Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Every Day Carry (EDC) Gear

My multi-tool quest.

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David in MN:
 OK, this story begins easy enough. I’ve been looking a solid EDC multitool. I don’t need a proper tactical knife, I have several that fit the bill (though I’m hooked to the SOG Trident Tanto as it’s cheap enough and durable enough to really use.
 


When one first buys a multi, one name springs to mind: Leatherman. So I bought a Wave. (I’m not going into a Surge vs. Wave debate here; suffice to say they both work.) I love it. The tools work well and the pliers… Oh, those pliers.



The problem with the Leatherman is that they suck. Before you get mad, I love my Waves. Yes, by last count I own 5. One in each car, each emergency kit (BOB), and one in the junk drawer. But I never have one on me. They’re clunky and heavy. Don’t get me wrong, it’d be my #1 choice if I had one tool to take into the wilderness. It’s just not a tool I drop in my pocket and forget about. It requires a sheath (the provided one is terrible) and it still manages to be hard to draw, hard to replace, and situates itself in the worst position during car rides. Not EDC in my opinion.

I
I’ve carried a Swiss Army Knife (SAK from here out) Classic for years. The little one. It’s ideal at its task: keeping your hands in working order. The file, knife, scissors, and tweezers are adept at keeping your nails clean and unbroken and fingers splinter free. I have one in my Altoids EDC tin for this reason. But its functionality is limited there. Besides being undersized it just lacks tools. So use it for what it is.

The next tool I bought was the SAK Camper. This was the result of being in Italy without a corkscrew. I wanted a corkscrew I could logically carry on vacation. Well the Camper has said corkscrew, 2 blades, can & bottle openers, a saw (which I have only used as a breadknife), tweezers & toothpick, and aftermarket small screwdriver (threads into corkscrew) and pin (hole near corkscrew pivot). This little guy has fed me from Europe to the Caribbean. It gets checked on every trip and I love it. It is literally a way to enjoy a picnic in one tool. We went so far as to buy fresh produce, beer, cheeses, sausage, and bread at the Munich farmers’ market and made sandwiches in the park. Whenever I travel it’s #1 on my list. Also great tailgating and anywhere else eating and drinking are top priority..


The next tool I bought was the SAK Cam


 Recently I got a buying opportunity on something I’d wanted for years. The Swisschamp. It’s billed as a “toolbox in your pocket” and it’s not far off. In fact some tools seem like a little much to me. The magnifying glass is wimpy and I can’t see a use for a chisel. But you never know. It’s already paying dividends by having both a flathead and phillips screwdriver on me to fix baby toys. Basically it’s the opposite of the Leatherman. The tools are second rate by comparison (pliers, notably) but its rounded sides make it able to be carried in a pocket and thus have on me at all times. And in my view a multi-tool doesn’t replace a real tool, it merely does odd jobs saving me from fetching the correct tool. So I’m happy with it as of now.
 
What could be the problem with the Swisschamp? How about it was stolen… by the Mrs. I had put it down to shower and she swiped it up for a loose screw. I panicked having lost my new toy but soon found it in her hands. Ironically, she was disappointed with it. “Too clunky. All I want is a flathead, a phillips, and scissors.” Well, there is one pretty close to that. A SAK Super Tinker. We were both so impressed with the basic “fix-all” features, we bought 2. One for her and one for the diaper bag.





And that's my story. Sorry if I'm lacking in Gerbers or if I come off as a Victorinox fanboy.

Edit: Holy Hannah is the font messing with me.

endurance:
I've always struggled with the whole multitool thing. I love the idea, but they always seem to sacrifice too much of one thing or another. If it's a good tool, the knife is inaccessible or lacking in robustness and utility; if it's a good knife, the tools tend to take a back seat. To date I've had a Boy Scout knife, a couple small to medium sized Victorinox knives, a first generation Leatherman, a Gerber, and a Learherman Skelitool. ...and so I carry a 3.1" lockblade or 3.5" assisted opening folder 95% of the time. None of the rest have found their way into my heart.

I think those of us who carry a knife everyday develop a very personal relationship with our knives. They're our walkabout toolbox with a little bit of talisman that develops over the years. Once we find a knife that fills most of the niches we need filled, we may try different things, but it's hard to displace certain things that go beyond just the features, like your appreciation of the way if feels in your pocket.

I'll probably continue to experiment and try different knives and multitools, but the older I get, the more difficult it becomes to displace the one I've been carrying for the last 15 years.

FreeLancer:
I've got several Leathermans that I keep in places where they could come in handy, but they're too big for my EDC preferences. I've got a soft spot for SAKs but there are only a few that come with an inline Philips blade so you can actually use it as a screwdriver, rather than a weird T-handle thingy, which is a must have for me, along with the scissors. The smallest models with these attributes are the Rambler (pictured below) and the Manager and I have EDC'd one or the other on my keychain for years, along with a 3-4" folder.

David in MN:
Here's my original text that I somehow shrunk. Something to do with my menial intelligence and posting while putting down a baby? Anyhow, you can figure out which picture goes with what.

 OK, this story begins easy enough. I’ve been looking a solid EDC multitool. I don’t need a proper tactical knife, I have several that fit the bill (though I’m hooked to the SOG Trident Tanto as it’s cheap enough and durable enough to really use.
 
When one first buys a multi, one name springs to mind: Leatherman. So I bought a Wave. (I’m not going into a Surge vs. Wave debate here; suffice to say they both work.) I love it. The tools work well and the pliers… Oh, those pliers.
 
The problem with the Leatherman is that they suck. Before you get mad, I love my Waves. Yes, by last count I own 5. One in each car, each emergency kit (BOB), and one in the junk drawer. But I never have one on me. They’re clunky and heavy. Don’t get me wrong, it’d be my #1 choice if I had one tool to take into the wilderness. It’s just not a tool I drop in my pocket and forget about. It requires a sheath (the provided one is terrible) and it still manages to be hard to draw, hard to replace, and situates itself in the worst position during car rides. Not EDC in my opinion.
 
I’ve carried a Swiss Army Knife (SAK from here out) Classic for years. The little one. It’s ideal at its task: keeping your hands in working order. The file, knife, scissors, and tweezers are adept at keeping your nails clean and unbroken and fingers splinter free. I have one in my Altoids EDC tin for this reason. But its functionality is limited there. Besides being undersized it just lacks tools. So use it for what it is.
 
The next tool I bought was the SAK Camper. This was the result of being in Italy without a corkscrew. I wanted a corkscrew I could logically carry on vacation. Well the Camper has said corkscrew, 2 blades, can & bottle openers, a saw (which I have only used as a breadknife), tweezers & toothpick, and aftermarket small screwdriver (threads into corkscrew) and pin (hole near corkscrew pivot). This little guy has fed me from Europe to the Caribbean. It gets checked on every trip and I love it. It is literally a way to enjoy a picnic in one tool. We went so far as to buy fresh produce, beer, cheeses, sausage, and bread at the Munich farmers’ market and made sandwiches in the park. Whenever I travel it’s #1 on my list. Also great tailgating and anywhere else eating and drinking are top priority.
 
Recently I got a buying opportunity on something I’d wanted for years. The Swisschamp. It’s billed as a “toolbox in your pocket” and it’s not far off. In fact some tools seem like a little much to me. The magnifying glass is wimpy and I can’t see a use for a chisel. But you never know. It’s already paying dividends by having both a flathead and phillips screwdriver on me to fix baby toys. Basically it’s the opposite of the Leatherman. The tools are second rate by comparison (pliers, notably) but its rounded sides make it able to be carried in a pocket and thus have on me at all times. And in my view a multi-tool doesn’t replace a real tool, it merely does odd jobs saving me from fetching the correct tool. So I’m happy with it as of now.
 
What could be the problem with the Swisschamp? How about it was stolen… by the Mrs. I had put it down to shower and she swiped it up for a loose screw. I panicked having lost my new toy but soon found it in her hands. Ironically, she was disappointed with it. “Too clunky. All I want is a flathead, a phillips, and scissors.” Well, there is one pretty close to that. A SAK Super Tinker. We were both so impressed with the basic “fix-all” features, we bought 2. One for her and one for the diaper bag.
 
 So that’s my ongoing quest for a good multi-tool. Hope my thoughts spur some of yours.

Docwatmo:
I'm on the other side of the fence, I LOVE multitools.  I use them daily (I have a leatherman Charge ALX which I consider to be hands down the toughest most versitle multi tool out there.   But I also carry 2 knives minimum on me.  (A SAK Trekker and a CRKT M21).  So I have the dedicated blades covered (The blades on the Charge are some of the best I've used on Multi-tools, not quite as nice as a dedicated blade but they work well.   

I have completely abused my Charge a few times in emergencies when the proper tools were not available.  No, it's not going to torque something that takes a 10 inch wrench to break loose, but I thought I was going to twist it in half trying to unscrew some headlight covers that were rusted screws.

I also have a leatherman C33T knife which is really the hands down best minimalist multitool in my opinion.  It's got a great dedicated blade that's as good as any folding knife out there, but it still has the basic flat/cross bit screwdriver blades.  But that's all it has.  (Well, you can use the carabiner clip as a bottle opener too. LOL).   

But the feature that makes my Charge the hands down most useful is the bit kits.  The sheath has a pouch inside the back that stores a rack that has 10 double sided bits stored in it.  (I purchased the full bit kit which give me 3 racks with 60 bit ends total) and I pieced together the 10 bits (14 if you count the ones that are stored in the charge itself)  that were most useful for me.  10 sizes of allen heads (covers my Bow, my bike and many others), 4 sizes of flat bits. and 4 sizes of star drives and a double ended mini flat allen that actually fits my CRKT clip screws and other tiny screws.  And it also has the eyeglass bit that is used at least once a week if anything to get a chunk of meat out of my tooth. LOL   

I never use the serrated blade, and I basically keep the main blades surgically sharp for emergency cutting since I typically use the CRKT.  Never use the file or the can opener (P-38 works circles around any other style of can opener so its on my key-chain.  The saw is actually VERY good.  I've used it many times for small wooden contraptions. 

The pliers are great.  It has a crimp on the pliers that fits Coax, and most wireing crimps I've played with and a solid wire cutter (I have cut several hundred small brad nails with it for projects we do for scouts).  The wire cutters are getting worn, so I'll send it in to leatherman to be refurbished one of these days (If I can live without it that long). 

I have to agree with endurance. I've used a ton of sub-par multitools and they make way to many compromises to be anything more than a novelty.  But if you get the right one with the right combination of tools and functionality for your particular lifestyle and use. It's hands down the most usefull thing you can own.

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