Juice S2 Vs. Juice KF4: What the Hell Is Leatherman Thinking?

Leatherman Juice S2 Vs. Juice KF4The Leatherman Juice is awesome because it’s exactly the right size for every day carry. There company has whipped up a total of five models, and discontinued the best one: the Juice KF4. I scrounged up a KF4 on E-bay from some dude in Florida (thanks, danpass), because I’d read the specs and thought it would be the best possible version of the Juice. It turned out that I was right.

The Juice S2 is a good EDC option. It measures 3.25 ” long when closed, and only ways 4.4 ounces, so if you work at an office or something and just can’t have a bunch of things clipped to your belt all day the S2 may work out. It’s got most of the basic tools that most people use: pliers, wire-cutter, phillips driver, regular drivers in 3 sizes, a good knife blade, bottle/can-opener, and very good scissors.

The KF4 is a hair thicker in the middle than the S2, and about an ounce heavier. Where tools are concerned, you lose the scissors and bottle/can-opener, but keep the rest. In addition, you get a ruler, an awl, a saw, an excellent file with a diamond surface on one side, and a sheepsfoot serrated blade.

These trade-offs suit me perfectly. I get that scissors are the best tool for a lot of cutting jobs, but I can pretty effectively use a sharp knife to do 99% of the things I would do with scissors. The saw and the awl, however, fill niches that will put undue stress on a pen knife and greatly expand the utility of the tool.

The file may be the clincher for me because it has 3 abrasive surfaces: one rough one for wood or metal, one on the edge for notching and cutting, and one diamond file that will put a quick edge on whatever other knife I happen to be carrying.

In order to get these specific tools in a currently available Juice model, you have to upgrade to the XE6, which is a lot thicker and weighs in at 6.7 ounces. That puts it in competition with the 6.9 ounce Blast and the 7.0 ounce Sidekick, both full-size tools that may offer more utility.

I should also note at this point, that every Juice model currently in production, with the exception of the S2, is inexplicably equipped with a corkscrew. I like wine, and I’m a traditionalist so I like my wine bottles to have real corks in them. No screw-offs here.

I know it’s crazy, but I tend not to drink wine while I’m hiking, or at work, or running around in the street. I open my wine at home, where I have a perfectly serviceable corkscrew in my silverware drawer. If you’re listening, Leatherman, take the damned corkscrews off of the damned multitools!

At this point I have replaced the Juice S2 with my used Juice KF4 in my EDC gear, and I’m quite happy with it. They should put this one back into production , or at least integrate a foil cutter into the next Juice model. . 

Battle for Haiti (2011)

Rating: FR.Battle for HaitiBattle for Haiti is the first episode of the 29th season of the PBS documentary series Frontline, and it details the disintegration of Haitian society in the year since the Caribbean nation was hit by a massive earthquake on the 10th of January, 2010.

Only a few years before this event, Haiti underwent a revolution following decades of dictatorship. The political situation was entirely tenuous since then, and the earthquake undermined an already fragile, fledgling government. In short, the country has experienced a nearly complete breakdown of law and order.

The documentary is focused on events within the capitol city Port-au-Prince, in which much of the the infrastructure was destroyed outright. This forced the majority of its residents into to relocate, not to the countryside, but to improvised tent camps around the city itself.

battle_for_haiti_02The national penitentiary housed something in the neighborhood of 4500 criminals at the time of the quake, the majority of whom simply wandered back out into the street once the compound was structurally compromised. Many of these criminals were gangsters who were somewhat quicker in establishing a social order within the tent camps than were the police. These gangsters proceeded to rape women, beat or kill men, and generally exploit the comparatively peaceful inhabitants of the camps as a matter of course.

What remains of the Haitian police force makes occasional forays into the camps to retrieve what they perceive to be the very worst of the gangsters. They are mostly ineffectual, however, and more often than not are only distinguishable from the gangsters by their bedraggled and mismatched uniforms.

battle_for_haiti_03Local officials have collectively shrugged their shoulders in the face of corruption, poor organization, and a lack of resources, and seem to be entirely reliant to the blue-helmeted United Nations peacekeepers to maintain any substantial sense of order.

It might be easy for people sitting in the United States to dismiss the state of affairs in Haiti as symptomatic of the third world backwardness of the country. Under the right circumstances, in a crisis of sufficient magnitude, law and order can be suspended pretty much anywhere. Documentaries like After Armageddon have tried to construct an imagined post-apocalyptic world in the United States. Battle for Haiti is a thoughtfully presented examination of what actually does happen in the absence of the rule of law, and should be instructive to anyone preparing for a potential disaster.

Functional EDC Gear

Everyone and his little sister has posted some kind of an EDC expository, either in video or in writing. Still, it’s fun so I’m going to do mine.

snafu_pack_in_briefcaseFirst of all, I work in an office setting, so I carry a leather Duluth briefcase that’s appropriate to the environment. It’s got two big pockets on the front of it, each of which could potentially hold a standard Maxpedition EDC organizer. A Maxpedition Mini fits in there no problem, and leaves room to jam my primary flashlight (see below) in there if it gets to be a pain in the ass. The Mini is four inches high, by six inches wide, and it pretty much holds all of the basic stuff that I might need in the course of the day.

The Mini, as it’s now used, holds:

Maxpedition Mini

Click for larger image.

  • Buck Bantam BLW 285 backup blade
  • ball point pen
  • Stanley bit driver
  • highlighter
  • Bic lighter
  • key fob with 6 ibuprophen
  • Fenix LD15 flashlight
  • Leatherman Juice S2
  • 1 spare AA battery for the LD15
  • pocket comb
  • first aid kit (hidden in photo)
  • laminated sheet with emergency contacts (hidden in photo)
  • 10 ft. of paracord (hidden in photo)
  • Jetscream whistle (hidden in photo)
  • Uncle Bill’s Sliver Gripper tweezers  (hidden in photo)
  • key fob with cash (hidden in photo)
  • standard nail clippers (hidden in photo)

Everything is entirely secure, with the exception of the Leatherman, but that’s no trouble as long as I remember to hold the Mini flat when I open it.

pocket_pack_01

In addition to the stuff in the Maxpedition Mini, I’ve got pockets in which I generally have :

  • Fenix LD20 flashlight
  • Leatherman Squirt PS4
  • SOG Flash II assisted open knife
  • small Bic lighter (not pictured)
  • whatever else might come in handy

I never used to bother with the multitools because they always seemed so clumsy and heavy. I figured that I’d be better off carrying around an actual pair of pliers if I really thought I’d need them. Once I found the smaller-sized Leatherman offerings I was eventually converted.

The important thing is to find the right balance of stuff. Nothing is useful if it weighs you down and gets in your way all of the time. The Maxpedition Mini in this configuration comes in at a little more than a pound, and isn’t particularly noticeable in a briefcase that runs 15 to 20 pounds on a normal day.