Last year I marched through a review of a flashlight and a tool for each of various arbitrary but sensible price categories. This year, instead of just updating that old list, which would be awfully boring, I decided that would explore your options out there via size. Here are the old rules.
Here is how it is going to break down this time around:
I will recommend a flashlight and a knife or multitool in each of a few categories. Lights will be grouped by their size and battery, generally speaking. Knives will be grouped by their blade size, unless there is something where the blade size is not indicative of the overall size of the blade (such as in the case of the Yojimbo 2 from Spyderco, which has a much longer handle than blade).
Here they are:
Button cell or other super small cell lights
OPMTs, very small multitools, or sub 2" folders
A perfect example of a button cell light would be the LRI Photon, a light probably everyone on the planet has seen. A very small multitool would be something like the Leatherman PS4 and a good example of a sub-2" folder would be a Spyderco Jester or Ladybug or any of the "Cali Legal" autos out there.
Small single cell lights (CR2 or AAA)
Small multitools or 2-2.5" folders
Here I am thinking of a Preon 0 or Preon 1 or any number of CR2 powered lights (or their rechargeable equivalents). A small multitool would be something like a SAK Alox Cadet.
Medium Pocket Sized:
Medium single cell lights (CR123 or AA)
Medium multitools or 2.5"-3" folders
Here these categories are self-explanatory, but for the medium multitools. In that category I put things like the Juice or the Skeletool.
2 cell lights (CR123a, AA, or AAA) or 18650 lights
Full sized multitools or 3-3.5" folders
Full sized multitools are true toolbox replacements, things like the Victorinox SwissTool Plus or the Charge TTI.
Any larger light
Any larger folder or fixed blade or a heavy duty MT.
A heavy duty MT is something like the Super Tool 300.
Aeon will not be eligible :(
I wish I had a large enough review database to recommend only those things that I have reviewed, but I don't think that will happen for a long time. Some of the things I am going to recommend, like I did last time, will be based on reputation, specifications, and my experiences with other products from that maker. For example, after using the Candiru I feel comfortable in saying that the heat treat and performance of ESEE's 1095 steel is quite good and thus I feel comfortable in saying that an ESEE 4 or 6 would be a good pack knife. If I did review something I will be sure to note that I did so.
I am also going to be more conscious of value than I am when doing reviews. Value will be defined as performance versus price, with more performance per dollar being a better value.
There will be stuff that I am going to ignore, so if you want to know why your favorite is missing, read this article.
These articles always take a very long time to write, so be prepared for something of a wait between them, but when they are done I hope to have two entirely different approaches to recommended gear, one based on price and one based on size. Plus, quite a few new products have come out since last year and it will be fun to look at all of them compared to what has been out there for a while.