When I first saw the Klax at Outdoor Retailer a few months ago, I mentally added it to my list of items to cover for National Preparedness Month. It fits the bill as a product that can be at home in your camping gear as well as your 72 hour kit. As luck would have it, Klecker was kind enough to send us one for review.
Another Kickstarter success story, the Klax derives its name from Klecker, the company that sells it, and the fact that it’s an axe. Our $160 steel Lumberjack is the middle model, with more features than the basic $115 Feller, and at a lower price point than the “Ouch, my wallet!” $550 Ti-Klax. Klecker lists the following features:
- Stainless Steel Axe Blade
- Patent Pending Clamping System
- Built-in Ulu Knife Blade
- Knife Blade
- Hammer Head
- Cutting/Gut Hook
- Hex Wrench Set
- 1/4” Hex Bit Driver Socket
- Bottle Opener
- Lanyard Hole
- Carabiner for Easy Carry
- Optional Handle
We found some of these to be real features, and some not so handy. The axe blade works great as an axe. Take it off the handle, and you could use it as an Ulu for making a meal. A small knife blade on one edge works well too. I suspect most of our readers may not see the value of a gut hook, but it cuts cloth and rope with ease. As for the hex wrench set and bit driver, they do the job, but leave you with two exposed blades, so use them with care. Lanyard holes and a carabiner on an axe head with a second blade would make more sense if the included heavy duty pouch only covered the blades. I would not carry the Klax or lash it to anything with the blades exposed. On the back of head is the hammer. It’s fine if you want to drive tent stakes into the ground, but I’m not sure hard use would be good for the clamp whose screw is set into the face of the hammer. Bottle openers are always a win, two inch rulers, maybe not so much. Of course, all this is based on my own use. Plenty of people must like all the features, or Klecker would not offer them.
For me, the real selling point is the clamp system. It allows the Klax to fit in your backpack, or even back pocket, and serve as a knife most of the time. Yes, a slightly awkward knife, but still a knife. And with the optional handle, it quickly becomes an axe. Flip out the jaws, and slide it into the notch on the handle, then follow the directions for making sure it is on there tight. Instant axe! And when you’re done, it goes back to being a knife, or wrench, or very pricey bottle opener. There is the option to make your own handle, which I will probably do with a branch cut from my walnut tree. I just didn’t have a suitable piece at the time of the review.
In use, each tool of the Klax did work well. Extra care should be taken, due to the two blades, but you can chop and cut with ease. I could not find a way to test the hex wrench set, but it’s there if you need it in a pinch. As an axe, the Klax cut well, though its thin profile limits it to cutting, and not splitting wood. After a while, I came to view the Klax as a knife that can also take down a small tree, rather than an axe with a few extra tools built in. So if you can use all the tools, it’s probably a good value. If not, I suspect more than a few people will buy it for the cool factor. Either way, it’s a unique piece of gear that I am sure will find a home in some camp kits, and maybe even a few emergency kits. If this review has piqued your curiosity, check out Kleckerknives.com for more info.