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The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking

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Offline dprather

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The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« on: March 21, 2017, 01:09:01 PM »
I have always struggled with the decision to take or not to take a multi-tool.  They are generally heavy (an S2 Leatherman is 4.6 ounces).  But they are very useful (on my last trip I stepped on a cactus with spines that penetrated the sole of my boot all the way to the sole of my foot; the spines could not have easily been removed, if they could have been removed at all, without the pliers of my multitool).

We have settled on the idea that not everyone in a team of backpackers needs to carry a multitool, but that every team needs to carry one.

Questions:

(1) What multitool do you find most useful to backpackers on the trail.

(2) If you were to design the perfect multitool for backpacking, what would it be like/what implements are needed?

Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline andrwtzel

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 01:43:50 PM »
I typically don't carry one as they are too heavy and I only need 1 or 2 tools from it.

Instead I carry a quality folding pocket knife. When it comes to the sharpness of the blade and the ability to hold an edge, the standard multi tool doesn't come close.  For those of you concerned about safety (particularly the 2 legged kind), I'd much rather have a pocket knife handy then having to flip through my multi tool.

Secondly, a quality pair of tweezers in place of the needle noses that typically come on a multi tool. That'll take care of any cactus issues and ticks.

The way I see it, if I need the screwdrivers and can openers that come on a multi-tool it's because I'm packing wrong.

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Offline badknees

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 02:01:29 PM »
Quote
I typically don't carry one as they are too heavy and I only need 1 or 2 tools from it.

Instead I carry a quality folding pocket knife.


+1
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Offline Flash

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 02:22:02 PM »
My lock blade, tweezers, and surgical scissors weigh a lot less than my Leatherman...  :eusa_think:

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 02:38:25 PM »
When backpacking as part of group of 3 or more people, I think a multi-tool makes sense because the weight can be shared. Though I agree with andrwtzl that if screwdrivers or can openers are a concern, you've probably got deeper problems with your equipment list.

I, on the other hand, almost always hike solo, so my toolkit is really pared down because of weight concerns. I bring a very sharp, relatively short-bladed knife, usually about 4-6 oz. I have several, including a CRKT Tanto folding, and a CRKT Bear Claw, which are my most used. Both are very sharp and durable, fit comfortably onto my shoulder strap, and are easily deployed.  I've used knives for cutting processed food, dressing killed game, slicing succulents for water, simple surgery, scraping spines from my skin, cutting cordage while climbing or improvising tools, non-traditional gear repair, emergency tent stakes, and comfort when I'm skeert. I also include a set of ultralight tweezers and a set of ultralight folding scissors in my first-aid kit for both repairs and medical usage. The two together weigh about half an ounce. Some might choose to go without the scissors. I also carry a syringe which I use to backflush my Sawyer MINI filter in the field, but can also be used to irrigate wounds. It weighs about an ounce; I might switch to a lighter off-the-shelf model. There are two items not included here that I might conceivably need and are usually included in multi-tools: an awl (for gear repairs) and a saw (for emergency fires or shelters). I just go without and take the risk.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline andrwtzel

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 03:09:27 PM »
I'd also put Nalgene bottles on the list of most valuable multi-tools, due largely to their wide-mouths.

Need to scoop water out of a creek? Gather falling rain water? Easy way to grab a swig of water in the middle of the night? Bottle to fill with boiling water and throw in your sleeping bag at night? Durable enough to take some bumps? Have something valuable you need to keep dry in a river crossing? Nalgene checks all the boxes.

They don't qualify as ultra-light, but after having one in Yosemite for a week, I don't ever see myself not bringing one.

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Offline GaryF

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 05:34:57 PM »
Victorinox Classic @ .8oz is all the multi tool I've ever needed.  I guess for backpacking purposes, I've always thought of Leatherman tools and similar as a solution in search of a problem.

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Offline dprather

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 05:42:21 PM »
NAW!!!  I gotta have my Leatherman.  I currently tote an S2, but am wishing for something more backpacker friendly.

I don't need all of the tools for sure.  For example, I do not need scissors (a plain blade will do anything scissors will do) or a bottle opener. 

I don't think tweezers would have had the "umph" to pull the spines out of the sole of my boot; the pliers did the job very well.  I once had to basically rebuild a Kelty traditional external pack on the trail and several of the tools (screwdriver used to pry; the pliers again)  came in super handy.  I even used the awl when I had to do some on-trail boot repair.

I do not think of my knife as a self-defense tool.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 07:02:58 PM »
Victorinox Classic @ .8oz is all the multi tool I've ever needed.  I guess for backpacking purposes, I've always thought of Leatherman tools and similar as a solution in search of a problem.
+1 on the Classic, I have used the scissors as much as the blade and the tweezers are about as good as much bigger ones

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Offline GaryF

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 10:30:46 PM »
"I do not think of my knife as a self-defense tool."

Few would consider my Classic to be a weapon,  but one entity that does is the county courthouse in Beaufort, SC.   They were downright unfriendly about it.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 10:39:08 PM »
"I do not think of my knife as a self-defense tool."

Few would consider my Classic to be a weapon,  but one entity that does is the county courthouse in Beaufort, SC.   They were downright unfriendly about it.

                                                                         :s_laugh:

So does the TSA. I gave my wife an engraved Classic as a wedding present (ain't I romantic?). TSA took it away. Many tears ensued.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 10:46:33 PM »
I carry the leatherman squirt.  Only knife and tool I need. 

https://www.rei.com/product/802322/leatherman-squirt-ps4-multi-tool

"Measuring only 2.25 in. in length and weighing less than 2 oz."

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 10:52:55 PM »
A few random observations.

1. Andrwtzl's comments on the many uses of a Nalgene wide-mouth are spot on. Brilliant example of getting one thing to fulfill many purposes.

2. Dprather is also spot on about the utility of a Leatherman when it comes to making major repairs. Maybe not a big deal on a 3-day trip, but on a major trip deep into the backcountry, sometimes the sh*t really hits the fan and on-the-fly repairs are the difference between getting out and not.  Not quite the scenario I described, but a couple years ago I took my family up into the Chisos for a few days and humped all our water. I was carrying 6 gallons in my REI Flash 65. But the third day, my hipbelt had blown out, and there was huge tear in my packbag where it attached to the belt. Since I was the mule of the trip, if I hadn't been able to make the repairs, we would've been up a canyon without a pack, so to speak.

3. I do depend upon my little knives as weapons. Little things can make a big difference if you know how, and are willing, to use them.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/08/texas-boy-6-reportedly-snatched-by-mountain-lion-at-big-bend-national-park.html
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 11:36:34 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline dprather

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 12:16:22 AM »
I carry the leatherman squirt.  Only knife and tool I need. 

https://www.rei.com/product/802322/leatherman-squirt-ps4-multi-tool

"Measuring only 2.25 in. in length and weighing less than 2 oz."

have you been satisfied with its robustness?
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline GaryF

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Re: The PERFECT Multi-tool For Backpacking
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 01:23:39 PM »
"if I hadn't been able to make the repairs, we would've been up a canyon without a pack, so to speak"

One thing I do always take in my pack is a needle and a good length of high strength thread.  It's almost without weight, but otherwise, worth it's weight in gold if needed.  I got to use it at Big Bend once, when I returned to my campsite at RGV after a day hike to find that a javelina had ripped a 2 foot slit in my favorite tent.

 


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