In moments of need, it is deeply and soulfully satisfying to reach to your waist, whip out an Alligator, Gerber, or Leatherman, and unfold whichever pointy implement is required to save the day. That almost never happens. The sad truth is that most multi-tools sit in drawers and we're left scrambling to be a mini MacGyver. Dave Laituri's carry-anywhere Tuls are a stroke of genius that solve that problem, along with virtually any other mechanical mishap that might crop up.
Laituri, founder of collaborative manufacturing community Onehundred, has produced a series of credit card-size, metal multi-tools that slip easily into a wallet. Just 1mm thick by 55mm wide, the cards are made from either machined stainless steel or much lighter, but equally strong, titanium. Each one is purpose-built with a different use case in mind. (They also have cutesy people names: Stan, Opie, Roul, Lucy, and Ollie.)
The Opie is the simplest tool – a bottle opener – and might be extraneous since you could use any of the others to open a brew using the leverage of the metal card. But if you just want an opener that's not going to bend and break, then opt for the titanium version.
Stan is meant for the perpetually tangled mobile user. Cutouts in the Tul allow it to function as either a vertical or a horizontal stand for an iPhone, but Stan is also for wrapping up USB charging cords or earphone buds, plus there's a bottle opener (you know, just in case). Simple and effective, Stan lives attached to the back of our phone by its earbuds or is stowed until he's needed in our wallet.
Roul is the craftsman's right hand. Packing a bevy of drafting and carpentry tools that normally exist in ten different, specialized instruments, Roul is both a standard and a metric ruler (albeit small ones), a light-duty pry bar, a square, an 80-degree protractor, and a plum bob. It also has dual standard gauges for sizing anything from wire to rod stock to drill bits and dowels.
The sister to all the bros is Lucy (as in righty-tighty, lefty-Lucy), which is targeted at cyclers. The interior of the Tul is cut out in such a way that metric- and standard-size bolts (1/8th to 9/16th standard and 7mm to 14mm metric) can be cranked using Lucy as a wrench. Lucy also comes with a spoke wrench, and, of course, a bottle opener.
And the brother that brings the whole family together (and takes it back apart) is Ollie, which blends elements of all the other Tuls. With wrench sizes of up to a half-inch or 14mm, a protractor, plumb bob, metric square and standard ruler, gauge sizer from .078 to 6.5, bicycle spoke wrench, and, yes, bottle opener, the Ollie is a jack-of-all-trades. But, as with the rest of the Tuls, it's still able to fit in a credit card slot. Eat your heart out MacGyver. [From $22 to $32; onehundred.co]