Multi tool review - Buck, Leatherman, Victorinox

There are fabled stories and epic survival tales built completely on the transpiration of a multi-tool in a time of dire need. Whether it’s the climber high on a mountain who repaired his stove just before freezing or skiers who needed to jigger a binding back to life 14 miles from the car, the multi-tool has saved a legion of outdoor athletes from great misery or much worse.

Here’s a quick look at three new multi-tool models in case you’re planning to upgrade or add a multi-tool to your gear arsenal.

If you want the Cadillac of multi-tools, Leatherman’s Charge Ti ($124, http://www.leathermancharge.com) may just be it — both from a price and performance standpoint. Admittedly vying to design the top-end product in the entire multi-tool category, Leatherman used premium materials like titanium, bronze and high-grade steel to create this half-pound beast of a tool.

Leatherman-ChargeTiW.jpg

The Charge Ti includes two knife blades, a screwdriver with interchangeable bits, a saw, a diamond-coated file, a needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, wire strippers, scissors, can opener and an eight-inch ruler. The tool measures four inches when closed and feels absolutely solid in the hand.

A step down in price, the stainless steel Victorinox SwissTool Spirit ($70, http://www.swissarmy.com) is still a fancy piece of equipment for the average camper. Manufactured by the makers of the original Swiss Army Knife, it has the requisite pliers, knife, screwdriver and bottle opener plus some extras like a scissors and a separate bit-socket wrench that fits alongside the tool in its nylon case.

SwissTool2(SpiritPlus)W.jpg

The SwissTool Spirit weighs about 7 ounces and is just over four inches long when closed. Victorinox includes a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship.

Gerber took a separate path with its latest multi-tool, as the Nautilus model ($60, http://www.gerbergear.com) eschews a pliers for an integrated L.E.D. flashlight. The tiny, one-bulb light snaps open at the push of a button and has enough power to illuminate a dark trail at night.

Other points of differentiation include soft, rubbery handles for a comfortable grip and a high-quality scissors. It’s 4.4 inches long when shut, weighs 3.8 ounces and also includes more standard features like a stainless-steel blade, two screwdrivers and a bottle opener.

Posted by Brenda - 05/18/2008 09:28 PM

The Leatherman Charge is an excellent tool.

Posted by craig - 09/27/2008 12:11 AM

The Charge is one of the best multi tools out there. You can talk about more multi tools at http://multitoolforum.com

Posted by Ben - 05/07/2009 04:22 AM

Do a review on the victorinox swiss champ its the best one ever!

Posted by Leatherman Reviews - 02/16/2010 12:50 AM

To me Leatherman just seems to have it down cold. People like gerber, SOG, Victorinox, etc all try ti improve on it or change the game but in the end the Leatherman simplicity and reliability always seem to win out for me. They really just have a non-complicated, winning formula.

Posted by Jim - 12/15/2010 12:56 PM

Readers might also consider the leatherman charge AL or even the Wave, at much less cost. Search youtube for some comparisons of these models. But of course a true “gear junkie” probably wants the Titanium just because it is, after all, Titanium. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLkhpjoh1RY

Posted by ReginaPhalange - 02/01/2011 10:29 PM

I have a Leatherman PST and a Vic SwissTool RS and I’ve just got to say that Leatherman fanboys (as represented by the commenter on 2/6/10) have all but put me off Leatherman tools in the same way that Mac fanboys have put me off everything “i”. It would be nice if they could learn to discuss what they think is great about Leatherman tools without taking cheap (and, in some cases, inaccurate) shots at other manufacturers’ tools. Because, in the end, if you want to get really snotty about it, Tim Leatherman really just tried to “improve on or change the game” as relates to the Swiss Army knife, which was THE multitool for a LONG time before Tim went on his poorly planned trip in 1975.

Posted by Best Multi-tools - 03/02/2014 11:36 PM

The SwissTool Spirit and the Charge Ti are both very impressive tools, if you’re on a budget I’d also recommend the Gerber Compact Sport. A bit cheaper than he others but still good quality.

Best Multi-tools

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