King of pocket knives

In a previous post we discussed some of the crazy stuff you can find on a pocket knife. I indicated that I was not super impressed with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink knives out there. There is, however, one exception to the rule. I am very fond of my Leatherman tool.

I think my family purchased Leatherman tools back when they were just “Leatherkids.” I sort of feel we grew up with the company. I have owned several over the years and find them incredibly useful. The full-size versions are larger than your typical pocket knife and so may be more than you need for everyday use. In fact, they come with a belt holster as it really is too big to comfortably be called a pocket knife, although I have slipped it into my pocket at times. They do have smaller models too.

One of the nicest features of the tool is that it folds out to form a full-size pair of pliers. Having pliers right with you makes all kinds of tasks simpler. You need to grab this, turn that, cut this wire? Having this tool gets these light tasks done right now

The other tools within the Leatherman that I find most useful are the screwdrivers, both Phillips and regular, the knife blade, and the bottle opener. I don’t know how many times I have needed a quick screwdriver to do a simple task, and the Leatherman was right at my side.

In keeping with a theme of other comments about pocket knives, I am the first to admit that the Leatherman’s versions are often not as good as the tools it imitates. The pliers are often not as good as a “real” pair of pliers: the Leatherman pliers are needle nosed and often slip from something you are trying to work with, and you are not able to get as much force on the handle of the Leatherman. But when no other pliers are around the Leatherman is a God send. The screwdrivers are short and sometimes close on you when you are applying force on that stubborn screw. But again, a screwdriver in hand is better than one in the shop.

As the Leatherman tools have grown in popularity, they have fallen into the “Swiss Army knife” syndrome I think. They have come out with more models with more tools and different features, and I guess that is inevitable. But as with the Swiss Army knife trying to be all things all the time and not doing much well, I feel the “tricked out” Leatherman tools end up in the same boat. For me, I will stick to the basic, tried and true models, the tool that is multifunctional without being multi-dysfunctional—the basic Leatherman tool.

Also see what to look for in a hunting knife for other ideas.

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