There are a lot of multitools out there. There are even a whole subset of tools based on carabiners, but the majority of them are multitools with carabiners glued on. Something like this design disaster. They are generally shitty carabiners and shitty tools. Leatherman makes a carabiner that has a bottle opener on it along with a hex wrench. I have one and it is okay. The reality is that everything has a bottle opener on it these days and what you really want for an EDC tool is screwdrivers. You can get something that has drivers on it and it will work very well, but it will cost you ($200 if Ti isn't good enough for you). There used to be very little of quality between the Leatherman and the Anso. Now there is.
When a reader sent me a link to the Click Carabiner Kickstarter page I knew it was something I had to see in person. The design is quite clever and if the tools aren't out you might not even know it was a multitool. In other words this is a carabiner with tools on it, not a random collection of tools glue to a carabiner. The difference is important as this is a device that really does work and works well as a carabiner (it is not a mountain climbing tool though; the load rating for the tool is 250 pounds thanks to a stainless steel skeleton). I contacted Click and they sent me a review sample out right away.
The Click is designed for use in skiing, snowboarding, or skateboarding, three things distinctly outside of my knowledge base. But I do like and know a little bit about multitools and I can see how you could just carry this as part of your hiking gear or on a bag or even as a very big keychain. It may be made for "extreme sports" but it can be cross purposed into the EDC world quite easily.
Here is the Kickstarter product page. The project funding period ends on December 1, 2013. Here is a write up on the Click. Here is a video on the Click:
Here is my review sample:
Twitter Review Summary: An excellent carabiner-based multitool that won't break the bank.
Breaking the knife or pliers foundation for a multitool is risky, but here it paid off because the design is not an homage or a reference to a carabiner. It doesn't work LIKE a carabiner. It is a carabiner. With tools. By ignoring the trap of carabiner-like tools, the Click sets itself apart. Additionally, the design is clearly modular as there are two other variants, an excellent mark for the design. The fact that this is something you would carry without the tools really shows just how good an idea the Click is. People lug around aluminum carabiners on EVERYTHING--their water bottles, their keys, those seemingly ubiquitous card holder neck things (really, why do the book sellers at Barnes and Noble need a RFID tag around their necks? High security around the midnight launch of Harry Potter? Can someone explain this to me, I genuinely want to know). I dropped the Click on my Tom Bihn Cadet for a week and I found it had a bunch of uses. But the reason I had it was because carabiners on their own are useful and here this is a pretty good, non-climbing carabiner. Start with a solid foundation and it is hard to go wrong.
The Click's tools:weight is decent at 2 (5 tools in 2.5 ounces). This number is hard to compare to other multitools because of the design, but I thought I should include it for consistency's sake. The Charge TTi has a tools:weight of 2.32.
Fit and Finish: 2
There is some slop in the pivots, even in the locking pivot. There are some stray machining marks here and there, but none of these impact performance. I though the rough steel used for the tools, seen here:
Would matter, but it didn't. None of the small issues actually impacted performance and given the price tag, around $16, you'd be hard pressed to find something this cheap without some burred edged plastic.
I am not a snowboarder or an alpine skier. I was struggling how to figure if the Click's theme works with the intended audience. I went to work with the Click attached to my bag when a coworker, who, in another life was a semi pro snowboarder, said "Hey that would work great for my snowboard." I had not told her what it was or even that I was trying it out. She saw it, saw me flick open one of the tools and approached me. Then, as if it were a commercial, she said: "I bet this works with gloves." Target audience, check. Theme, check.
The gray interior portion of the Click is rubberized plastic and it does lock your hand in. Because of the placement of the tools some grips are better than others, but none are bad at all. The size and shape:
also help out tremendously. I would imagine even with cold, icy hands this would still work.
As a carabiner, and a non-climbing one, the Click is pretty heavy. The steel frame and tool insets add a good deal of weight. Its not bad, really. Compared to other mutlitools, however, the Click comes out miles ahead. A Leatherman Skeletool CX, their lightweight full sized multitool, weighs 5 ounces. This weighs half that. It has fewer tools, but again, the design has fundamental limitations on it. For what it is, I don't think you can complain about how the Click carries.
The rubberized plastic and stainless steel work well here. The load rating is 250 pounds, which is not bad at all. I worry that the metal in the tools won't hold up, but only time will tell that. In my use they were fine. I actually like the mostly plastic exterior as it aid in grip and makes the Click less of a paint scraper.
One of the bullet points on the KS page is the glove friendly tool deployment. It is made possible by these:
The rear tang portions of all the tools are geared or jimped and the texture is enough to get the tools out even with gloves on. I tried it with the classic yellow leather work gloves and it worked easily. It also worked with bulky winter gloves. Finally I tried them with Mechanix style gloves and it again worked flawlessly. Deployment here is sure, one-handed, and easy with gloves. Getting the tools out WITHOUT gloves is a dream. In fact it scratches that knife flipper opening itch we all have a little bit. Even my three year old son liked popping the tools out. Very clever design in that it really works and adds to the technical, machine appearance of the Click.
Retention Method: 2
Um....its a carabiner. It works well as a carabiner. It is its own retention device. Move along...
Tool Selection: 1
The one concession that is made to the tool's origin as a snowboarding/skiing tool is the fact that it has two Phillips drivers. I have never skied or snowboarded, so I trust that this duplicative set up is necessitated by the activity, but I'd prefer another tool here, a snag edge or a clamshell cutter, for example. There is only so many tools you can put on a carabiner, given the size and shape, so two of the same kind is a small negative if you are using this for general utility tasks.
Tool Performance: 1
The tool performance is okay. I recognize that I am using this specialized tool for general purposes, so I am not dinging it for things like having a really large flathead driver, seen here:
Its the bottle opener and the slick, rounded off bits used in the tools themselves. The bottle opener is not the surest thing, decap(itat)ing bottles in one stroke is not guaranteed. You can do it, but it takes some finesse. The bigger ding is the steel on the tools. Unlike the steel on actual screwdrivers it is very rounded over and somewhat slick. I'd prefer very crisply cast or cut implements to prevent or at least minimize the chance of cam out. This is not the say they don't work, but merely to say they could be better. Furthermore, in comparison to the multitool version of these drivers, especially the Phillips driver, the Click's true, non-2D bits are a step up. If they weren't so rounded off, we'd be in multitool Nirvana.
Overall Score: 18 out of 20
A minute with the Click Carabiner will convince you this is a brilliant design. In a utility role it is very, very handy. Its price point makes it a PERFECT stocking stuffer or small gift. In role, my skiing and snowboarding friends assure me this thing would work well. As a utility tool it is still quite useful--a Phillips and flathead driver with a bottle opener on a carabiner, even if there are two of the same kind of driver and the rounded tools can cam out. As is, this version of the Click is a great companion for a bag or to drop on your pants or belt. An EDC specific version would be truly amazing, especially if they added a package opener/snag edge/clam shell cutter in place of the second Phillips driver.