When you head off into the wilderness, it’s best to take the tools you’ll need to be self-sufficient. The problem arises when you have to start balancing cargo space, preparedness, and the many other things we want to bring. It’s easy to leave tools behind so that you can take the more glamorous gear. But when you’re stuck, the campsite is flooding, or the trail has a colossal washout, a shovel will be more valuable than just about any other item.
Forrest Tool has developed a way to take a full off-road tool kit with you without eating away at your precious cargo. The Max Tool Kit is based around a 3.5-pound axe head mounted on a 34-inch composite polyglass handle. The head has a unique eye that runs perpendicular to the tool’s handle. Using lock pins you can mount the other tool heads to the axe. The kit includes a McLeod combo hoe/rake, shovel, pick, broad pick, and mattock blade. Additionally, the Hudson Bay patterned axe-head has a striking surface on the backside to assist in driving stakes or wedges.
Essentially, this is a great way to move dirt, cut firewood, or clear up a campsite with one compact and well-built package. However, the journey from idea to execution didn’t initially start in the world of overlanding. Over 20 twenty years ago, the Max Tool was developed and initially marketed as a one-tool option for wildland firefighters. While this is an excellent use of the tools, the U.S. Army took notice and selected the Max Tool Kit for inclusion in their High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, commonly known as the HUMVEE. For the next two decades, the Max Tool Kit was outfitted into every HUMVEE and later its successor, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).
Last year Forrest Tool started a new chapter when Rob Figueroa and Matt Bean found the company while looking for new business opportunities. Both Rob and Matt had prior military experience and had dealt with government contracting. After purchasing Forrest Tool Company, Rob and Matt began looking for expansion opportunities in terms of both the Max Tool Kit and in products to add to their inventory. They knew the Max Tool Kit was well utilized in the military vehicles where it was seen as essential gear, but they also thought it could do more. As avid outdoorsmen, they felt that the Max Tool Kit was exactly the kind of tool that would be compact and convenient enough to carry at all times, but also that it was dependable enough for hard use situations.
Matt Bean says, “My first impression of the MAX was how much sense it made as a concept. Any time you go out to the camp, you need to take any number of tools with you for the work you have planned. To have most of those tools in one bag makes packing so much easier, and alleviates a lot of the stress of making sure you have the tools you need.”
As they explored possible markets, they came upon the world of overlanding and realized it was the perfect fit for their main product. Overlanders want to be prepared, but they also want to travel efficiently. Instead of packing an entire tool shed, the Max Tool Kit only requires room for the axe and the small Cordura case that holds the rest of the tool heads and accessories.
Forrest Tool isn’t satisfied with just offering one great piece of equipment to the overland community; they also produce and sell the Safety Impact Wrench ®. This tool allows anyone to safely tighten or remove lug nuts with increased leverage and torque without external power. The Safety Impact Wrench takes up no more room than a four-way universal lug wrench but dramatically increases the functionality. When dealing with larger tires, overzealous air tool use, and just stubborn lug nuts, it’s always a good idea to take every advantage you can get.
The Forrest Tool team is eager to dive into the world of overlanding as they develop their content, attend upcoming Overland Expos, and get more involved in the adventure lifestyle we all love. Their products are simple, dependable, and rig-worthy. We’re excited to see what they offer as they expand their catalog.
Header Image: The Corner Studio
Disclaimer: This paid story was produced in partnership with Forrest Tool Company.