Since the dawn of time mankind has relied on bones, sticks and rocks to help him ascend to the top of the food chain. The late 19th century saw this quest for the ultimate tool reach its zenith in the creation of the Swiss Army Knife. A century later Leatherman redefined the multi-tool by basing it around pliers,rather than blades. Now, we hardly need a tool box for most trips.In lieu of a tool belt, you can carry a multi-tool in your pocket and still fix the majority of stuff that breaks on the side of the road. We decided to put a few of the most popular to the test.
VICTORINOX HANDYMAN - A Great All-Rounder
A solid mid-range pocket knife, the Handyman has the distinction among Victorinox knives of including a pair of pliers with wirecutters. The biggest failing of this design for many users is the requirement to have Kevlar fingernails to access many of the blades.
VICTORINOX SURVIVAL CHAMP SOS - Versatile
This is the bees knees when it comes to pocket knives. In today's world of GPS phones, the bubble compass seems almost quaint, but if I had to pick a single knife to take with me on one of those jungle survival drops, this would be it.
LEATHERMAN WAVE - Classic
With 17 tools in one, this is the most popular Leatherman for good reason. It is a full sized, fully-featured multi-tool with one-hand accessible blades.
LEATHERMAN SKELETOOL - Lightweight
This is definitely the best looking multi-tool in the bunch, and lightweight to boot, at only five ounces (142g). With fewer tools than the Wave, the Skeletool is all about easy to carry, but you pay for it.
SOG POWERLOCK 2.0 EOD - Easy-to-use
We liked SOG's easy-to-access tools. Each locks out individually, and swivel guards stop them from opening inadvertently. Rock solid, this is a great value tool that will last as long as you do.
SOG PARATOOL - Innovative
Unique in the multi-tool world, this one lets you angle the plier head, so you can work the pliers at right angles -indispensable for tight spots.
GERBER SUSPENSION MULTI-PLIER - Affordable
The Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier comes with jaws spring loaded so they open when you release your grip. This tool felt like the cheapest one of the bunch, with plastic inserts, while also being the biggest. But it was easy to access all of the tools.
GERBER BEAR GRYLLS COMPACT - Pocket Rocket
The smallest multi-tool on offer, this is great for just keeping in your pocket every day. The pliers won't handle heavy work, but this is really more of a pocket knife with pliers. It's a good size, and springs pull it all closed when you pack it up.