In the early 80’s if you wanted to take tools with you on a camping trip you had to pack a bunch of different items you might need. All of those tools could seriously weight down your pack and that’s why most people simply made do with a survival knife. It might not have been ideal for every job, but it was the best compromise that could perform different useful functions.
That all changed in the mid 80’s when a man by the name of Leatherman introduced the first real multitool device, which he called a pocket survival tool. He made continuous improvements to his design and it wasn’t long before other manufacturers started to introduce competing products in the same category.
The Leatherman Company is still going strong today – it’s just that they’re not the only player in the market any more.
Today’s multitools are complex little tool sets that have miniature versions of popular tools all in one package. Typically, they have a knife, a screw driver, an opener, pliers, and a corkscrew to name a few possibilities.
They’re handy to have with you when you’re spending sometime on a hunt or any kind of outdoor excursion. This is one item that should definitely be in your backpack and we review some of the best multitools below.
- 1 Reviews of Top Rated Multitools
- 2 Multitools or Standard Tools?
- 3 Key Chains
- 4 Pocket Tools
- 5 Belt Tools
- 6 Accessories
- 7 Price and Quality
- 8 Care and Maintenance
- 9 Final Thoughts
Reviews of Top Rated Multitools
SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool S66N-CP
SOG will be a familiar name for you if you spend a lot of time on outdoor trips. They’re known for consistently providing quality tools and equipment for campers, hikers, and hunters. The SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool is another quality item in their product catalogue. If you want a tool that has lots of options that are easily accessible this is an ideal every day carry tool.
The S66N-CP is made from stainless steel and has built-in power assist technology that makes opening up a tool or blade virtually effortless.
When not in use it comes with a handy nylon sheath for storage which will also help to keep your tool free of debris and protected from moisture. There’s a limited lifetime warranty so you can be confident in the quality of this product.
All together there are 16 different items included in this multitool and they haven’t left much out. There’s a pair of pliers, two different blades, three different screwdrivers, wire cutters, a file, crimpers, an opener, and a ruler.
It’s also equipped with compound leverage technology that enables you to create greater momentum when using this tool. It may cost you a little bit extra, but it’s one of the best multitools available.
SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool Summary:
- Stainless Steel Construction
- Built-In Power Assist Technology
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- 16 Tools in One
Leatherman – Wingman Multi-Tool
One of the best names in the multitool category is Leatherman and it’s a reputation that’s well deserved. They make quality products that are built to last for years and the Wingman is one of the best Leatherman multitools for both quality and value. It’s made from durable stainless steel and it comes with 14 different tools to use in many different situations.
Safety is a big part of the equation for Leatherman and that’s why their blades on this device securely lock into place and must be manually disengaged before you can fold them away.
Unfortunately, there are lower quality tools that have been known to fold back up on the user causing serious injury, so this is one feature you don’t want to be without. When not in use each one of the 14 tools folds up seamlessly as well.
Perhaps one of the best features of this product is that it’s designed to be used with one hand. We’re not just talking about holding it in one hand – you can actually open each one of the available tools with one hand leaving your other hand free to perform other tasks. The Wingman also comes with a 25 year comprehensive warranty that covers you in almost all circumstances from defects.
Leatherman - Wingman Multi-Tool Summary:
- Durable Stainless Steel Built
- 14 Different Tools in One
- Secure Locks
- 25 Year Comprehensive Warranty
Grown Man™ Survivor Multi Tool
The Grown Man Survivor Multi Tool is a slick looking little device and it’s also quite useful when you’re away on an outdoor adventure. There are 13 different tools on this model such as pliers, a saw, a knife, and a screwdriver.
The tools always securely lock in place when you’re using them so that the risk of accidental injury is minimal. Transitioning from one tool to another is seamless and it folds nice and compactly when not in use for easy storage.
There’s also a nylon carrying case with belt strap to keep it close at hand for when you do need it.
It’s made from high quality steel with a black oxide coating that gives it a great deal of durability and a unique look. That extra coating also makes it highly resistant to corrosion.
The Grown Man isn’t an expensive tool, but it’s more than capable of serving you well on your next long hike or hunting trip. This is one of the best multitools for EDC on the lower end of the price spectrum.
If you’re only planning on taking one tool with you on your trip then the Grown Man Survivor Multi Tool isn’t a bad choice at all.
Grown Man Multi-Tool Summary:
- 13 Different Tools in One
- Seamless Tool Transition
- High Quality Steel
- Corrosion Resistant
Swiss+Tech 19-in-1 Micro Pocket Multitool
The Swiss are known for making fine instruments such as expertly crafted watches and the famous Swiss Army knife, so it’s probably no surprise that Swiss+Tech produces one of the most versatile and reliable multitools on this list.
The Swiss+Tech has an impressive 19 separate tools all packed into one design. Its versatility isn’t the only reason this one makes our multitool reviews though. This tool also stands out as the most affordable on our list.
This Swiss+Tech product has all of the tools you’d find on much more expensive models including: wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, a bottle opener, wire cutters, crimpers, a file, and a ruler.
The main drawback of a small multitool is that it’s not quite as durable as some of its competitors, which partially explains the price, but it will do an adequate job in most circumstances. It does come with a limited lifetime warranty and that’s pretty impressive for one of the most affordable multitool options on the market. If you’re on a tight budget, or you simply want a tool that’s as compact as possible this will do nicely.
Swiss+Tech 19-in-1 Micro Pocket Multitool Summary:
- Swiss Made
- Micro Multi-Tool Design
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Affordable Price
Magnelex 22-in-1 Multitool
If you can’t find the tool you need on this model when you’re on a camping trip you must be performing a pretty specialized task as this one has just about everything you can think of. There are three different blades including one with a serrated edge for sawing, scissors, hex keys, extra screwdriver bits, and the list goes on.
When you’re not using the tool it can be stored in the heavy duty nylon storage pouch which is included in your purchase and it can be attached to a belt or stored in a pocket of your backpack.
It’s made from strong 440c steel which is designed to last for years and they’ve backed this up with a full 30 year warranty.
While this is the perfect tool for any type of outdoor trip, it’s also ideal to keep close by when you’re at home as well. If your luck is anything like mine then it probably feels like the right tool is never anywhere to be found when you need it. If you keep this Magnalex multitool in a convenient storage location you’ll never have to worry about having the right tool for the job.
The only problem you may run into is convincing the family you need to take it on that next hunting trip with your buddies as they won’t want to be without it either.
Magnelex 22-in-1 Multitool Summary:
- 22 Different Tools in One
- Comes with Heavy Duty Nylon Storage
- Made from Durable 440c Steel
- Full 30-Year Warranty
Multitools or Standard Tools?
In most cases standard tools will be better suited to any particular job. In fact, I’d be surprised if anyone wanted to dispute that. That begs the question why consider a multitool at all if they’re not the best choice for the job?
For hikers and hunters large tools simply aren’t practical. They’ll take up far too much room in your pack and take up room you don’t have to spare. A multitool allows you to be prepared for almost any eventuality without adding significantly to your gear. Below are some key things to consider before buying the best multitool for your needs.
Multitools come in many different sizes and configurations and one of the most popular formats is the keychain multitool. As you might have guessed these products are quite compact and convenient. Having a multitool attached to your keychain means you’ll always have it available when you need it.
The problem with them is that the quality is usually not the best and they do have a tendency to break if used on any difficult jobs. If you take your outdoor adventures seriously this is probably not the best option for you.
Pocket sized multitools are larger than their keychain cousins and they’re usually more durable as well. They can be used as adequate replacements for standalone tools in most cases. For the wilderness lover these are a much better choice than the keychain tool and they’re relatively affordable.
These pocket tools often feature a range of tools and as they’re name suggests they fit nicely in your pocket. If you are going to keep one of these in your pocket while out on a hike you will need to make sure it’s completely closed and sealed to avoid accidental injury.
Some multitools are just a little bit too large to be stored in your pocket. These models are normally very durable and built to withstand the rigours of an active outdoor life either on the trail or on the job site. Generally they’re equipped with a lanyard so you can easily tie them off on your belt or on your backpack depending on what you’re comfortable with.
The reason multitools are so popular is because of their versatile nature and some of the better ones are almost a mini toolbox packed into one convenient package. They can include almost anything you can think of including: pliers, screwdrivers, can openers, files, knives, and even flashlights.
You may still choose to bring a couple of other larger items with you, such as a survival knife and a large flashlight, but these are ideal as a convenient back up.
Price and Quality
You can spend less than $20 on a multitool or you can spend more than $100. This is a large product category with a ton of different options, but like anything else you get what you pay for.
The cheaper models are often made from weaker metals that can bend or break when used for anything more than minor tasks. They are generally made from stainless steel, but the better ones are differentiated by thicker, higher quality steel.
Care and Maintenance
Multitools are often neglected when it comes to maintenance. Many people simply keep them in their backpack and only dig them out when they need to use them. When they get back from a hunting or camping trip the tool ends up right back in the backpack and might stay there unnoticed for several weeks or months at a time depending on the time of year.
If you want to make sure that you get years of use out of your tool you should clean it after every trip. It’s fine to use soap and water, but always make sure to dry each section off completely – even stainless steel can rust if left sitting in water. Your multitool will need oiling from time to time as well.
There are all kinds of multitools to choose from and no matter what your budget you’ll find something in our reviews that fits the bill. When making your final decision just be sure to choose one made from high quality materials and one that includes as many tools as possible. After all, the idea of a multitool is to have a device with you that can be used in almost any situation that may arise on a hunt or on a hike.