Trying to assemble the emergency pack and need suggestion. Coming in from a road cycling background, I’ve seen a lot of multi-tools that are light weight and near useless, so I have my doubts about the concept.

In USK’s rescue recovery DVD Wayne flashes his Leatherman and moves on. So I went looking to get one at REI and there are hundreds (it seems) of different models, and further looking finds even different brands.

So, for a day tripper, paddling either a fiberglass and rotomolded kayak, which make/model of multi-tool has what is needed, but not too much, if any extra?

Or what stand-a-lone tools instead of multi-tool or supplement too multi-tool.

The only Multi tool

– Last Updated: Mar-29-08 9:01 AM EST –

I have carried day paddling has been a Spyderco folding knife with a 'sheepsfoot' serated blunt tip blade.
It works really well for quickly trimming downed tree branches (and can handle some surprisingly large diameter stuff) and cuts rope and fish line like it's not even there.

I recently bought a new knife though, a Boye Cobalt blunt sheepsfoot with a Marlin Spike which is an added tool for untying knots. I have been carrying this for about a week and it is proving to be a nice handy everyday tool.

I have never really found leatherman type tools to be easy to carry around as they are to heavy and bulky.


– Last Updated: Mar-29-08 9:08 AM EST –

I have one of the mid-range ones, forget the model name. I've had to use it on several occasions to repair broken rudders, fabricate a replacement for a lost hatch cover, and to remove a fish hook from a seagull's mouth (He actually came to us and held still for it). It also gets used for more mudane things as well. I carry it cycling and XC skiing, too.

If you're carrying it in a marine environment, I highly recommend lubing it thoroughly with a rust preventative, like Boeshield T-9. You'll thank me when you try to unfold one of the tools when you need it.

I also carry a folding knife kept as sharp as possible, and a river knife on my PFD. You can never have too many backups. I keep all but the river knife in a drybag in my hatch.

All I Know…

– Last Updated: Mar-29-08 3:13 PM EST –

I had skeg problems way far from home once. A pebble got jammed between the skeg box and skeg. I needed a butter knife or table knife to get that pebble out. I didn't have it and forced the skeg clamp off it's mounting when I forced the issue with the control. What I needed then was needle nosed pliers to fix the clamp back on it's mounting.

Now I carry a cheap table knife and little needle nosed vice grips along with a Swiss Army knife I had around the house.

I’ve tested most…
of the more popular tools on the market, and my favorite is the Gerber MP400

This tool has all that I need, The pliers and knive blade are both able to be opened with one hand; All the tools lock into place so that they don’t fold over while using them; and it’s quite light weight compared to it’s competiton at 6.6 oz. you can even buy an adapter (tool kit) to use screwdriver (and other)tips depending on your need. The biggest seller for me was the scissors, a tool has to have scissors to be useful in my book. If you like a slightly bigger tool try their MP600

Hope this helps,


Whatever tool you get, be sure to clean
and check it frequently. Most of them will freeze up solid in a short time if not properly cared for. I highly recommend coating it with some kind of silicon spray (I also use Boeshield T-9), keeping it in a drybag, and keeping a packet of dessicant in the drybag to absorb condensation. And then take it out, clean it, and re-lube it at least monthly. No matter what you get, it will be worthless when you need it if you don’t care for it.

I keep my tools coated with WD40, wrapped in a few paper towels in a dry bag. I check 'em out a couple times a year to make sure they’re in good working order.

Good point.

A few…
I found the Leatherman useful when you need pliers for fish hooks, the rest of the tools are toyish. I also carry a Swiss Army Trekker it has a useful blade and an almost useful saw and awl. The saw blade works well to clear skegs.

Locking pliers a great feature.
My Kershaw Multi-tool has locking pliers (vice-grips) and provides a “third hand” when desperately needed. Bad news is, it’s been discontinued. I understand the locking feature is available on other makes, and I would not be without it. The newer multi-tools also allow interchangeable drive bits rather than fixed screwdriver attachments, a boon to us Canucks who use the vastly superior Robertson (square) drive screws.

Here’s another locking-pliers multi-tool
In addition to a couple of other multi-tools and knives, I carry one of these in my kit:

It includes several screwdriver, hex, and nutdrivers for the socket.

I’ve learned you can always get a little further in life with a clamping pliers. I once drove home from an old-VW show behind a ‘73 Westfalia Camper Microbus whose rear engine lid was held open with a bungee cord, while the broken alternator-adjustment bolt was replaced by a big honkin’ Vice-Grip …

my 2 cents
a swiss army knife and a small pair of vise grips makes a very useful set of tools with the added benefit of being independent of each other, quite useful in some instances.

only buy brand name visegrips (irwin now)and

victorinox (sp?)brand swiss army knives(check out the trekker)

Another tool story
I was at Lake Lanier, GA in a loaner ICF trainer, trying to race and stay upright. The course had a portage also. On sort-of leaping back into the boat, steerage was lost - The frayed rudder cable inside the back hull parted. My truck was 100 yards away, ran over, got my 4" visegrips, and tried several fixes before just threading the cable through the hole and clamping the vicegrips on the cable end. It worked fine, and I eventually caught up with the leaders in my group of inexperienced ICF paddlers.

At least 2 tools.

– Last Updated: Mar-31-08 12:08 PM EST –

I always make sure I have my 2 main go to tools when paddling. My multi tool is a SOG brand as used by our military. Very well made and sturdy with PowerLock feature that locks the tool in use open so it won't close on your fingers. It also has covers on the grips so you don't get stuck/cut by the tools that are not in use. I also carry a Wenger brand Swiss Army knife that has a lanyard clip on it so you can attach it just about anywhere you need it.

Used a basic Leatherman tool one time that didn't have the tools covered at all and managed to stick the very sharp, closed knife blade a good 1/2" into my palm. OUCH!!!


I have the original Leatherman.
Good pliers and a good knife blade. Saved us a trip to the E-room when my wife jammed a 1" splinter into the ball of her foot. Tweezers wouldn’t budge it. The Leatherman pliers and some serious pulling did. It was 1/4" in dia.

Leatherman Skeletool

– Last Updated: Mar-30-08 11:56 PM EST –

I have a Leatherman Surge, which is super and has plenty of tools, and I even bought a bit driver set that is made for it for $15 on eBay. But, it is heavy, and to address your question, it has plenty of tools that I never use.

Weight really is the downside to the Surge--good for glovebox, not great for deck bag.

So, ta daa, out in March 2008 is the Leatherman Skeletool.

Simple, compact (but no sheath included), waterproof, 25 year no questions asked warranty, and built in carabiner to clip to deck lines. Slightly pricey (no more than Surge), but lightweight, too. I love my new Skeletool. Read the 4 customer reviews on REI, original poster.

So I agree with my friend Mystical above: Leatherman.

C ya.

two or three tools
gerber- when used as pliers, the grips don’t dig into your palm. Recommend model w/heavy needle nose and file

swiss army knife-tweezers and toothpick are nice when needed. Suggest model with scissors, saw, and the essential corkscrew

snap on pliers with heavy jaws- its heavy enough to use as a hammer

I carry them in belt pouches. Yes, they are a bit heavy- but since I wear more than that on my tool belt at work everyday, it doesnt feel heavy to me.

The Scout motto: Be Prepared!

hey tom-
how it is that you think the wenger swiss army knives are better than the victorinox?

i feel the wengers are flimsy and delicate but i haven’t looked at them in years. ive had a victorinox of one sort or another in my pocket for 15-20 years. ive fixed alot of broken stuff with that thing.

i dont want to get all “knife weirdo” with this though…

Leatherman Charge Ti

– Last Updated: Mar-31-08 11:07 AM EST –

I use tools to make a living. IMO there is no ideal multi-tool, and I've looked at a lot of them. The Charge, made with aluminium or titanium scales has about the best combination of goodies since it contains a selection of bits and allows for some expansion. They make an optional bit holder/extension shaft that fits in the tool's bit holder. The extension shaft is Leatherman bit shape on the male end and standard 1/4" hex bit on the female end. Its optional, buy it!

What I carry all day at work: Along with the Leatherman and extension bit, a 5/16" socket in the extension, the card of accessory bits, and a little 4" Crescent wrench. All of the pieces parts fit in my Niteize phone pouch with phone and flashlight. The Leatherman goes in its own sheath. Its amazing what I can do with that combination and not have to climb off of a ladder to my tool pouch. I DO NOT USE ANY PART OF THE LEATHERMAN FOR ELECTRICAL WORK

Plus side: Genuinely good quality. Nice job making the main blade out of S30V steel. (I use it occasionally, but use my Benchmade folder most of the time.) Multi bit options. The Leatherman bits will fit in any 1/4" bit holder, but will fall out if there is no magnet. The extension's 1/4" receiver can double as a 1/4" socket. Belt clip included

The down side: It is a "bite the hand" design. If you choke up on the handles, grip, and slip you will get a blood blister. The early models had a bad design on the Phillips bit that seems to have been corrected. It wouldn't grip a screw head. The replacement bit grips fine. The woman in customer service was pretty surly when I complained about the bit. (How dare I find fault with their tool. I must be an idiot who just doesn't know what he's talking about.)

Apples vs Apples?

I shouldn’t have said the victorinox were “much lesser quality”. I think they both have the same parent company. I personally don’t use mine regularly on a daily basis or anything but I do work in a high volume sporting goods store and we sell both brands. My customers and people I work with who use them tell me they think the wenger’s are of better quality. Some of the devices on the wenger brand seem to me to be a bit more sturdily constructed IMO.


In all fairness
I have stricken the issue from my original post. ;}