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#107549 - 10/02/07 04:36 PM Why a Multitool?
eric_2003 Offline

Registered: 09/14/07
Posts: 56
I have EDC a knife for a long time, one CRKT money clip style knife clipped to my keychain, and usually another Opinel or Benchmade, or CRKT M16 if going anywhere when not wearing my work clothes.

I have searched the archives under things like multitool and leatherman, but haven't been able to find good reasons to carry Multitools for a survival situation.

The closest I came was to one poster who mentioned he'd rather carry a multitool than a knife because if he was trapped in an elevator - the multitool made more sense. Good thinking for daily carry in an urban environment.

So - other than everyday use, eg people who work with tools everyday, is there much benefit to me getting a Leatherman Juice or similar? I've gone this long without having to search for such tools daily, but am wondering if there really is a survival advantage over what's already in a PSK and good knife.

I would think there is an advantage to a lightweight, EDC shelter such as a cheap emergency blanket or heatsheet (and I have a full BOB in my trunk with tarps etc) that can stay on you. And something that can be used as a pry tool, which I haven't found yet.



#107551 - 10/02/07 04:54 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: eric_2003]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
I think of my Leatherman Wave (home) and Kick (work) as necessary parts of my wardrobe. They aren't for just survival, they are for fixing little annoyances like loose screws, stripping wire, removing jammed objects, fixing toys, trimming plants, measuring stuff, opening sample canisters, etc... If I had to run to the tool box each time nothing would ever get done.

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#107553 - 10/02/07 05:26 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: Blast]
bmo Offline

Registered: 09/12/07
Posts: 40
I have to second Blast on his endorsement of a multitool for EDC. In an urban setting I believe it is an excellent survival tool. Granted, none of the blades are going to replace a good fixed blade knife in a wilderness situation, but they are more than serviceable and the other tools compensate for any shortcomings. You mention that you have gone this long without a multitool, but i can attest that once you start carrying one it's amazing how often you will find yourself using it. The Wave, albeit heavy, has just about everything I need at work, around the house or running errands.

The Wave also includes a ballistic nylon sheath (I know that some come with a leather sheath) that has room for some additional items. For example, in the two elastic side pieces I have a Fisher Space pen and a small single AAA-cell flashlight. There is also a small pocket on the front of the sheath and the back on the inside. I used some electrical tape to strap down some REI stormproof matches and a pre-threaded needle (thread wrapped around) on an old credit card (the card allows the tape to be easily removed and provides a good backing to prevent the matches from breaking) and inserted that into the rear inside pouch. The front pocket (covered by the flap) has the match striker strip. Just a way to stow a little extra gear.

See Doug Ritter's review at http://www.equipped.org/lm_charge-wave.htm
Doug's review mentions stashing the single AAA-cell flashlight

Just pulled out that cut down credit card to admire my handiwork and apparently I also taped four mini zip ties (length cut down) and taped those on there too.

Edited by bmo (10/02/07 05:34 PM)

#107555 - 10/02/07 05:57 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: eric_2003]
Andy Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 378
Loc: SE PA

I'm a great fan of buying multitools but no so good at using them. I keep a Gerber tool in the car which I have used on occasion but not often. I'd rather use a tool that was purpose built for the job at hand. For instance I have a screwdriver like tool that fits the typical "F" TV connectors. I'd rather walk down 3 flights of stairs and back up to get and use that tool than futz around with the pliers of a multitool. But that's just me. I do keep multitools in my BOB and cars just in case, however I don't I'd carry one everyday on my person.

Countycomm.com carries 2 sizes of small pry bars that might interest you.
In a crisis one does not rise to one's level of expectations but rather falls to one's level of training.

#107556 - 10/02/07 05:57 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: eric_2003]
xbanker Offline

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
Pound-for-pound (or more correctly, ounce-for-ounce), one could argue that a multi-tool provides as much or more bang for the buck as any EDC gear/tool/implement. Admittedly, the usefulness to you depends on your day-to-day environment, but given the wide selection of tool configurations among the manufacturers, I think you'd be hard pressed not to find one that isn't useful to your lifestyle.

You acknowledge their particular suitability to an urban environment. Agree 100%. Consider then, isn't that where most of us spend most of our time ... in an urban environment? Replacement for a good fixed-blade knife while camping, hunting, hiking, or other wilderness activity? Absolutely not. Like any tool designed for multiple tasks, they're not as effective as an arsenal of individual, dedicated tools (that, for obvious reasons, don't lend themselves to compact EDC/PSKs). But they're not meant to compete with dedicated tools.

Given their reasonable cost, light weight, small bulk, I view multi-tools as an efficient bit of redundancy in a kit or on my belt. At <$100 (in most cases), why not?

Originally Posted By: eric_2003
And something that can be used as a pry tool, which I haven't found yet.

Not sure what size/weight you have in mind, but the soon-available breacher bar from CountyCom looks interesting for a small bag.
"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

#107559 - 10/02/07 06:27 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: bmo]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas

Hey newguy, welcome to the fire! My LM Wave came with the leather sheath. It looks nice but it isn't nearly as practical or stuffable as the nylon one. frown

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#107560 - 10/02/07 06:33 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: Blast]
bmo Offline

Registered: 09/12/07
Posts: 40

Thanks for the welcome and I'm glad to be here. I got the Wave as a gift (finally) and I didn't specify leather or nylon so it was dumb luck for me.


#107561 - 10/02/07 06:36 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: Blast]
ScouterMan Offline

Registered: 08/19/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
As someone who wouldn't be caught without my Wave, I have to strongly agree with the posts. I carry mine in a Nite-Ize Pock-its holster. This allows me to also carry a mini-mag, a pen and writing paper and some bandaids. There isn't a day goes by that I don't use it at home, work or campout.

#107562 - 10/02/07 06:37 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: eric_2003]
philip Offline

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I carry a pocket knife and a Swiss Tech Micro Lite instead of the big, bulky Leatherman-like devices, and I use both tools frequently.

I'm not sure what I'd do with a multi-tool if I were trapped in an elevator. On the other hand, I've never been trapped in an elevator, and I'm infrequently in them, so his sensible choice doesn't seem to work for me. (I don't disagree with his choice for him; it just isn't the right choice for me.)

One of the issues is comfort level - guys who have multi-tools and use them have a comfort level on what their uses are and when they need them. I use my micro lite more for the screw drivers than for the pliers, but I use the pliers occasionally. My pocket knife gets used pretty much every day. Many people never have occasion to use a knife. They use something else when I find the knife useful and convenient.

Multi-tools are a compromise. I don't like using a knife blade in the multi-tool handle. The screw driver blades are all off-center and don't torque well. The pliers are the best of the tools, although the handle may be so uncomfortable I can't grip it as tightly as i can 'real' pliers. It's like a spork - it's not a good spoon, and it's a sucky fork. The issue is whether the compromises make it convenient enough that you have it when you need it and don't have the real tools.

#107569 - 10/02/07 07:31 PM Re: Why a Multitool? [Re: eric_2003]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
I was the one who mentioned getting stuck in lifts. Not actually a great case study because most modern lifts are designed to prevent self-rescue and are hard to escape from whatever you have. I think a pry-bar is probably most useful there, the bigger the better.

However, in an urban environment it's good to have screwdrivers, wire cutters, diamond files etc. Everything near where I live is man made, usually from metal or glass. For me living off the land doesn't mean setting traps for rabbits, it means raiding neighbour's houses for tinned food. I want a tin opener.

Part of my feeling is that I just don't see much need for a big knife in the city. If you need to build a shelter or cut down trees or split wood, fine, but in the city there are any number of buildings to shelter in. I do use a blade daily, but it's the tiny one on a Leatherman P4, and it mostly cuts plastic, string, opens packages etc. I use scissors about as often.

Pliers I think are fairly general purpose. I mostly use them as tongs to hold things I don't want to touch with my hands. This can include wasps, plants with thorns and camping stoves that are hot, so I see it as an outdoors tool. Sometimes they can be used like tweezers. In an urban environment they are good for holding metal, and for twisting and breaking it.

Everything's a compromise. For me a multitool has more value for weight.
Quality is addictive.

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