I’m always on the lookout for gear improvements. Whether it’s a better backpack, shelter, jacket, or even something as small as a keyring – I’m comparing and analyzing. As it turns out, so are many of you!
About a month ago I posted a photo on Instagram (shown below) in order to share my EDC pocket dump with a friend. In the photo were all the pieces of gear that I had on my person at that exact point in time. The items shown represented years of trial an error and small, incremental improvements. To my utter amazement I received a flurry of emails and comments asking me what type of “keyring” I was using. You heard me right, not my knife, sunglasses, watch, or other sexy piece of gear – my keyring…
Enough people asked me about this tiny piece of gear that I’d thought I’d share it with you and the story of how it came about.
CountyComm Mechanic Cables
A few years ago I stumbled upon the CountComm mechanics cables that are made of stainless steel aviation cable and screw close. I even shared a blog post about them (I know you’re not at all surprised). They seemed to be the perfect solution for an ultralight reusable D-ring and for carrying my keys and other EDC items – in fact that was how CountyComm was pitching them.
However, over time I discovered that there were two problems. When the cable is closed it is hard to know which way it unscrews or opens, so I would often incorrectly guess which end of the cable contained the large knurled stopper, resulting in all of my keys and small items falling to the floor. Even worse was that the cables would slowly unscrew by themselves and fly apart spreading my bits on the floor again.
I became paranoid about checking that the cables were tightened and overly cautious when unscrewing them, to the point that I didn’t like using them any more and needed a better solution.
Flex O Loc Keyrings
After many weeks of searching and Googling I came across an alternative looking metal cable that was smaller, had a completely different closure mechanism, and nylon coated for corrosion resistance. The only problem was that at the time I didn’t know what they were called or where I could buy them.
Eventually I tracked down a store on Etsy that was selling the small cables as a baker’s dozen for roughly $10. They were referred to as Flex O Loc keyrings and were identical to the photos I had seen online. I placed an order and received them in three days from the store owner, David. That was almost two years ago now, and to be honest I had forgotten about how much effort it took me to find them until the emails came flodding in from the Instagram photo.
To open the Flex O Loc cables you have to bend the cable back on itself and slide the tiny ball out of the socket it is slotted into. Trust me when I say that I have never had one of these open accidentally. The resistance of the stainless steel aviation cable wanting to maintain the ‘loop’ shape actually keeps the closure snapped tight and securely in place. These open and close with a very clear and satisfying ‘pop’ sensation.
The blue Flex O Loc cable shown in the photos has been on my keys for roughly two years now and has been flexed back and forth more times than I can remember, yet there are no signs of fatigue or wear and tear. When I bought these I had wanted to have plenty of spares for when they break or wear out – I have a lot left!
If you are looking for a simple, reliable keyring that won’t let you down then the Flex O Lok keyring is the best solution I have found, period. You can buy them from David via his Etsy store. If you think you have a better solution I’d love to hear it.
Important Update: The owner of the online Etsy store where I bought these from has advised me that he has sold out of his entire stock thanks to a rush of orders from all of you! He will not be getting any more in stock unfortunately. If you are looking to buy these cool little keyrings elsewhere I have been informed that the precise name for them is “Lucky Line #71101 Flex O Loc Key Ring”
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Disclosure: The author paid for the Flex O Loc keyrings with his own funds.