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#2499 - 11/05/01 11:03 PM What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?

With so many different multi-tools and swiss army type knives available, I'm interested in a general discussion as to what individual tools are necessary to have to be "prepared" for general backcountry survival situations.<br><br>For the sake of discussion, I'm lumping multitools and Swiss Army knvies together. If it turns out I need pliers I'll probably choose a multitool, otherwise a Swiss Army knife. Hopefully I can find a tool with exactly the options I need, and nothing else.<br><br>For example, is a saw necessary to have on your multitool? What about pliers? I guess I understand what one does with pliers when fixing a car (at least abstractly)...but when camping/hiking what can pliers be used for? How about an awl? I believe I once read that Doug liked the fact that some of the Juice's had an awl (could be mistaken). But what does one use an awl for besides adding an extra hole in a leather belt :)<br><br>I've read Doug's pages on multitools, but they seem oriented towards pilots, not hikers/campers. One of the biggest differences is that since I'm always carrying the item while walking long distances, I'm trying to eliminate as many ounces as possible, while not foolishly eliminating anything.<br><br>More questions: Are scissors necessary? Do they need to be large or can they be the ones on my very mini swiss army knife? <br><br>I'd also be interested if people wanted to rank the order that things are necessary: for example are pliers more important than a saw? Is a file more important than a serrated blade? What does one use a file for in a survival situation anyway?<br><br>Thanks!<br><br>

#2500 - 11/06/01 02:10 AM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Trying to list items in order of need is gambling on what you won't. For the minimum wieght involved that is" penny wise and pound foolish." I just used my tool's pliers, file and snips to fabricate fish hooks from a spring and nail. the file and saw can be used for precise notches in figure four deadfalls. The awl is used for drilling small holes, from buttons to snowshoe lacings. There are tools on my unit that have only seen oil. If I removed them today, Id need them tommorow.

#2501 - 11/06/01 02:37 AM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?

I used to carry leatherman wave on my belt, but I found I didn't need the pliers so large. So I pick up the swiss army Swiss Champ. This is a tool I absoluty love.<br>-The awl has a hole in it for lacing ect.<br>-I love the hook- It's great for getting out knots, carrying stuff, pulling line or rope.<br>-It has a small scraper ,maybee for shaping wood-I used it to make a spout in a wood bowl like object.<br>-The detachable eyeglass screwdriver is great. I've used it to manipulate stuff while holding object in pliers, Try that with a reguler multi-tool.<br>-Don't forget the pen. very handy,and that ever handy toothpick. :0) <br>-Great can opener<br>-saw is very good and yes i use it alot.<br>-Two blades is wonderful, I only use the large one, so in an emergency I will allways have a super sharp blade.<br>-Are sissers needed? Yes. very handy and in certian situations safer than useing blade.<br>-pliers open up wide enough for me.- good file<br>-Have started fire with magnifiing glass-( In perfect conditions.) <br>-You can't forget the small fly hooks that fit under the philips driver.<br>-I have not needed the fish scaller, was thinking of modifiing it to something usefull.<br>-I carry it in a leatherman sheath. <br>- Have a white photon II on the ring and small compass I took of a Dakota watch.<br>- Can't for get the tweesers. <br>- I want to put a flint rod on it or in it somewhere. Have not come up with the perfect idea yet.<br>-Mind you I carry other gadgets as well, this is my favorite.

#2502 - 11/06/01 09:25 AM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?

I love my SwissChamp. It is nice - I always have it on my keyring with a Mini Mytilite, but that it's only a McGyver's "i-DO-know-how-to-do-a-lot-of-things" tool, perfect for using at home, office, outdoor week-end, space station or something like.<br><br>I think that, in most cases, survival situations happen when your vehicle (plane, car, bus) crashes. A multitool like SwissTool or Leatherman is more strong and reliable. Pliers are a must.<br><br>Greetings!<br><br>Jorge A.<br>Spain<br>

#2503 - 11/06/01 02:06 PM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?

I would say it varies with the terrian you travel. I carry a Leatherman Micra as a daily carry. I use the scissors at least evey other day in an office environment. Sometime I use them to cut but I also use them as pliers, knife, etc. Then I use the knife blade.<br><br>I have a Leatherman Wave for outdoor activities. I use the saw and knife blades. I like the cross cut file for shaving and shaping wood carvings.<br><br>The more urban your travels, the more likely to use the screwdrivers and pliers. There are times that scisssors are a better tool for the task than a knife. Pliers can be used to create lots of neat things. Very useful.

#2504 - 11/06/01 03:37 PM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?

>>what individual tools are necessary to have to be "prepared" for general backcountry survival situations.<<<br><br>The narrowest interpretation of your question would point to just a knife, or maybe a knife and small saw. The broadest interpretation would fill a large toolbox or more. Do you want the barest essentials to keep you barely alive or something that will be more useful for improvising and fabricating equipment and be able to make equipment repairs that could prevent a situation from becoming critical?<br><br>I personally think it makes sense to carry things that are useful for everyday needs and that can also double for use in a survival situation. For example, a large scissors is not absolutely necessary in a survival situation, but will become probably the most frequently used device on a day-to-day basis. I use mine all the time and it alone makes it worthwile to carry the tool on a daily basis. This would be even more true for camping or backpacking use (I'm assuming you have this in mind based on clues in your post). They would be handy for mundane tasks such as cutting open food packages, cutting mole-skin, trimming fishing line, personal grooming, minor repairs to clothing and nylon pack materials, etc. And I think large scissors are more useful than the ones found on the small SAK's like the Classic.<br><br>Depending on what kind of equipment you carry and how handy you are, "hardware" tools such as pliers and screwdrivers may be used for repairs to mechanical things like a gasoline stove, external frame backpack, automobile or bicycle. Many SAK's fail to include a phillips screwdriver, a serious oversight IMO if you want a reasonable assortment of screwdrivers. The pliers with wire cutters are also useful for grabbing hot pots or fabricating things from wire, cans or other metal and for grabbing things from tight spaces. You'll have to look at your situation and decide if these kinds of tools would help in your own case. You are correct in that a pilot would have a greater daily need for these "hardware" tools than a minimalist hiker. And some people are addicted to tinkering while others wouldn't pick up a tool and try to fix something unless it were unavoidable - and then they might not know where to start.<br><br>In my experience, a saw is less useful day-to-day, but could be very important for backcountry survival. It would make it easier to cut sticks and poles for cooking implements, hiking sticks, shelter poles, fishing poles, trap construction, fuel, etc.<br><br>Things like can- and bottle openers are normally included in these kinds of tools, so you probably can't avoid them even if you want to. They can be handy for day-to-day use. In a survival situation, if you have a can of food, but no way to open it, you'll be glad you have it. They can also be useful in unusual ways, such as for prying open odd items, or breaking off small pieces of things where leverage is helpful. They make quick work of a Hobo Stove. The Victorinox can openers are the best in my experience.<br><br>A cork screw is sometimes included in these types of tools, but I personally think they are useless since I don't like wine that much, and certainly wouldn't need wine in a survival situation. The screw may have other uses, but I haven't found many. If you are a wine-lover, you might find it handy to have a corkscrew on picnics and camping trips.<br><br>A file can be very handy, but not absolutely necessary and you can keep the weight down by not including it. One important survival use is for sharpening things, but it can't be used on blades in the same tool. Many files on multi-tools include a hacksaw, which could be handy for fabricating implements out of any metal you can scrounge or for certain repairs. If you need to cut metal and your wire cutters aren't up to the task, a hack saw is about your only other chance, and you won't be fabricating one.<br><br>A plain knife blade is obviously one of the most useful items. An additional serrated blade is nice but hardly necessary unless rescue cutting is a priority. If you get fouled in ropes in a boating accident or trapped in a seat belt or safety harness, the serrated blade is the tool of choice. For typical back-country use, you can just use the plain edge for most uses. If rescue use is a real priority, a dedicated knife for that is probably a better solution than a multi-tool.<br><br>Since you are trying to keep weight down, I'd recommend:<br><br>At about 4.5 ounces, I think the Victorinox Fieldmaster Swiss Army knife is a good choice (REI.com). It's just big enough to be strong and give a solid grip in the hand. There are no pliers, but all the other most useful items are there in a compact package with little excess (2 blades, excellent saw, scissors, can and bottle opener, assorted screwdrivers including phillips, sharp awl with hole, tweezers, and other stuff like a parcel hook and toothpick). It would be ideal for backcountry use if you decide pliers are not desired.<br><br>For the same 4.5 ounces, if you want pliers, which I think is a good idea, look at the Leatherman Juice S2. There is no saw, but you can supplement it with a BCB wire survival saw for emergency use. It is very compact and will ride in your pocket well and be handy for numerous daily uses. It gives you a knife, good scissors, can/bottle opener, assorted screwdrivers including phillips and a good pliers/wire cutters. The larger Juice CS4 adds the saw and a (dull) awl, a good corkscrew and 1.1 ounces. The CS4's saw is a great addition for survival use, but I like the smaller S2 for easier pocket carry. The best Leatherman prices I've found are at www.sleggtools.com. Leatherman pliers are stronger and more useful than the pliers found in some Swiss Army knives.<br><br>If you want more capability and can afford a jump to about 8 ounces and a size that is a bit too large for pocket carry, get the Leatherman Wave. It is a very efficient package of virtually all the possible goodies (except awl) including 2 one-hand opening locking knife blades (plain and serrated), file with hack saw, wood saw, scissors, etc. and you can even get the tool adapter to expand it's capabilities even more with specialized bits for any unique needs you have (nut drivers or drivers for special fasteners on ski bindings or whatever). It's practically a tool box in its self.<br><br>But for good utility at minimal size and weight, I would steer you toward the Juice S2 plus a wire saw.<br><br>Good luck.<br><br>PS, to answer the question about ranking tools for survival use, for backcountry situations, I'd rank like this:<br>Plain edge knife, <br>wood saw, <br>pliers/wire cutter, <br>assorted screwdrivers, <br>file/hack saw, <br>awl<br><br>That list is just priorities for survival use and doesn't consider daily convenience, although most of those things will be convenient on a day-to-day basis. In looking back over that list, it almost exactly describes the Juice KF4. But the KF4 doesn't include the scissors, which as I mentioned above, I think is important for daily convenience. After all, you are probably not going to seal this into a PSK, but instead you may be using it all the time.<br><br>Obviously there are hundreds of possible multi-function tool choices, as you pointed out in your post. There are so many choices because everyone is going to strike this balance a little differently.

#2505 - 11/06/01 10:47 PM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK? (note)

But,<br><br>Victorinox SwissChamp + Palmera pliers + Muela Colibri knife could be a nice combination, isn't it?<br><br>

#2506 - 11/07/01 11:30 AM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?
Stefan Offline

Registered: 10/30/01
Posts: 55
Loc: Sweden, South
I have been on the lookout myself for a good "multi-tool". I want a pair of pliers where you can access the tools without opening it. Unfortunately the only type I know of (with quality) is the Victorinox Swiss-tool. Although almost ideal its to big and to heavy im my taste.<br>As foor tools:<br>I want a lockable "spare blade" to back up my sheet-knife. Pliers, awl, file and screwdrivers are good for backcountry repairs and jury-rigging in the field. As I carry a small nail-scissor and a large paramed-scissor in the First aid kit I think its unnessesary to have an extra pair on the pliers (or I leave the small scissors at home). A styrdy can-opener is always usefull and close at hand.<br>Saws are usually to small for good work but a hacksaw side of the file would be ok!<br>I have been looking around and I think that the Leatherman Pulse will be my choice next time I buy a multitool. I will probably regrind one of the screwdrivers (midddle one) into an awl. Although I will have to open it up every time, it locks the tools.<br><br>>Stefan, Sweden

#2507 - 11/08/01 02:47 AM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?
BoyNhisDog Offline
new member

Registered: 11/23/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Arizona
Hey guys, I new here.<br><br>I carry the leatherman wave and find that it has all the tools for travel, survival and utility that a multi-tool should. I use all the tools at one time or another and it is great to have on standby. There is many good ones to choose from but I find the one handed opening blades and the rounded plier handles very nice on this one. <br><br>Once again, Hi!

#2508 - 11/09/01 04:16 AM Re: What tools needed in multi-tool/SAK?

Okay, it seems there is some consensus that a wood saw is the most important tool to have in your multi-tool after a plain edge knife. Therefore I went ahead and ordered a SAK Rucksack...it's the large lockback with a saw, a blade, can/bottle openers, corkscrew, and awl.<br><br>I owned the equivalent knife, minus the saw, and relied on it regularly...until I took it to be sharpened in Santiago, Chile, and the guy literally destroyed the blade sharpening it. He had a small machine shop, I asked him if he sharpened knives...he said yes, but obviously he didn't! It was amazingly hard to find someone who sharpened knives in that country.<br><br>I've bought a sharpmaker and a sterling superior sharpener recently. Haven't used either yet. The sharpmaker comes with a video tape, but ironically I only have DVD.<br><br>I also just mail orderd a small Kershaw Vapor. It's a Ken Onion design, and seems to be a poor man's Sebenza at around $26. (It's a similar design to the Sebenza...or as similar as you can get at 1/12th the price).<br><br>I'll probably pick up a Leatherman (I just wish I could find my old Wave, but I assume that will never happen). I may wait until Doug gives his final report on the juices, but I'll probably cave in the next time I'm at Costco and just get the wave. They sell them for $60 there including a Cordura sheath and a AAA mini-maglite (the two battery kind).<br><br>Then once Doug presumably gives a good review to the Juices, I'll have to buy one or two of them :)<br><br>I read either here or on bladeforums.com that the Juice's can opener is inferior to the SAK. Anyone know how the wave's can opener compares?<br><br>By the way, for those also potentially tempted to get a leatherman wave at costco, maglites are relatively bad flashlights. But still the price on the overall package is good, and the maglite can be given to a friend who is less picky about gadgets!<br>

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