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Edge of utility

This is from the previous version of tecknologi.
Originally published at

When does something stop being useful and just looks good?

I bought a new Leatherman Charge. I went all out and got the 40 bit extension and the bit driver extension.

I don't intend to replace my classic Leatherman, it's just with my tool pouch update I wanted a Leatherman for both my #1 and #2 tool pouches.

I'm resurrecting my former tool pouch as the "new" #1. My old number one is now #2 and still lives in the side pocket of my computer case. My old number two is now #3 and still lives on my belt.

At least, when I am wearing pants.

I'll admit it, there is something that appeals to me about the idea of Batman's utility belt. But I have discovered that too many things on the belt make your trousers fall down. I don't object, but the people I am around do. That is why I with with the minimalist #3 in the first place. And I am not athletic enough to be swinging a mini-grappling hook, even if they could manufacture one.

I'm still thinking about other pouches to add items as I need them, but usually #2 and #3 are enough. Well, maybe I could use some paracord and a few other things.

Still, the Leatherman Charge has taught me something about how useful a tool can be.

See, the whole idea behind the original Leatherman wasn't that it was the "perfect" tool for the job, but that in a pinch it was good enough to substitute for a variety of tools. It didn't fit your hand right and the balance was off, but it would work. A twist here and there and the tool was ready.

The very thing that I thought would appeal to me most, the multiple bits (and the ability to use standard 1/4" bits) is the thing that crosses the edge of utility into nuisance. Changing the bits adds about two or three steps. Carrying the bit driver extender and one bit holder makes the elastic sided holster an even tighter fit. Adding the other two bit holders means an extra pouch on the belt.

Even without the bits, pulling the Charge from it's included holster is often a two hand job.

Somewhere the Leatherman crossed from utility to flourish and I am pretty sure it was because of the bits. Having to keep up with and changing the bits makes the Charge less useful than it's predecessor.

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