Gear Test: Tool Logic SL Pro 2

December 5, 2008
Filed under Camping Gear, Stoves & Cookware, Tools & Knives

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TOOL LOGIC SL PRO 2Tool Logic SL Pro 2

By Rich Johnson

I’ve found my new favorite folding knife, the Tool Logic SL Pro 2. What makes this knife so special is it isn’t just a knife, but a survival system that incorporates four vital functions—a sturdily built, razor-sharp 3-inch 50/50 serrated blade, a bright LED light, a magnesium alloy firestarter that works in conjunction with a striking surface on the blade spine, and a loud emergency signal whistle. That’s quite a bundle of assets in one small, smartly designed package.

One of the things that caught my attention was the excellent workmanship. This tool felt solid in my hand, but not so heavy that it was a burden. The heft and sturdy feel came from the steel chassis, and combined with a comfortable molded plastic grip, it fit perfectly in my hand. The blade was designed for easy thumb opening, using either hand, and the solid locking mechanism ensured safe operation. A stainless steel pocket clip made it easy to carry, without fear of losing it. And a lanyard hole in the aft end of the handle made doubly certain that the knife wouldn’t get away from me.

Earlier editions of Tool Logic knives came with either an LED light or a firestarter, but this one is equipped with both—a nice package in one compact unit. Four little LR41 batteries power the knife’s LED, and a spare set is included. The old “batteries not included” concept does not apply here. The light is easy to turn on and off by twisting the barrel at the working end, and it is bright enough to show the trail on a dark night in the forest.

The flashlight is held in a molded housing built into the knife handle. By pulling the light out of its housing, the firestarter (at the opposite end of the flashlight) is ready for use. An O-ring protects the magnesium alloy firestarter from moisture incursion, and the business end is put into action by striking it across a special spot on the spine of the knife blade. A hot shower of sparks is easily produced. My tinder bundle ignited in flames on the first try.

The fourth important element of the Tool Logic SL Pro 2 is the built-in signal whistle. By pressing the tail end of the knife handle (positioned on a vertical axis) to my lips and blowing, I produced a shrill signal whistle that exceeded the sound made by some dedicated signal whistles I own.

For a retail price of $59.95, the SL Pro 2 offers a lot of solid function in an impressive package. It is 4.2 ounces of tool ready to go to work. Tool Logic: 800/483-8422; /toollogic.com/.

GrillGuard Stove Windscreen

By Jeff Johnston

We jump on them when we come across them—exciting new camp cooking accessories that work great and either make our lives easier or solve a problem. The GrillGuard is such a device, and once we saw it demonstrated at an RV show, we realized it would improve our camp meal preparation and enjoyment.

The GrillGuard is billed as a windscreen, heat shield and fire-guard made from .032-inch aluminum. Full-length piano hinges join the bottom, back and side panels, and small hinges with pin clips secure the side panels to the base when it is set up. Broken down, the unit folds flat for easy storage and transport, perfect for car camping or RVing.

Our first GrillGuard was the standard unit that measures 24x18x18 inches and can fit a Coleman-type stove or one of the small combination stove/grille units. We also use the smaller GrillGuard to hold a pair of 8- and 12-inch Dutch ovens. We also added a larger model to our camp kit that’s 28-inches wide, but the same depth and height as the original.

With a brisk wind gusting, much of the heat from a propane stove or Dutch oven setup can be blown away, and it’s possible to have the fire blown out if the wind is bad enough. With the GrillGuard, we have found that it not only provides superb wind protection—even for our charcoal-briquette Dutch oven cooking—but its aluminum surface also reflects heat back that would otherwise be lost to the cosmos.

For campers who frequently stack Dutch ovens or want to use a tall turkey deep-fryer or crab cooker, for example, there’s also a 24-inch-wide GrillGuard that measures 28 inches tall for extra wind protection.

In its heat-shield capacity, the unit helps protect the surface on which it is used. You can’t build a fire (using charcoal briquettes, for example) right on the aluminum surface because it will damage and probably ruin the metal. We use steel plates to support our Dutch ovens, and those plates also contain the briquettes, so nothing but some radiant heat reaches the aluminum.

The average propane stove that gets a bit hot on its bottom surface has that heat mostly reflected back when used with the GrillGuard, and the aluminum is warm to the touch but not enough to scorch a wood table surface.

As a fire-guard, a metal device that helps corral the various civilized flames and wild sparks that are part of our camp cooking process is a welcome addition. In a campground surrounded by an extra-dry forest, any further measure of safety is a good one.

We haven’t done any scientific measurements of propane fuel used or time to boil water or any such tests, but we know that the extra heat we feel when we reach between the Dutch oven and the sides of the GrillGuard means heat is somewhat contained and is being put to good use where it belongs. We also have far less briquette ash blowing around when using the units.

The original 24-inch GrillGuard retails for $64.95. The 28-inch model retails for $79.95. Other sizes are available, and the manufacturer can also accommodate custom requests as special orders.

We’ve used the GrillGuards from the Oregon coast to the blustery high desert and it’s been a welcome and permanent addition to our camping hardware selection. Outdoor Adventure Products: 800/866-4165; /grillguard.com/.


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