Best Backpacking Multi Tool: Our Top 7 Picks


Best Backpacking Multi Tool

Are you looking for a multi tool for your hiking or camping trip? Well, we have you covered. The best backpacking multi tool will give you amazing features at great value. 

Having one of these in you backpack or as part of your electric bike kit could save you a load of time and a lot of hassle. 

Multi-tools are typically made of stainless steel and the best manufacturers offer lifetime guarantees for their products. Therefore, making the right purchase today could last you a lifetime. 

Our top tip when picking the best multi tool for you is that less is more. Just because a tool has a lot of features does not mean it is the right one for you. Some people only opt for a backpacking saw, to keep things really minimal. 

Loads of features mean added weight and increased size. That being said, make sure you get what you need because there is nothing worse than being out on the trail before realizing that your multi tool doesn’t have the feature you need. 

If you have any questions, drop down to our ultimate buyer’s guide where we can talk you through the different options and functions the best multi tool for backpacking has to offer. 

Best Backpacking Multi Tool - Quick View

Best Backpacking Tool: Victorinox Swiss Army Explorer (amazon.com)

Next Best Pick: LetherMan Skeletool (amazon.com)

Best Budget Option: The Adventure Guys Credit Card Tool (amazon.com)

Backpacking Multi Tools - In Detail

Best Overall Backpacking Tool: Victorinox Swiss Army Explorer

Quality

5/5

Ease of Use

5/5

Cost

4.5/5

Key Features

  • A world-class manufacturer who excels in producing high-quality multi-tools for backpackers.
  • 16 functions including a knife, bottle opener, scissors, corkscrew, Phillips screwdriver, and much more.
  • Like all Swiss Army Knives, this tool carries a lifetime warranty, stainless steel implements, and Swiss-made quality and durability.
  • Comes with a built-in magnifying glass which is ideal for map-reading.
  • Ultra-lightweight pocket multi-tool.

Next Best Backpacking Tool: LEATHERMAN Skeletool Lightweight Multitool

Quality

5/5

Ease of Use

5/5

Cost

4/5

Key Features

  • Leatherman is a world-class tool manufacturer so you are guaranteed high quality. Furthermore, their products are made in Portland, Oregon, and come with a 25-year warranty.
  • 7 in 1 tool including a knife, pliers, a large exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters, and a bottle opener.
  • This tool could not be easier to use and all the tools can be opened with one hand – this includes the tools on the inside.
  • Weighs just 5 ounces.
  • Comes with a handy pocket clip so it is always close to hand when you are out on the trail.

LEATHERMAN Style PS Keychain Multitool

Quality

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.6/5

Cost

4.5/5

Key Features

  • Top manufacturer whose products as made in the USA and come with a 25-year warranty.
  • The Style PS is compact, lightweight, and key-ring friendly.
  • Has loads of functionality including spring-action pliers, a file, scissors, tweezers, bottle opener, and mini-screwdriver.
  • Complete ease of use. Tools can be operated with one hand.
  • Made with stainless steel and glass-filled nylon.

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier

Quality

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.4/5

Cost

4.6/5

Key Features

  • This is a great pick for those who want a great value pick that is still reliable.
  • Comes with a lot of different functions including three types of knives, Phillips screwdriver, wire cutters, pliers, and much more.
  • Sleek butterfly design and stainless steel make this an ideal long-term option.
  • A clever locking system is a top safety feature.
  • Lightweight at 9 ounces.

Lever Gear Toolcard Pro

Quality

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4/5

Cost

4.5/5

Key Features

  • 40 in 1 credit card multi-tool.
  • The smooth edges allow you to grip firmly when using the tools. Furthermore, this will prevent it from ripping or tearing your wallet.
  • Made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Ultra-lightweight at less than an ounce.
  • Designed using precision engineering and each product is inspected before leaving the factory so you have quality assurance.

Multitool Pliers 18-in-1 Multi-Purpose Pocket Knife

Quality

4/5

Ease of Use

4.2/5

Cost

4/5

Key Features

  • 18 handy functions including Needle Nose Plier, Tool, Saw, Pipe Grip Plier, Cable Cutter, Screwdriver, Bottle/Can Opener, Wrench, Scale, File, and more.
  • Made from hardened stainless steel.
  • The folded handle is easy to grip and all tools can be used with one hand.
  • Has a rope-cutter and safety hammer.
  • Comes with a durable sheath/belt holster.

Best Budget Option: The Adventure Guys Credit Card Multi tool

Quality

4/5

Ease of Use

3.8/5

Cost

5/5

Product Summary

The first reclining camping chair on our list is perfect for taking the load off whilst on your next camping trip. The Sport-Brella is a great all in one solution with a footrest, removable umbrella and built-in inuslated drinks pockets. The drink pockets and umbrella make it a great choice for relaxing on hot and sunny days. 

Key Features

  • 3 different reclining positions.
  • 4 insulated drink holders.
  • Removable umbrella
  • Extendable footrest. 
  • Lightweight construction.

Best Backpacking Multi Tool: Buyer's Guide

best backpacking multi tool

Types of Multi tool

Folding

This is one of the most functional and versatile types of multi tool. It usually contains all the gadgets from a knife to pliers to wire cutters etc. You can tell a folding multi tool from the other types because it is usually larger and slightly heavier. This could be an issue if you are looking for a compact option for carrying in your pocket or small bag.

Pocket

These are the traditional multi tool and are probably what you had in mind when you searched for the best backpacking multi tool. As their name suggests these are small by nature and will fit in your pocket. If you are looking for a pocket multi tool, then we would advise investing in one from a reputable brand. This is because they will offer a durable design and will be able to withstand the type of work suitable for a pocket multi tool. It is important not to just go for the cheapest option because this will (usually) be made from the cheapest materials and metals which might do in the short-term but in our experience rarely last in the long term.

Keychain

Again, the name of this multi tool describes it perfectly. It is intended for use on your keyring. It will not have as many of the features like a folding or pocket multi tool, but it will offer enough for the average backpacker to get by with. The real advantage of this tool is that it will be ultra-lightweight, compact and, given it is on your keys, will not be forgotten or left behind. The best keychain multi tool will also offer you amazing durability and could last you for years.

One-piece

A one-piece is the simplest and most convenient type of multi tool. They are ideal for people want a smaller multi tool for light duty use in a flash. And while one-piece multi tools might not have the most functional design, they make up for it in durability and portability. The beauty of a one-piece is in its simplicity which is due to having no moving parts. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but a one-piece is certainly a solid choice for those who are space conscious.

Wallet

The wallet multi tool is a great piece of kit which has many uses. Again, as the name implies, it is a wallet replacement so has dual functionality. There will be space for cash, cards etc. whilst offering other items such as a bottle opener, screwdriver and much more. This is a great choice for those who don’t want to carry a wallet on the hike.

Speciality

This is the most basic multi tool. It will often have one main function and offer some form of secondary use. A good example of a speciality multi tool is a ‘spork’ which can be used as a spoon, knife and fork for eating. A speciality multi tool is a great piece of kit for those who are wanting to take things back to basics and have a clear goal in mind for this piece of kit.

What Tools Do You Need For Backpacking?

The big question when looking to invest in a best backpacking multi tool is what tool options you need. The tool options you’ll usually find while browsing multi tools are knives, screwdrivers, bottle openers, can openers, rulers, pliers, wire cutters, scissors, and more. Having all of these options is great but it should not be the case that you just go for the one with the most options. Instead, think carefully about which ones you actually need. The more options the heavier and less compact the multi tool will be. Furthermore, if you know you will only use one or two of the options you should focus on picking up a tool which specialise in those options. This will help reduce weight and, hopefully, increase the quality of the tools you need.

Decision Making Factors

Functionality

The key question to ask yourself is does this multi tool offer me everything I need. If the answer is yes, then great; you probably have picked a good product for your needs. If no, then keep looking for your best backpacking multi tool.

The best multi tool for backpacking can have a load of different features. Our advice would be that if you are looking for a multi-tool to perform basic camping and hiking needs such as opening food tins etc. 10 functions is probably enough. Remember that the quality of the tools/functions are just as important as the quantity.

Weight

The basic rule is the more functions the more weight. If you are looking for a backpacking multi tool for hiking and are conscious about the weigh, try to pick one which has few functions but is still made of strong materials/metals. This should keep you bag nice and light for when you are out on the trail.

Suitability

Make sure you pick the best backpacking multi tool for you! Avoid picking one based on how it looks or because it has fancy extra functions that you will never use. Since you are backpacking it is likely that you will want something lightweight and compact, so it doesn’t take up too much room. Keep in mind though that a good multi tool can eliminate the need for other gear so picking a slightly bigger option may actually help you reduce your load.

Ease of Use

The last thing you will want when hiking is struggling with using your multi tool. Therefore, ensure the tool has a well-thought-out design which fits nicely in your hand and is easy to use. The main thing to ensure is that each function is easy to open and close. Another consideration for tools with blades is that they may need to be sharpened so pick a product which needs this to be done infrequently.

Legality

The legality of your multi tool only needs to be a consideration if you have a blade. If so, check the local multi tool laws so that you don’t run into any complications or misunderstandings.

Common Mistakes When Buying a Backpacking Multi Tool

Too Many Functions

This is probably the most common mistake people make when buying a backpacking multi tool. There seems to be an assumption that more is better when actually less could be more. Having too many functions will increase the weight and size of your product whilst reducing the functionality.

Go For The Cheapest

Some multi tools can retail for well over a $100. Therefore, it may look like a bargain when you are picking something up for a fraction of the price with loads of tools, but the reality is that you get what you pay for with multi tools. If you want a durable, long-lasting tool which is made of strong stuff – the chances are you will need to spend more than basement price.

If you are cost conscious, we would recommend reducing the tool options the multi tool offers and maintaining the high-quality materials and metals it is made from. That way you are still getting a great, long-lasting product for an acceptable price.

Not Enough Functions

Throughout this article we have been talking up the virtue of ‘less is more’ when picking the best backpacking multi tool for you. We stand by this. But. It is also important to ensure that the option you choose offers you all of the functionality which you need for your hike or camping trip. You may be required to return home or back to base if you don’t have a multi tool which offers you everything you need.

Conclusion

The best backpacking multi tool is the Victorinox Swiss Army Explorer. Not only is the manufacturer a world-class and renowned brand – the product is amazing. Made from high-quality materials and with a lifetime guarantee this will certainly be the last hiking multi tool you buy. Furthermore, this multi tool is lightweight with loads of features making it ideal for campers and hikers alike. 

If you are after a great value pick we love the adventure guys credit card multi tool. This comes with 10 features and fits perfectly in your wallet or purse. Even more impressive is the manufacturers promise that this tool is indestructible. 

We have reviewed a wide range of products to help you find the best backpacking multi tool for you. 

 

Joe

I have been a keen outdoorsman since the age of 5, being exposed to the wondrous mountains of the Lake District, UK. Hiking has become more than a hobby for me as I completed survival skills training and competed in endurance challenges across Europe.

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