Best Multi-Tool For Backpacking [2019 Update]

Best Multi-Tool for Backpacking

Best Multi-Tool for Backpacking: Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X

VICTORINOX SwissTool Spirit X Black with Nylon Pouch Black 105mm

A multi-tool that fulfills all you need for backpacking, the Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X gives you 26 functions from sawing to opening a can. This medium sized, award-winning multi-tool is designed to last thanks to the stainless, burnished steel material that fights off corrosion. Even the nylon pouch that comes with it is reliable enough to withstand whatever you put it through on your journey.

What makes it more optimal for backpacking is its lightweight, compact frame. Whether you use the pouch or slip it into your pocket or backpack, it won’t get in the way of the rest of your gear.

The Best Multi-Tools for Backpacking – Reviewed

Knives are useful, a can opener is valuable, and even a screwdriver can be helpful while out backpacking. So, why not combine those tools and more? While they may not be quite as sturdy as a purpose made camping axe or backpacking saw, they are smaller, lighter and have greater flexibility for smaller tasks.

Now that you’re interested, it’s important not just to choose any multi-tool. To make the most of things, it benefits to have the best backpacking multi-tool. If you’re unsure what to look for, check out our buying guide below as well as reviews of six of the top-rated multi-tools around right now.

All About Multi-Tools for Backpacking

Multi-tools come in various sizes and contain an assortment of functions. It may help in your decision making to understand more about them as some may be more beneficial for your situation than others.

penknife multitool & gear_intext

Types of Multi-Tools

What type of multi-tool you need will depend on your uses for it. Remember to choose carefully as you don’t want to be out camping and realize you grabbed the wrong tool.

Folding

One of the most versatile types of multi-tools is the folded type. You can tell it apart from others due to its larger size and foldable nature. Generally, it features everything you need such as a knife, pliers, wire cutters, etc. As mentioned, however, they are larger than most other types. So, keep it in mind if you are in need of something more compact and inconspicuous.

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Pocket

A pocket multi-tool is somewhat traditional, and they contain mainly the essentials you’ll need during your journey. They’re small in size, fitting in your pocket as their name suggests. If from a reputable brand, they feature a rugged design to withstand some light to heavy-duty use.

Keychain

Another type that resembles its name is the keychain multi-tool. Though it’s compact and lightweight enough to fit in your pocket, it’s intended for use on your keychain. They may not have as many features like a pocketknife or folding multi-tool considering their size, but they offer some essential functions that may be enough for the average backpacker.

One-Piece

A one-piece multi-tool is perhaps the simplest of the bunch. What sets it apart is that it lacks any movable parts, so it’s relatively easy to manage. Depending on the kind you get, you should be able to get a good amount of functionality out of them.

They may not be what you’re looking for if you’re doing some more demanding tasks, however. But they are the go-to if you’re in need of something truly discreet.

Wallet

Not everyone backpacking may consider utilizing a wallet multi-tool, but it can have its uses. Again, as the name implies, it’s used to replace your wallet. So, you can keep cash, and important cards latched into it. At the same time, you can benefit from some of the other functions such as using a bottle opener, flathead screwdriver, and more. It can help you remove the need of an actual wallet while backpacking.

Specialty

A specialty multi-tool is one that doesn’t quite resemble the standard multi-tool. It can be something that’s meant for something else such as a “spork.” This way, you have an item to use for eating as well as additional useful features such as a bottle opener. It may not be the most convenient tool for all your backpacking needs, but it can help if you want something truly basic.

survival knife, paracord & firestarter_intext

Tool Options

With the types of tools nailed down, you should probably start considering the tool options available. Keep in mind that not every multi-tool comes with the same items. Some contain 15 different functions while others may have as few as eight. One isn’t typically better than the other, however, just different.

The tool options you’ll usually find while browsing multi-tools are knives, screwdrivers, bottle openers, can openers, rulers, pliers, wire cutters, scissors, and more.

Decision-Making Factors

Now that you’re more aware about multi-tools in general, it’s time to start deciding on one even though we provide six well-reviewed suggestions later on. Here are some aspects to keep in mind while reading our multi tool reviews.

Functionality

Perhaps this is the number one thing to ask yourself: does it have the functions I need?

To reiterate, multi-tools can have any number of different functions from a few to well over a dozen. The more features a tool has, the more likely it’ll increase in size, both weight and bulk. However, there are still lightweight tools with a good deal of options on it, so consider each tool carefully.

If you know you’ll be using your multi-tool for basic camping needs such as opening food items, then you probably don’t need something with more than ten functions. The type of functions matter as well as the quantity, so something that has eight options can provide you with just enough to get through your backpacking journey as well as something with 12.

Suitability

It may hurt you in the long run to select a multi-tool based on appearances alone. Check out the details about the tool in question to make sure it suits your needs. Since you’re backpacking, it’s helpful to have something that packs light and doesn’t get in the way. It may even benefit to choose the appropriate multi-tool that can eliminate the need for other gear, reducing your load.

multitool on wood background_intext

Ease of Use

You probably don’t want to struggle with anything while backpacking, especially a multi-tool. Try to find one that’s relatively easy to open and close so you can get to the tools as fast as you need to. If your tool has blades, then consider ones that are easy to keep sharp.

Also, the multi-tool should be comfortable to hold while using it. Since you’ll be performing a host of different tasks, each one should be borderline seamless. If something is too awkward, it can diminish the efficiency of the tool.

Legality

The legality of multi-tools depends on one thing: blade or no blade. If you don’t have a knife on your multi-tool, then there’s no need to concern yourself with anything. Considering you’re using the tool for backpacking purposes, however, it may be likely that you will have a blade.

If so, it’s best to research multi-tool laws in the area you’ll be taking the tool to. This way, you won’t run into any complications or misunderstandings.

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Price

Some multi-tools can retail well past the hundred range, while others you can find for far less. Of course, it can benefit to find something that’s a tad pricier considering that it may be higher in quality. However, you can still find good multi-tools at a budget-friendly price. So, this all depends on your price range, how often you’ll use the tool, and how long you expect it to last.

Common Mistakes When Buying a Multi-Tool

When purchasing a multi-tool, it’s easy to get caught up in some missteps:

Not enough functions: As we mentioned before, the number of functions you need depends on your use. It may mark the end of your journey if you grabbed a smaller multi-tool and lacked an important feature when you need it.

Too many functions: Similar to what we said above, the opposite can be true, and you can find yourself with a tool that has more uses than you need. In this case, it may be difficult to get to the tool of choice as you have to work your way around several you have no use for.

Not understanding how to use it: Some of the best multi-tools are user-friendly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get some practice in before heading out for your backpacking journey. The layout should be simple and convenient, not time-consuming and difficult when you get your hands on your tool, practice.

Top 6 Multi-Tools for Backpacking

Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X – Best Multi-Tool for Backpacking

VICTORINOX SwissTool Spirit X Black with Nylon Pouch Black 105mm

Among the best multi-tools to take backpacking is the Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X with its claim of having 26 variable functions. From the usual needle nose pliers to a multipurpose hook, a wood saw, a metal saw, and a lot more, there are numerous benefits to gain from having this tool in your gear. However, it does lack a ruler, but the feature may not be something needed while backpacking.

All of this is found in a compact, lightweight design, and carrying is made even easier thanks to the nylon belt pouch that attaches seamlessly. Also, the burnished steel provides what you may feel to be an attractive, unique black finish while also protecting it from corrosion.

Pros

  • Non-bulky for easy use and packing
  • Scissors saw, and knife maintain their sharpness
  • Has precise tool alignment

Cons

  • Knife doesn’t lock

The Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X has a sleek black finish for those interested in appearances while offering more than two dozen functions in a compact, lightweight multi-tool.

Huntsman Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, Fieldmaster Pocket Knife, Red

A classic and respected tool, the Huntsman Victorinox Swiss Army Knife has stood the test of time by offering 15 functions in a reliable, easy-to-use, compact package. Made in Switzerland, this handy multi-tool is versatile for anything you may run into while backpacking from managing camp to fishing. The knife doesn’t precisely lock, however, so it’s important to practice safety with this tool.

It’s as durable as it is useful due to the stainless steel material in its construction. You have a multitude of colors and designs to choose from also if that interests you. It’s compact enough that it can just slide into your pocket or use the slim leather pouch that can attach to your waist.

Pros

  • Non-bulky for easy use and packing
  • Scissors saw, and knife maintain their sharpness
  • Has precise tool alignment

Cons

  • Knife doesn’t lock

The Huntsman Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is a classic option that’s slim enough to take anywhere and features the necessary tools for any outdoorsman in a durable stainless steel build.

Sale
Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, Fieldmaster Pocket Knife, Red
  • A CUT ABOVE THE REST. Features (15) functions including: 2.45" blade, bottle opener with screwdriver, wood saw, and scissors - this is multi-tool is the perfect companion whether you're sawing wood while camping, or fixing an item around the house.
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION. Swiss Made stainless steel construction encased in our traditional polished red ABS scales provides sleek durability - Includes leather clip pouch.
  • COMPACT CARRY. Bring this knife with you on your daily adventures without sacrificing space - Fits comfortably in a pocket or bag, making it the perfect addition to your everyday carry.
  • KNIFE DIMENSIONS. Length: 3.6" (91mm), Height: 0.8", Weight: 3.4 oz.
  • TRUSTED QUALITY. Made in Switzerland; Victorinox provides a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship. Making a lifetime commitment has never been so easy.

Leatherman – Charge TTI Multi-Tool – Best Camping Multi-Tool

LEATHERMAN - Charge Plus Multitool with Scissors and Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters, Stainless Steel

The Leatherman – Charge TTI Multi-Tool provides you with 19 functions that can suit any camping and backpacking need. If something ever happens to some of the pieces such as the blades on the pliers or the wire cutters, you can replace the premium parts.

Though the parts are high in quality, the knife may tend to dull rather quickly. However, the blade sharpens fast and well enough. When using the multi-tool, you should have a good, stable grip thanks to the ergonomic handle design. It’s comfortable as well, so you can use the tool for a good deal of time without feeling fatigued.

Pros

  • Designed with functional camping tools
  • Provides a comfortable, secure grip
  • Some parts are easily replaceable

Cons

  • Knife appears to dull fast

Leatherman – Charge TTI Multi-Tool works well for all your essential camping needs while providing a secure, comfortable grip.

LEATHERMAN - Charge Plus Multitool with Scissors and Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters, Stainless Steel
  • READY FOR ANYTHING: This is your go-to multitool. Whether you're on the job, at the campsite, or at home, the Charge Plus is well-equipped for the task. Now with premium replaceable wire cutters, it can tackle the tough jobs too.
  • FIT MORE FUNCTIONALITY: A variety of pliers, replaceable wire cutters, a wire crimper and stripper, plain and serrated knives, saw, cutting hook, ruler, can and bottle openers, files, and screwdrivers.
  • LET'S BE PRACTICAL: Sometimes you only have one hand to spare. The Charge Plus only requires one hand to open and use all the tools, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside. And with all locking features, you can multitask with confidence.
  • ALWAYS ON HAND: Equipped with a pocket clip and quick-release lanyard ring, your Charge Plus is always within reach and ready to work.
  • GUARANTEED: Our 25-year limited warranty ensures that your Leatherman will give you many years of dependable service. Just send it in and we'll fix it up. All Leatherman multitools are made and repaired right here in the USA.

Hoffman Richter HR-100 Multi-Tool

Hoffman Richter EDT 7-in-1 Mini Multitool

If you’re looking for a multi-tool you can carry on your keychain, consider the Hoffman Richter HR-100 Multi-Tool. The clip not only attaches to your keys, but can hook onto your belt loop, backpack, or anywhere else. Though it’s unsurprisingly lightweight, it’s made from sturdy stainless steel construction to hold up to multiple uses on numerous backpacking trips.

The tool has seven features such as needle nose pliers, a can opener, and a blade. There’s just enough to get you through some regular situations around the campfire. Something you may want to keep in mind is that the blade is on the thinner side, so it might not hold up to hard use. Everyday use may work better with this multi-tool.

Pros

  • Durable construction for long-term use
  • Ideal portability makes it easy to carry anywhere
  • Spring-loaded pliers

Cons

  • Blades come across as thin

Hoffman Richter HR-100 Multi-Tool is the go-to tool for those seeking simplicity and something they can carry on their keychain.

Sale
Hoffman Richter EDT 7-in-1 Mini Multitool
  • 7 FEATURES IN ONE AMAZING TOOL - Needle nose pliers, wire cutters, can opener, small knife blade, serrated edge, a mini Philips head screwdriver, and a stays-in-place clip
  • RUGGED CONSTRUCTION - The ultra-tough all-440 stainless steel construction ensures this multi tool lasts you a lifetime of use and abuse
  • AN ENTIRE MINI TOOLKIT IN YOUR POCKET - Not only is it a multi-tool that you can use to fix and repair many household, camping, or survival needs, but it can also double as a self defense device if needed
  • KEYCHAIN-SIZED TO GO ANYWHERE - It all fits into this simple, sleek tool that hangs from your keychain, belt loop, on your pack, or in your purse
  • LIFETIME GUARANTEE - Rest easy because your multi tool is protected by Hoffman Richter's Ironclad Lifetime Warranty; Their satisfaction and quality guarantee makes these great gifts for family or friends, too

Leatherman – Rebar Multi-Tool

LEATHERMAN - Rebar Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Saw, Black with MOLLE Sheath

Equipped with 17 tools, the Leatherman – Rebar Multi-Tool features a locking system that keeps each tool in place when open for your safety. It’s compact and features a lanyard ring so you can attach it anywhere for instant access whenever you need it. The tool can often be tough to open though.

It’s built with the usual Leatherman quality, meaning the construction is reliable to withstand frequent and variable use. The pliers especially stand out for top-quality performance for some heavier duty tasks on the trail and around the campsite.

Pros

  • Good selection of tools to use
  • Tough, lasting construction
  • Easy to replace wire cutters

Cons

  • Can be stiff and awkward to open

If you want a tool with rugged construction, turn to the Leatherman – Rebar Multi-Tool, an item that also provides you with quality performance in a slim design.

Sale
LEATHERMAN - Rebar Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Saw, Black with MOLLE Sheath
  • READY FOR ANYTHING: The Rebar is inspired by Tim Leatherman's original PST. With all the features for the toughest tasks in a smaller, slimmer size, the Rebar is right at home on the job or around the house.
  • FIT MORE FUNCTIONALITY: The Rebar is equipped with 17 tools, including knives, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, an electrical crimper, a wire stripper, bottle and can openers, a file, a saw, an awl, and a ruler.
  • ALWAYS ON HAND: With its compact size, lightweight design, and lanyard ring, your Rebar is always within reach and ready to work.
  • SAFE AND SECURE: All-locking features means that every tool and knife will lock when fully opened, keeping you safe and the tools securely in place.
  • GUARANTEED: Our 25-year limited warranty ensures that your Leatherman will give you many years of dependable service. Just send it in and we'll fix it up. All Leatherman multitools are made and repaired right here in the USA.

Gerber Suspension Multi-Tool – Best Value for the Money

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier [22-01471]

The Gerber Suspension Multi-Tool is a top choice for something budget-friendly but still reliable. It offers a good level of safety thanks to the locking system, and for easy carrying, it comes with a nylon sheath. The 12 integrated functions are seamless to open and close so you can get to your tools as fast as you need them.

Though it has a lightweight frame, when it’s folded closed, the tool does appear bulky. This can make it a tad difficult to store as easily as something like the Huntsman Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. Still, the size may allow you to hold it easier when performing specific tasks.

Pros

  • Locking mechanism so tools won’t slip while in use
  • Easy to retrieve and close tools
  • Is simple to manage and hold

Cons

  • Appears bulky when folded

As a budget-friendly option, the Gerber Suspension Multi-Tool offers quality design and ease-of-use with safety a top priority due to the locking mechanism.

Sale
Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier [22-01471]
  • Suspension Multi-Plier multitool with 12 integrated components
  • Saf.T.Plus component locking system guarantees safety
  • Lightweight open-frame stainless steel handle
  • Includes a ballistic nylon sheath
  • Weighs 9.6 oz; Closed Length: 4 inches; limited lifetime warranty

Check out our other articles on the various dangers that can befall you out on the trail, and how to prepare for them:

Last update on 2019-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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