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Very versatile: The many faces of multipurpose gadgets

From Swiss Army Knives to smartwatches, multifunction tools are all about convenience and efficiency. Here's a look at a few we crave.

The Crovel: It's half crowbar, half shovel. Gear Up Center

Ever notice how none of the modern tools we use these days has a dedicated purpose anymore? From cell phones to smartwatches, everything has a camera, apps, and a million other extra functions.

That multipurpose icon, the century-old Swiss Army Knife (now with USB drive), has had a profound impact on how we conceive of and use tools.

But there's often a tradeoff between function and quality. "You won't find professional photographers using Android phones to take wedding pictures," design consultant Dan Saffer noted in the Wall Street Journal. "The advanced features of a professional-grade camera outweigh the inconvenience of carrying it around."

While that's very true, multipurpose gadgets and tools continue to infiltrate our lives and transform our existing stuff. We're swimming in the double- or triple-duty toys to the point that single-purpose gear such as old-school record players have a renewed cachet.

From bullet-stopping blazers to zombie-crunching multi-tools, here's a look at some of our favorite multipurpose gadgets of late. What's your favorite versatile killer tool? Let us know in the comments below. And keep your eyes trained on Crave. We'll post the second part of our series on multitasking gear next week.