True Utility offers a number of affordable outdoor travel and camping gadgets, including multi-purpose ‘swiss army knife style’ tools, lighters, and flashlights. I appreciate that they keep the price point low, making it possible to be well-stocked on useful tools before any backpacking or camping trip, road trip, or outdoor-oriented travels. But how does the quality compare to higher priced versions? And how do the tools hold up after use? Below, a selection of True Utility’s many offerings, and how they fared:
ClipTool Multi-Mate Mini:
The Multi-Mate Mini (try saying that five times fast) is a stainless steel pocket-sized multi-tool that includes a pair of pliers, a knife, file, saw, Philips and flat screwdrivers, hook blade, can opener, bottle opener and pocket knife, which all folds down into a package you can fit in the palm of your hand (key ring included). I’ve put this nifty little gadget on my key ring (just don’t forget to remove it before going through airport security) and have used it more than once to open a bottle, cut open a package, or pick a lock (just kidding) while on the go. The Multi-Mate is $31 (US currency…the UK-based website will convert the price for US customers).
I really liked the Smart Knife, because it’s more than just a pocket knife without going overboard. For $20, you get a sturdy knife that clips to a belt or can be easily stored in a backpack side pocket, with the following extras: bottle opener, seat belt cutter, and glass breaker. The blade is small (just 2 inches), but it works well for small tasks like cutting thin rope or string, cutting away very small branches, and doing small repairs. It’s not going to be a heavy-hitter, but it will come in handy while on the trail. Find the Smart Knife on the True Utility site for $20.
Of note: I also reviewed the Arc Knife simultaneously, or at least tried to: the safety catch on the blade lock broke off when I first took it out of its packaging. Needless to say, I was less than impressed. True Utility immediately sent a replacement which has held up better, but I’ll admit: I no longer trust the ‘high grade’ steel. It’s entirely possible my experience was an isolated problem, but readers should be aware.
This one I really like: the TrueLite Mini flashlight packs a big punch for a little device. It’s very handy to have in your pocket as you’re setting up camp in the evening, and we keep it in the glove box of the car while we’re not traveling. It’s not cheap at $23, but only takes one AAA battery and really shines brightly. Pick one up at True Utility.
Classic Turbo Jet Flame:
The name of this one makes it sound as though I’m reviewing some sort of spy tool, but in fact, it’s just a lighter. A very cool lighter, but still. The Turbo Jet Flame (which again, sadly, is not some sort of flame thrower) is wind-proof, letting you light your fire no matter what the wind conditions. Does it work? It proved itself to us on the windy coast of Oregon, so yes, I think it passes the test. The Turbo Jet is $20, and well worth the price.
A few of the tools, including the clip multitool, can be found for less on Amazon as well, which might make for easier international ordering. (Here’s the flame lighter for less, too.) So does True Utility deliver on high quality travel tools for a comfortable price point? To that I give a qualified yes. The tools that worked, really worked, but that Arc Knife breaking off into my hand leaves me unable to give a 100% positive review. I’d recommend the multi-tools as nice, affordable additions to your backpacking supply list, but spring for a higher quality all-purpose pocket knife. Should you try True Utility, please note that you’ll get useful gadgets that won’t break the bank, but as with all things, you will get what you paid for.