A blade, a light, and a whistle — that’s the formula for the Core Lite, a hybrid “survival tool” made by Adventure Medical Kits of Oakland, Calif. The company, known for its first-aid kits, also has a line of survival products, and the Core Lite is a new and unique addition for outdoors types looking to stay prepared for worst cases in the woods.
The Core Lite’s short steel blade comes sharp enough to razor off arm hair. Its edge, just over 2 inches long, is touted to be able to cut wet tree bark to “expose dry inner wood” as well as be used for “notching and grooving branches” if you need to construct a shelter.
In reality, your wooden wigwam would be a tough build with this little blade. It’s sharp and usable for any small task, though in my test the drop-point blade did not scream “durability” in use. Gripping the knife’s plastic handle and working the edge in wood I could see and feel the locked-off blade shifting subtly from side to side.
The whistle and the light, a small single L.E.D., are similarly mediocre. Touted to blast 100 decibels of sound, I found the whistle, which is integrated into the end of the handle, to be quieter than most of the standalone outdoors-oriented whistles on my gear shelf.
Need some light? A rubber button next to the blade turns the L.E.D. on. It shines a bluish cloud and can light up a camp kitchen for cooking or a trail during an easy hike. But if there’s a noisy bump outside the tent grab your real flashlight instead to cut a beam into the night.
All negatives aside, the Core Lite is fine for most tasks. Its integrated nature — blade, whistle, light — works fine, and the unit is lightweight enough to go unnoticed in a pocket or pack. It measures just 1.4 ounces on my scale.
For $25, Adventure Medical Kits’ knife is not a bad deal. Just know its limitations and don’t fool yourself with a feathery survival tool that may be too “lite” for the job.
–Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.