Small and easy to open, Leatherman this summer will release a multi-tool aimed at young outdoors lovers. It has a knife blade that can be added only when mom and dad are ready.
The Leatherman Leap ($54) was conceived and engineered with the philosophy that maturity and proper training, not age alone, determine when a child is ready for the responsibility of a multi-tool.
I had a chance to examine a Leap at the Charged Up event last month, and I liked its small-yet-robust construction. The design is well thought-out.
It comes with an open slot for a knife. In the package is the blade. When a parent determines their kid is ready, the blade can be permanently added to the tool.
The Leap should probably still not be used unsupervised by younger children. It has a sharp wood saw, scissors, and other edges. But the ability to add a real blade is a significant step for a child who has earned the responsibility.
“Having kids myself, I’ve found there isn’t a perfect tool for their size and ability that I feel comfortable letting them use,” said Jason Carpenter of Leatherman. “The Leap is something I’d feel safe using to train and teach my kids.”
The company recognized a market need when they heard Leatherman owners were passing down full-size tools to the next generation. “A regular Leatherman is meant for adult hands, and it isn’t comfortable or safe for smaller users,” said Carpenter.
In full, the Leap has a needle-nose and regular pliers, wire cutters, saw, ruler, tweezers, (soda) bottle opener, Phillips, medium and small screwdrivers, and the optional 420HC knife blade.
A safety lock never puts the user’s fingers in the path of the tools. A two-hand opening knife blade is safer to deploy, and the nylon handle scales have a grip designed to train the user to operate a blade in the opposite direction of his/herself.
It comes in three colors — green, blue and red. The Leap will begin shipping worldwide this summer. Watch Leatherman.com for details and release date. —Sean McCoy