tool: Swiss Army Knives, Multitools and Knives
Well, one thing that I realized I lost the other day was a really cool Leatherman Squirt multitool. I had forgotten it was attached to my backpack and it ended up in the TSA find more stuff locker. So to finding the right kit for those hikes. There are a couple of choices:
- Multitool. The original Squirt multitool has gotten way more expensive at $66 at Amazon for this little thing which is just 2 ounces, so it doesn't seem worth it anymore plus there are reports the new version is more cheaply made.
- If money is no object the Leatherman Charge++ for $180 and if weight is no object, the Leatherman Wave+ at $110 are probably the best of the “big” multi tools as a Best Buy so it doesn’t have titanium but you won’t cry if you lose it. It has most of the features of Charge TTi but is half the price.
- A good compromise for hiking seems to be the Skeletool CX which weighs 5 ounces instead of 8 and is more compact. It's $90 at REI and should last a lifetime if you don't forget that it is in your backpack when traveling 😉 It has half the features of the bigger Wave, because it is just pliers, blade and bit driver. Granted the pliers can work as wire cutters and the bit driver you can get Torx and just about everything else. As an aside, the CX means a better blad and 154CM steel which is nice. The main thing is that it is very light, not the size of a pen knife like the tiny Squit, but at 5 ounces pretty good.
- The other option is the more hiking oriented version Leatherman Signal. It has some outdoors features but doesn’t have a scissor or a file for example, but it is designed for real survival needs. The big ones being a whistle, a fire starter sparkler and a sharpener. Overall, though it would be nice to have the 154CM steel blade from the Skeletool. Amazon and REI have it for $130. If you have the Hancock Vitality or other programs, you can get 25% off for gift cards so that’s a pretty good del
- The other thing is to look at a traditional Swiss Army Knife which is a simpler open multi-tool. I ended up getting the Hiker for $22 which includes a bunch of useful emergency features. Note that the Trekker is the official field knife of the German Army. It can be opened one handed and is partially serrated, but it doesn’t have as modern a black lock as the more modern Hiker but it is a locking blad so more useful, blut the main issue is that is much longer, about 25mm longer.
- Finally you are out there in the woods, a good a proper swing blade knife can also make some sense. Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 which costs a whopping $165 or the ultralight Benchmade 535 Bugout also for $160. There is the Keyshaw Leek which is just $54 is small and light with a fragile blade but good if you are keeping it for camping
So there are lots of choices out there, ultimately, I settled on a Wave+ for each car in the glove box, a Signal in hiking as it is light, and a Swiss Army Knife in the toolbox. Finally, a Benchmade makes sense if you don't lose things and use it every day, whereas Keyshaw makes sense if you do not use it that much.