Everyday Carry


Multi Tools

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What is a multi-tool?

A multitool is a helpful piece of EDC gear. At its core, a good multitool allows you to do a bunch of tasks you would typically have to bring an entire tool chest to accomplish. And the beauty is that you only have to carry one item to get that rich feature set. Whether it's a knife, a pair of pliers, a bottle opener, or a group of screwdrivers that you need, a multitool can let you carry all that and more without too much hassle.

Multi-tools come in many shapes and sizes. The two most recognizable form factors are the “Swiss Army Knife” style and the butterfly or clamshell style. The Swiss Army Knife style has tools that pivot out of a pocket knife handle, where the knife blade is the central function of the tool. The butterfly or clamshell style of multi-tools fold open into two handles, with pliers being the usual central tool and versatility most important. Sometimes the central tool is a pair of scissors instead. Either way, the rest of the tool implements are tucked away into the handles of this multi-tool style. Lastly, there are one-piece tools, which are pieces of metal designed with functional cutouts like wrench slots or screwdrivers and bit drivers built into the tool's shape.

Everyday Carry is all about making a setup that fits your needs. Just as no two people are exactly alike, their respective EDCs will vary significantly. Acquire and carry what you need according to your lifestyle, location, profession, daily routine, style, budget, etc.

Your carry should generally be reliable and functional, but most importantly, personal. You might be a minimalist, or you’d have peace of mind knowing all your bases are covered. If your EDC becomes an extension of you, you should be completely comfortable with it! A great EDC shows the foresight to include what you need daily and the restraint to leave behind what you don’t.

Types of multi-tools

  • Keychain - as their name implies, these are multitools that can conveniently fit on your keychain.
  • Pocket Multi-tools - these multi-tools fit in your pocket.
  • Belt Multi-tools - these full-size multitools come with a nylon sheath or a Kydex sheath, and they are designed for belt carry.
  • One-Piece Multi-tools - these simple and lightweight one-hand multitools are typically made of stainless steel or titanium and feature bottle openers, wrenches, and screwdrivers.
  • Butterfly-style multi-tools - popularized by the venerable Leatherman tool- feature a folding design with a pair of pliers and additional tools in the frame.
  • Swiss Army-style multi-tools - popularized by the Victorinox SAK, these multitools focus on having fold-out tools, including a knife that's the same size as the handle.

Things to consider when buying a multi-tool

When you pick a multi-tool, choose the one with all (or most) of the tools and features you think you will need daily. Also, buy a multitool with the right size for your EDC and good ergonomics. If it's so big that it can't fit in your pockets or takes up too much space in your bag, you will leave it at home. If it's smaller, it will likely not be able to help you achieve your everyday carry goals.

  • Pliers - with pliers, you manipulate fasteners and grip objects with more force than your bare hands. Needle nose pliers also usually come with a cutting blade at the base that functions as a wire cutter when needed.
  • Pocket clip - if you don’t like your multi-tool flopping around in your pants, it’s essential to find one with a clip to secure it on the move.
  • Knife - if an EDC knife is crucial to you, a multitool can let you carry one that can perform many other tasks. Some multi-tools feature a fully or partially-serrated blade to help cut through rigid material. Like regular knives, you should pick one made of good steel so you don’t have to reach for the sharpener too often, especially if it’s a serrated knife. But if you're in a place where carrying knives is restricted or don't care to carry a knife at all, other choices are also available.
  • Scissors - Scissors let you spare yourself from potential injury by using a knife for a job it's not designed to do. In a good multi-tool, the scissors usually fold out and are spring-loaded for comfort and convenience. Some multi-tools feature a butterfly-style design with scissor heads instead of pliers, making them the tool's focus.
  • Screwdrivers and bit holders - a Phillips and flathead screwdriver in a multi-tool let you tackle most of your needs. Still, if you frequently handle other fasteners and screw heads, you will want to pick a multi-tool with a hex bit holder.
  • Tweezers - essential for handling tiny objects as well as a first-aid toolset usage in the field
  • Bottle and can openers - you tend only to notice a bottle opener once you need one and no one around you has one for you to use. And can openers are great if you go camping or carry a multi-tool for emergencies.
  • Corkscrew - while this is technically a bottle opener, a corkscrew is designed to help you open a bottle of wine when you need it.

FAQs

What are the best multi-tools?

The best multi-tools have the features you need at the right size for everyday carry. Durability and reliability are also crucial because you will rely on this heavy-duty tool to get you through various situations. Whether you focus on having a quality knife, a pair of DIY pliers, or a good screwdriver, there are many great choices.

What multi-tools do Navy Seals use?

Navy SEALS use military-issued equipment but tend to favor butterfly-style plier multitools with tactical features and a folding knife. These include the SOG Powerlock with an awl-like C4 spike, crimper, scraper, pry bar, and wire cutters intended to help embed a detonator into a plastic explosive. There’s also the carabiner Leatherman Skeletool CX with a carbide glass breaker tip, and Gerber Gear tools are frequently mentioned as used by them.

What is a multi-tool used for?

A multitool is used for regular tasks such as tightening screws, cutting wire, sawing through rough materials, and opening bottles. There are many multi-tools, each with a feature set of useful tools. Whether you pick a Leatherman Wave or a Victorinox SAK, you’ll find one that suits your needs.

Are multi-tools worth it?

Multi-tools are worth it if you tackle various sets of tasks regularly and want to be prepared. But if you find yourself only using one of the functions in a multipurpose multi-tool, consider carrying a dedicated tool instead. A multi-tool, even a well-designed one, can be a jack of all trades but a master of none.

Leatherman: The Original American Multi-Tool
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