Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mini-Review - Wildcard Wallet Knife

A guest post from The Realist:

The front and back of the Wildcard retail packaging.
(Click photograph for larger view).

       Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this review were purchased by myself. I did not receive samples, evaluation models, or other compensation from manufacturers or retailers. I have no formal relationship with any manufacturer or retailer mentioned in this review - I have only been an arms-length customer. Further, this review reflects my unique circumstances and subjective opinions with regard to performance and other characteristics of the products being reviewed. Your mileage may vary.

       Recently, I purchased a Zootility Wildcard Wallet Knife multitool, new in package, at a local flea market. The flea market price was cheap enough that I wasn't going to be upset if it turned out to be a dud. After I opened it up and examined it for a few minutes, I was actually fairly pleased with this multitool.

         The Wildcard is primarily a knife, but incorporates a handful of other tools, so I will classify it as a multitool. It has the following tools: knife with a partially serrated edge, bottle opener, large and small straight screwdriver tips, short ruler (1 inch and 3 centimeters), and prybar (the corner with the two screwdriver tips). The blade's cutting edge is only beveled from one side, with the other side being flat. When closed, the blade is protected with two metal tabs. The blade locks firmly in the open and closed positions. The knife blade can be removed from the body of the tool - this requires deliberate effort, it cannot happen accidentally.

        Closed, the Wildcard is 3.15 by 2.18 inches in size, and 0.9 inches thick at its thickest point (the blade pivot and knife edge guards). So, it is certainly thin enough to be carried in a wallet. With the knife blade opened, the multitool is almost five inches long. The stainless steel blade is 0.042 inches thick, while the body of the tool is 0.040 inches thick. All markings and legends are laser etched into the tool, so they should not wear off during normal use. According to the manufacturer's web site, the multitool weighs only 1.1 ounces.

Front, back, and disassembled Wildcard.
(Click photograph for larger view)
          The Wildcard's packaging describes the multitool as "TSA proof," while the manufacturer's web site describes it as "TSA compliant." What this means is that with the knife blade removed, the remainder of the multitool should pass through TSA screening. WITH THE BLADE ATTACHED, THE MULTITOOL IS NOT TSA COMPLIANT. The Wildcard packaging touts its "FlyOff Technology" - the removable blade can be surrender to TSA while keeping the rest of the multitool. (However, given the arbitrary and capricious nature of TSA screening, I would not count on the TSA agent giving you an opportunity to separate the blade from the body of the tool.) Replacement blades can be purchased from zootilitytools.com - at the time of this writing, $14 plus shipping for two blades.

         As far as cutlery intended to fit in a wallet, this is probably the best wallet knife or tool I have ever seen. It is well executed, and does not feel flimsy when being manipulated or held. I personally like the fact that the knife locks in the opened and closed positions. Opening and closing the blade is a two-hand operation. My only complaint is that the small screwdriver tip on my Wildcard was somewhat rounded, but I was able to remedy that minor defect with a file in a few seconds.

         As I was looking at the Wildcard, I realized it would fit comfortably in an Altoids tin, and it does. So, for those of you who have or are planning to put together an Altoids tin survival/EDC kit, the Wildcard would be a superb component of such a kit.

       And, for those of you who remember my Ultra-Portable Radios article (http://practicaleschatology.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-realist-ultra-portable-radios.html), I suggested putting a small radio and earbuds on an Altoids tin. A Wildcard multitool will also fit in that Altoids tin, although the radios must be positioned such that the clip on the back of the radio is nestled over the thin area of the Wildcard, or remove the clip from the radio. The Audiomax SR-202, Sony SRF-S84, and Tecsun R-103 all fit without removing the clip. The Memorex MR4210 with its clip is just a tiny bit too thick, causing the closed lid of Altoids tin to bulge slightly.

The Wildcard fits in an Altoids tin, and will also fit in an Altoids tin with a radio and ear buds.
(Click photograph for larger view)
        The Zootility Wildcard is made in USA, and can be purchased from many sources including Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M3NMY53), REI (https://www.rei.com/product/893029/zootility-tools-wildcard-wallet-knife), and Zootility (https://shop.zootilitytools.com/products/wildcard). With an MSRP of $35 it is certainly more expensive than other similar products. But, like the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

        The Wildcard is a well executed multitool that can live in a wallet or Altoids tin. For most circumstances, I cannot envision it being used as a primary knife or multitool, but it would make an excellent secondary or backup knife/multitool.

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