Oh no! Not another box set…
I am sorry about this folks. I was once again at the local Canadian Tire, when I um…er…saw another boxed set featuring a multi-tool. Its déjà vue all over again I suppose!
This one comes in a rather snazzy metal tin. I, being strongly suspicious of things all shiny and looking expensive, but at around 30 Canadian dollars, wasn’t persuaded one bit by the metal tin. However, I did notice some writing on said metal tin, and it stated…
I starting thinking….Carolina tools. I have one of them older ones, and it was made by Gerber with the sliding pliers and all. Maybe this is a good deal? So I bought it. Yes folks, I am weak.
Well, we got a few more bits in this kit. The usually knife, and this time, a neat little torch, some screwdriver bits, and of course the multi-tool.
The first thing after opening the adult proof vacuum packaging (what a struggle of Biblical proportions that is!) was to remove the insert. I was right; they had hidden a sheath with no telling anyone about it on the packaging. I have to wonder how many people buy one of these gift sets and throw away the sheath along with the tin…or keep the box for ages without ever knowing about its presence, or lack thereof.
The sheath is the usual black nylon with two internal pouches, one for the bits, and the other spot for the multi-tool. Nothing much to talk about, other then it isn’t all that bad quality wise. I have seen cheaper…and we will get to that later.
The small goose neck LED flashlight is really handy. I at first looked at it with no great hope, but found it to be the star of the box. It throws quite a bit of light. Small and portable, it can clip onto anything. The metal adjustable goose neck is awesome for directional lighting. In fact, I even wrapped the unit around my ear ala Star Trek Cyborg. With a few gentle twists, I could see where I looked hands free. It is official; this is my new favorite little torch.
The knife is also not that bad. I was really prepared to dislike it. However, it is of a nice small size, the metal clip is very good, and it has one of the toughest liner locks I have ever seen. Instead of using a separate piece of metal as the lock, they bent the handle frame to act as the lock.
The only issue with this however, you need strength to unlock the blade. Now when you close the knife, the lock locks so quickly and loudly, it is akin to holding a mini bear trap in your hands. It startled me the first time, and I uttered something that would make someone somewhere blush. Lucky for me, I was alone for my finger endangering activities. Once I got used to it, I sort of like it. I know it won’t ever fail, or let go unlike some of the more wussy liner locking mechanisms out there. That is unless it gets metal fatigue eventually. The entertainment value is high...either that or I am easily amused.
The knife also has the same styling as the multi-tool. It sort of reminds me of the Gerber suspension somewhat. Once again, this knife has an ambidextrous finger knurl to open the blade. It is rather stiff at the moment, but I am sure that with use, it will get better. I am hoping the liner lock does the same over time.
The multi tool is rather cute in an industrial way. It certainly reminds me of the Gerber Suspension. However, there are a few points that make the Gerber a much nicer tools to own and use. One major issue with the Carolina model, the folding tools do not lock. In this day and age, this is a travesty. It also tells me that this tool is rather cheaply made.
Hmmm…come to think of it, it sort of reminds me of a rather cheaply specimen of the multi-tool world that I bought for pennies on the dollar. This tool is so cheap that when I turned it around after opening up the package…it was missing one of the decorative screws in the handle. It was so cheap, that I didn’t bother to return it!
So I decided to compare these two. Whoa! Can this be! I am afraid so, and my suspicions were correct.
I noticed that if I turned these two in just the right fashion, the handles are of the same pattern. Only one is inverse to the other. Clever that, but not clever enough.
Now when I opened the pliers, they look very similar in head design. This is not looking very good for the Carolina tools version. But things were just getting worse…
Now if we look at the tools, their pedigree becomes rather evident. They are exactly the same. The cheaper then cheap version on the left has the same tools in exactly the same location as the sturdier metal Carolina tools version. Yep you guessed it; both were probably made in the same factory by some poor Chinese living in a company barracks.
So unlike the other box, where the Fencing pliers multi-tool was the prize of that gift box, the torch is the king of this bundle. What a letdown. I was prepared to like the Carolina multi-tool. However it was not meant to be. What a far cry from the quality piece I had of theirs made by Gerber or at least licensed from them. That tool was made to a much higher standard than this one.Conclusion
You just can’t judge a gift box by the packaging. I really like the snazzy metal tin compared to the cheap fake plastic wood of the other set I just recently reviewed. However, the multi-tool in this one just plain sucks. It has many issues, and was a letdown of sorts compared to the older MT from the same company. It would appear they went offshore and cheap. Not to say that everything Chinese is cheap, that isn’t true. These two however, exemplify that. The orange handled one is already falling apart in the packaging. The Carolina tool, although slightly upscale, can’t shake its roots.
Carolina Boxed Set.
- Nice looking metal tin.
- Torch to die for. Perfect for those little odd jobs…not to mention, wrap it around an ear and pretend you work for the CIA, CSIS, KGB, or MI5.
- Handy knife with trick liner lock.
- Multi-tool is big, heavy, and bulky.
- Non locking tools.
- Let down when you find out it’s a slightly different slightly upscale version of the second cheapest multi-tool in the collection. Pray I never review the cheapest.
- Handles are badly designed. If you are not careful, your finger could slip in between the gaps and come in contact with a sharp knife blade. I know as I have already done this once.