I have long thought of myself as a minimalist in many regards. I am not a fan of Baroque music or Jazz Fusion. I prefer the simplicity of a Winsdor chair to the modern HG Giger looking office monstrosities. And I like a very specific kind of gear. No sheathes, no lanyards, no silly doodads, just good, simple gear.
But sometimes you want a little more...
I love the Alox Cadet. It is one of my very favorite pieces of gear ever but geez I could really go for a pocket clip of some sort. Short of a full on mod there is no real easy way to drop one on the Cadet. But lots and lots of people that had the same problem that I did, went into the shop and solved the problem. The entire "pocket hook" product genre came out of an innovation by custom knife maker Deryk Munroe. Munroe's absolutely exquisite custom knives were too beautiful to mar with a pocket clip and so he designed the Munroe Dangler. Here is the original Dangler:
Murone's design evolved over time into a truly amazing OPMT design, the Mega Dangler:
After the Munroe Dangler, Tec Accessories came out with a very inexpensive pocket hook, the P-7 suspension clip, seen here:
Image courtesy of Tec Accessories.
All of these are good, but I always thought it would be nice to have one that carried more stuff. Not a ton more, but just one more thing. The pairing of a flashlight and a small pocekt knife on a pocket hook of some sort would be awesome. That represents my EDC like 95% of the time, so a pocket hook that could carry both would be ideal.
Enter the GearPull.
The GearPull is still in testing stages and it will be released via a Kickstarter that begins in June. Campaign will go live sometime before the 2nd week in June. The items will ship in October. There will be at least three different materials available--C110 Pure Copper, C464 Naval Brass, C770 Nickel Silver, CP2 Titanium. Here is a shot of the GearPull from its maker, in a variety of metals:
I was contacted by Gamble Staempfli, the GearPull's maker, through EDCF. Here is his website, which has the GearPull on it, among other things. He asked if I could the GearPull, which can properly be seen as the evolutionary next step in the pocket hook market. Here is the review sample on its own:
The design of the GearPull is quite simple, as are all pocket hooks, but there a few touches that take it to the next level. First, the pull tab is quite well done, allowing for instant, thoughtless extraction. Second, the overall design is very light thanks to a series of holes. These holes also provide the GearPull with an interesting aesthetic. I would note that the spacing between the hole and the edge of the GearPull is just about right, making attachment of split ring devices relatively easy (or at least as easy as possible given the limitations of the split ring in general).
The GearPull is actually quite small. It is also featherlight, clocking in at .52 ounces. Here is a comparison to the Zippo:
And here is a profile shot to show you its thickness.
Finally, here is a shot of the GearPull loaded up with two of my favorite pieces of gear, the Aeon Mk. II and the SAK Cadet:
In the two weeks or so of using the GearPull almost exclusively I noticed a few things. First, people loved it when it came up on the Twitter feed. Second, it works exceptionally well, truly great, in thicker material pants. Blue jeans, my TAD Gear Pants, and other similar material works well. Here it is, riding in my pocket:
In lighter pants, like dress slacks it did not do too well. Finally, I never had it work its way out of my pocket.
The overall fit and finish of the prototype I was sent was quite good. All of the holes were aligned, all of the edges eased or chamfered, and the clip itself was perfectly shaped and angled. The tab was also well done. Nothing was substandard in the least.
One concern I had was the gear bumping and scratching each other. Admittedly I chose two really hearty pieces of gear, so this is perhaps not a perfect test, but in the two weeks I used it, there were no problems with scratches or dings. I would image that less durable stuff would show some wear as the items hang very close together. You can probably add three more items to the GearPull beyond what I had pretty easily but that would likely compound the problem.
Another concern I had was the entire GearPull + gear would sway and swing uncomfortably in the pocket. This proved to be the case, but only with very thin pants material, something like dress slacks. In jeans and other, similarly thick material, there was no problem whatsoever. This might seem like an issue, but really, how often do you need something like this with dress slacks?
The overall appearance of the GearPull was something that inspired polarizing feedback. Gear geeks like us LOVED it. Each post on Twitter resulted in quite a few comments back. Clearly this is something that we will like. But for others it seems like a bit of gilding the lily. My wife commented a few times on not understanding why I needed this (and let's be honest very little of our gear purchases fall into the "NEED" category). Then she explained that it seemed silly to carry something that enabled me to carry other things. I handed her her purse in response. Still, I can see her point. You are carrying something that enables you to carry other things and many of the things I carried on this were smaller than the GearPull itself.
But if you put aside your EXTREME minimalist impulses for a second you realize that the entire GearPull + torch + Cadet, as I set it up above, weighs in at roughly three and half ounces and offers a load of utility for very little weight. This is an accessory for your gear, make no mistake, but it is an awfully useful, well made, good looking accessory. But like the best accessories, the GearPull is a utility force multiplier. It is not simply that you add the utility of your light to the utility of your knife, the GearPull makes both handier for being together in one, physically attached package. For all of the awful light/blade combos out there, ones where the two are actually built together, few, if any, perform as well as the pair I had above attached to the GearPull.
One final note, there are some instances in which the GearPull added to the item, such as giving you something extra to hang on to with the itty bitty Aeon, and other places were it took something away, like making tools slightly less accessible on the Cadet. In the end, after two weeks, I found that these generally balanced each other out, but if I had to make the call I would say that it was not perfectly even--adding versus subtracting. In tight spaces, like fixing a door knob with the Cadet, the GearPull did hamper it's use to some small degree and this was more of a pain in the ass than the additional length was a help. It is not a huge negative, something like helpful 4.5 out of 10 times versus harmful 5.5 out of 10 times. Additionally, the GearPull never completely shut down the Cadet, and I am sure other pocket hook devices would have had the same problem, but it is something you should know.
Overall, this is an interesting addition to the carry options available to folks. This is an object of beauty, good design, and impressive craftsmanship. It may not be strictly necessary, but it is quite nice. Aside from awkward carry in slacks, this thing is a dream in the pocket and my gear didn't look worse for wear residing on it for two weeks. If this offends your minimalist sensibilities, try it for a few days, and I fairly convinced that you will like it. Plus, it looks awesome in pocket dump pictures. Watch Kickstarter, another sweet EDC gadget is on its way.