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05 October 2011

11-In-1 Credit Card Survival Tool...A Review

11-in-1 Tool_5092

I bought several of these from a couple of deals on 1saleaday.com. It looks like a cool item to have in a pocket survival kit. I paid a buck and, well, you get what you paid for. I decided to do a couple of field tests on the parts of this that I figure would be most needed in a survival situation, namely the knife edge and the saw edge. The bottle and can openers work. I checked those. Then I went to an oak tree and attempted to saw through a half inch diameter dead branch. After some very rigorous motions I managed to cut/carve/rub...mostly rub a 16th-inch notch in the wood. I estimate that it would take me a half hour to cut through the branch. Using the saw blade on my multi-tool I was able to continue the cut through the branch in probably 15 seconds. From looking at saw blades on the internet and showing this tool to a friend I think this is a fine cut combination rip and finishing saw...not the best blade for cutting wood. For a survival situation an aggressive-tooth blade would work better. If you're trying to cut through small diameter wood to build a fire you probably cannot afford to spend a half hour per cut.

In looking at the blade after just the little bit of cutting I did with it, there is visible wear on the blades on one side. That suggests a very soft steel. The saw blade is about an inch and a quarter. I'd suggest wearing gloves before attempting to use it on anything. It is possible to cord wrap the opposite edge of the tool as a makeshift handle. A handle of wood could be cut and grooved to fit and then wrapped with cordage. But you'd want to create that before you find yourself in a situation where you have to use this tool. It's a backup tool at best. Something that's all you have left. If the saw blade fails you can use the knife blade to chip away the branch in much the same way as you'd cut sticks to build a fire with a fixed-blade knife.

11-in-1 Tool_5096

The knife edge is sharp. It could be sharper OTB. Be careful applying pressure to it when holding the tool from that side. I took the same branch and attempted to chip away at it to cut off a piece. The cutting edge seemed to make it farther than the saw blade into the wood but it is also extremely time consuming. Even alternating a combination of the knife and saw edges is slightly faster but still takes a long time compared to cutting tools with proper handles.

As far as the screwdriver goes, I don't expect to be able to open or tighten many screws with this. If all you have is a flat tip everything looks like a Phillips. You cold use it to pry open paint cans or some other light wedging.

In order of usefulness you can be more or less successful at opening bottles, opening cans, prying lids that aren't too terribly stuck, measuring an inch or so of something, having a knife edge for a letter opener and maybe grinding a notch into wood. Overall there is not much that will aid you in survival here unless your survival depends totally on opening a beer or a can of something. The tool is a cute idea but needs some major overhauling.

Some suggestions for anyone with the skill at metalworking.

Material - Needs to be stronger...Either a stronger steel or a combination of steel and titanium.
Saw edge - Needs to be a crosscut saw edge. It needs to have the proper kerf to the teeth. It would help if it were tungsten coated.
Knife edge - Needs to be sharper out of the box. It would help if it were cut so it could be sharpened using a proper sharpener.

To make these changes the product is going to have to cost more than a couple of bucks.

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