Diversity of design reaches an apex in the category called “multitool.” Multitools come in dozens of shapes and sizes, but standard implements include screwdrivers, files, wrenches, pliers and blades. Take these tools into the outdoors or pocket them for everyday use. Here you’ll find a product that fits your lifestyle or pursuit.
MINI MULTITOOL: Gerber Dime (above)
It weighs a couple of ounces and is less than 3 inches long. But the Dime folds open to reveal highly usable tools, including stainless steel pliers, screwdrivers, a file, tiny scissors and a knife blade. Gerber made the Dime to be kept on a keychain, ready at all times.
WEARABLE: Leatherman Tread
Starts at $150, Leatherman.com
Fashion and function come together with the Tread, a bracelet that becomes a multitool when off the wrist. Its stainless steel links include intricate cutouts offering tiny screwdrivers, openers, wrenches, a cutting hook, glass-breaker and more. You can construct up to 29 features — including a watch option, below — per bracelet, depending on added links.
BIKE TOOL: Crankbrothers M17
Slim and minimal, the M17 includes its namesake 17 features folded into a design that goes all but unnoticed in a bike bag. (It weighs a minuscule 168 grams.) But in a pinch the requisite cycling-specific tools are there to fix a chain, tighten a stem and tweak a spoke on a remote trail or on the side of the road.
THE BASICS: Swiss Army Huntsman
Long trusted and among the world’s original multitools, Swiss Army knives remain standard gear for Scouts. This model, the Victorinox Huntsman, has two blades, screwdrivers, a bottle opener, scissors, saw and other implements for camp. Tiny slide-out tweezers and a plastic toothpick complete the Swiss Army archetype.
SAFETY TOOL: Benchmade Triage 915
A blade, a hook-shape cutter and a glass-breaker carbide spike on the butt are the whole of the Triage tool. In the instant that it’s needed, this tool will get the job done — from bashing glass to slicing a seatbelt off in an emergency. Its beveled blade is designed for prying, and Benchmade says the Triage has one of the strongest locking mechanisms on the market.
BIG GRIP: SOG SwitchPlier 2.0
Spring-loaded pliers that flick open at a touch distinguish this solid SOG multitool. It’s a great all-around option at 6 inches long. The requisite implements — blade, file, drivers and openers — are stowed in the handle for use when the pliers are not deployed.
POWER UP: Goal Zero Switch 10
Branded as a multitool, the Switch 10 is essentially a rugged battery pack with ports on each end to add “tools” like a flashlight head and a tiny rubber-bladed fan. It charges up your phone, too, via a USB connection, and the package comes with a small solar panel that connects to rejuvenate the Switch after its lithium tank runs dry.
STEPHEN REGENOLD is the founder of GearJunkie.com.