A survival multi tool is a fascinating object. Despite their incredible usefulness, surprisingly few people carry them. Even those with an eye towards outdoor adventure and preparedness often attempt to make do with just a simple knife, or nothing at all.
These individuals are often the ones who find themselves consistently unprepared searching for tools or asking to borrow them from others.
The usefulness of survival multi tools is hard to overstate. Once you incorporate an edc multi tool into your daily rotation, you will quickly begin wondering how you ever made do without one.
Last update on 2020-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- 1 Best Survival Multitool Reviews
- 2 Leatherman – Free P2 Multitool
- 3 SOG PowerLock S60N-CP Multitool
- 4 Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool CS Plus
- 5 B/Bury Titanium 18-in-1 Multitool
- 6 Gerber Truss Multi-Tool with Sheath
- 7 Let’s Take a Look at What Makes a Great Multi Tool?
- 8 Conclusion
Best Survival Multitool Reviews
It is hard to imagine a name more synonymous with multi tools than Leatherman. Leatherman has been in the game for over four decades, and with good reason. Simply holding the Free P2 in your palm will reveal the magnitude of the design experience captured by Leatherman. They don’t simply pack functionality into a tool – they also consider ergonomics.
One of the primary benefits of the Free P2 is the accessibility of all tools. A common obstacle with multi tools is that you are much less likely to take advantage of a tool if the process of retrieving is arduous or requires excessive fumbling. On the Free P2, all of the individual tools can be quickly accessed without opening the tool itself. Whether you need the knife, file, scissors, or bottle opener, you are just a quick flick of the thumb away. The Free P2 does an excellent job of incorporating a lot of functionality without sacrificing weight. In total, the Free P2 packs 19 individual tools, very few of which seem redundant or unnecessary. Admittedly the inclusion of an awl may be somewhat superfluous, but it is also a Leatherman staple at this point.
Despite this generous line up of tools, the Free P2 is a svelte 7.6 ounces, allowing it to disappear into your pocket until the moment you need it. Whether your use is primarily camping, use around the house, or heavy-duty survival, the P2 should have you covered. Arguably the best feature of the Leather Free P2 is the name behind it. All Leatherman tools are protected by a 25-year warranty. No matter the damage sustained, Leatherman will be there to restore your tool to its former glory.
- Light weight
- Outwardly accessible tools
- Fantastic warranty
- Not the cheapest option
- Phillips screwdriver is a “flat” design
The SOG Powerlock series is a fantastic tool for those who need to maximize functionality while still keeping an eye on price. Within the past decade, SOG has done an admirable job of providing exceptionally high-quality, packed with features, for a very affordable price. Even disregarding its highly agreeable price point of around 60USD, there is still a lot to like about the SOG Powerlock S60N-CP. The Powerlock is a fairly plier-centric design. Thus, is a great option for anyone who finds themselves doing a lot of DIY tasks or working on cars.
Unlike the stub-nose pliers of many competitors, SOG opted to include a set of very fine needle points on the pliers as well. This design detail can greatly improve the usefulness of the pliers in many circumstances. The pliers are also a unique compound-hinge design. This functions as a mechanical advantage on the hinge, multiplying the force exerted. If you need a multi tool with a good set of pliers, it is hard to beat the SOG Powerlock. Another thoughtful inclusion on the SOG is a ¼-inch drive adapter. This allows the SOG to be used as a handle for any number of different bits or drivers. Many multi tool users find themselves in a situation where they need a specific driver that a tool doesn’t include; the SOG solves this problem seamlessly.
While the SOG is unquestionably a well thought out tool, it is not immune to criticism. The tools of the SOG are internally mounted, meaning that it must be spread out to access anything other than pliers. This is a minor complaint, but it does affect the streamlined use of the tool somewhat. Another consideration of the SOG is the weight. The bulk of this tool is certainly not excessive, but it is somewhat heavier than some options at 9.6 ounces. Overall, if you need a reliable and highly functional multi tool that looks great and doesn’t break the bank, serious consideration should be given to the SOG PowerLock S60N-CP.
- Impressive price
- Pliers are class-leading
- Tools access can be tricky
- Wire-cutters are not replaceable
The term “swiss army knife” has taken on such a culturally significant meaning that it is easy to forget that there is a product behind the phrase. However, once you have some experience with a Victorinox product, the reason for the ubiquity will become clear. The SwissTool CS Plus is an evolution of a design which has been a staple of the Victorinox brand for years. Despite being a relative classic, this is a thoughtfully updated tool that can still hold its own.
The highlight of the SwissTool CS Plus is the design itself. Victorinox is a master of streamlined and efficient design, and this tool is an excellent demonstration of that prowess. In its folded form, the Swisstool is one of the sleekest multi tools on the market. This not only makes it an attractive design, but one which easily slips into your pocket without risk of snagging or rough edges. Even when folded the SwissTool maintains an eye towards function. The edges of the tool are beautifully etched with a ruler – a surprisingly useful inclusion. The file is another advantage in the SwissTool’s camp. A file is an often overlooked but shockingly important tool. Whether you are cleaning the contacts on an electrical circuit or sharpening the edge of an ax, having a good file is an important EDC inclusion. The SwissTool’s is one of the best.
Any disadvantages of this Victorinox are minor. The scissors are somewhat awkward to use, but they work well enough when needed. Further, Victorinox included several additional accessories with the SwissTool, such as various driver bits and a corkscrew. This was a nice thought, but the truth is these components are more likely to be lost than used. Despite these minor quibbles, the Victorinox is a great tool backed by a lifetime warranty.
- Pliers are great
- Streamlined design
- Lifetime warranty
- Scissors are awkard
- Additional tools are easy to lose
B/Bury is a newcomer to the multi tool market, but they already show a huge amount of promise. Their Titanium 18-in-1 model is the flagship of the range, and it manages to incorporate a truly impressive amount of tools in a compact and very affordable package. When you consider the number of tools and thoughtful design included in the B/Bury, you are left wondering how they can provide so much for the price tag.
Of the many tools that the B/Bury includes, the wire strippers are a true highlight. For many multi tools, the wire strippers are essentially an after-thought. This is unfortunate given that this is one of the most used functions for an EDC tool. The B/Bury actually includes two different wire strippers. One set is incorporated into the pliers, while another allows for larger or more difficult wire to be tackled. There is one feature of this tool that makes you wonder why more companies don’t include it: a glass breaker. For many users, their multi tool is a permanent fixture in their pocket. Thus, the ability to break glass to exit a vehicle in an emergency is a genius inclusion that we would like to see more often.
Overall, this tool manages to have an extremely well thought out design at a shockingly good price.
- Emergency glass-breaker
- Excellent wire strippers
- Rigidity of pliers
- Slightly wide for some pockets
Gerber was historically a company that primarily made knives, but over the past decade, they have ventured into the multi tool world with great success. Borrowing from their experience making knives, Gerber has made a pattern of providing well-made tools with fantastic ergonomics at a great price.
The first thing you will notice about the Gerber Truss is the eye-catching skeletal design. Rather than having solid metal sides, the Gerber instead opts for intricate cut-outs. This is not only attractive but reduces weight as well. This aspect of the Truss is truly a win-win. Another win for the Gerber Truss is the pliers.
Unlike many multi tools, the pliers on the Truss are spring-loaded. This is an extremely appreciated feature that goes a long way towards reducing hand fatigue. Beyond the pliers, the Truss continues to do an excellent job of optimizing ergonomics. The tools are outwardly mounted and extremely easy to access. While there is very little to not like about the Truss, there are two minor points that keep it from perfection. First, the scissors are an awkward shape that makes them best suited for only occasional use. Second, Gerber did not include a pocket clip that would have made the tool slightly easier to carry.
These are both minors points, however, that do not detract from the overall fantastic design of the tool.
- Skeletal design
- Spring loaded pliers
- External tools
- Scissors are oddly shaped
- No pocket clip
Let’s Take a Look at What Makes a Great Multi Tool?
One of the best aspects of multi tools is their inherent versatility. No matter what your adventures or lifestyle needs, there is certainly a multi tool out there that fits your requirements. However, this great amount of variety can also make it difficult to choose.
There are numerous factors to consider when shopping for a multi tool.
What Tools do You Need?
This is a question that will vary for every person. The most effective way to ascertain what you need in a multi tool is to think about the activities and situations you are most likely to encounter. Many shoppers falsely believe that the more tools and options that a survival multi tool has the better.
This is not the best path forward. Rather, you should carefully consider what tools you might need on a daily basis. Do you prioritize access to a knife? Are you likely to need a saw?
Do you find yourself often working on cars? The answers to these questions can go a long way towards helping you find the best edc multi tool.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
When shopping for a new multi tool, there is more to consider than simply the number of tools it contains. Rather, quality and ergonomics are key considerations. When reading reviews, pay special attention to how usable people find each individual tool.
Many multi tools have an extensive list of screwdrivers, files, and knives but make the access and use difficult or awkward. Further, prioritize the qualities that matter to you. If you intend to primarily use the knife functionality of a multi tool, then look for an option that features a higher grade of steel in the blade.
If you are more likely to use the tool for its plier functionality, look for an option that includes spring-loaded grips and replaceable jaws.
The main purpose of a multi tool is to fit as much functionality into as compact a package as possible. This is a difficult engineering challenge for even the most experienced engineers.
Given this inherent complexity, having expertise in one or two aspects does not necessarily mean that a company can excel in producing high quality and useful multi tools. In other words, just because a company can make a respectable knife, or an effective set of pliers, does not mean that they will be successful in packaging a complete product.
Because of the inherent skill needed to design and manufacture a multi tool, it is important to look for a well known and respected brand. There are hundreds of companies that make multi tools. There are only a few that make good ones.
The Warranty Matters
On the topic of respected and experienced brands, it is crucial to purchase a multi tool that is protected by a solid warranty. Use and abuse are inherent to the life of survival multi tools. They will often be used in difficult situations and for purposes that they may not be entirely intended for. Thus, even the most solidly built multi tool is likely to sustain some form of damage across its lifetime.
Many multi tool brands understand this and stand by their products to protect them from inevitable mishaps. When you’re out in the field, you don’t want to have to worry about whether or not the maker of your tool will fix it if it fails.
Don’t Forget to Consider Weight
In the endless pursuit of increased functionality, many consumers forget to account for the size and weight of a given multi tool. While many tools are compact enough to be carried without inconvenience, there are also a great number of truly sizable multi tools on the market. The simple truth is that you are much less likely to carry a tool that is overly heavy, bulky, or awkward to carry.
Multi tools can generally be divided into two main categories: pocket carriable and bag carriable. Some tools are simply too large or heavy to be practically fit into an average pocket. If you intend for your new multi tool to be a constant companion by your side, a slightly smaller pocket-capable tool may be the preferred option. Ultimately, functionality is important but so is ease of use.
As previously mentioned, selecting a multi tool is a very personal decision. Depending on your needs, lifestyle, and budget, the best multitool for you may vary wildly. Despite all this, there is one tool from this roundup that seemed to rise above these factors.
The best multitool is also the best Leatherman currently made. The Leatherman Free P2’s combination of ergonomics, light weight, and all-inclusive tools make it the goldilocks options for anyone needing a multipurpose pocket survival tool. It’s just right.
This is not to detract from the other options. They all have their advantages and fulfill different needs. Yet, there is a reason why Leatherman has been the leader for so many years.
- MAXIMUM FUNCTIONALITY: Introducing the FREE P-Series, the best multipurpose plier experience to date; A brand-new platform, magnetic closing and outside-accessible tools
- ENHANCED ERGONOMICS: Feels at home in the palm of your hand; Integrated FREE technology means all 19 tools are easily accessed with one hand, open smoothly and click into place with a confident snap
- OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
- ONE-HAND ACCESS: Every implement is on the outside of the tool; Quickly open and close every tool with a single hand
- 19 TOOLS IN 1: Includes all the essentials, from replaceable wire cutters to spring-action scissors to a variety of screwdrivers; Ideal for EDC, home, work and everything else
Last update on 2020-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API