7 Best Camping Multi-Tools in 2021 (Buying Guide)
7 Best Camping Multi-Tools in 2021 (Buying Guide)
One of the most important things about planning for a camping trip is being prepared for any eventuality or emergency. Multi-tools can really be a lifesaver on camping trips. In fact, we never leave home to go camping without one.
There are a variety of tools that might come in useful when you’re camping, such as knives, scissors, screwdrivers, etc. Instead of lugging around all of this extra kit, the most convenient solution is a multitool.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
7 Best Camping Multi-Tools - Overview
And here's an overview of the best camping multi-tools on the market today:
There are a variety of different multi-tools on the market, each coming with a different set of tools, which will suit whatever your camping needs: whether you’re an experienced camper or just heading out for a weekend excursion with your family. To help you choose which multi-tool is right for you we’ve compiled a list of our top 7 recommendations of the best camping multi-tool.
Throughout history, tools have been combined to serve more than one use. In Roman times, it’s likely that people combined tools for eating, to make their tools more portable. However, it wasn’t until World War II that the multi-tool garnered worldwide popularity.
This was because of the success of the Swiss Army Knife, developed by Victorinox. This was the first time that a multi-tool had been marketed for the masses. It wasn’t just used for camping purposes, people from multiple professions carried them with them, such as soldiers and artists.
Why should I invest in a multi-tool?
Preparation is the main reason we would recommend taking a multi-tool on your camping trips. Multi-tools are eminently useful. Out of the multi-tools we have reviewed, they range from 9 to 31 different tools and functions. So, depending on your camping emergency, you’re likely to find a solution for it in your multi-tool - even if it’s something you haven’t predicted! Whether it be opening a bottle of beer at the end of a long hike, around the campfire, or using the knife to break up timber or prepare your campsite. With the right multi-tool, most eventualities are covered.
With the adaptability of a multi-tool, it’s also the most portable option for your camping needs. With a multi-tool and a little imagination, you have on hand the solution to that loose thread, or loose screw, in your kit. Instead of lugging around a big toolbox, they all fit neatly and conveniently in your pocket, making the multi-tool an efficient assistant, that you can take with you everywhere.
Multi-tools mean that you’re always prepared. When you’re heading into the great outdoors, you never know what could happen. Multitools prepare you for the unpredictability of nature. Multi-tools aren’t a replacement for a traditional set of tools, especially for your DIY needs. Especially if you’re primitive camping, for example, we'd recommend you still taking with you a camping hatchet. These are designs to be far more heavy duty than multi-tools and will be far more useful for heavy-duty tasks, such as clearing your campsite of branches or cutting up firewood. However, for the majority of camping needs, the handy multi-tool can replace this bulky kit.
Swiss Army Knife
As we have mentioned, the world popularity of the multi-tool was initiated with the Swiss Army Knife. This is what first springs to mind for many when we think of a multi-tool. With the trust in the brand, Victorinox, and nearly 100 years of development and expertise, our first recommendation is a modern update of the classic Swiss Army Knife.
1. Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool
The Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool is like the classic Swiss Army Knife but on steroids. Smaller, more simplistic Swiss Army Knives are likely to fill all of the functions you need from them if you’re not heading for a very rustic camping experience. However, for the more avid campers, who really want to be prepared for any eventuality, the Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool is a far better option.
Whilst this multi-tool is still presented in the iconic and compact Swiss Army Knife design, in polished classic red ABS casing, it does a whole lot more. This is because of its whopping 31 functions, including tweezers and flathead screwdrivers. Some of these functions include 2.5" locking blade, metal saw, and compass. These three tools are incredibly useful for any camping trip. With the locking blade, you can prepare your dinner, or whittle some timber around the campsite. The metal saw means you can clear your campsite of some of the more annoying branches that might get in your way.
The most important feature is the compass. Many multi-tools don’t have a compass. This is fine if you’re going camping in a campsite or going hiking down a clearly marked trail. However, for serious outdoor enthusiasts, we’d recommend getting a multi-tool that has a compass, just in case you find yourself lost in the wilderness.
At only 5.6 ounces, and a very portable size, this multi-tool is a great combination of function and portability. At $75.48, this is not the cheapest model on the market. However, with the trusted brand, and the lifetime guarantee, this multi-tool will never fail you. And if it does, you can just send it back and get the part replaced! So if you want a multi-tool that will provide you with 31 functions for the rest of your life, look no further!
2. Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool Cs Plus
At $123.90 and with 37 functions, there’s nothing more you could want your multi-use tool to do that you won’t find in this Victorinox SwissTool model. With a unique design that allows you to access each tool individually from the outside of the handle, you’ll never break a nail again. The tools also lock into place when opened and fold away with a simple slide of the release button, meaning this model is great for heavy use and easy storage.
We’re providing here a list of all the functions in this multi-tool, as the list is so extensive, so you can use it to see what you really need from your multi-tool:
- Screwdriver (2mm)
- Screwdriver (3mm)
- Wire Cutter (for wire up to 40 HRC)
- Screwdriver (5mm)
- Bottle Opener
- Screwdriver (7.5mm)
- Large Blade
- Metal File
- Metal Saw
- Wood Saw
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Strong Crate Opener
- Wire Bender
- Wire Stripper
- Wire Scraper
- Wire Crimper
- Can Opener
- Patented Mini-screwdriver
- Ruler (230mm)
- Ruler (9in)
- Hard Wire Cutter
- Lanyard Hole
- Easy Kickback Springs
- Lock Release
- Phillips #0
- Phillips #3
- Torx #10
- Torx #15
- Hex ##3
- Hex #4
- Bit Case
- Bit Wrench
What else could you possibly need? Like all Swiss Army Knives, the SwissTool has a lifetime warranty, stainless steel implements, and Swiss-made quality and durability. At just 10 ounces, this option provides everything you could possibly need for DIY. But we would recommend taking a look at this list and figuring out what you really might need for your outdoor purposes.
Since 1975, Leatherman has been developing and producing the most heavy-duty multi-tools on the market. Their brand has built so much trust through the years, that multi-tools have almost become synonymous with the brand’s name. Where Swiss Army Knives have been the go-to throughout the years for an in-pocket DIY assistant, Leatherman was the first American brand to really build a multi-tool for survival. Their original model was called the PST: the Pocket Survival Tool. Because this brand is so well respected, and each of their products is perfectly suited to camping survival needs, we have reviewed 5 different Leatherman models, ordered from those containing the fewest tools and functions to the most.
3. Leatherman Skeletool
The Leatherman Skeletool is the cheapest Leatherman multi-tool on the market, at $59.99, and contains 7 tools. These include including a knife, pliers, a large exchangeable bit driver, wire cutters, a carabiner and bottle opener. It also comes with an extra bit stored right in the handle, so you can replace it on the move. For the less adventurous campers, who aren’t looking to build and clear their own campsite, this is a great tool to meet all of your needs. And at only 5 ounces, and a very portable size, the Leatherman Skeletool will fit in your bag or pocket easily, and won’t weigh you down too much, meaning it’s perfect for everyday use or a long camping, hiking, and backpacking trip.
One of the unique selling points of all Leatherman multi-tools is that you can open all of the tools with just one hand. Sometimes you need a tool quickly, on hand, that you can open easily while you hold something else. Also, some of the other models such as the Swiss Army Knife require you to open the tools with a little groove, which usually requires two hands and can lead to broken fingernails. All Leatherman multi-tools also have a locking blade, meaning that you can cut with confidence and strength.
Their cheapest model, with the fewest number of tools, this option from Leatherman isn’t their most hardy. You might have to replace the blade. On all three blades, the bottom half is serrated, meaning they’re great for the occasional sawing task, but nothing too strenuous. The pliers also aren’t as strong as the other models, so we wouldn’t recommend using them for long extensive tasks. However, with the amount of work required from the occasional camping trip, this multi-tool is more than hardy enough to stand up to it. And also, if you do need to replace a blade or pliers, all Leatherman models come with a 25-year warranty, so you can send it in and get it fixed up, all in Oregon!
4. Leatherman Wave
This multi-tool from Leatherman is slightly more expensive than the last model, at $99.95, but it boasts 18 tools. It’s the most popular model from Leatherman, and with the 18 tools, you're covered for almost any eventuality. The 18 tools include: a variety of pliers, premium replaceable wire cutters, wire strippers, plain and serrated knives, saw, spring-action scissors, ruler, can and bottle openers, files, and screwdrivers.
Just like with all Leatherman models, you can open all of the tools with just one hand. With the Wave, all of the blades are accessible from the outside, meaning you’re just a second away from having the right tool on hand. The blades are also long, hardy, and are all-locking, meaning you can cut for years with confidence. All Leatherman multitools are made and repaired right here in the USA, and with their 25-year warranty, this is a durable design that will serve you and your camping needs for years to come.
5. Leatherman Charge
The charge is $40 more expensive than the Wave. It has one more tool than the Wave, at 19 tools. These include: 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. With the wire crimper and stripper, and the cutting hook, this model might be able to cater to your more specific DIY needs in the great outdoors. However, unless you plan on building a very complex campsite, it might be that these extra features aren’t worth the extra $40 that this model will cost you.
Equipped with a pocket clip and quick-release lanyard ring, the Charge Plus is always within reach from your pocket. And, just like the rest of the models, Leatherman is the perfect choice for usability. You can pull out and use these multi-tools with just one hand to spare: you only need one hand to open and use all the tools, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside. Another benefit of this model is that all of the features lock in place. This means you can multi-task with a steady hand, and use this model for even more heavy-duty tasks.
At 12.2 ounces, this model is also heavier than the Wave. If you’re looking for portability art a cheaper price point, choose the wave. If you don’t mind forking out $40 extra for a couple more features and don’t mind a slightly heavier design, then the Charge could be for you. However, the features and tools in the Charge might be better designed for DIY use than specific camping features, so read on to see a model that combines all necessary survival features.
6. Leatherman Signal
- DESIGNED FOR THE OUTDOORS: The Signal has you covered when the unexpected strikes with its fire-starting ferro rod, 420HC combo blade and emergency whistle
Leatherman Signal is the perfect survival multi-tool. This multi-tool isn’t just designed for everyday DIY use: it seamlessly combines everyday functional tools with new outdoor features. The two most important features for outdoor camping use are the fire starting rod and emergency whistle. For those of you who are really looking to go primitive or outback camping, this multi-tool can prepare you for most eventualities and emergencies.
The 19 tools include: a variety of pliers, wire cutters and stripper, knife, saw, hammer, a variety of bit drivers and wrenches, bottle and can openers, carabiner, safety whistle, ferrocerium rod, diamond-coated sharpener, and awl with thread loop. The fire-starting rod, emergency whistle, and hammer are perfect for outdoor use. Particularly the hammer: which can be used for driving in your tent stakes. However, we think they might have missed one important feature for outdoors adventuring: a compass!
The Leatherman Signal also comes with a pocket clip and carabiner, so it’s easily accessible a 25-year warranty, and a one-hand opening tool system.
7. Leatherman Free P4
At $139.95, this is the most expensive of the Leatherman multi-tools that we have reviewed but it does contain a whopping 21 tools. There are a few features of this multi-tool, that we think warrants the extra investment, especially if you’re an avid camper.
The first is the ergonomic design. This model fits in your hand perfectly, meaning it’s even more appropriate for heavy use. It’s also super easy to access and use the tools with this model. They flick open with the simple push of a button, meaning you’ll never break your fingernail on your multitool again. It also has a magnetic locking system that reduces friction and provides haptic feedback, locking all open tools securely in place.
With 21 tools, this model provides you with all of the essentials from high-quality replaceable wire cutters to spring-action scissors to 2 knives for ambidextrous use. The knives are also 7.02 cm in length, meaning you can use the knife for even more heavy-duty cutting tasks, especially with the stainless steel construction. This option really is the top of the market. If you’re looking for the best quality multi-tool out there, to fit all of your outdoor needs, then this one has you covered. However, that is reflected in the price point. It’s also one of the headier models at 12oz. But, if quality and multi-use is your main objective, and you don’t mind carrying a slightly heavier product, this model is our top pick.
Our top pick for functionality and portability is the Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool. With 31 functions, including a compass and other necessary survival tools, and weighing only 5.6 pounds, this is the perfect combination of functionality and portability. It will survive all of your camping adventures, even in the rain.
There are many different options for multi-tools available on the market. Some other brands you might want to consider are Gerber, SOG, EDC, and Outdoorsman. However, we think that a multi-tool is the start and end point for all your camping tool needs. You must have a good quality multi-tool, that will stand the test of time. That’s why we’ve chosen only to review models from the two most reliable and historic brands for multi-tools: Leatherman and Victorinox. These brands are tried and tested, with many useful tools, and with their warranties, they will last you a lifetime.
Why invest in a saw blade, a pocket knife, or needle-nosed pliers if you can have and carry all of these tools in one! You’ll find the best multi-tool for you, with our handy list of the 7 best camping multi-tool.
Bonus tip: For a look at some of the best individual Leatherman multi-tools, you can check out this useful video below!