Monday, January 28, 2013

My EDC 10 Most Wanted 2013

I know it is almost February, but before the first month of the year slips away I thought I'd lay out 10 EDC things I am really interested in this year.  A few things are new and a few are things that have been around a while that I just can't seem to get my hands on.  Some of them are pure fiction on my part, some of them are totally real but months off.  Here was an article I wrote last year with a similar take. 

10.  Krave Beef Jerky (particularly Sweet Chipotle): okay so this is a bit of a stretch in terms of EDC stuff, but if you think about it good beef jerky is a good food to carry with you.  I pack some on hikes (no super long ones as jerky is pretty dehydrating) and have some in my car.  I commute about an hour each way and then drive between courts so there is a lot of road time.  I used to eat chips and the like and I realized a) that beef jerky tasted better; b) good beef jerky, like this stuff, has better ingredients (unless you are a vegetarian); and c) it has less fat and calories.  Its not health food, but it is better than 99% of what you can find when your closest food is a gas station in Pittsburg (New Hampshire, not Pennsylvania).  Of all the jerky I have had, and being a jerky fan I have had a lot, this is by far and without question the best I have ever had.  It is pricey, but totally, totally worth it.  Gourmet beef jerky has arrived and it is delicious.

9.  Tom Bihn Wallet: I have no idea if they are making one, but good lord I'd die and go to wallet heaven if they had a small, thin number made of Dyneema.  They have a few wallet-like things on their site, but no pure, regular folded bills wallet.  I'd love them to throw a small Bihn tether loop on it and call it a day.  It would work with my Cadet and all of Bihn's other stuff and I am certain that his design genius could outdo all of the "thin wallets" out there made of nylon.  Wallet+Tom Bihn design+Bihn tether loop+Dyneema=WIN

8.  A real Kickstarter EDC project:  Kickstarter is a great place to find cool stuff, but there is a distinct clumping: i-accessories, pen barrels, and "card" wallets abound.  Those things are nice, specifically the Render K, the Hex Brite (which has a completely unnecessary programming feature), and the Brydge, but I want something truly EDC.  What about a one piece multitool?  How about a small, more gentlemanly Dragonfly sized knife?  And when will the CPF guys throw up a flashlight?  Custom knife maker extraordinaire Brian Fellhoelter already dabbled in Kickstarter with his bolt action pen.  I'd love to see other folks go there as well.   How about a McGizmo AAA light on Kickstarter?  Or a single cell Cool Fall light?

7.  Doane Idea Journal Small:  Right now my test notes go in a bunch of different places.  I'd really like to have a single storage place for them and the awesome grid+lines format of the Doane paper looks great.  The real selling point though is the super sturdy chipboard covers.  Great for taking notes anywhere.

6.  Pilot Vanishing Point: Okay this one deserves a picture:

This brilliant and innovative design is two things I am dying for in a pen: a fountain pen plus a clicky.  The retractable nib is an amazing masterstroke of design and makes the Vanishing Point literally in a class of its own.  It certainly won't be as tough as my Ultimate Clicky, but you can say that about a lot of things: my F-701, my suit, a brick, a bomb shelter, and a tank.  I am not going to avoid it simply because it might get beat up.

5.  Strider PT: Okay, this is a really nice sized knife.  It is one of my favorite blades, but for whatever reason I can't seem to line up funds and availability at the same time.  I finally had some dough to spend and unfortunately Strider informed me that they have none left and that they aren't intending to make more for at least 6 to 8 months.  Ugh...Hopefully they will use that time to improve the pivot, redo the lockbar face like they did on the SnGs, and add an overtravel mechanism.  Just a few requests.

4.  ZT556:  Hinderers are amazing knives, overbuilt, well designed and finished an awesome hihg polish stonewash.  Alas they aren't readily available and those that can be had cost an arm and a leg (usually).  The ZT56X series are all great knives, but they are big.  It is hard to explain how big they are until you actually have one in your hand.  These are beefy blades. In fact, I think they are a little too big for everyday carry.  The ZT556 is essentially the same knife in a smaller, 3 1/4 inch blade size.  Here is a comparison shot between the two:

The 556 is not a small knife, it is just tiny compared to the massive 560 its next to.  A few differences that make the 556 less than #1 on this list: the frame side is stainless steel (yuck), it has an assisted opener AND it lacks the KVT system that the 56X series has.  This is, again, circumstantial evidence that assisted openers are merely a way to cover up less than ideal pivots.  Other than those three differences, this is a 56X in a smaller size.  I can live with the stainless steel lock side, but the lack of KVT is a tiny bummer for an otherwise awesome blade.  Hopefully there will be replacement scales for this one as well.

3. Zebralight SC52:  You want this light.  I want this light.  We all want this light and it is because this is what happens when you relentlessly focus on a single battery format.  Zebralight has tweaked and tuned and pushed the AA battery to its very limits.  This is an AA light that runs lumen counts as high as most CR123a.  The flexibility of the outputs coupled with the nice pocket clip make this a real stunner.  I'd like to get all of the accessories, including the Zebralight band that converts this to headlamp.  I've said this before, but if you were starting over or just starting out, this is the light to get.

2.  Spyderco Native 5 CF in S110V:  Go back and read that again.  Yes, I wrote that right--S110V.  This steel was conceived of as Crucible's response to ZDP-189 and looks to be a killer.  I think this is the first production knife to use the steel and the Native 5 is already an awesome design.  Add on to that, CF scales and you have one of the things I am looking forward to most in 2013 (that and Wil Meyer's MLB debut).  Oh yeah and all of this super awesome design and cutting edge materials comes at a relatively cheap price--$210 shipped from Blade HQ.  Gather your pennies Spyderco devotees.  This is the secret best production knife of the year, if judged on specs and price alone.

1.  Muyshondt Aeon Mark II in Titanium: As a site we organized and persuaded Enrique to make one last run of the Aeon and once we hit enough people, he agreed.  The specs are leaking out and while the light has been delayed because of machining issues, this will be, in my opinion, the perfect EDC light--small, easy to use, plenty bright, moonlight low, and awesome Hi CRI output.  Its weird to think that something I had requested is, eventually, becoming real.  Having one in my possession will be one of those things that will always make me smile just a little.

It will be interesting to see how many of these things I can review in the coming months.  I really, really want that Native 5, but something tells me they will be hard to get.  I've heard that S110V is a bitch to grind.   


  1. The kershaw shallot had a special edition with S110V. Myi mistake.

  2. I have the sc52 and love it (I am carrying it right now, and will continue to do so until my Aeon Mark II arrives).

    A small quibble though. In your previous mention of the SC52, you mentioned a headband. I contacted Zebralight because I couldn't find one mentioned, and they said there isn't a headband that will work with the SC52. Seems worth mentioning, since you have said it twice now... I welcome correction.

    And another small point of discussion - Enrique seems to pretty directly refuse to agree to what the lowest mode will be on the Aeon II (in fact I'd argue that he even gets disagreeable about it).... I (like you) hope it's a low low (moonlight, even), but I don't think Enrique has promised that yet (unfortunately).

    Also, the "machining issues" seem to be the same thing that happened with Henry from HDS. I canceled that order, after waiting for 4 months. And while I know no exact date was promised from Enrique about the Aeon II, there *were* dates thrown around ("November" for example), and it's a little frustrating that we have to scour the webs to find out updates about something I have already put $180 toward. I am sure he's busy, but an email to everyone who has deposited would certainly not be too much to ask.

    1. There is a thread over on CPF. Enrique posts regular updates there, usually about one a week. I too am anxious about the wait, but he has provided quite a bit of information and has such a good reputation that I am not worried. Here is the link:

      His last update was on 1/17/13 and it included the mAH output levels for the emitter. Definitely looks good.

  3. Great list Tony...Headed to the Caribbean on a cruise Friday...gonna go get me some of that Krave Jerky for the flight....


  4. I'm gonna get an S110V Native. I find the Native design a bit utilitarian in general, but I think CF scales will be the perfect touch to make it special.

    Re: machining S110V, I noticed that the Crucible data sheet says they don't even sell it as traditional forged bar stock; instead purchasers have to buy the steel in "as-HIP condition." This term (I learned) refers to "hot isostatic pressing" and it basically means, you get it in the same condition as it comes straight out of the high-temp, high-pressure vessel where it is created.

    That must be a treat to process into a finished knife blade! LOL. Metallurgy is awesome and I am very curious about this knife.

    Despite the uber-resistant steel, I'm hopeful that the end user will be able to maintain it well using the same regimen as ZDP: periodic touch ups, don't let it get too dull.

    1. I saw that too. This stuff must be adamantium. Note the carbon count is only slightly lower than ZDP-189 with niobium added. Interesting.

  5. Where do you get this magic band, Tony? I'm looking at Zebralight because of the ability to convert it to a headlamp, but I don't see it as an accessory.

  6. Interesting post as usual Tony!
    If you want a headband for the SC52 try the one Nitecore offer. It has 3 attachment points to choose from and suits most AA sized flashlights (straight ones, not the 90 degree angled ones like the H51).
    I use one and think its really good, plus they are quite cheap!!
    Hope this helps.

  7. Tony, have you seen the Spyderco Brad Southard Flipper? I'd love for you to review it.

    I'm torn between the Southard and the ZT 0560 or the ZT 550. I would try to hold out for the sweet Native you mentioned, but I don't know if I can wait that long. What would you suggest. I'm not an attorney, but my vocation requires me to dress similarly (lightweight dress pants and etc). I know you generally like smaller items, but this options are quite attractive to me.

    Additionally, I'm really itching for a new torch. I don't know whether to get a Quantum DD, a Sunwayman M11R, or the Jetbeam RRT-01. Do you still prefer the Sunwayman over the Jetbeam? I want a new light like my Surefire E1B, but I need to buy another secondary light to replace my Preon (RIP).

    I know you can't tell someone else what to buy or what is best for them, but I wish you would try. I'm frozen with indecision.

    1. I have seen the Southard Flipper and I'd love to get a review copy. One issue is that they are in rather short supply. Once that loosens up I will see if I can get one.

      As far as torches are concerned, I can't, in good conscience, recommend to you a JetBeam product. Their business practices leave much to be desired. Search "everyday commentary" and "sysmax" and you'll see what I mean. I loved the RRT-01, but for that and the tailstanding problem. I loved the Mr. Elfin without reservation and the Quantum DD is one of my very favorite lights. I would add that the Peak Eiger can really work as a main light, despite the single AAA battery because of its LED, but that requires the light, a 3.7V battery, and I really like the clip from Prometheus (though save your Preon clip, it works fine with the Eiger). If you have $60 to spend and can find a Quantum DD, it is an awesome light. If you have a little more, look at the Eiger or the Mr. Elfin.

  8. Really looking forward to your take on the Zebralight SC52. I've heard they've deepened the switch well to make "hot pockets" less likely (a problem with my H51 and, I've heard, with earlier SC's). Having to "lock out" a light is annoying, so if the SC52 has solved this, that would be fantastic!

    Wondering if they'll ever get around to an H52. :-/

    1. SelfBuilt's video review addresses this issue. Apparently the tailcap can be loosened as a lockout feature AND the button is more recessed than it was on the SC51 making accidental activation harder even without the lockout feature. Here is the video: