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Archive | EDC

Spyderco Yojimbo2

The original Michael Janich designed Spyderco Yojimbo was one of my favorite knives of all time. The tall flat ground Wharncliffe blade had an awesome thin edge and a very fine point. That great blade combined with Spyderco’s excellent Compression lock made for a great combination for a hard use or self defense knife that also excelled at EDC tasks. I foolishly sold my Yojimbo years ago and it has been discontinued for quite some time. Fortunately, that isn’t the end of the story…

Spyderco has recently introduced the Yojimbo2 – a new, redesigned version of the original Yojimbo. Like the original it features S30V blade steel, grippy G-10 grips, the excellent Compression Lock, a Wharncliffe profile blade, and a very ergonomic handle. However, this new version also sports some changes. For instance, the blade is hollow ground instead of full height flat ground, the handle features slightly more rounded contours, and the spine of the blade has a new thumb ramp shape.

The pedigree of this knife is clear. It is still reminiscent of the original Yojimbo while offering some improvements in shape. Michael Janich and Spyderco appear to have another winner on their hands. Check out the Yojimbo2 on Spyderco’s website.

Benchmade 8 Hook with Glass Breaker (BLKWMEDR)

Benchmade Safety Cutters are some of my favorites pieces of gear because they just work so well. Their reliability and cutting power amazed me when I reviewed them. Now Benchmade has expanded the Safety Cutter line with the new 8 Hook BLKWMEDR which features a carbide glass breaker.

I keep a Benchmade 8 Hook in my truck where I can reach it easily in case I need to cut my seat belt in an emergency. This new 8 Hook incorporates a carbide glass breaker which makes it even more well suited to emergency use in a vehicle. It gives you the ability to cut your seat belt and break a window to extract yourself from your vehicle in an emergency – all in one simple to use tool.

Check out the 8 Hook BLKWMEDR and all the other 8 Hook Safety Cutters on the Benchmade website.

Fire Ant Red and Venom Green ESEE Izula from BladeHQ

My favorite compact fixed blades are the Izula and Izula II from ESEE. They fit the hand well, are bull strong, have a great warranty, are made right here in the USA, and come with a very versatile sheath system. The Izula may be small but, 99% of the time, it is all the knife that I need.

Small knives like the Izula are easy to carry but they can also be easily lost. BladeHQ has teamed up with the folks at ESEE to offer exclusive Izulas with high visibility coatings. They are offering a bright red color called Fire Ant Red and a fluorescent green color called Venom. These bright colors make it easy to find the knife whether you are rummaging through your pack, searching on a forest floor, or even if you drop it in water while crossing a creek.

High viability colors make a lot of sense on a survival tool as important as your knife and, let’s face it, they look pretty darn cool too. Check out the Fire Ant Red Izula and the Venom Green Izula exclusively at BladeHQ.

Velcro Backed GP Pouches from Mountain Ridge Gear

It is becoming more and more common for EDC or Tactical bags to feature Velcro on the interior so that users can easily customize the organization layout of their bag. Mountain Ridge Gear (MRG) makes one such bag – the Tactical Man Purse Wide Extreme. I have reviewed the original Tactical Man Purse on JTT and it is an excellent bag. Now MRG is making Velcro Backed General Purpose (GP) Pouches to work with this style of bag.

The pouches come in 3 different sizes that should handle everything from cell phones, radios, and GPS units to larger items like first aid kits and water bottles. The pouches are made to Mountain Ridge Gear’s high standards which you have to experience to believe and are available in a variety of colors including Multicam and A-TACS.

Each pouch features a 2″ wide vertical strip of hook side Velcro on the back which is nice. In this case, full coverage Velcro is not needed and this allows the pouch to be more easily removed and repositioned. The narrower Velcro also lets the pouches be squeezed closer to together when you are positioning them. The pouches also feature a small pull tab that makes removing the pouch even easier and can serve as an atachment point for a carabiner to hang the pouch on a pack.

The pouches are currently 25% off for the weekend so be sure to check them out on Mountain Ridge Gear’s website.

4Sevens High CRI Lights

4Sevens has introduced a limited run of a handful of their most popular models with special high CRI LEDs. CRI stands for Color Rendering Index and high CRI basically means that these lights put out light that is a similar color temperature to sunlight, thus rendering colors in a very lifelike way.

When LEDs first started finding their way into consumer lighting products, many people were put off by the bright blue coloration of the light that the LEDs produced. This blue light could be somewhat hard on the eyes and could make objects appear flat and lifeless.

LEDs began to improve and the light they produced became whiter, but it still lacked the warmer tones that sunlight contains. Many people think LEDs produce white light, but for the most part they are still lacking the warmer tones of the light spectrum. These missing parts of the spectrum are important for rending colors true to life and for cutting through things like smoke, fog, dust, and mist. High CRI LEDs correct these short comings and allow truer color rendering.

4Sevens has brought this high CRI LED technology to their line of edc flashlights. Sadly, none of their tactical lights have received the high CRI treatment. This type of light makes good sense for the military, law enforcement and the armed citizen since it cuts through a variety of environmental conditions more effectively and it makes potential threats appear less flat and more lifelike, thus allowing them to stand out more from their environment. Hopefully we can look forward to more high CRI options from 4Sevens.

You can check out all of the limited edition lights are 4Sevens.com.

Review: Advanced Outfitters Khyber Belt

As a shooter and someone who carries a concealed handgun, it seems that my belts become thicker and more rigid with each new belt. Thick, rigid belts work great when you are carrying a gun on your belt all day but there are times when a low profile belt is really what you need. You would be hard pressed to find a more low profile belt than the Khyber Belt from Advanced Outfitters (AO).

The custom Ti G-Hook is the key to how thin this belt is. I'm not sure you can make a belt any thinner than this.

The Khyber Belt is hand made by Kevin at Advanced Outfitters and there are a ton of options. The two main options are 1″ and 1.5″ widths. The belt can also be had in single and double thicknesses. Even the double thickness belts are very low profile. There are additional hardware options (more on that later) and other options like a concealed spot that adds no thickness to the belt to carry cash. I chose the double thickness 1.5″ width since I would occasionally be using this belt with a holster and that is the belt that is the subject of this review.

Buckling and unbuckling is simple.

What’s the Point?

This belt was designed to be low profile. Kevin’s innovative use of an ITW G-Hook as a buckle is the key to how low profile this belt is. The G-Hook is barely thicker than the webbing from which the belt is made. The 1.5 inch versions of the Khyber Belt use a custom made titanium version of the G-Hook which also keeps the belt very light.

There are times when a belt must be able to ride beneath something like the padded hip belt of a backpack. The belt must be capable of holding up your pants but low profile enough to prevent hotspots from a heavy pack bearing down on it. The Khyber Belt excels at these situations. I purchased one to use specifically for hiking and for use under a padded MOLLE belt. It is perfect for both uses.

Try this with your gun belt!


The Khyber belt is no one trick pony. The 1.5″ version with double thickness webbing is extremely thin and flexible but still substantial enough to carry the weight of gun though it isn’t the best choice for carrying all day. The belt features some additional stitching that helps to stiffen it enough for some additional comfort when carrying a handgun. I have been wearing this belt frequently over the last several months. Kevin is up front about saying this isn’t a gun belt but it does an admirable job of bearing the weight of a gun for such a slim, flexible belt.

It is perfect for wearing under a load bearing belt like a MOLLE belt rig. This is how I use it most often. I am able to wear my concealed handgun to the range on the Khyber belt and then switch the gun to the belt rig that I use in training. This belt is more than sufficient for traveling to and from the range. In fact, it is low profile enough to wear with a Velcro inner belt. They both fit under the belt loops.

If you aren’t carrying a handgun, you will appreciate how light and flexible this belt is. It is probably as close as you can get to not wearing a belt at all. It won’t look quite right in an office, but it is probably the perfect belt for just about any outdoor activity.

Simple hardware makes for an easy to adjust, easy to use, and very comfortable belt.


Now that I have spent a lot of time with this belt, there is something that I would do differently if I were buying one all over again. The belt uses a triglide to adjust the length. Kevin makes this with a plastic version of the triglide(less expensive) and a titanium version (more expensive). The titanium version is considerably thinner than the plastic triglide. If I was starting over, I would definitely spring for the Ti version. The plastic slider is by far the thickest part of the belt and the Ti version fits better with the overall purpose or the belt.


I thought that this belt would fill a niche for me. I didn’t expect that I would find it so comfortable and useful as a general use belt. It is easily the most comfortable belt that I have used under a padded hip belt or padded gun belt. It is also a great weekend belt for outdoor pursuits. The icing on the cake is that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, even with the custom Ti hardware.

If you want to order your own Khyber Belt, you should contact Kevin. There are some nuances to fitting that he can talk you through (it isn’t complicated). The double layer belts like the one reviewed have a smaller adjustment range than the single layer versions. You can contact Advanced Outfitters through their website, on Twitter, or on the Usual Suspect Network.

New Website and New Products from EXOTAC

EXOTAC, my favorite manufacturer of amazingly well designed, modular fire starting gadgets, has a great new website and some great new products.

Among the new products are the nanoSTRIKER XL which is a larger version of the previously reviewed nanoSTRIKER. Its larger ferro rod section gives you more strikes at the cost of some extra weight and size.

They have also introduced the MATCHCAP XL which is a larger version of the MATCHCAP. The MATCHCAP series is the perfect way to keep matches completely protected from the elements until you need them. They also work well as a place to store some emergency tinder like petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls.

The new products that interest me most are the polySTRIKER and polySTRIKER XL. This is a new line of ferro rod products that features a molded plastic handle. The plastic handle features a slot that retains the striking tool so that it is safe from loss and very compact. The plastic also keeps weight and cost to a minimum. In fact, these are priced on par with many other ferro rods that don’t have nearly as nice a handle as the polySTRIKERs.

You can check out the new site and all the new products at EXOTAC.com.


Review: Flowfold Billfold

Wallets are simple things… or at least they should be. Too many wallets on the market have Velcro straps, snaps, zippers, bellowed pockets, and all sorts of other stuff that has nothing to do with organizing some credit cards, IDs, and bills. Typically, the more features a wallet has, the thicker it is and I have no tolerance for thick wallets.

Several months ago, my leather magnetic money clip type wallet began to loosen to the point that cards were falling out, so the hunt was on for a new wallet. I searched high and low for a wallet that was thin, durable, and that would retain my credit cards well. That search lead me to Flowfold.

The Black Pearl color scheme is now discontinued... too bad for you.

Not Leather and That’s a Good Thing

The first thing that you notice about Flowfold Billfolds is that they are not made from leather. That is probably obvious but it is one of the keys to what makes this such a great wallet. Flowfold makes the billfolds from sailcloth which is a great material for wallets because it is very thin, very durable, very lightweight, and water resistant.

Thin, Like Really, Really Thin

My favorite thing about this wallet is how thin it is. Back when I bought the Flowfold Billfold, I had a rough idea of when it would arrive in the mail. On that day, I checked the mailbox and was disappointed that it didn’t contain a package. I walked inside and sorted through the mail only to find that the wallet did arrive. It was packed inside a standard business letter sized envelope. The envelope containing the wallet was thin enough that it looked and felt like any one of the other letters that arrived that day. This wallet is thin and I mean thin.

It's thin when it's empty.

It is still thin when it's full of 8 cards/IDs and $12 in cash... That's right, $12 cash.

Tactical Level IV Credit Card Retention… or Something

I also like that the Flowfold Billfold’s credit card slots are basically loss proof. The bifold design keeps this wallet thin but it also allows the credit card slots to open in toward the fold of the wallet. When the wallet is folded, the card can not come out unless you pull them out. I was surprised at the number of cards that this could hold without becoming bulky thanks to the 2 separate cards slots. Each slot easily holds multiple cards rather than some designs that have a separate divided slot for each card.

ID Slots – 2 is 1 and 1 is None

There is a transparent ID slot on each side of the inside of the wallet (2 total) that is perfect for an drivers license or that credit card that you use most often. That second ID slot is especially convenient if you work somewhere that requires you to carry identification that is specific to your job.

Double ID slots all the way! What does it mean?

I Sit on This Wallet All Day and It Still Works

The workmanship is very good. All of the edges of the sailcloth are finished with nylon ribbon. The wallet may feel unsubstantial at first (especially if you are used to thick leather wallets) but that is just the nature of the thin plastic sailcloth. Experience has proven to me that this material is not unsubstantial at all. I have seen just how durable it is. My wallet started off fairly rigid but it is now breaking in nicely. It isn’t showing any serious wear and tear. It is just starting to conform to the shape of my backside.

Get One

I would be thrilled with this wallet if it was just thin. The fact that it is very durable and water resistant is just bonus. I have never owned a wallet that I actually liked until now. So it isn’t made from 7000D Multicam printed nylon, but it the best wallet that I have ever owned and that is saying something. The Flowfold Billfold would make a worthy addition to anyone’s EDC gear. It would also be a great gift for those of you who like to do your holiday shopping before Christmas Eve.

Right now, if you buy a Flowfold Billfold in the “Nori” color scheme, 100% of the profit will go to Hurricane Irene Relief which is near and dear to my heart considering what Irene did to northeast Pennsylvania where I grew up. Check out “Nori” and all the other great color schemes on Flowfold.com.

Lumens Factory E Series LED Conversions

Many people revere the Surefire E Series lights for their compact size and durability. For years, these lights were only available with incandescent bulbs and the selection was fairly limited. Lumens Factory stepped in and began providing a variety of quality bulbs that were compatible with the E-series lights. Now they are doing the same thing with LED conversions.

The Lumens Factory E Series LED products are different than any other conversion that I have seen for the Surefire E Series lights. Rather than a self contained drop in head that can never be upgraded, Lumens Factory gives you options. They make an E Series bezel that accepts a number of LED modules that have a variety of features and outputs. These features include different input voltage ranges so that they can be used with different battery configurations and different output modes like single or 3 (high, medium, low) mode configuration. These head use Cree XP-G, R5 LEDs so the output should be impressive.

LED technology seems to improve daily so users who like to have the latest technology will appreciate the modular nature of these heads. Rather than buying a whole new head when the latest LED comes out, you can simply replace the LED module.

These are some impressive LED conversions. Check them out on the Lumens Factory website.

EDC Cooper Tactical Pack

I have always liked the concept of making your knife sheath into a compact survival kit. This idea has been taken to its functional extreme by products like the ESEE Pack Kit which is actually a pack with a sheath inside rather than the more traditional sheath with a pack on the outside. I think it is a really slick concept and I am happy to see a new option from Cooper Tactical Gear.

The EDC Cooper Tactical Pack is different take on the knife based survival kit. It is similar to the ESEE Pack Kit in its function but different in its form. It is a pack that can be carried a variety of different ways and can be used to carry everything from a knife, to flashlights, to fire starting tools, and whatever else you can fit.

It features a ton of really well thought out organization features. There are internal and external slip pouches, elastic loops galore, and internal and external hook and loop fields for customizable organization potential. I especially like the card carrier that can be affixed to the outside of the pouch. It would be perfect for carrying reference cards like those from ESEE.

The pack is constructed from 1000D nylon and features Lenzip zippers that are made in the USA. Zulu Nylon Gear constructs the pack for Cooper Tactical Gear so you know it will be bomb proof.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the features of this pack. You will definitely want to check out the EDC Cooper Tactical Pack on the Cooper Tactical Gear website.

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