The Loon Outdoors Iconic Toolkit is basically a combo of two must-have fly fishing tools — nippers and forceps. The nippers, of course, let you cut tippet and leader while forceps help you grab and easily remove flies from the jaws of fish.
I first stumbled upon the Loon Outdoors Rogue Quickdraw Forceps last year and quickly bought one. Why? The ingenious carabiner-like clip in the handle. So cool. In fact, the Rogue Quickdraw Forceps have earned a spot in our 15 Best Gift Ideas for Fly Fishing Fanatics guide. Then, to get us a better look at an even better gift idea, Loon Outdoors offered to send over a review unit of its Iconic Tool Kit, which includes the Nip n Sip 2.0 nippers.
Let’s start with the Rogue Quickdraw Forceps. There are lots of great forceps — sometimes called hemostats — out there already. What I look for in a usable set of forceps are flat jaws instead of serrated jaws. Why? Flat jaws let you bend down the barbs of your hooks without doing damage to the hook. Serrated jaws make this common on-the-water job a bit tougher and can sometimes introduce a stress point on small hooks if you’re in a hurry. When a big fish is rising in front of you . . . the less you have to pay attention to your tools, the better. The Rogue Quickdraw Forceps have flat jaws.
Second, I like forceps to have a built-in scissor. Why? It’s handy to have another option for cutting leader or tippet. The Rogue Quickdraw Forceps have a scissor, too. So far, so good. They also have a needle built into the handle that you can use to clear the eyes of any flies that have gotten filled in with head cement when they were tied.
Last of all, what about that carabiner finger loops design? It’s truly great. It’s so simple, and while it won’t transform your fishing experience, when you want to go fast and light, the ability to clip your forceps almost anywhere just removes one small bit of effort and thought when your attention is on the water and the fish.
Last of all, the handle is double-dipped with a cushiony rubbery textured material, which is nice when your hands are cold and wet.
The Loon Outdoors Rogue Quickdraw Forceps are great, can’t-go-wrong forceps with a very handy built-in clip.
Loon Iconic Toolkit Review: Nip n Sip 2.0
Several fishing gear manufacturers have started making very expensive, specially machined nippers that are only worth buying if you have a large budget. Meanwhile, they’re onto something: while you can use cheap nippers or even nail clippers to cut leader and tippet, there is something to be said for a satisfyingly tidy and clean nip whether you’re nipping thin 7x tippet or the heavy butt end of a leader or fly line.
The Loon Outdoors Nip n Sip 2.0 takes high-end nipper design but makes it affordable, creating a midrange nipper that works very well. The jaws are stainless steel and removable (though it’s unclear to me if anyone will really need to replace these any time soon enough to bother acquiring new jaws to actually do it in this price range).
The handle is drilled with holes that add a bit of texture to improve your grip, and an eye-clearing needle is hidden inside the nipper levers.
If you’re a beer drinker, you might appreciate the built-in bottle opener — can’t ever have too many bottle openers.
Finally, the Nip n Sip 2.0 comes with a stout lanyard, so you don’t have to use it with a zinger. You can wear it around your neck or attach it to a sling pack, backpack or lumbar pack. Or remove it and use it for some other piece of gear entirely.
Loon Iconic Toolkit Review: The Verdict
The Loon Outdoors Iconic Toolkit is a great upgrade for fly fishers looking to replace their beat up nippers and forceps. It’s also a great gift, and if a fly fisher already has a favorite nipper or forceps, we’re always happy to slip an extra tool into our bags — or use them to help rig up friends and family on special trips. As for being a gift for beginners, the overall quality is excellent, making the price-to-value ratio very good — you can get cheaper options but if you’d like to upgrade your gear without leaping into pro or elite budget territory, the Loon Outdoors Iconic Tool Kit will get the job done with ease.