With an schmorgesborg of tools, sharp things and twisty metal, a good multi-tool can be a gear nerd’s wet dream. In fact, the list of tasks that a multi-tool can effectively complete is almost endless: adjusting bindings, opening cans, clipping toenails, breaking and entering, or stabbing your enemies, a multi-tool can do it all. And in a market awash with ever-so-similar tools, The Leatherman Blast, with it’s tasty assemblage of gadgets, is among the best reasonably priced options.
I received my Blast as a gift half-dozen or so years ago. As I tore through the package and unfolded the knife, I sliced open my thumb, bleeding all over the shining, silver blade. Countless binding adjustments, opened beers and sawed pieces of kindling later, the same tool’s knife tip snapped in a botched attempt to break into a landlord’s apartment.
The Blast represents everything that a sturdy, reliable multi-tool can be. With a two flat heads, a Phillips head (but no Posi drive, lamentably), 3.5-inch blade, saw, scissors, bottle opener, pliers and a file, the Blast is the standby accoutrement every one of my backcountry endeavors. Touted by Leatherman as “tough on the job, not on the hands”, the Blast features a handle design that, they say, helps the tool sustain more than twice the “squeezing load” of its predecessors. That way, I never have to worry about my Darth Vader-grip overpowering my precious tool. Also, the broken knife tip now serves as a larger screw driver, particularly handy for adjusting some touring bindings. They say you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, but what about a multi-tool? I’d probably bring my Blast.
+ The perfect balance of form and function. Just enough tools; low on fluff.
– Lighter and sleeker multi-tools have hit the market since the Blast first debuted.
= My standby, reliable multi-tool for any backcountry activity.
Touted by Gerber as offering a “full-size toolbox of components” in one package, the Gerber Crucial is a minimalistic, compact multi-tool in a badass black, tactical coating. A rope cutter is a handy addition for slicing through webbing and cordage. Drivers are a bit (pun intended) too small, especially for bindings.
Leatherman Skeletool CX
With a carbon fiber (necessary?) handle insert and comprehensive bit kit (Phillips #1 and #2, Screwdriver 3/16″ and 1/4″), repairs and adjustments are a snap with this lightweight Leatherman. Add a 2.6” straight blade, and you get Leatherman’s flashiest tool to date.
SOG Pocket PowerPlier Deluxe
Although less flashy than the Crucial or Skeletool, the PowerPlier is a sturdy but weighty tool, with unique geared pliers for increased strength. This unique feature allows the tool to be opened one handed—my choice for knife fights with one hand tied behind my back.
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