First Look: Ultralight Leatherman ‘Skeletool’ Knife

Leatherman is known for its namesake multi-tools. But the brand also sells knives, including a so-called ‘naked’ knife that weighs barely more than one ounce.

Leatherman skeletool knife

Small but sturdy, the Leatherman Skeletool knives are everyday-carry models that slip into a pocket with a removable clip. They offer a lockable folding format with a 2.6-inch blade. (The knives come to market this summer.)

A unique look comes from cutouts on the handle and blade. Leatherman notes the minimalist design is a part of the “naked knife” trend. Check out our video below for an overview.

But it’s the same aesthetic seen on the company’s long-popular Skeletool multi-tools. Indeed, hold a Skeletool knife next to its pliers-equipped forebear and you see a sibling; the knife appears stamped out of the multi-tool shell.

Ultralight Leatherman Skeletool Knife review
Leatherman Skeletool knives (at right) next to Skeletool multi-tool

Made in Portland, Ore., the lockable knife comes as a straight-blade model (Skeletool KB) or with serration (Skeletool KBx). They will cost $25 when for sale in June.

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Review: Leatherman Skeletool Knives

Skeletool knives are about a half-step up from what I would call a keychain blade. The knives are about 3.5 inches closed (or 6 inches when laid flat, blade open) and weigh a scant 1.3 ounces.

In the palm the airy handle is small but just adequate for grip — it fit firmly in my hand. My fingers wrapped around the handle, and with a thumb on top of the blade whittling was easy and precise.

Ultralight Leatherman Skeletool Knife review

I sharpened a marshmallow stick then trimmed a few errant vines encroaching a wall. The serrated edge sliced through the cord. Out of the box, the blade is usable for any small task.

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The action end is an industry workhorse, 420 HC stainless. It’s stamped in a swooped drop-point, and the blade is thicker than expected for its length. It’s an inexpensive steel that resists corrosion well and holds an OK edge if well hardened. Time will tell how this one holds up, but for the price, it’s hard to go wrong.

The knife locks open with a tiny click; its liner lock is the same as seen on the company’s multi-tools. It’s strong in the open position, with no lateral movement at the hinge while putting it to work.

Ultralight Leatherman Skeletool Knife review
Side profile reveals thin form of Skeletool knife

Granted, these are hardly survival knives. The Skeletool line is made to replace a pocketknife, not serve as a primary backwoods tool.

That said, for many years while backpacking and on climbing trips, a little knife like this has served me fine. Due to its super-light weight, this will be a great choice for hikers and others who want to carry an ultralight knife for small tasks around camp, but don’t need or want the weight associated with a more formidable blade.

For kindling, gear repairs, and cooking needs, the Leatherman blades will do the trick without weighing you down, hardly more than a single ounce.

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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