Friday, March 27, 2015

Palette's Product Reviews: the Spool Tool

& is used with permission.
The Spool Tool is something that I acquired for my birthday, and it's something that I'm really looking forward to using in the coming years.

But Erin! I hear you exclaim. This is a product review! Surely you have used it by now?

And the answer to that is "Well, of course I've fiddled with it and used its features and gauged how sturdy it is, but I haven't actually taken it into the woods with me and/or deliberately beaten the crap out of it."  This is because
  1. I don't have the time to go camping, because of responsibilities.
  2. I dislike testing to destruction, because I enjoy keeping things. 
So if that's a dealbreaker for you, I invite you to read my Product Testing Mission Statement and then wish you a good day. If, however, you understand that my endorsement means "Hey preppers, check this out, it's not a ripoff and I think you'll like it '' -- i.e. I am the gatekeeper of ideas rather than the final judge of quality -- then I think you'll like this review. 

What I Like
The Spool Tool, as you may have guessed, is a spool for holding paracord along with other useful tools, such as a cord cutter, melting notches (more on these later), and a place to hold a miniature lighter. It weighs just a few ounces, measures just a touch over 6" long and a smidge under 3.5" wide, and without cord it's 0.25" thick. It's also made of a very tough reinforced nylon. 

How tough? While I could probably snap the prongs off the lighter holder if I put my mind to it, the rest of the tool is quite sturdy; holding a flange in each hand and bending with all my might, the tool flexed only a little bit. I have every confidence that the Spool Tool can survive anything you throw at it. 

Now, about those melting notches? Just watch this short video

In addition to all these good things, the Spool Tool:
  • is available in a variety of colors (black, tan, coyote brown, foliage green, olive drab, royal blue and hazard orange);
  • is made in the USA;
  • is a business owned by veterans (who probably wanted something like this in the field, and so designed it to do what they wished they had; 
  • and can be bought on Amazon for $16.50 and free shipping. 

What I Don't Like
Despite all of these good features I do, however, have one nitpick about this device.

These are pictures of my Spool Tool with 25' of paracord (550 Firecord, to be precise). You can see that it is nicely wound onto the spool.

Overall thickness is approximately 1.75 inches. 

This is the same Spool Tool with 100' of Rothco paracord wound around it in the same manner as above. Well, as close as I could come: with that much length it's hard to keep everything nice and tight and neat and errors creep into the winding.
Thickness is now 3.5 inches. While this is an acceptable measurement for something that is clipped to the side of a pack, you can see that it does not pack down in a manner that can be remotely considered "flat". It's basically a fist-sized bulge. 

If you need your paracord to lie flat, or otherwise fit into a bag without being a lump, I recommend that you not wind more than 50' onto the Spool Tool. 

To its credit, all paracord unwinds smoothly from the spool regardless of its length.

My Rating: A+
Yes, despite my nitpick, I still give it an A+ (I will enthusiastically recommend this product to others) rating. It does everything it says it does -- despite being ungainly, it WILL hold 100' of paracord, by golly -- and does it really well. It's designed intelligently, built sturdily, has a nice price and incorporates several useful tools into one coherent whole.

Plus, it's 100% American made and owned by veterans. What's not to love?

Check it out on Amazon.

Obligatory FTC Disclaimer: I bought this with my own money. Go away. 

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