Our Guide to Finding the Best Small Multi Tool for You
We’re going to be looking at the best multitool for backpacking, and every one we’re going to be looking at is a one piece multi tool. Each of these models has their own benefits and downsides, but they’re all ranked so highly because they work extremely well.
Leatherman 831195 Squirt PS4 Black Keychain Tool with Plier
Our favorite for 2017
Gerber Dime Multi-Tool
A great value option
A great tool
If this is your first time buying a mini multi tool, you’ll need to know how to compare these models:
- Opening Capability: Spring loaded designs are the preferred choice because they allow for easy opening – even with one hand in most cases. This is very handy, and a feature you may want to consider with your purchase.
- Durability: Many of the multi tools on the market are made with stainless steel, which is a good thing, but these models can sometimes break. Why? They’re cheaply designed. Always read through reviews to see what users have to say about durability after months of usage. You don’t want one of your survival tools breaking in the middle of an emergency.
- Accessories: What do you need in a multi-tool? If you’re using it as a mechanic, a tool with a lot of screwdrivers will come in handy. But if you’re out in the wilderness camping, you probably won’t find many screws that need tightening. In other words, you need to choose a tool with the accessories you’re most-likely to use.
We’ve done our best to weed out the bad tools, and provide you with a mix of different mini multi tools that are in a variety of different price ranges.
Gerber Dime Multi-Tool, Black – Gerber is one of the leaders in multi-tools, and survival tools in general. The company offers the Dime tool, which provides you with a stainless steel construction (very durable), 10 tools in one, and a length that is just 2.75 inches when closed.
This is a multi tool that will fit perfectly in your pocket, and it offers: pliers, scissors, flat driver, bottle opener, tweezers, file, medium flat driver and a wire cutter.
Easy to open, this tool fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and is one that I recommend for daily usage. The only downside is that the scissors included are not as sharp as I would’ve liked, but they will still work in a pinch.
Leatherman – Squirt® Ps4 – A 9-in-1 tool, the Squirt Ps4 offers spring action for easy opening at all times. You’ll find that the 420 stainless steel is optimized for strength and durability, while there are some hard anodized aluminum parts utilized in this model to make it extra lightweight.
This mini tool can be used as a screwdriver, file, bottle opener, knife, scissors, pliers or wire cutters. There are even needle nose pliers included that are very helpful.
Small enough to fit on a keychain, this mini multi tool is the best option for backpacking by a long shot. If it weren’t for the higher cost, this model would definitely be our #1 pick.
Leatherman – Micra® – The Micra is so light, you won’t even realize that it’s in your pocket. Weighing just 2 ounces, the tool closes to a compact 2.5” in length. Durable stainless steel is used on all of the tools included, and you’ll receive all of the essentials: nail file, scissors, 3 screwdrivers, ruler, bottle opener, tweezers and a knife.
If you want a tool with exceptional scissors, this is a great choice.
There is a metal ring so that you can attach this model to your keychain, and there are 6 color options to choose from if you don’t like the stainless steel color (I personally love it). And you’ll be getting a really amazing multi tool.
Mini-Size Multitool – High performance, this is a great one-piece multi tool for anyone on a budget. For a very budget friendly price, you really can’t go wrong with this model. The brushed stainless steel is easy to clean and aesthetically pleasing, and the tool itself weighs just 3.5 ounces.
Fitting perfectly in your pocket, the tool is spans just 2.64” in length when folded.
So, what tools are included? A pair of pliers, screwdriver (flat and Philips), serrated blade, flat blade, nail file, bottle opener and more.
If you’re looking for an affordable multi tool, it really doesn’t get much better than this model – it is amazing.
Stanley 84-519K 12-in-1 Multi Tool – This multi tool is another great budget option and it’s made by Stanley – a highly respected brand. It really is a hard choice between this pick and our previous pick, but I do have to say that the Stanley is a really good choice. Why? It features a stainless steel construction and a nylon holster, so you can easily fasten it to your belt buckle if you like.
You’ll also receive a 12-in-1 tool that features: a wire cutter, saw, bottle opener, file, 4 screwdrivers, 2 knives and 2 pliers. It’s a versatile tool, and I recommend it highly for the screwdrivers and pliers alone.
The only reason that this model ranks lower on the list is that is weighs 11.4 ounces, and it’s a little on the larger side for a mini tool.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Right Mini Multitool
Buying a mini multitool isn’t always an easy process. You need to really sit down and determine what you want in a one piece multi tool. For many people, they’ll find that they never use a nail file or a bottle opener in the wild, but others will find some great uses for these accessories when working at home or in the garage. Ultimately, the right tool for me will be much different than the right tool for you.
A few of the most important things to look for when choosing the right one piece multi tool include:
- Price: I have found that the quality of these tools increases drastically with the price. While a very cheap tool may work just fine (many do), they’re not meant to withstand daily use all year long.
- Size: One of the most important aspects of a multitool will be the size. If you want a pocket-sized model, you need a tool that can actually fit in your pocket. I recommend 2″– 4” at the most for the length of the tool. Remember, the shorter the tool, the smaller the accessories will be.
- Type: Many tools seem to focus on different accessories. The Stanley (#5 on our list) is an amazing tool, but it focuses on screwdrivers and includes four of them. If you’re using this tool for camping, you probably don’t need four screwdrivers. So, choose a tool type or accessories that best fit into your needs.
And don’t forget: if you’re going backpacking, you’ll want a survival knife or another type of knife for safety. These multi tools may have knives, but you’ll need to be very close to defend yourself – especially against a wild animal.