Leatherman Skeletool

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Most multi-tools are chock full with functions, though they’re often too heavy to conveniently carry in a pocket. Conversely, pocket knives are light and streamlined but not applicable to circumstances where you need a pliers or wire clipper.

That’s the logic Leatherman (www.leatherman.com) puts forth when introducing its Skeletool, a light and compact multitool with just the basics — a stainless steel blade, pliers, a bit driver and a carabiner clip. That’s it.

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This setup creates a solid little tool that weighs 5 ounces. It slides easily in a pocket or clips securely to a belt loop.

An outside-accessible knife blade opens just like on a pocket knife, and you can flick it open with one hand. The tool’s screwdriver bit switches flat or Philips tips in a second.

The newly-designed pliers includes a wire cutter.

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But that’s about it. A simple and straightforward tool, but one I’ve found useful for most tasks.

Backpackers may want more options, especially a can opener. No corkscrew here, either, in case you brought wine (though the carabiner clip doubles as a bottle opener for beer).

And that little plastic Swiss Army toothpick we all love? Not on this tool’s frame.

Price is $72 retail, though it goes for less online.

Stephen Regenold writes a daily blog on outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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