Over the years, we've watched multi-tools grow smaller and smaller – we're talking about survival credit cards, keychain multitools and tool-packed watchbands. At the same time, a smaller but louder group has been growing much larger than your typical Swiss Army knife or Leatherman. Here, we're talking about four-in-one saws, survival shovels and multifunctional hiking poles. The latest among the big boys is the Combar from Aclim8, a hatchet-spade that also packs a hammer, folding wood saw and knife – no tiny, ineffectual mini-tools or extraneous bottle openers to see here.
When packed up, the 3.2-lb (1.5-kg) Combar Pro looks like a simple club or baton. Aclim8 promises it has manipulated the aluminum, stainless steel and titanium in a way that makes the device well-balanced and ergonomic. We'd have to get a hand on it to verify, but from looking at it, it does appear to be compact enough for easy, natural use.
We reckon the Combar could be used as a blunt instrument in a self-defense situation, but it isn't a simple club. At top, it includes a stainless steel hammer head for knocking home tent pegs and taking care of other hammering tasks you might encounter in the wild. Around the hammer, there's also a flip-out spade/pick for shoveling and playing in the dirt. Opposite the spade, a flip-out hatchet takes care of chopping up wood.
That's a pretty nice trio of important outdoor tools right there, but the Combar takes it further. Flip the access hatch at the bottom of the handle and slide out two additional tools – a knife with 4.5-in (11.5-cm) fixed steel blade and skeletal glass-reinforced nylon handle and a folding saw with replaceable saw blade. Now you can add all kinds of other sawing and cutting duties to the list of tasks the Combar can handle on its own, from sawing branches for shelter and fire to slicing and dicing dinner.
Maybe you already have a knife and saw or maybe there's just something more important you'd like to carry in your Combar multi-tool. With the included empty magazine, you can store your own small tools or survival provisions in the handle in place of the knife and saw. Aclim8 doesn't mention it being watertight, so you'll probably want to avoid tinder or matches, but you can easily come up with a custom kit of tools and supplies to fill the magazine up.
Aclim8 is an Israeli-based startup founded by special forces veterans and recreational adventurers. It aims to design reliable, functional products for hunters, campers, survivalists, off-roaders and other user groups. It promises that the Combar is built tough and has been tested in extreme conditions, backing that promise up with a lifetime warranty.
Aclim8 launched a Kickstarter campaign today and is offering two different versions of the Combar, both with the flip-out hatchet, spade and hammer. The Combar Pro with all the tools and the empty magazine described above starts at the US$479 pledge level (limited time), while the Combar, with magazine but no knife or saw, starts at the $339 level (also limited time). Retail pricing is estimated at $499 for the Combar and $799 for the Combar Pro.
Even the Kickstarter early bird pricing seems sky-high to us and more expensive than buying individual tools from other brands. For comparison, the three-in-one Zippo AxeSaw, which appears to be a simplified derivative of the Woodsman four-in-one-saw mentioned in the opening paragraph, retails for $80, packing a hatchet, bow saw and stake mallet. Sure, the Combar Pro has a couple more tools and uses ... but is that worth 10 times the retail price?
The pricing hasn't stopped Kickstarters from getting behind the campaign with their wallets. In less than a day, Aclim8 is already nearing its $55,000 goal at over $51,000 as of publishing.
Here's the Combar Kickstarter promo video:
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