Review: Credit Card Survival Tools From Tool Logic®

Being prepared doesn’t mean carrying around a 72 hour kit on your back.  Chances are, you’ll experience a small emergency like a splinter in your child’s finger at the playground, or a piece of broccoli stuck in your teeth right before an important date, well before you get yourself lost in the wild. And Tool Logic® will have you covered for that and more, with a full line of credit card tools, as well as knives and fire-starters.

One of their handiest options is the survival card combination that pairs a Survival II credit card tool with an oil-filled compass. The compass is durable acrylic, with inches, centimeters, and 1:25000 scales on three of the edges, to assist with map reading. Because your GPS may not always be there when you need it. There’s also a compact, yet very sharp knife blade that fits a two-finger grip quite well, and is still large enough to use safely with the included magnesium alloy fire starter. The tweezers and toothpick will probably get the most use, and they’re made to last, unlike some that we’ve all encountered in lesser tools. If you just finished a marathon, you’d still have enough wind to whistle for help with the  signal whistle, which seems unusually efficient. Preserve your night vision while fumbling in the dark with the built-in  red LED flashlight – it’s plenty bright. Like the compass, there’s a hole for lanyard attachment, but unlike the compass, no lanyard is included with the tool. Of course, with its credit card size and tough ABS case, this under two ounce tool can be carried or stowed anywhere.

Toollogic Credit Card tool and compass

We tried to test every function to the best of our abilities. Getting lost just to test the compass really didn’t fit into our schedule, but we did take turns using the magnifying glass to start a little fire with tinder. (Yes, gadgets bring out the 8 year-old in us sometimes) It’s not recommended that you test the whistle indoors – it really is that loud, but the LED light is certainly bright enough for indoor and outdoor use, whether lighting your immediate path, or locating something important that you just dropped. After making a batch of extremely addictive, spicy-hot jerky, the toothpick got a thorough workout. It was also used as a makeshift awl to punch through various pieces of nylon, which would have ultimately ended its career, had we not used the knife to restore it (nearly) to its former glory. The tweezers appear to have a reasonably high carbon content, so they clamp strongly, and spring back every time. We just couldn’t find a volunteer to get a splinter for us to remove. Finally, we come to the knife and magnesium rod. Although it’s a bit awkward for some tasks, the knife worked admirably for cutting rope and fabric, and could be used for fashioning a sharp stick out of a blunt stick. The magnesium rod separated itself from the tool the first time it was dropped on a tile floor, but some glue remedied that. Not sure that we would consider that a design or quality issue so much as a freak accident, but it’s something that should be mentioned. The rod itself threw off plenty of hot sparks when struck properly. If you’ve got your technique down it could easily be counted on to get a fire going.

Should you buy one? Yes. Because it’s an inexpensive ($30-ish) way to conveniently carry some basic emergency tools. And guys (and some women) love gadgets, especially those that make us feel a little like MacGyver. And once you own it, you’ll discover that it’s a serious tool, for when things get serious.

To check out the full line from Tool Logic, head on over to the  Tool Logic website.  There, you’ll also find the Survival I, which replaces the flashlight with a built-in compass and magnifying glass, as well as the SL3 full size knife with whistle and fire-starter. If you’re looking for something a bit less pocket-sized, crucial tools from parent company SOG include the SOG PowerLock multi-tool, SEAL Pup knife, nearly indestructible Force knife with glass-breaker, Aegis folder, and the mother of all preparedness tools, the Tactical Tomahawk (with some awesome video!)

Be prepared.

– Brian

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