I was lucky enough to first see the CRKT Flux at the 2009 SHOT Show in Orlando- and in fact, I had the designer, Tom Stokes walk me through the components. I was fascinated as Tom showed me the concept of a multitool that is customizable to your intended needs, similar to the failed Coleman Pro Lock . Coleman unfortunately did not support the Pro Lock and as a result, the Pro Lock never amounted to much. Let's hope that CRKT doesn't make the same mistake with the Flux.
With the current trend going towards smaller, more conveniently carried tools, CRKT has once again managed to follow the crowd, but do it in their own inimitable way. Initially they shrank their first tools, the Zilla and Guppie into the Zilla Jr and Li'l Guppie , but the Cicada is something entirely new, not only to CRKT, but also to the multitool world.
The Cicada is a lot of tools in a small package
In the multitool market, manufacturers primarily create tools with pliers as their primary function. Occasionally we see interesting designs that depart from the norm and are pretty much in a league of their own. When CRKT/I.D. Works created the Zilla and the Guppie; there was a surprising acceptance by the multitool community. Someone had decided to try something different with a unique flair to them and they appeared to be an instant success. After the original release there were some folks claming that the tools where too large. A small and more compact version of the tools are what would hit that certain sweet spot with the consumers. With reduction in size came compromises. The Zilla Jr. could not accept standard hex bits anymore and the ‘Lil Guppie no longer had the ability to use bits at all and was reduced to using drivers that were part of it’s design. I.D. Works came up with an excellent solution to remedy the problem. A hex driver, one that would not replace the smaller tools but would compliment them instead. Thus was born the Get-A-Way Driver, a unique hex driver that is more than ordinary and features an impressive array of tools that defiantly make a complete package with the new CRKT tools.
Small, yet deceptively versatile, the Get-A-Way Driver works well by itself or with other tools
Ever since Columbia River hit the scene with their tool line by the I.D. Works division, the knife/tool community has kept an eye on what is new from CRKT and the imaginative guys behind the tools (Launce Barber and Tom Stokes). Besides the release of the Get-A-Way Driver, they have released a carabiner tool that sports some neat features.
Early last year the tool world was all abuzz about the new Guppie multitool from CRKT. It was based on a wrench platform and had a form factor like no other device that comes to mind. In 2008 the Guppie gave birth to an offspring that was designed to be precisely 50% lighter than the original. Fittingly called the Li’l Guppie, this new gadget from CRKT seems to be targeted at the keychain tool niche currently occupied by such tools as the Leatherman Micra, SeberTool M4 and SOG CrossGrip.
Columbia River Knife and Tool entered the multitool world last year with the release of the ZillaTool. While it was praised for it's design and innovation many people including my self may have passed on it for it's hefty size and length. Some people said that while they liked the tool it was just to long to carry around and use with the pocket clip. While it looks like the people over at I.D. Works (the design division at CRKT that came up with the ZillaTool) were listening for this year they released a smaller more pocket friendly version of the Zillatool aptly named the ZillaTool Jr.
It's been a little while since the Guppie was “officially” released. Retailers are still having problems getting it and the Zilla in stock. I received the Guppie just before it's release date and have not reviewed it because I did not have enough opportunity to use it. The problem is, it's such an odd tool that I just didn't feel comfortable carrying it. There was always something better in size comparison that I could carry that would beat the Guppie in functionality. So I decided to bite the bullet and get some of this on paper so to speak. Everyone wants to know what the Guppie is like, well here you go.
Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT for short) has been well known for their fair priced knives made from well known and respected members of the knife community. CRKT makes a knife for virtually every kind of task you can think of and the only thing they haven't ventured into is the multitool market, until now that is.
About six months ago CRKT announced on their website that a division of their company called I.D. Works (which is an acronym for Inspired Design) is producing two multitools that will be released in June. The multitool enthusiasts and the general market alone was not only welcoming them with open arms, but the market needs a fresh face to it. So many of the tools out there are being made by manufacturers that have been making them since time began, and it was time for someone new with a fresh perspective to add something to the picture.