A Key Feature of a $10 Tool

No gun or knife or tactical pen featured here today — just a $10 keychain tool that’s found its way into my everyday carry gear. It’s an important tool because of one key function (pun intended): keeping my keys attached to a belt loop or pocket — instantly accessible. Yep, other keychains — carabiners, clips, button straps, etc. — do this, but none offer the speed of deployment of the CRKT Viva.

See that loop with the open, curved entry? That part slips over a belt loop or pocket. See the hole at the end? That’s where you attach a keyring. I only keep a couple keys on the ring: a car key and a house key. This not only lightens the load but also makes it easy to tuck the keys into a front or back pocket as the Viva hangs from a belt loop. The Viva gets carried on my weak side so that my strong-side hand is free to access my gun, knife or tactical pen.

When I need the keys, it’s quick work to move my hand to the Viva and draw it up with a deft motion. At that point, I can put my pinky through the loop to help keep my keys in hand. When I want to reattach the keys to my belt loop, another deft movement with a bit of a twist gets them there. As a key keeper, the Viva is a super handy system.

The CRKT Viva is more than a $10 keychain though. Its other features include, in order of usefulness (from “very” to “not so much”), a pry bar (which can double as a standard screwdriver), a bottle opener and a box wrench set. In fact, the pry bar is very strong — strong enough that you could use it as a last-ditch weapon — and provides a nice alternative to damaging my folding knife. The bottle opener’s usefulness goes without saying; there’s always a need. The multi-wrench is fine if you can find a nut with nothing around it, allowing the tool to sit flush and actually access the nut.

Made from stonewashed steel, the Viva weighs 1.1 ounces and measures just under 4 inches in length. It’s tough — so much so that I wouldn’t be afraid of beating on it with a hammer. But it fulfills a unique need, its round loop allowing secure carry and very fast deployment of important tools: my keys. Sometimes self-defense is less about fighting and more about getting away or getting to safety. And that’s the key feature of this $10 tool.

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