While the Swiss Army Knife is the multi-tool of choice for outdoor excursions, the

Open It Tool

is a cut above for opening tough packaging, including maddeningly resistant hard plastic, clamshells, blister-wrap, and boxes of every ilk. I keep one in my car trunk for short trips and long hauls, and the tool invariably comes in handy.

The Open It 5-in-1 Tool, which has an easy-grip ergonomic design for right- and left-handers, is a scissors-like device with sharp angled jaws and hard steel blades. Built into the plastic housing are a retractable utility knife for slicing open boxes and CDs, a removable screwdriver, and a bottle opener.

When flying, you'll want to stash this in your checked baggage.

Open It 5-in-1 Tool is $11.99 at www.enjoyzibra.com; 1-866-869-7544. Also sold at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Bed Bath & Beyond for $9.99.

- Judi Dash