I’m a big proponent of the practice of carrying a pocket knife, and I’ve written about it several times. It’s amazing how handy a knife turns out to be.
However, there are a few regular daily tasks that knives aren’t quite designed for. When I was carrying the inexpensive Gerber Ridge I didn’t mind pulling it out to open a beer bottle or unscrew something.
When I upgraded to the Spyderco Sage I, I immediately got a lot less keen to use it for anything other than cutting things. It’s such a nice precision tool that it’d seem rude to pervert its original purpose. And if it broke, it’d hurt my wallet to replace it.
So for a while I had to dig out various tools from my bag when I wanted to pry a nail or screw something. It was inconvenient, but I didn’t want to add bulk to the basic level of my EDC kit — the stuff that goes in my pockets.
I worked out eventually that I needed something which:
- Didn’t replicate the functionality of my knife, because I hate pointless redundancy, and it would look silly beside the Spyderco Sage, anyway.
- Combined a number of different functions in one, essentially closing the biggest gaps in what I need on a daily basis.
- Wasn’t a giant, weighty addition to my basic EDC kit, but was minimal and quick to hand.
To satisfy all of these requirements, I got the Gerber Shard. This keychain tool falls on the “excellent” side of the great divide of Gerber products, which are like the little girl in the poem: when it is good, it is very good indeed, but when it is bad it is horrid. The Shard is small and simple enough, containing a few drivers, a bottle opener, and a pry bar/wire stripper.
Once I had it, I realized that just sticking it in my pocket wasn’t going to be good enough. I didn’t want to have to fish around for it, and unless I bought one for every single pair of pants I had, I’d definitely lose it inside a week. I decided the best way to carry it would be around my neck.
Here’s the super important thing about putting paracord around parts of your body: if you get caught by something, it could literally rip your limbs off, or hang you. This is because it’s specifically designed to support a lot of strain — ~550lb in most cases.
Because of this it’s important to build in a break-point or breakaway to whatever you’re weaving. For this, I used heat-shrink tubing around two overlapped ends of paracord.