Life+Gear Survival Utility Flashlight packs its own multitool
Flashlight multi-tools tend to be highly unintuitive designs with flip-out implements integrated awkwardly into the flashlight body or tiny flashlights bolted into multi-tool casings. The Life+Gear Survival Utility Flashlight (an SUF to store in your SUV?) docks a standalone multi-tool in its handle, so you get a full-sized flashlight and six-in-one folding tool to keep you prepared for all types of situations.
Run the term "flashlight multi-tool" through Google and you'll find some of the most awkward-looking products you're likely to see. The full-sized flashlights with fold-out implements look nearly impossible to use effectively as tools and uncomfortable to use as flashlights. The multi-tools with integrated flashlights look better but are likely undersized for lighting up anything larger than a cabinet.
Life+Gear hopes to offer a smoother, more functional option in its new Survival Utility Flashlight. Instead of trying to turn the flashlight into a multi-tool, it slides a standalone folding tool right into the torch's handle. The folding tool includes a straight/serrated knife blade, bottle opener, can opener, flat screwdriver and wire stripper.
In addition to carrying the stow-away multi-tool, the SUF has a compass and whistle in its end cap. The included fire starter lashes around the end with its lanyard and works in conjunction with the blade to ignite tinder. Meanwhile, the LED flashlight itself is a water- and impact-resistant design that throws out up to 300 lumens. It has high, low and strobe settings and runs on four AA alkaline batteries.
We haven't actually handled the SUF, but judging from the photos, we're not sure it really transcends the shortcomings of the typical flashlight multi-tool. A multi-tool-docking flashlight seems like a decent idea, but the execution appears to have its downsides, with the body looking bulky and harder to wrap fingers around than a standard flashlight.
The multi-tool itself looks okay but may be a bit under-designed and under-tooled. A good, old Swiss Army-style knife seems like it could deliver more bang for the buck in terms of packing a bunch of tools into a small, familiar package.
If you think this one has more potential than the awkward flashlight multi-tools on the market now, you'll be able to get yours in mid January when it hits Amazon and other retailers. Retail pricing is listed at US$34.97.