Best Multi Tools for the Equipped Prepper

There is a whole world of multi tools out there to choose from. Before you go shopping there are some things to consider so you make the choice that is best for your situation.

  • Avoid the urge to get the one with the most gadgets

There are some multi tools out there that have tools that most of us never use. If you have purchased a big multi tool in the past and used most of the tools then ignore what I am saying but I would bet that for most of us preppers, the big ones are just added weight and expense.

  • Consider multiple mid priced multi tools for use around your camp or home

There are plenty of quality choices in the mid priced multi tool range. The new Leatherman Rev retails for a mere $30 and you an often get it for less than $30 while a single Leatherman Wave has a lot of tools that you may never use and costs 3 times as much.

If you want something more functional than a just a basic multi tool you should consider buying one elaborate model and then a few less expensive but highly functional ones. If I lose a Rev at $30 it is a far sight better than losing a $100 multi tool.

  • Save yourself the trouble of buying an “off” brand

Is it worth saving $20 to get an off brand? The answer in my own experience is no. There is only a few things worse when you are trying to get something done then having a tool fail you.

I imagine a lot of you might be thinking about multi tools for your bug out bag or just your basic emergency stash. This is one of those times when buying that $20 tool is not something I would do.

  • Know the limits of a multi tool

Not all multi tools are built the same and you have to realize that even the best tool can only take so much abuse, general wear, or neglect. The good ones are tough but if you push them you can definitely break one of the tools or mess of a mechanism. Use common sense when using them and you will get the best results and not be as likely to hurt yourself.

  • Get the right size

When I say size I am talking about the overall length when closed. You need to be able to grip your multi tool comfortably. I have larger hands but sometimes a Leatherman Wave seems too bulky for me.

Women and kids need tools that are smaller than the ones used by the average man. Pay attention to measurements when ordering online. It doesn’t hurt to get out a ruler so you can consider what you are getting.

Leatherman Family Of Multi Tools

Waxing Nostalgic For The Original Leatherman

When I was in college I bought just the standard Leatherman and by the time I eventually lost it 8 years later or so they had stopped making the standard. The reason I like it was that it had all the basics you needed and nothing more.

The quality of the metal and the heft became the standard I used to gauge any other multi tool. Here is the basic tools I consider essential to a multi tool for prepping and general work around the farm.

  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Knife
  • Bottle Oppener
  • Leather Punch
  • File
  • Wirecutters

Optional But Nice

  • Saw
  • Scissors

Beyond this, I feel I am just carrying weight I don’t need.

Leatherman Wave

Size: 4 inches closed and 8.5 oz

Even though I mentioned finding the Wave a bit bulky at times, it is one of the better multi tools out there that has a lot of tools on it. I like that the knife part and the bottle opener are on the outside where I can get to them with ease.

The pliers are sturdy and the wire cutters can be used to cut thick wire when needed. We have built a lot of fences using the Wave for cutting the thinner wire for attaching field fence to posts. In terms of quality it is worth the $90 if you are they type of person that has an easy time keeping up with tools. This is one you will want to wear on your belt.

Cost: $90

Leatherman Rev

Size: 3.8 inches closed and 5.9 oz

The Rev has an amazing 14 tools and can be found for $30 retail price. This is a bargain for what you get and it comes with Leatherman’s 25 year warranty. I can attest to the fact that Leatherman definitely follows through on their warranty. We had an older Leatherman that had been discontinued but was still under warranty when a tool broke.

We sent this decade old Leatherman back and they sent us a Wave instead. They really stand by their products. I like this tool because it is affordable enough to have a lot of them around the house and not be worried if one gets misplaced. There are no scissors but honestly the scissors on any multi tool are not ideal so I feel they are something nice to have but I can do without.

Cost: $25-$30

Schrade ST11 Tough Tool Multi-Tool

Size: 4.1 inches closed and 7 oz

While I am going to include Schrade on this list because they are a well known brand and available at a good price, it is important to note that they are not made in the USA anymore. This has led to some poor reviews from long time customers. On the other hand, there are a lot of new customers that seem to be very satisfied with the performance of these tools.

I like the larger and more functional scissors offered on this tool. For a multi tool to keep in the kitchen drawer this would be a viable option. This tool has all the features of a basic multi tool such as a flat head and phillips screw driver bit, knife blade, bottle opener, wire cutters, pliers, etc. For a budget multi tool it is worth trying out.

Cost: $31

Boker Plus Tech Outdoor Folding Knife 7 Tool Model

Size: 6 oz and 3 ¾ inches closed

Boker makes quality knives for sure. I definitely admire the attention they have paid to details when designing this multi tool. First off it doesn’t really look like a multi tool when everything is folded up. Boker has also made the blade length long enough to be functional but still within the legal limits of places with stricter knife laws.

This tool has all the basics and none of the extras that just weigh you down most of the time. The one exception is that this multi tool has a glass breaker which makes it stand out a bit from a lot of other multi tools that just don’t go there.

Cost: $53

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier

Size: 9.6 oz and 4 inches closed

Gerber has really went the extra mile to create an affordable multi tool that has all your basic needs covered. I am considering this multi tool instead of the Leatherman Rev that has become harder to find.

This is affordable enough to have a few extras scattered around for convenience. A ballistic nylon sheath is even included for easy carrying on a belt so you can have it when you need it.

Cost: $25

Gerber Dime Multi Tool

2.2 oz and only 2.75 inches long!

For a multi tool that you can fit on a key chain it is hard to beat the Gerber Dime. With over a 1,000 excellent reviews on Amazon, people have a lot to say about this little tool.

It even comes in your choice of colors so you can get a brighter color that makes your key chain easier to see. This is good for those with smaller hands too. For the prepper on a budget that wants a smaller multi tool this tool has a lot to offer.

Cost: $15

Wearables

There has been a rise in the number of wearable multi tools over the years. I was not even aware of their existence for a long time. I can see how these would have a place in the prepping world, especially among those that live in cities or travel regularly where knives are a no go zone.

I am going to point out a few wearables that are worthy of consideration but I do encourage you to research further and make sure you get a wearable that is comfortable for you. If something is banging around on your wrist and not comfortable to wear then there is a good chance you just won’t carry it.

Wearables are more expensive than standard multi tools so be sure.

Leatherman Wearables

Size: 8.5 inch wrists or less but can be expanded to a larger size with additional tool links at a cost of $20-$25 per link.

Weight: 5.9 oz weight as purchased

The standard Leatherman wearable is a bracelet. You can choose between metric or standard for your tools and if you ever lose a link, you can order a replacement for $20-$25. The bracelets are completely adjustable with Leatherman claiming it will fit any adult wrist size.

You can choose between black or silver finishes. These wearables get excellent reviews. Keep in mind that there is absolutely no knife blade on this wearable.

Notable tools on this bracelet include a carbide tip glass breaker. There is a a lot of screwdriver and hex bits on this bracelet as well as a bottle opener. Those that like to hit the road with their motorcycle seem to give this tool good reviews. This tool is 8.5 inches in circumference when fully extended.

If you have a very large wrist you can add a link in if needed. This may mean you have an extra of some tools but it would at least mean you could wear this comfortably. On the other hand you can remove a link if you have very small wrists.

Cost: $165-$185

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp Pocket Knife

3.5 inches long and 6.5 ounces

What multi tool list could be complete with a Swiss Army knife. This is one of the ones with everything but the kitchen sink on it. I have to say that if you are going to get a multi tool that has a lot of stuff on it, the Swiss Army Knife versions are very comfortable in the hand and they are made to stand the test of time.

For me on the farm I prefer a multi tool with more substantial pliers and wire cutters so the Swiss Army Knife doesn’t quite do it for me for an everyday carry multi tool. The magnifying glass is pretty nifty though because if can be used to start a fire in an emergency situation or offer assistance when dealing with splinters and minor injuries.

This version of the Swiss Army Knife is a bit heavier than a lot of multi tools but that is to be expected with any tool that is made to be high quality and have a lot of implements.

Cost: $80

Victorinox Swiss Army Camper Pocket Knife

Size: 3.5 inches long closed and 2.6 oz

This budget friendly name brand Swiss Army Multi Tool has a lot to offer and is very lightweight. Again I have to comment on how comfortable the knife design is. The rounded edge handle does not dig into your palm and you can keep a decent grip on it.

If you are not worried about pliers or wirecutters this is a good multi tool and at $25 you can afford to have this one around. This would be an excellent key chain knife and good for anyone that camps out once in awhile for fun.

Cost: $26

The Toothpick and Tweezer Issue

Be ready to lose the toothpick and tweezers on a Swiss Army Knife eventually. Maybe I am wrong and you are a super careful person but over the years it can be hard to not lose those two pieces that detach completely from the knife.

If you don’t put them back in absolutely all the way, it can be easy for them to slip back out. Other than that you should have very little problems with any Swiss Army Knife over the years.

Hoffman Richter HR-100 13-in-1 Multitool

Could not find measurements or weight on the company website. From what I can gather from customer comments, it appears this multi tool is a bit heavier than the Leatherman Wave but about the same length.

This was not a brand I was familiar with until recently. Hoffman Richter has an extensive line of affordable multi tools all with lifetime guarantees to back them up. This particular model reminds me a lot of the Leatherman Wingman or the original Leatherman that is no longer made.

The price point puts it up there with the Rev and other multi tools that allow for you to have more than once around your place. You get a nylon belt sheath with it for easy carry and access. The tool has a safety locking mechanism that may be appealing to some. I like that there is a very small knife blade along with a large one.

The very small one could be extremely useful when doing small tasks or getting into tight spaces where a larger blade may be too cumbersome to deal with.

Cost: $28

Credit Card Style Multi Tools

This is another type of multi tool that has gained in popularity recently but a lot of us are still not familiar with. I can see how a good version this design could be very handy for those living in town or that want something very discreet and compact that they can rely on.

Here are a few of the many choices out there. I have tried to highlight a few that seem to have high levels of customer satisfaction and come in at a reasonable price. For what you get, these tools are very budget friendly compared to a lot of multi tools.

Victorinox Swisscard Lite Pocket Tool

Size: 3.25 inches and just 1 ounce according to REI.

If you are cautious about trying out this type of multi tool then the SwissCard is a good choice because it comes with an impeccable guarantee and is made in Switzerland to high specifications.

This little card contains a letter opener/blade, scissors, rulers, tweezers, a magnifying glass, straight pin, pressurized ball point pen, Phillips screwdrivers, and even an LED light! That is a lot of function in something you can just slip into a small compartment of your wallet or in pants pocket.

I think it is worth mentioning that if you regularly carry your wallet in your back pocket and have this in it you could crack or break the housing if you sit the wrong way.

Cost: $33

READYMAN Wilderness Survival Card

I had to add this in because it seems like a neat idea to add to your other credit card multi tool and they seem to be very popular among the prepper community.

Arrowheads, fish hooks, an awl, sewing needs, an saws can all be found on this little piece of metal. At $10 it is a fun prepper gadget.

Cost: $10

Do you have any experience with any of the tools above? I am particularly curious to hear the experiences of anyone that has used wearable multi tools or the credit card style ones since they are a new thing for those of us used to traditional multi tools.

Author Bio

Samantha Biggers lives on a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them. She can be reached at [email protected]


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  1. I’ve had a Swiss Army Tinker model since I was a kid. One of them resides in every vehicle I have. I just got a Leatherman Wave–and I’m with you that I miss the old, original Leatherman. It was very useful.

  2. Twenty five years ago I bought my wife an original Leatherman. She kept it in her purse and had many men comment on what a smart idea it was. She still has it and uses it often. They really hold up well and their warranty can’t be beat. Prepping is one thing but everyday use is also important.

  3. I’ve owned many different brands/models over the years, as I really like having a multi-tool in my pocket. The smaller models are nice for office wear, where there isn’t a lot of fencing wire or cotter pins to deal with — but there are packages to open and screws to tighten.

    Some have pretty nice blades, but some (like the recent Cabela’s-branded $6 sale item) have rather a poor edge that needs to be improved.

    But, honestly, a lot of the gadgets just don’t see enough use to merit carrying them around. Knife, slot. phillips, and pliers are 90% of their use.

  4. I’ve also had multitools since the original Leatherman. I’ve used a variety of brands, but the Leatherman is still the best ( I have 5 currently).I feel naked without one!

  5. OMG… You failed to mention SOG. SOG makes some of the finest multi tools ever made. The old ones were made in the USA, but probably not anymore. The best thing about SOG multi tools is the strong geared pliers. The one thing I dislike about them is the uncomfortable handles. If you grip the handles hard, it hurts your hands. Otherwise I’d say that they are the perfect multi tool.

    You also failed to mention Craftsman multi tools. They made a very nice multi tool back in the 1990s. I’m a retired military mechanic. At various times we were issued Gerber, Leatherman, SOG & Craftsman multi tools. All were well made and exceptionally useful.

    I disagree that cheap multi tools are not worth buying. I have found some real cheap-o multi tools that outperformed the much more expensive alternative. You just need to carefully check the quality of the materials & craftsmanship on the cheaper multi tools. You may find a real gem… I have, several times.

  6. OMG… You failed to mention SOG. SOG makes some of the finest multi tools ever made. The old ones were made in the USA, but probably not anymore. The best thing about SOG multi tools is the strong geared pliers. The one thing I dislike about them is the uncomfortable handles. If you grip the handles hard, it hurts your hands. Otherwise I’d say that they are the perfect multi tool.

    You also failed to mention Craftsman multi tools. They made a very nice multi tool back in the 1990s. I’m a retired military mechanic. At various times we were issued Gerber, Leatherman, SOG & Craftsman multi tools. All were well made & exceptionally useful.

    I disagree that cheap multi tools are not worth buying. I have found some real cheap-o multi tools that outperformed the much more expensive alternative. You just need to carefully check the quality of the materials & craftsmanship on the cheaper multi tools. You may find a real gem… I have, several times.

  7. You mentioned the Victorinox Swiss Army Knives, but, Victorinox also makes a first rate Multi Tool. They use the same great proprietary steel as the knives and cost about the same as a good Leatherman.

    1. Great pieces of equipment……..I have several…………I also have Gerber…….Leatherman………and some others……and a few off brands (loaners)……..(swap meets and garage sales)………..those credit cards by Vicorinox are COOL……..

  8. I own a Gerber Dime and carry it in my EDC purse. I just realized I cannot open most of the tools because I bite my nail and have no thumbnail to pry the various blades. Downfall of my only habit with no calories!

  9. this may be a stupid question, but (other than opening some beer bottles) why is a bottle opener such a high-priority item? at least in the u.s. i don’t see a lot of bottles with that kind of cap.

    1. I agree unless you’re a beer drinker a bottle opener is not crucial.
      I do look for a multi-tool with a can opener. Prepping involves lots of cans, and I have a couple of “bug-out” bins if we have to leave for a shelter or even hotel which has some canned goods. I have added multi-tools to the containers as useful items for a short-term stay.

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