Welp, I've been using my new customized Skinth XL Shield for a couple of days now and felt I could give a pretty decent review of it now. First thing's first: Eric (Metropolicity) is awesome to do business with, and makes a damned fine product. Hat's off to you sir.
The XL Shield is designed for full-sized tools such as the Leatherman Surge or Victorinox Swisstool. You'll notice that I'm using it for my much smaller Swisstool Spirit X.
This is what Eric recommended when I told him everything I wanted to cram in there, and it works wonderfully. This is what I currently am carrying in it:
The aforementioned Spirit X, my Sunwayman V10-A flashlight, the Victorinox bit driver set, and a spare AA Eneloop. Not pictured is the about 8 inches of gutted paracord I have tucked in behind the flashlight, and eventually will be adding a Pocketwrench II into the mix in the front-most pocket. A little tough to see, but notice how nicely the spare AA fits in the side pocket.
With all this in there I can assure you there is plenty of room the PocketWrench still. In case you have any doubts:
I can still swap out the Spirit for my Leatherman Surge and it closes just fine. Space is plentiful. Just in case that isn't enough tool, I can fit BOTH the (rusty) Surge and the Spirit in there together!
Unfortunately it won't "quite" snap closed like this unless you really force it, but it gives you an idea of how much room is really in there. Don't let that scare you however, as this is where it gets really impressive. You see the thing is, even with all this space and flexibility, it honestly "feels" a lot more slim than the sheath that comes with the Spirit/Plus kit. It is without a doubt the most comfortable, unobtrusive sheath of it's capacity I have ever owned. I went from only carrying my full EDC for work, and just dropping the Spirit into my pocket the rest of the time; to being 100% comfortable carrying everything everywhere, all the time, over night. It's really weird, and I don't understand how Metro pulled it off, but the Skinth is basically a TARDIS hanging off your belt: it's bigger on the inside.
Then there's the build quality. I would put this up against anything out there. Maxpedition, Maratac/Countycomm, whatever. In terms of shear strength, I suppose it's possible a Maxpedition "might" hold up better, but when it comes to craftsmanship, design, and materials, it gives anything out there a run for their money. Just check out the sewing along the front and the way the top of the pocket is sealed:
It's fabulous. Also note the snap there. I've have always preferred Velcro over snaps any day of the week. In fact I even asked if I could have it made with Velcro instead. Metro said he couldn't because the fabric is pre-cut for the snaps, and added, quote: "Trust me, you want the snaps." He was right, they are great. Individually the snaps are actually a tad weak, and pull open easier than I would like. Which is why there are two. They hold closed extremely well, I have no worries about accidental opening, yet are very quick to pull open when you need them to. Their positioning is also perfect, so they can be closed quickly without looking. It all just falls right into place with no fiddling.
Another thing I want to point out is how perfectly melted and sealed all the edges are. There will be no fraying here:
Laser-cut nylon for the win. The other thing you see in this shot is the belt clip. Here is another picture showing the backside and clip.
"Wow, you really like showing off that belt clip." Darn right I do, because it is simply sublime. I can say with all honesty and no exaggeration that this is the world's finest belt clip right here. It goes on easy, and comes off with about zero effort. However it stays perfectly in place the rest of the time. It takes "just" the perfect amount of manual intervention to coerce it off the belt that it's highly unlikely to ever slip off of it's own volition, and stays firmly in place all day. Yet pulling it off takes about half a second. It's also about as strong as you could ever hope for.
Now this is where the really fun stuff starts. It's also where Eric earns every penny of what he charges: The customization. We talked quite a bit about what would work best for both my needs and overly picky wants. I told him exactly what size my flashlight is and he added a tube that is exactly that size. I don't trust open tube flashlight holders. At all. I kicked and screamed about not wanting one, but capitulated and decided to trust his judgement. It's perfect. It couldn't fit the flashlight any better in my wildest imagination. It holds the light in tightly, but provides almost zero resistance to insertion and removal by feel alone. I use my flashlight probably 20 times a week and quick one-handed access is extremely important. I almost don't even need the pocket clip because the top and bottom of the sheath overlap about 1/4 of the light - just enough to hold it completely in place without getting in the way.
Another detail you may or may not have noticed is the interior pocket. This isn't something that comes with it standard, nor is it listed anywhere as being an option. Yet when I asked for it Eric didn't hesitate to add it in there.
I wanted more organization options because I hate having more than one item sharing a pocket. I wanted to keep my Spirit and it's plus kit separated from one another. The pocket fits the Spirit perfectly, imagine that.
Although I actually prefer to keep the bit kit in there with the tool towards the front, (which is also a great fit) which just goes to show how flexible the design is. You can really play around with your loadout a lot. I had him make the pocket orange for visibility reasons, finding individual pockets in an ocean of black is a pain.
All in all the entire thing is almost like a juxtaposition; it feels invisibly slim, yet can hold a ton of items; the snaps feel weak, yet stay very securely closed; the belt clip slides on and off with ease, yet never even threatens to fall off; it holds everything so well that once filled up it's almost custom molded, yet I can cram way more (and way larger) items in there. More importantly than all of this however, is that it is so well built. I have have little doubt that it will last me a good long time, and will accommodate my ever-evolving EDC with ease.
Is it perfect? Of course not, there are some extremely minor picky things I could mention. Like the pull tab not being sewn on dead straight, some stitching along the bottom that doesn't quite reach all the way across, and the stitching on the front pocket being a bit off-center. But these are really, REALLY, minor things that you'd need to be pretty OCD to care about, as they have no effect on function and usability whatsoever. If anything they just add to the charm by serving as proof that this was hand made by some dude in Canada, not spit out with a million others from some machine in China.
Some closing thoughts to wrap things up: I've heard some complaints here and there of some people not liking the material in the Skinths. I have to disagree. Naturally people like what they like, but I find it to be a really good compromise between bulk, flexibility, and strength, and it feels decent to boot. The other big complaint I've heard is the price. You know what, for a nylon sheath to hold your stuff in? Yes, it's expensive. Overpriced even, provided you just think of it that way. Thing is, with the absolutely top-notch build quality on equal footing with exalted brands like Maxpedition? The flat-out-unparalleled-by-anyone customer service? The ability to have it customized any which way you want to be tailored to your needs? A genuinely hand-crafted item in a world of mass produced disposable products? It is worth Every. Single. Penny.
So there you have it, the Skinth XL Shield, along with some custom work. Probably about the best carrying option you are going to find these days. I couldn't be happier to have spent what I did, and waited as long as I did, to FINALLY find something that does everything I need and want to handle not only my current EDC, but likely any future EDC I may change to for years to come.