nail file and a nail cleaner, and adds a wire cutter and stripper. We find the XT less useful because of the loss of the knife blades.

While the Utili Key is a true boon to travelers, it still suffers from a small number of flaws. Use of any of its tools requires opening the Key, which automatically removes it from your key ring. You must exercise caution when opening it - several users have reported cutting themselves on the small but sharp blades in the process. Among the many very positive reviews, there is one report of a Utili Key falling off a key ring on its own. Lastly - while the Utili Key does survive the very large majority of airport security scans, it will still be taken if found, as mentioned by some reviews:(

The Utili Key is a robust and long lasting tool, whose users are often dedicated fans, and whose reliability has been reported by reviews for more than 8 years of continuous use. Its amazing compactness makes it a cinch to carry everywhere all the time - it is a true Every Day Carry (EDC) tool.

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