Backpackers face different challenging tasks during a trek one of which is carrying essentials like food, proper clothing, and other camping gear. Cutting tools like a knife, hatchet, and backpacking saw are some essential tools that could be used along the journey and on the campsite.
Carrying a complete set of these cutting tools for hiking trips may be enough. However, the addition of a multitool in your backpacking gear may just come in handy. You’ll never really know when you would need it, but you’d be thankful when the situation comes.
A multitool would be more practical and handy to carry when trekking instead of carrying a toolbox. The can or bottle opener in a multitool would be more convenient to use than a camping knife. Likewise, the pliers could be handy when setting up a camp.
A multitool is a handy backup that can be useful in any backpacking adventure. There is a long list of multitools to choose from, and finding one that will suit your backpacking needs can be confusing. We narrowed down the list so you can pick which best multitool for backpacking suits your needs.
Quick Comparison Table
|Price||Number of Functions||Weight||Pliers/Blade||Our Rating|
|Victorinox Swisstool Spirit X||$$$ to $$$$||27||9.75 oz (276 g)||1 needle nose pliers|
1 speartip blade
|Gerber Dime Mini Multi Tool Black||$||10||2.24 oz (63.5 g)||1 needle nose spring-loaded pliers|
1 fine edge blade
|Leatherman Squirt PS4||$$||9||1.9 oz (53.8 g)||1 pliers|
1 knife blade
|Leatherman Wingman Multitool||$$||14||6.88 oz (195 g)|| 1 spring-action pliers|
1 knife blade
|Gerber Suspension Multi-plier [22-01471]||$$||12||9.6 oz (272 g)||1 needle nose pliers|
1 fine edge blade
|Leatherman Skeletool CX||$$ to $$$||7||6.4 oz (181.4 g)||1 needle nose pliers|
154CM steel Knife
|Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multitool [31-000749]||$$||12||8.6 oz (243.8 g)||1 needle nose pliers|
1 fine edge knife
1 serrated edge knife
|Leatherman Rebar Multitool||$$$||17||9.6 oz (272 g)||1 needle nose pliers|
1 fine edge knife
1 serrated edge knife
|Victorinox Swiss Army Multitool Hunstman||$$||15||3.2 oz (90.7 g)||2.45 in (6.22 cm) blade||4.5|
|Leatherman Charge Plus TTi||$$$$||19||12.8 oz (363 g)||2.9 in (7.37 cm) blade|
1 plier (very small)
The best multitool for backpacking depends on your specific needs. In the following in-depth reviews, we will highlight each multitool’s strengths and possible issues. We have included options from various price points as well. Let’s take a closer look.
This tool is definitely full of functionality and built solidly. With 27 functions, Victorinox made sure that you’re carrying a complete toolbox with the Spirit X. This tool may be pricey, but the steel quality and the engineering separate it from the cheaper brands.
The curve design of the handgrip makes it comfortable to handle, especially when using the pliers. The four-inch length frame offers you enough grip when there’s a need to exert some force. The rivets have rounded heads, so the tool slides smoothly in and out of your pocket.
The locking mechanism is solid and precise, and this is important for the accurate and safe use of the knife. A poor locking mechanism often causes a knife to slip, resulting in accidents.
The Gerber Dime Mini has an attractive look with a very noticeable attachment on one end. It has a bottle opener, which, to some backpackers, is one of the selling points of Gerber Dime Mini. This tool includes a nice package opener that is considered useful in keeping your blade free from sticky tape residue.
Another advantage of this mini-tool is you can access different tools without entirely unfolding it. The tweezers are also an excellent addition, especially in removing splinters.
Overall, the Gerber Dime Mini is a handy and lightweight daily companion tool. It is made from sturdy stainless steel, so it is durable enough to take on with the usual backpacking tasks. With its functionality, this multi-tool is perfect for the budget-conscious backpackers.
The Leatherman Squirt PS4 is an improved version of the P4, where S stands for scissors, which the P4 lacks. The PS4 is one of the smallest multi-tools in this list. It might be small, but it is built with long-lasting stainless steel and aluminum handles, making it durable and lightweight.
The blade length is about 1.6 in (4.06 cm), which is short but sturdy and sharp enough to dress and cut a deer. The Leatherman Squirt PS4 is a handy multi-tool that can support most of your wilderness undertaking.
This product is ergonomically designed as the curves were ideally placed for a better handgrip. It may be too small, but the stocky aluminum handles provide you with a comfortable grip.
The Wingman is one of the best products of Leatherman being a budget full-size. One of the selling points of this product is the spring-action scissors. It’s sharp and can be accessed by a single hand without opening the tool.
The blade-out design of the knife allows for quick access. Both the scissors and knife have locking mechanisms for safety. It also has a package opener which is perfect for those hard to open blister packs, cardboard boxes, and packing tape.
Being full-sized means you get a good area for gripping, and you can apply extra force when using the spring action pliers. With 14 functions packed in a single gear, the Leatherman multitool is one useful backpacking gear. The full steel high-quality construction makes it durable and is a good deal for its price.
The Gerber Suspension is a full-sized feature-rich gadget. It is also one of the most affordable in its category. It may be bulky and heavy, but it provides more room for handling, especially for big-handed people. Having an extra area for gripping helps in exerting more force, especially when using the pliers and blade.
The integrated components of the Suspension can be accessed easily without deploying the pliers. The blades were designed with thumb catches for easy single-handed unlatching. It also has a patented Saf.T.Plus locking system for added safety.
There are no issues in durability as the construction is made of durable stainless steel. The spring action needle-nosed plier has good grip patterns for a firm bite. The illustration of the primary tool on the handles is a useful feature when using the tool single-handed.
The Leatherman Skeletool CX reduces its tool count in exchange for portability and ergonomics. But it doesn’t mean it lacks functionality. Skeletool CX is primarily a plier tool, and all other functions are just supplemental. The plier is packed with functionalities such as a needle-nose tip, the center part for turning bolts, and two-wire cutters near the pivot.
A major selling point of the multi-tool is its 154CM stainless-steel blade. The blade, although short, is a real knife that can cut a fish and dress a fowl effectively. The handle is ergonomically designed and big enough to have better control when using the knife.
The handgrip curves are also specifically designed for better handling of the pliers. Skeletool CX also features a carabiner that also doubles as a bottle opener. Just like other Leatherman products, durability and construction quality are unquestionable.
The Ultimate Multi-Tool has the same function as the Gerber Suspension. It’s also bulky but is an ounce lighter than the Suspension. Twelve stainless-steel functions are also included, which are also accessible without unfolding the pliers.
The handles are ergonomically designed for easy handling. And, it’s bulkiness works just right for those with larger hands. It also has the same primary tool drawings found in its handles. The Saf.T.Plus System (Gerber’s trademark for enhanced safety), locks the tools when in use. This safety feature also allows you to use a single tool without opening all the twelve tools.
The only distinction between the Suspension and the Grylls is the ergonomic textured rubber grip. It provides better grip and comfort, especially when using the pliers. Like the Suspension, the Gerber Grylls selling point is the pliers.
The Leatherman Rebar is both heavy-duty and full-size multitool. Packed with 17 tools, the Rebar could be a great companion at home, work, or for backpacking activities. These features combined in a single tool are difficult to find even on best brands.
The Rebar may have chosen to go traditional with the way tools are accessed by unfolding the handles. However, Leatherman makes sure that users will be safe with Rebar’s all-locking features. Each tool, especially the blades lock out when in use to prevent unintentional folding.
The smooth and serrated blades, which are made of 420HC stainless steel, are sturdy and easy to sharpen. The smooth blade that has a length of 2.9 inches (7.36 cm) is ideal for most utility work. There is not much ergonomic design, but the round-edged handles provide adequate comfort and room for gripping.
A Swiss Army Knife is basically a pocket knife loaded with lots of handy tools. The Huntsman features two sizes of smooth knives, which is not commonly seen on popular multi-tools. One thing unique about the Victorinox pocket knives is the reusable toothpick, which could be useful when the situation presents itself.
A tweezer is also included in Victorinox pocket knives. The ABS plastic encasement is proven to withstand rough use. The Swiss company is very confident with their workmanship that they provide lifetime guarantee to their products.
The large knife is sharp and tough enough to do most campsite activities like wood chipping. The wood saw may be small, but it is perfect for cutting some saplings. It would be great to keep your knife from getting dull.
The first thing you’ll notice with the Charge Plus TTi is the textured scale that primarily provides extra grip but not necessarily abrasive. This textured scale is made of Titanium, so this multitool is definitely built on high-quality construction. The pliers are functional, having a wire crimper, wire cutter, and wire stripper.
The main serrated blade doubled with a cutting hook function is made of 420HC stainless steel. The main blade is made from the high-end and corrosion-resistant S30V stainless steel. The replaceable wire cutters and hard-wire cutters are made from 154CM stainless steel.
The premium metals used in Charge Plus TTi makes it a high-quality and valuable multitool. This multitool features 19 functions, so you have all the functionalities you need for backpacking. The solid construction could probably outlive the 25-year warranty that comes with the tool.
Backpacking Multitool Buying Guide
Choosing the best multitool for your backcountry expedition can be an arduous task. You will be faced with a lot of options, which might be confusing. But it can be easier when you know a few important factors to consider. Let’s have a look at the most important ones.
Enthusiasts often fail to determine their purpose of using a multitool. Some tasks would require you to use specific tools every day. It can be applied for purposes like every day tasks at work, at home, or as a backup tool for the car.
The functionality doesn’t always mean that the gear is for everyday use. The tool can also be reserved for occasional backpacking journeys. Your intended application must be clearly defined to pick the best multitool for your activities.
A multitool can offer several features that can range from 7 to more than 20 functions. Match the type of application and the functions provided by your selected multitool. It would be inadvisable to carry around a gear with heaps of useless features.
If your activities would not require you to use pliers, then a Swiss Army knife can be a good option. A right balance of functions and intended application will help you pick the best multitool for backpacking.
The quality of materials used plays an essential role in choosing the best multitool for backpacking. Frequent rough use can cause wear and tear to any backpacking gadget, so make sure you’re picking the one made of sturdy and corrosion-resistant materials.
A multitool that features a locking system is great for safety, especially if you intend to use the knife often. Checking on the type of metal used in the blades is also important. You would want a blade that can be efficiently used in different cutting activities in the outback.
One of the most common mistakes when choosing a multitool is not considering its portability. Will you need a full size or a compact multitool? Sometimes, carrying around a big multitool can be a bit tiring.
However, high quality and durable multitools are often heavy, so you may also want to consider the trade-off. Try to look for some carrying options like belt loops, sheath or pocket clips. These features add to your convenience.
A multitool without ergonomic design will most likely hurt your hands, especially when operating with excessive force. Such design would feature smooth curvatures in handles for a comfortable grip.
A well-designed multitool would also allow quick access features. It means you can access tools without unfolding the handles. Likewise, you can easily pull out the tools, even if you’re just using one hand.
The price of a multitool will be dependent on the quality of materials, construction, and functionality. Being expensive doesn’t always mean that it is the best.
If you’re up to severe outdoor activities, an expensive multitool would be your best pick. However, if your activities would be just the regular backpacking action, an average priced multitool would be enough.
The best way to choose the right backpacking multitool is to think about how you want to use it. Do you want something heavy-duty for your regular hiking trips? Or do you want an all-around tool that you can use even at home? Or do you want an affordable multitool for light use?
The Victorinox Spirit X, despite its higher price and heavyweight, wins in construction quality, functionality, and safety with its superior locking mechanism. This multitool is the best choice for your backpacking needs and everyday use at home or work.
You will need the best tools to survive the harsh conditions of the wilderness. Leatherman has the best line of multitool products from fair to expensive price range. The Skeletool CX, although primarily a plier tool, can be one of the best backpacking knives you can carry.
Your use case and budget will ultimately decide the multitool that fits your needs. Keep the balance between these two to ensure that you are getting the value for your money. Remember that a multitool should complement the rest of your gear and make your camping adventures much easier.