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The Covert Companion – Review

The Covert Companion packs a lot of functionality into a small profile.

The Covert Companion is the new flagship offering from Covert Instruments.

With over 20 tools in such a compact package the Covert Companion is an absolute win.

Those diabolical minds at Covert Instruments have managed to cram 20 tools into this small, sleek package that will meet most people’s needs for entry tools on a day-to-day basis. This includes everything from a sleek handle, to four pics, warded picks, a comb set, a jiggler set, a latch tool, a decoder knife and flat. Unbelievably, all this and more. 

It is very effective despite its small size. I was able to effectively use all the tools on their intended locks without a problem and effectively bypass them or open them. (NOTE: I used the turning tool from my Camp-X toolset for all of my picking and it worked like a charm.)

The tools themselves are well-made and sturdy and the handle is able to take some abuse. It also helps that the Covert Companion is fully modular and able to add various other tools from the Covert Instruments lineup and interchange broken tools if needed. The entire package is about the size of a Bic lighter. This makes it’s easy to carry, unobtrusive and small enough that it doesn’t bother you in anyway. It’s also very low-profile and does not attract any attentions as it looks like a simple key set.  

That being said if you have larger hands (like I do) then you might have to adjust the way you hold it. Even still, the tools are fully functional and though because of their lack of handles may not fully replace full-size tools they still have the same capability and for that I am grateful.

One notable component which is missing is a turning tool. One would think that this was an oversight however the creators specifically left it out as turning tools are more of a subjective item for one to carry that may or may not be useful for the particular application. In their FAQs on their website they speak to the fact that you can provide your own turning tool that will be most useful to you under your circumstances. I found that the tools that they offer on their webpage will very nicely complement the Covert Companion should you need it. That said, turning tools are easily fashioned from other types of items in a field expedient manner. This means that you can use almost anything as a turning tool if you have to resort to using the Covert Companion to gain entry. As a pocket knife-type implement for small or not-so-serious entries this is the perfect addition to your every day carry (EDC).

The designers were able to incorporate not only the best and most useful and commonly used tools into a small package but they were also able to incorporate quality craftsmanship in the process.

The assembly of the Covert Companion is not difficult if you follow the instructional video that was posted by the @LockPickingLawyer

I am very happy with my Covert Companion and find myself using it more often than I would have thought. Most recently I used it to open a service door to gain access to tools. I was not expecting to have to do so however the situation has changed and I happen to have my Covert Companion on me. It performed very well, as expected.

For the money you are paying you are getting an incredible product with a wide variety of tools which can cover an even wider variety of situations. So much capability in such a small package is quite incredible. I have now incorporated the Covert Companion into my every day carry and don’t leave home without it. I look forward to getting a few more of these to add to my various bags and even in my car. Check them out at and pick one up for yourself today.

From : “For the person who wants to open everything, we present to you the fully loaded Covert Companion. This comprehensive kit includes all the flagship SSF tools at a discounted rate. With 20 tools, this kit offers the most opening potential in the smallest form factor on the market. This kit arrives unassembled.”

Includes:  Includes:

Covert Companion Handle

Handle Expansion Pack

SSF 4 Pick Set .025”

SSF 5 Warded Pick Set

SSF 4 Comb Set

SSF 3 Jiggler Set 

SSF Latch Tool

SSF Knife

SSF Notched Decoder

SSF Utility Flat

Check out all of their products at and on Instagram HERE.

-Stay Crafty

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The True North Tradecraft Pandemic Measures Guide

Our new publication for best practices to keep you safe from the pandemic.

We had been working on this publication prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our e-book on pandemic best-practices will arm you with key information and knowledge to better protect yourself against infection and disease. Check it out on our store HERE and on Amazon.

Stay safe and stay crafty.

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Join us at Canada’s largest tactical and shooting sports show – TACCOM.

Have YOU planned a visit to TACCOM yet? This coming weekend, September 6, 7 & 8, The International Centre on Airport Road will be host to Canada’s largest Tactical and Shooting Sports Show – TACCOM.

Come visit us at Booth # 415 (along with Kennedy Tactical Concepts, the Grey Man Security Conference and, introducing, Maple Syrup Mafia) for a weekend of cutting edge training opportunities, gear, seminars and stage talks. Not to mention the release of the brand new 2nd Edition of our Disaster Preparedness Guide (below) and even get it signed!.

Newly edited, updated and expanded 2nd edition. Get yours at the show!

At the show, you can take advantage of show specials, see amazing vendors and don’t forget to sign up for our seminar, Introduction To Escaping Unlawful Confinement. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Everyone needs a little pew-pew on their weekend. Check out Chimera Firearms Training for an amazing VR experience!


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Hurricane Preparedness

Plan well. Act early. Be ready. Stay strong.

Hurricane season has arrived. Are you ready?

Every year, millions of people are directly threatened and affected by the annual hurricane season. As unfortunate as it is, the government and aid organizations are not capable of supporting and protecting everyone who is in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes. As that is the case, the responsibility to be prepared for incoming storms becomes yours. Fortunately, government, environmental and weather agencies are able to predict and track tropical storms days and possibly weeks in advance of impact. This allows those in their path to prepare to deal with the enormous power of a hurricane and what it can do. As of this writing, Hurricane Dorian has just been upgraded to a Category 5 and is on track to wreak havoc in the Caribbean and Eastern Gulf.

I’ve included several free preparedness resources at the end of this post for you to review and use towards your disaster preparedness plan.

The devastating impact of a hurricane.

No two people’s situation is the same. Variables such as location, storm intensity, flood planes, geography, population density, transportation routes and government support in the area can play a key role in developing a disaster preparedness plan.

Depending on those variables, you may decide to stay or evacuate after preparing adequately to do so. Especially if you’re in its path.

(Credit: The Weather Channel) Are you in the path of a storm? The clock is ticking.

Having a timeline and trajectory map of an incoming storm can play into the preparedness plan and your timelines (to either start stocking up or packing up to leave). With the right pre-positioned supplies and logistical plan in place, you stand a much higher chance of being able to “weather” the storm (pun intended).

Storms bring with them other issues, such as power outages, flooding and disruption in supply and logistics to an affected area. Hurricanes are a savage combination of extreme weather, flooding, power disruption, and general chaos.

Here is an excerpt from our new Disaster Preparedness Guide to help with your preparations:

If you are in a flood-prone area, pre-position supplies to defend your home with (sand bags, shovels, sand, plastic sheeting, pumps, etc) and check in with your local emergency management office to understand their response plans for your area. Ask them for local maps and plans identifying urban waterways, underground streams and rivers as well as overflow
• Be prepared to evacuate the area and consider keeping several air-tight (such as Nanuk, Pelican, etc.) to store important personal items which you may not be able to take with you and store in the upper levels of your house upon evacuation to ensure their safety.
• Pay attention to local weather reports. If there are flood warnings, stay away from waterways as their volume and speed can be deceptively dangerous and sweep away people, vehicles and even houses (I’ve seen it).
• Stay away from flood-affected areas if possible and be aware that all flood waters are likely contaminated and you should wash & decontaminate yourself and clothing. Wash your hands regularly.
• Consider all your non-bottled water as contaminated. Boil and purify as required. If possible, fill up your bathtub (clean it first) and make yourself a reservoir of water you can access for sterilization and drinking. You can also use a WaterBob to line your tub and contain the clean potable water for later use.

*Excerpt from the 2nd edition of the TNT Disaster Preparedness Guide.
Take action NOW to prepare yourself as best as you can.

See below for more tips. The sooner you start preparing the better chance you’ll have.

Further free resources:

Don’t be caught unprepared. May you and your loved ones stay safe.

-Stay Crafty

For a more generalized disaster preparedness perspective for urban and suburban areas, get yourself a copy of our newly updated Guide, HERE (in paperback and e-book formats).

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2nd Edition: The True North Tradecraft Disaster Preparedness Guide.

Available in Paperback and e-book formats.

It is with great pride and excitement that we announce the release of the Second Edition, newly revised, expanded and updated with more information, more lists, photos and resources to prepare yourself for when disaster strikes.

Now available through the True North Tradecraft Store (in Paperback & PDF formats) and through Amazon in Paperback and Kindle).

If you live in an urban or suburban environment you owe it to yourself to invest some effort in preparing for the unexpected. Get yours today!

Stay safe and stay crafty!

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CTV News Spot – Festival Safety Tips

On Tuesday, June 18th, 2019, I appeared on the CTV Morning Show in Ottawa.

I was asked to comment on the shooting incident the day previous in downtown Toronto during the celebration festivities of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA Championship win. Estimates placed the crowd sizes at 1.5-2 million. It was just huge.

You can view the full clip on YouTube here. (

You can also read our previous posts on similar topics below:

To learn more, come to one of our workshops, book us for your private event or attend the German Security Conference in Toronto, Oct 18-20, 2019.

Stay tuned for info on upcoming training and follow us on Instagram and Facebook ( @truenorthtradecraft ) for the latest.

Stay Safe & stay crafty!

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Accommodations Security While Travelling.

Even when staying at really great digs, always remain vigilant.

There is a lot to be said about ensuring your safety and security where you hang your hat while travelling. With Summer approaching and vacations being planned, take some time to include your safety and security considerations into your trip planning.

Not everyone who goes on vacation goes with a “tactical” mindset. You don’t have to be an operator or security specialist to be vigilant of your environment, you just need to be informed and proactive. To that end, we’re adding more tips and info for you in addition to our previous travel security posts. (You can read them through the links at the bottom of this article.)

Prior to your travel, procure some local maps (if you’re a member of CAA they give them to you as part of your membership, or use Google Maps and print them off) and learn the location of your accommodations in relation to local hospitals, police/fire/ems/military stations, friendly embassies/consulates, transit routes, banks.

Get yourself a transit map and ask/research how to use the local public transit (cash, tokens, PRESTO card, etc.) Find out if you can purchase them at the front desk upon arrival. If you do find yourself using public transit, sit yourself in a position so that you can see the driver/conductor and they can see you.

Do your research. Read the local news and weather reports (you can use Google Translate or an extension on Chrome and translate the entire page) to get a feel for where you will be. This allows you to make informed decisions on travel plans. Don’t forget to check for travel advisories on the Government of Canada site here and the Department of State site here.

Learn a few words in the local language where you’ll be. It can help you get what you want/need, understand what locals may be saying about you and can aid in making you seem less like an “ignorant tourist” to the locals because at least you’re trying to fit in. Simple words like “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, “bathroom/wc”, “how much?” and “do you speak English? (French, Spanish, Croatian)” can be very helpful.

Part of my Every Day Carry (EDC)

Pack and carry appropriate emergency supplies. Anything you can’t take with you on a plane should be sourced locally as soon as possible upon arrival. You can identify locations (drug and hardware stores, department stores) prior to arrival or from hotel staff.

Always have multiple methods of payment available to you, as well as emergency back-ups. Example, if travelling to, let’s say, Italy, consider the following:

  • Credit Cards (VISA and Master Card preferred over others);
  • Debit card (PLUS or CIRRUS network-enabled);
  • Euros (local currency, primary);
  • Euros (local currency, emergency reserve);
  • US Dollars (readily accepted worldwide, emergency back-up cash);
  • Mini gold bars (very optional, but may be worth a look depending on where you’re travelling to or through).
  • Remember: CASH IS KING – but if you lose it, you’re screwed.

At your accommodations:

  • Take pictures of everything that you may need reminding of – hotel address, parking spot, taxi/Über driver ID, street signs or intersections, pictures of your credit cards (front & back), travel documents and travel itineraries.
  • Ask the front desk if they have dedicated security. If so, ask about the local areas to avoid. If you’re in more private accommodations (like an Air BnB) ask your host about safety concerns in the area.
  • If your room has an adjoining or connecting door, ensure that they are locked and that you have some method of securing it or enabling an early-warning alarm. (Remember, locks only keep honest people honest.)
  • Use your Do Not Disturb sign and deadbolt at all times when in your room and don’t answer the door for unanticipated visitors.
  • Employ a secondary method of securing your door, such as a door wedge, the “fork method” (view an example HERE), or a door wedge alarm. *NOTE: don’t secure the door in such a way as to prevent your escape in the dark in case of fire or other emergency.*
  • Use a single garbage bag in your room to collect all your refuse from your trip. This will help control your “information footprint”. A lot can be gleaned about you from your trash. In some countries, the information left in your room is used by criminal elements to target tourists for victimization. Be sure to dispose of your trash at a different location to minimize your exposure. If you have a rental car, sleep as close to it with your keys near you. In an emergency, you may be able to activate the alarm on the car to draw attention. (Thanks to Ed Calderon of @edsmanifesto for the tips.

It is now, before you set out into the world, to learn the necessary skills to keep you and your loved ones safe. Learn first aid, combatives, survival skills (including restraint escape, urban evasion and lock picking) to give yourself the best chance of surviving hostile situations.

Wherever you go, stay vigilant, be respectful to all but maintain awareness, stay crafty and always have an escape plan.

Safe travels!

See below for further reading on travel security.

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Review: KIHD Stove

Review of the KIHD Stove: Collapsible, Compact, Capable & Canadian.

The KIHD Stove is a small and sturdy collapsible stick stove from KIHD Products.

It was designed and is manufactured here in Canada.

I picked up a KIHD Stove Deluxe courtesy of Ingo from KIHD. I took it home and gave it a go both inside and outside. My approach was to try the stove out as if it were put to use during a power outage in the city. Though it was designed primarily as a backpacking and paddling stove, I was drawn to the KIHD for its low-profile and versatility across environments.

The KIHD Stove comes in a nice cotton carry bag. It’s small and flat and comes with easy to understand instructions. It is easily assembled and tight once the base retaining piece is secured. Though small, it is very sturdy and easily put together and taken down, even with gloves.

The KIHD Stove in it’s retail packaging, a nice cotton pouch (Full-size Bic Lighter for size comparison).
Included instructions are simple, clear and easy to follow.
The KIHD Stove pieces all laid-out.

To give a you an idea as to the stove’s particulars, here they are from the KIHD website:

“For settings where wood is plentiful and burning it will not cause damage to fragile ecosystems, this wood burning stove allows you to travel without carrying fuel and it packs down to the size of a pancake.

The individual stainless steel panels easily fit into place during setup and the unique locking mechanism lock it together. The low square design focuses heat upward, directing it to the pot for quick, efficient cooking.

  • Made of 316 stainless steel, a material that withstands long-term heat without damage.
  • Designed for pots no larger than 1.5L.
  • Removable access door can be inserted or removed for air-control and for refuelling.
  • Extra set of cross strap as to be able to use gel or ethanol pods
  • Assembled dimensions are11.0 x 11.0 x 12 cm carrying case.
KIHD stove assembled.
Top-down view of the assembled KIHD Stove.

Technical Specifications

  • Made with 18 gauge stainless steel
  • Weight: 1.41 Lbs (640g)
  • Load capacity is 250 Lbs (115 Kg)
  • Packed size is 11 x 11 x 12 cm
  • Carrying case included.
  • Made in Canada”

So yeah, very solidly built. The stove is easily set up and disassembled. The steel used is very sturdy which tends to add to weight, however KIHD offers a titanium stove option (The KIHD Stove Ultimate) if that is a point of consideration for you.

So, on to the results.

Outside, on the ice while snowing, I took the KIHD out and, after a bit of adjustment, got it going enough to boil a litre of water. I used less-than-ideal fuel but the stove performed admirably in an outdoors/camping environment. The water was at a rolling boil quickly and made hot chocolate without a problem.

In the snow, ready to go!
And we’re off!

We even gave the toaster accessory a run and, surprisingly, the little guy manages to toast 2 pieces of bread easily and without making it all sooty.

And we have boiling water! Hot Chocolate-time!
Who want’s toast?
Toasty and tasty.

*NOTE: Though the KIHD Stove is capable of accepting small fuel pods (such as chafing dish heaters and other similar fuel-gel-based pods, I did not use these in this series of tests. I would recommend that if you live in a condo or townhouse, consider keeping a few of these fuel sources in your cupboard as an emergency cooking and heat source. Always ensure adequate ventilation and fire control protocols.***

When I transitioned inside the next day, simulating what it would be like to use it in my fireplace without power, the KIHD again performed very well. Because I was indoors, it was easier to get the stove going. Using only a few small sticks I got a litre of water boiling very quickly and could have used it for food or drink no problem. It made very little smoke yet produced a significant amount of heat and flame for the amount of fuel used.

Indoors, no power.

Overall, I was very impressed with the performance of the KIHD Stove inside. If you were to use this stove to heat you during a power outage, I would recommend doing so in a fireplace (if you have one), or MacGyvering the stove onto a heat-resistant surface and non-flammable base with adequate ventilation. You could also fashion a heat reflector from some aluminium foil in your kitchen to redirect the heat back into your living space.

Got it going!
Rolling boil in no time at all!

My biggest challenge with the KIHD Stove was one that plagues me with all my caping equipment – the cleanup. Though the KIHD stove is nicely designed with holes at the bottom for air circulation and ash removal, when it’s all done there’s a lot of soot and burn marks on the steel. This can come off with steel wool and soap, but I always find it a challenge, especially with the smaller pieces. That said, it’s a minor issue and does not affect the performance of the stove in any way.

Ash baked-on.
Nothing a scrub with steel wool won’t fix.

I would easily and readily recommend the KIHD Stove to anyone looking into this kind of low-profile, easily-transportable, sturdy and versatile product for their camping or emergency back-up needs. For the price, it’s very much worth the quality you’re getting as well as supporting a Canadian small business.

The KIHD Stove.

KIHD Products are available through their website, at their store front in Oakville, or at any of their retail partners listed on the website.

They can be reached at or by email at [email protected]. They’re also on Facebook.

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**FREE Seminar** Women’s Personal Protection


Sign up today. Space is Limited!

Women’s-Only Personal Protection Seminar

*International Women’s Day*

March 9th, 2019 – 11am-4pm

The Nite Owl, Toronto

(647 College St, Toronto)

(In partnership with Kennedy Tactical Concepts)

Have you ever felt afraid or threatened while walking alone at night?  When out and accosted by some creep?  When travelling in unfamiliar places?  Felt something was ‘wrong’ in your gut but didn’t know what to do about it?  Want to learn how to get out of handcuffs and other restraints?

Learn to understand your instinctive fears and use them effectively through understanding and awareness.  Decrease and control your fear while maintaining awareness of threats and dangers, implementing personal security and risk management strategies and security tradecraft while building confidence in your abilities through training and learning.

Designed and developed to give you an advanced working knowledge of skills and principles which can be used immediately.

This class is exclusively for women only as it is tailored to providing a safe and positive environment for learning while highlighting women’s-specific issues with regards to personal security and safety.   

Our goal is to arm you with knowledge and skills while empowering you to take control and responsibility for your own safety and security.

Topics covered include:

  • Situational Awareness (SA)
  • Survival Mindset
  • Social & behavioural analysis
  • Security risk management
  • Hostile surveillance awareness
  • Violence dynamics
  • Kidnapping and abduction awareness
  • Unlawful custody – methods and motivations
  • Introduction to common restraint escapes and counter-custody (theory & practice)
  • Every Day Carry (EDC) recommendations
  • Personal protection principles & improvised weapons
  • Ambush response and immediate actions to attack
  • Travel security
  • Home security

No other self-defence class in Canada will prepare you to avoid violent encounters and give you the skills to facilitate escape from unlawful custody or personal security threats at home or on the road.

You can contact us directly to book a 1 or 2 day workshop for your group (Varied formats depending on length of workshop and group requirements).