Sometimes you find the oddest things in the comments sections. In a review about an interchangeable blade multi-tool, someone mentioned the CRKT’s ID Flex tool. When I looked that tool up, I was reminded about a tool I have long been interested in – the CRKT Guppie, a multi-tool designed around an adjustable wrench instead of pliers. More interestingly, I saw a comment about a combo pack only sold at Walmart with the Guppie and the ‘Eat’N Tool‘. A quick sidetrip to Walmart’s page showed that they were both in stock, and only $19.95. Amazing considering that the Guppie usually sells for $39.95 itself!
This seemed like a great opportunity to give this tool a try!
I shan’t review the shopping experience itself but I will mention that this combo pack in my Walmart was on the bottom-most peg in a corner of the shelving unit- hard to see even if you are looking for it. The packaging did little to make me happier – a very tough blister pack and the two tools are actually connected by a little bridge/lock unit that you need a small Philips screwdriver to undo. Massively annoying, but if this is part of how Walmart can offer them so inexpensively, I guess I will deal with it!
Let’s start with the Guppie multitool. According to the site, the specifications are:
- Open- Overall Length 5.5 inches
- Closed- Length 3.5 inches
- Weight- 4.1 ounces
- Length- 2 inches
- Thickness- 0.104 inches
- Material- 2CR13
- Blade- HRC 51-53, Finish Black Oxide, Grind Hollow, Style Drop Point, Edge Plain
- Lock Type- Slip Joint
Features: LED light, Carabiner, Flat Blade Driver Bits, Phillips Driver Bits
Visually, this is a small, slim (without the bit holder), attractive tool in ‘blasted’ and black tones. It is not loaded with features – 1/2″ max. adjustable wrench, blade, bit holder, carabiner, bottle cap lifter, and a small bit holder that is held by pins and magnets. It holds four standard hex bits: #1 and 2 Philips, and a #3 and 5 slotted. (I believe that is an internal numbering system. They are actually 1/8th and 3/16th inches.) And it includes a small LED flashlight.
I really hate to say this, but I am not very impressed with this tool. The knife does not have a lock of any kind. That allows you to open and close it one-handed, but it also means that if you wrap your finger around the frame in the usual position, it is at risk of injury. The blade is also the dullest I have ever seen on a brand-name knife out of the package. This is not a common complaint, so it may just have been my tool. I have not sharpened it yet so cannot comment on how it takes or keeps an edge. The position of the blade looks and feels odd, but actually works pretty well in use. One thing I keep re-discovering in multi-tools is that the unusual configuration of the blade sometimes points a different direction than you think. In this particular case, I was ready to cut something quickly and would have been pushing the blade the wrong way.
The adjustable wrench opens to about 1/2″- not great, but fine for lots of pretty typical applications. Its usefulness is questionable. The shape means that it cannot swing very far if the nut is not fully exposed. It also cannot reach far into an assembly to get to the nut – it has to be pretty accessible. The short body limits how much leverage you can apply, although the design seems tough enough to handle whatever you can dish out. The flat body with no ‘neck’ between the tool and the handle also means that your fingers and knuckles are often in the way. Several reviewers mentioned that the jaws do not grip tightly, but I have not seen that happen with mine.
The bit holder built into the tool (as opposed to the unit that stores the bits) works perfectly. The tool’s shape works great for this – very comfortable in your hands. The four included bits are a good starting point, and since it takes standard bits, you can buy others, and even things like extensions to adapt it to your needs… although if you have more than four bits, you’ll need to figure out a carrying method yourself.
The magnetic bit holder (that stores the bits) has a small LED flashlight built in. It uses 2 CR97 batteries and a single LED bulb. It is not very remarkable, but any light can be handy in a pinch. The bits are held in the holder mostly by pressure, although I think the magnet helps a bit. A couple of my bits are already sliding some after only having it a few hours. There is also a small lanyard loop on the end, so you can use or carry the holder independently.
The Guppie by itself is a sleek tool, but the addition of the bit holder makes it… less sleek. I doubt the magnetic bit holder would stay on the tool if I clipped it to my belt loops. I think it would come off as soon as I had to squeeze past something, like getting into my car. (I do have to state, however, that just knocking the tool does not make the bit holder even wobble!) Without bit holder, it can be slipped into a pocket. With bit holder, not so much.
Overall verdict: Fair product for some people, with reservations. This assumes that the blade can be sharpened well and hold an edge, and that your needs are fairly tame, like medium-small component work, etc. If you need a real adjustable wrench, there are other options that would work better; most home centers or hardware stores offer some sort of stubby adjustable wrench, or you can just take your favorite wrench and shorten the handle to pocket size.
The Eat’N Tool is an interesting device. This is a 4″ long, 1.5 ounce short-handled spork made from 3CR13 stainless steel, about 1/16″ thick. It features some metric wrench cut-outs – 10, 8, and 6mm as well as a pry or screwdriver tip and a bottle cap lifter. It is also a ‘blasted’ color and comes with a small carabiner. The MSRP is $7.99 alone.
The tool part of this is designed for small emergency field repairs, and I can only assume that most small camp stoves use these sizes of nuts or fasteners somewhere. The spoon part is both a little disappointing and a bit worrisome. The curve of the bowl is not very deep – which is fairly typical of sporks anyway, but the teeth are kind of thick and blunt which may limit what it can jab. It is a very thick spoon which feels kind of odd in my mouth. The biggest thing, though, is that it does not have neck between the tool and handle either. You can hold this several ways, but you generally have a digit in or near your food.
The short size also means that it will be tough to use on smaller or narrower containers. One of the reasons I carry a titanium spork in my every day carry bag is to let me snack on frozen-stiff little cups of ice cream. The strong titanium means I can just dig in, and the handle length keeps my fingers clean and warm. With the Eat’N Tool, you can certainly dig in, but reaching the bottom of most containers and keeping your fingers clean and warm will be tougher. It is a tough tool though. I was joking with a friend that it’s best use in the field may be to dig holes or trenches with! It would probably serve nicely in an emergency kit – after all, it does a lot and takes up little room or weight.
While I was not as impressed as I had hoped I would be, I also have to admit that for $19.99, the Walmart combo pack is a great value, and far better than most under $20 multi-tools we see.