True Utility Scarab  A tiny tool that punches beyond its weight

In the hard-fought competition for space in our pockets, sometimes ‘just good enough’ can be just about perfect.

I’ve toted some kind of pocket tool, ever since I got my first Swiss Army knife as a child. Around 20 years ago, I got a Leatherman Super Tool, and it sat magnificently on my hip for many years. Eventually, I had to concede that – at 250g – it was just too bulky and heavy for everyday carry, and eased back to a 140g Leatherman Skeletool. This was much less obtrusive. It lacked a few tools, but retained the pliers, and the locking knife and screwdrivers that seem to come in handy all the time.

The Skeletool was great when in use, and easier to live with when not in use, but it’s still a relatively large implement. Relatively large, that is, when compared with the tiny 46g Scarab, from True Utility. This little gem sits in the coin pocket of my jeans, and completely disappears until I need it.

From handsome leather sheath, to nylon pouch, to full commando

From handsome leather sheath, to nylon pouch, to full commando

Smaller, lighter, less useful

What it lacks in size it (almost) makes up for in utility

When I come across a job that’s beyond the scope of fingernails and teeth, the Scarab has a small pair of sprung pliers, a pair of screwdrivers, and a wicked little knife. If a job is too big for the Scarab, it’s likely also too big for the Skeletool, so I would have needed to go and get a ‘proper’ tool regardless. For me, it hits the right balance of being ‘good enough’ when I need it, and being absolutely superb when I don’t. The Leatherman tools may be better in the the hand, but they’re a pain in the kidney the entire rest of the time.

If I need more than my fingertips, I need more than the Scarab

If I need more than my fingertips, I need more than the Scarab

The Scarab’s tools don’t lock into place, but if I require that kind of force, I should probably take a moment to go and get the correct tool. It has folded up and bitten me a few times when I’ve asked too much of it. If they could replace the file with a can/bottle opener, it would be nigh-on perfect. For bottles, I have a Gerber Shard on my keyring. I know. It’s a sickness…

The Gerber Shard, and the True Utility KeyLite. Handy on a winter's eve.

The Gerber Shard, and the True Utility LockLite. Handy on a dark winter’s eve.

Having dug out my Skeletool, I'm reminded of how great it is.

Having dug out my Skeletool, I’m reminded of how great it is.

The Scarab only cost me $14. I had low expectations, but couldn’t leave it there, and am glad I didn’t. Since then, I’ve picked up True Utility’s ‘FireStash’ peanut-lighter, and their ‘LockLite’ key-torch. They’re both well made, and perform far beyond their modest price tags. I have no need to carry a lighter, but the torch has fended off all comers to retain its spot on my keyring.

The Scarab’s tiny blade can take care of packaging, but is not enough knife to prepare a picnic. That position has been vacant since I lost my beloved Gerber EZ-Out last year. The upside of this is that I finally have an excuse to go knife shopping again.