If you do almost anything with your hands, whether it be on the farm, the garden or DIY projects in the home, you should carry a multi-tool.
Almost anyone could use a multi-tool.
“Multi-tool” is a term which describes a handheld, folding tool with multiple “blades,” or attachments. Some multi-tools are knives, by all rights. Some don’t even have a knife blade. The main criteria is that it fold for easy carry and have multiple attachments.
Multi-tools have come a long way!
My first, back in the 60s was a Scout knife. Since it had a can opener and screw driver it could quality as a multi-tool. The old Boy Scout knife was actually pretty good. Later, my parents gave me a humongous multi-tool, as a Christmas stocking stuffer. I wish I had a picture of it. It weighed about 1 1/2 lb and included a full size soup spoon, fork and knife besides numerous screw driver bits, awls and other tools. It was so large I finally tired of carrying it. After all, I could barely grasp its thick handle due to its thickness! The Swiss Army Knife came out with a good many variations. I wasn’t thrilled with any of them, but no one could ever deny their good quality.
Leatherman took “multi-tool” to a whole new level.
My first encounter with a Leatherman tool (see our feature photo) was in the 90s. A friend presented it to me. I had no idea what a wonderful gift it that was until I’d carried it on my belt for a week. That was “all she wrote.” After a week I felt naked without a Leatherman tool on my belt. I’ve carried one ever since. The original Leatherman PST (Pocket Survival Tool) was the first multi-tool which I actually enjoyed carrying. Carrying is important. The main point of a multi-tool is that one have it on their person when they need it. You don’t want to have to go get it.
Why carry a multi-tool?
- There are many unplanned times when I really need a pair of pliers/wire cutters. I don’t know how many times, for instance, I’ve saved an animal’s life, which was hung up in wire, out in the field, by cutting it loose, just in the nick of time.
- Sometimes a ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) or riding lawnmower will have a problem, out in the field. A multi-tool will often have what I need to get it going again.
- I’ve used my Leatherman to fix things on the car when traveling.
- What do you do when you get a tick while out in the field? They’re nearly impossible to crush or kill without a pair of pliers on hand. Heaven forbid that we let them go to attack later! Carrying a multi-tool means I’m always prepared to dispatch ticks.
- With my Leatherman I can open cans or pop bottles. This is often handy.
- Whether camping or working out in the barn, I frequently need a screw driver. My multi-tool has two sizes of flat head and a Philip’s head screw driver on it. Even when a normal screw driver might work better, I’m prone to use my multi-tool… because I have it on me.
Which multi-tool is best for you?
I have found that the Leatherman PST, which is now out of production, is my favorite. I never come up wishing it had another attachment, yet it is relatively compact and easy to carry. Others have other preferences. The fact is, only you can decide what’s best for you. My wife likes to carry a larger Leatherman called the Surge.
There are also keychain size multi-tools. Perhaps one might want to carry two different ones.
There are several brands of multi-tool available.
I don’t claim to give an exhaustive list, but anything made by Leatherman, Kershaw, Gerber or Victorinox should be of high quality.
Tip: It is extremely helpful to have a belt sheath for your multi-tool.
Most multi-tools are just a tad heavy to be carried, as is, in ones pocket. But they go great in a holster on ones belt.
What about replacing my pocket knife with a multi-tool?
Well, I suppose a person is free to do this, but I wouldn’t. A dedicated pocket knife, one which handles nimbly, like a “real knife” is of even greater priority to me. Personally, I carry both all the time, except when flying. (Then they go in my luggage, with my straight razor.) By the way, I’ve even seen knives and multi-tools which sport a straight razor in their repertoire. Don’t go there. Those “straight razors” are nothing more than glorified box cutters.