Best Multitools for Backpacking and Hiking in 2021

Best Multitools for Backpacking and Hiking in 2021

Table of Contents

    A good multitool is easily the single most important thing to bring along on a trip. By their very nature, they’re versatile and compact. The best multitools out on the market are pulling off a delicate balancing act between functionality, durability, and portability. A lot of multitools out there will just jam a bunch of knives into a sleeve and call it a day, but they immediately fold under the pressure of being used in a real-world setting.

    A good multitool is filled with a wide range of tools you can use, and those tools are going to be sturdy enough to actually be of some use to you. If you’re sick of getting burned by novelty multitools that are essentially useless when you need them, then rejoice. We’ve sifted through the crap and picked out the best you can get with your money right now.

    In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:

    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter, Hammer and Emergency Whistle, Blue/Red with Nylon Sheath
    Title
    LEATHERMAN Signal Camping Multitool
    Price
    $119.95
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details
    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter, Hammer and Emergency Whistle, Blue/Red with Nylon Sheath
    Title
    LEATHERMAN Signal Camping Multitool
    Price
    $119.95
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details

    Best Multi-Tools for Backpacking and Hiking - Overview

    Here are the top 5 picks (keep scrolling for more details and picks 6-7).

    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter, Hammer and Emergency Whistle, Blue/Red with Nylon Sheath
    LEATHERMAN, Skeletool RX Multitool with Serrated Knife and Glass Breaker, Red with Nylon Sheath
    Gerber Gear 22-01471N Suspension Needle Nose Pliers Multitool Multi-Plier with Nylon Sheath, Gray
    LEATHERMAN, Surge Heavy Duty Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Spring-Action Scissors, Stainless Steel with Premium Nylon Sheath (FFP)
    Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, SwissChamp Pocket Knife, Red, 91 mm (1.6795)
    Title
    LEATHERMAN Signal Camping Multitool
    LEATHERMAN Skeletool RX
    Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
    LEATHERMAN - 830278 Surge Heavy Duty
    Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool
    Price
    $119.95
    $79.95
    $26.80
    Price not available
    $72.58
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter, Hammer and Emergency Whistle, Blue/Red with Nylon Sheath
    Title
    LEATHERMAN Signal Camping Multitool
    Price
    $119.95
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details
    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Skeletool RX Multitool with Serrated Knife and Glass Breaker, Red with Nylon Sheath
    Title
    LEATHERMAN Skeletool RX
    Price
    $79.95
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details
    Overview
    Gerber Gear 22-01471N Suspension Needle Nose Pliers Multitool Multi-Plier with Nylon Sheath, Gray
    Title
    Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
    Price
    $26.80
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details
    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Surge Heavy Duty Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Spring-Action Scissors, Stainless Steel with Premium Nylon Sheath (FFP)
    Title
    LEATHERMAN - 830278 Surge Heavy Duty
    Price
    Price not available
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details
    Overview
    Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, SwissChamp Pocket Knife, Red, 91 mm (1.6795)
    Title
    Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool
    Price
    $72.58
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details

    1. LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool

    LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter, Hammer and Emergency Whistle, Blue/Red with Nylon Sheath
    • 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 is what folks reach for when they don’t want to worry about quality or reliability. They’re tools that exemplify the spirit of multitools. They’re built for the kind of stability you need when you’re using these tools during a camping trip. You need saws that lock into place and pliers that will hold true, and this simple camping multitool has all of those things in spades.

    This multitool features 19 different tools, many of which are specifically added to this tool for the purposes of making your camping trips much less stressful. There are surprising inclusions like a small hammer (which is also where this multitool can be easily clipped to your backpack) and a diamond-coated sharpener. There are tools that are standard on a multitool like the screwdrivers and the can opener, and things like the ferro rod fire starter and the emergency whistle are there for more than just day-to-day functionality.

    You’re going to be getting a multitool that’s for more than just bending and tightening things. If you find yourself lost or in a dire situation, this tool will give you a small leg up on the elements. It’s great for minor emergencies and pure non-emergency camping. It’s the level of quality you’ve come to expect from Leatherman, and directing that energy and creativity towards a tool designed for campers has created a tool that fits into your camping needs neatly and without any resistance at all.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Great for outdoor needs
    • It’s robust without becoming an overcomplicated tool 
    • The firestarter and emergency whistle puts it head and shoulders above other, more general-use multitools

    CONS

    • The unique colors are fun, but the paint is prone to scratching and chipping

    2. LEATHERMAN Skeletool RX

    LEATHERMAN, Skeletool RX Multitool with Serrated Knife and Glass Breaker, Red with Nylon Sheath
    • READY FOR ANYTHING: The Skeletool RX is designed for emergency situations. With tools like a deeply serrated knife and carbide glass breaking bit, the RX is an essential tool for any EMT or first...

    If the Leatherman Signal camping multitool isn’t quite scratching your multitool itch, then the Skeletool, also by Leatherman, might be more like what you’re looking for. This multitool is much lighter than a lot of its competitors but it doesn’t sacrifice durability or stability. Instead, the solution here is to go with less overall material while maintaining the basic skeleton of the tool. This is a great way to cut down on weight and bulk while still delivering a tool that’s capable of doing work when you need it most.

    This multitool has what most Leatherman tools come standard with. The multifunctional needle nose pliers in the middle acting as a base for all of the other tools are just as strong and useful as anything else Leatherman has released. There’s a glass breaker for emergency scenarios and more practical tools like knives and bottle openers.

    The blades and tools lock into place so you’re going to be able to use this multitool like you would any other tool. Some cheaper multitools are flimsy in this regard, but Leatherman is always good about making sure you can employ the tools without having to approach your project from a weak or unnatural angle.

    This multitool is all about quick and easy accessibility. It can clip easily onto a belt clip or the outside of your bag. The nylon sheath it comes with is also a sound option if you’re not partial to clipping your tools to your belt. It’s light and comfortable enough to give you access to every single tool with a single hand. You’re not going to have to contort yourself while trying to flip this tool open. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Incredibly light and easy to open
    • Great for someone that wants to carry a multitool without sacrificing pocket space
    • Doesn’t sacrifice utility for the light weight

    CONS

    • The orange paint chips pretty easily

    3. Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier

    Sale
    Gerber Gear 22-01471N Suspension Needle Nose Pliers Multitool Multi-Plier with Nylon Sheath, Gray
    • Gerber multitool features 12 integrated tools with a butterfly design for easy everyday carry

    This is a simple multitool that’s on the most cost-effective side. If you’re looking for something with the standard multitool loadout and you’re not too concerned with it being ultra-light or anything terribly notable in one direction or the other, then this multitool is a great option. It’s notable for its lack of notably. It’s a perfectly average multitool, but sometimes that’s all you need.

    It’s a great tool for keeping in your pack or in the car for when you’ve found yourself without your proper tools. Maybe you’re not always the one breaking out the tools when a situation arises, but you still want to be prepared when the moment arises. This is a great option as a backup to your normal tools or as an emergency tool that can lie in the background until it’s time to shine. It’s perfectly serviceable and you’ll know that when you reach for it in a pinch it’ll be ready to serve you.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Great for cutting and opening things 
    • It’s a wonderful backup tool
    • Comes with a nylon sheath so you can store it safely without worrying about where it’ll end up after you’ve put it down

    CONS

    • A little limited in tool variety
    • The velcro on the pouch is not very strong

    4. LEATHERMAN - 830278 Surge Heavy Duty

    LEATHERMAN, Surge Heavy Duty Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Spring-Action Scissors, Stainless Steel with Premium Nylon Sheath (FFP)
    • A MULTITOOL POWERHOUSE: The Surge is one of our largest multitools for heavy-duty use, built with our largest pliers, longest multitool blades and easy-to-use locks

    This heavy-duty option from Leatherman is a real workhorse. It can act as an everyday carry for you, especially if you’re handy or your work requires a lot of the tools found on this particular Leatherman. It’s built to take a lot of punishment, and it’s going to last you a long time even with regular use. That rugged longevity translates well to usefulness and dependability when you’re on the trail. 

    This Leatherman is so full of tools that you’d be hard-pressed to find a situation this multitool couldn’t bail you out of. The final tool count comes to 21 on this multitool, it’s up there with some of the most versatile multitools on the market. You’re getting everything from pliers and wirecutters to a quartet of locking blades, and simple things for everyday life like bottle openers. Every single inch of this thing hides another tool just waiting for its chance to shine. If you like to be proactive and prepared, you’re going to get a lot out of their Surge Heavy Duty.

     It does all of this without becoming some super bulky juggernaut. The black finish helps in this department as well, giving it a modern, sleek look. You have a few options here as to which sheath you want to pair with it, but know that they’re all great options. This is a multitool that you can be proud to brandish at any problem. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Capable of solving nearly any problem you’ll come across from sawing to sewing
    • The tools are easy to retrieve with a single hand
    • Incredibly long-lasting

    CONS

    • A little bit heavier than other multitools

    5. Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool

    Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, SwissChamp Pocket Knife, Red, 91 mm (1.6795)
    • READY FOR WHATEVER, WHENEVER. Features (33) functions including: 2.45" blade, Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener with screwdriver, pliers and a corkscrew – this multi-tool can be used whether...

    The classic Swiss Army has been at the forefront of public consciousness for decades. When people think of a compact tool that has it all, they think about Swiss Army knives because they’re compact, they’re useful, and they’re hard to beat when it comes to practicality in the field. They’re designed specifically to get you out of common jams and solve some of the most common problems we face when backpacking or hiking.

    This particular multitool is more like a miniature toolbox than anything else. It’s oozing versatility, and it’s a wonderful tool that’s easy to fit into even the most crammed backpacks or pockets, and you’ll always be glad you have it on hand when any situation arises. With upwards of thirty tools all geared towards an outdoor lifestyle, you’d only be putting yourself at a disadvantage if you didn’t have something like this in your pack.

    It’s full of obvious necessities like a sizable knife that’s capable of simple tasks like cutting food or slicing off stubborn protrusions. It’s also stuffed to the brim with tools for more specific situations like a fish scaler or a wire crimping tool. If you’re looking for a multitool that’s designed to solve granular problems that come up during a backpacking trek, then you’re going to get a lot of mileage out of this Swiss Army tool.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Great at solving small problems efficiently
    • Perfect for someone with a lot of survival skills

    CONS

    • A lot of the tools on this multi-tool are geared towards small projects

    6. LEATHERMAN, Squirt PS4

    Sale
    LEATHERMAN, Squirt PS4 Keychain Multitool with Spring-Action Scissors and Aluminum Handles, Built in the USA, Black
    • LITTLE LIFESAVER: A colorful, keychain-size multitool with durable aluminum handles, spring-action pliers and more

    This little guy is designed to fit on a keychain, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too small to get some practical use out of it. It’s pocket-sized and ready to go at a moment’s notice, and if you feel like you’re already pretty well equipped for your backpacking trip, but you want something to round out the loadout without committing too hard to something that will take up a lot more room than you’re willing to give up, then this 3-inch multitool is going to be a great choice for you. 

    This keychain multi-tool has a set of pliers, just like any other Leatherman multitool, along with a few good blades, and a pair of scissors. There are tools like the file that gives it just a touch more functionality than you would expect from something this compact, which is great for someone looking to boost their overall preparedness just a little bit more. You’re going to get a lot of use out of this tiny package. It’s the kind of tool that presents itself as a solution to your problems often because of its incredible portability and accessibility. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Great for keeping in a pocket or on your keys, vastly improving its ability to be deployed regularly
    • Surprisingly sturdy and useful for something this size

    CONS

    • It’s a far cry from Leatherman’s more heavy-duty tools

    7. LEATHERMAN - LT725B MUT Multitool

    LEATHERMAN - LT725B , MUT Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Firearm Tools, Black with MOLLE Black Sheath
    • READY FOR ANYTHING: A tactical multitool designed to maintain military gear with a bronze carbon scraper, disassembly punch, bolt override tool and more

    This is one of the more high-end options from Leatherman. It far outpaces the range of features a lot of their offerings have, and it’s the kind of multitool you carry around on a regular basis if you’ve got a lot to do and not a lot of room to spare. It’s handy, it’s durable, and it’s going to cover way more of your bases than you’d think. 

    This tool features a lot of tools that are well-suited for firearm maintenance. While it only features 14 tools, all of them are well suited to a wide variety of little jobs. If you’re backpacking, hiking, or hunting this is a pretty obvious winner. You’re getting things like a carbon scraper and a disassembly punch for getting your firearms clean on the go, great for folks that like to get their work done while it’s fresh on their minds, rather than waiting until they make the hike all the way back home. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • The ability to replace both wire cutters is a nice little piece of added longevity
    • Great for hunters or folks hiking to outdoor ranges
    • Even if you’re not using this for firearms, the sleek design and the depth of utility make this a great option for everyone

    CONS

    • The carbon scraper is a nice addition, but it’s the weakest part of this otherwise exceptional multitool

    Our Winner

    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter, Hammer and Emergency Whistle, Blue/Red with Nylon Sheath
    Title
    LEATHERMAN Signal Camping Multitool
    Price
    $119.95
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details
    Overview
    LEATHERMAN, Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter, Hammer and Emergency Whistle, Blue/Red with Nylon Sheath
    Title
    LEATHERMAN Signal Camping Multitool
    Price
    $119.95
    Rating
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Details

    The best tool (or in this case multiple tools) for the job is one that is designed to fit right into a specific slot. This camping multitool is the kind of thing that you’ll constantly be thanking yourself for getting a hold of. It’s versatile and dependable in all of the ways you’d want your multitool to be when you’re out backpacking or hiking.

    If something falls apart or needs to be disassembled, or sliced, or tightened, or any number of things, this multitool is always ready to swoop in and show off its unique design and all of the tools it’s managed to fit into its relatively compact body. It’s easy to transport, be it in your pocket, on your belt, or strapped to your bag, you’re going to have no problems at all taking this multitool along for the ride.

    It’s a quality piece of equipment with 19 different tools, most of which are either standard in a Leatherman multitool or added to this variation of their multitool specifically for use when camping, hiking, and backpacking. Things like the sharpener or the ferro rod firestarter are just amazing additions to an already incredible product. 

    It’s great to pull out in everyday settings. If you’re someone that likes your backpacking equipment to have utility in your everyday life as well, this multitool fits into life beyond the trees just as well as it slots into the weeklong loadout of a backpacking enthusiast. It’s great in daily life, solving problems just as swiftly, it’s great for camping and backpacking, and it’s great in emergencies as well. The emergency whistle and firestarter might be the difference between survival and a dead-end if you’re finding yourself in dire straits.

    It’s a great tool for general use, it’s perfect for camping, and in a pinch, this multitool is going to get a lot of mileage. It’s hard to want another multitool when you’re presented with this one here. The paint chipping is a little bit of a bummer, but we can wave it away as weathering after a while. Plus, you’re not in it for the bright colors, you’re in it for the precision, the durability, and the utility.

    If you’re wrestling with yourself about what kind of multitool would best serve you when you’re out on the trails and away from your base camp, then this is going to do wonders for your peace of mind. The Leatherman craftsmanship and the careful consideration of a camper’s needs come together in this simple yet effective multitool and create something truly wonderful. It takes away a lot of the guesswork that tends to get in the way of selecting the right multitool for a trip, and you’re going to enjoy every opportunity you have to whip this out and get to work. 

    Bonus tip: If you can’t just take our word for it and you need a little more convincing before taking the plunge, here’s a video of the Leatherman signal in action.

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    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.

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