Retail price: $69
Reviewer: Chris Minguez of Chugiak, AK
Findings: I have owned quite a succession of multitools over the years. Back when I was a communicator in the Marine Corps, I have had innumerable occasions to use them, and they generally outdo themselves in utility. As a general rule, I carried two, one of which was a widemouth ViceGrips multitool made by Schrade, and the other was continually rotating. I still carry the ViceGrip in my Jeep. The ¼” drive bits in the handle have proved so exceptionally useful over the years, I required another tool, (the ViceGrips had only two blades and the ¼” drive) that had the same functionality. Well, initially, at least, that tool was not the tool I’m reviewing. As it currently sits closed and freshly cleaned on my chest, it is now.
The beauty of Steep and Cheap is that good gear gets on there often. The ugly is my empty wallet. Nevertheless, I had to get the SOG Powerlock when it came up at a screaming deal. It was something of an impulse buy, but as I came to use it, I was impressed. You can find the tool list anywhere on the web… or can you? The coolest part of the SOG tools is that the blades are interchangeable, within reason. The limiting part is width, and the necessity of the plier blades closing into the handle. But, with a little ingenuity and patience, I created my ideal multitool. SOG sells replacement blades on their website. Included among this is a ¼” drive bit and a wire stripper unit. On to blade/bit replacement! Now, here is where the patience comes in. It isn’t simply a plug and chug swap. You have to continually assemble and reassemble, to ensure that everything fits, and sometimes sacrificing certain blades within the tool. I think I chucked my serrated blade, since the main blade is half serrate anyway, and I never carry a multitool for the knife blade, since I always have another knife. Also required is the sanding down of the plastic spacer blocks, once you do get everything aligned. A little Loctite on the threads, and it’s done. By the end of the operation, you have a multitool whose functions are uniquely yours, and can be changed to suit different tasks if you find something lacking. User customization: huuuuuge selling point.