Inka Pen : Extreme Journaling
I have to have a pen with me wherever I write in my journal, to take notes, to jot down directions...more...

Leatherman Surge : The Ultimate Multi-Tool

From the moment I took my new Leatherman Surge multi-tool of out its cool yellow and black box, I've been using it for everything.

It's embarrassing to say, but I first used my Surge to cut open a bag of organic corn chips while watching my soap opera. Then I used it to cut out newspaper clippings. Unlike the flimsy little scissors on some all-purpose knives, the Surge's scissors are actually quite substantial. And the blades actually cut through paper, plastic, fabric, and other thin materials. Best of all, the scissors, as well as all the tools in the stainless steel Surge, lock into place so I don't have to worry about the scissors collapsing or a knife blade slipping out of place when I'm using them. Safety is important!

My favorite feature is the saw blade, which can be removed and replaced with a diamond file blade. On a recent car camping trip, my camping partner and I completely forgot to bring firewood. Not a problem. We found an l-o-n-g, dead branch in the woods about 2" in diameter, and I got to show off my fancy new tool by sawing it into eight 2' "logs" for our campfire. (How do I know the diameter? I measured the branch with the Surge's ruler, which has both inch and centimeter markings.) I probably reminded my camping partner a few too many times that night that if not for my Surge (and my LED Solar lamp) we would not have had light or fire, but I couldn't help it. Good tools excite me.

While we sat around the fire, eating our delicious dinner (tomato, basil, garlic sauce with farfelle pasta), I used the serrated knife blade to cut our bread and the bottle opener to open our beer. After dinner, I used the knife tool (a serious blade) to whittle down some sticks for roasting marshmallows (my new recipe for s'mores: organic graham crackers, chocolate hazelnut spread, marshmallows---nothing tastes better). Yum.

I'm impressed by how sturdy all of these tools feel when I use them. In the past when I've used "mini" tools or other knife tools, I always felt like I couldn't do real work with them or they'd break. The Surge is definitely a hearty tool, built to perform and to last, and obviously, up for much bigger jobs than opening my snacks. I'm going to keep mine in my glove compartment of my car, so I can always have it with me. So much easier than carrying a tool box.

Having used only six of the Surge's tools, I'm not even near maxing out on all if its features yet. I still haven't used the dual needle nose/regular pliers, which also include elements to cut and crimp different types of wire. When the pliers are extended, the Surge's two "arms" become the pliers' handles. When not in used, the pliers fold back into the arms. The Surge also has a 5/16" screwdriver, a large bit driver, a small bit driver (the better to fix your glasses with), a wire stripper, two double-ended bits, and an awl w/ thread loop (I love the awl--I'm going to use it to poke more buckle holes in my sandals.)

The Surge comes with a nylon case that an be worn on a belt. I discovered while sawing my big branch that the case can also be used to cover the tool like a handle while sawing. Heavy users might want to look into the Bit Kit, an optional accessory with 21 double-ended bits.

Bottom Line: I don't know what I did before I had this tool. It's perfect for outdoor adventures, camping, and home repairs. This tool would make an excellent gift for man or woman who has everything.--E.D. (Oct. '05)

Price: $102.00

Manufacturer's Site:

BUY ONLINE : 88x31 REI Logo

The first flashlight was invented in 1898. Joshua Lionel Cohen, original owner of the Eveready company developed the concept of using a battery to run a light bulb, which he shared with an Eveready salesman, Conrad Hubert. Hubert then turned the idea into a flashlight.

Source: "Invention of the Flashlight," by Mary Bellis, posted on