If you’re looking for the best camping multi-tool available, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll review several camping multi-tools and let you know what’s good and bad about them so you can make an informed decision.
If you have the right camping multi-tool available, it becomes possible to solve just about any problem you’ll encounter while camping. Trying to figure out which multitool functions you need most and then finding camping multi-tools that offer all of those is not as easy as it may sound.
There are three features that we’ve looked at as we feel great camping multi-tools have to include. These are:
- Lightweight. Having many functions invariably adds weight to your pack, so we recommend that you, whenever possible, only consider multi-tools that weigh less than 283g (10oz).
- Durable. For long-lasting durability, multi-tools should be manufactured from solid materials such as aluminium or steel.
- Quality functions. The multi-tools that are most useful typically have anything between 5 to 20 tools, including pliers, screwdriver, and a knife blade.
To help you get started on selecting your next camping multi-tool, we’ve reviewed 10 of the best multi-tools available today.
The Top Five
Below is a quick summary of the tools we would pick based on specific criteria.
Best Lightweight: Swiss+Tech 19-in-1 Multi-tool
Can be worn on a keychain and only weighs 3.2oz.
For Everyday Use: Gerber Suspension NXT
Designed specifically for everyday use and based on the original multi-tool design by Gerber.
Budget Option: Stanley 12-in-1 Multi-tool
If you don’t need any extra bells and whistles, this affordable solution is the one for you.
Value for Money: Leatherman Tread
Traditional model functionality that’s wearable.
Best Overall: Leatherman Wave Plus
A very popular option for any camping trip.
Victorinox Swiss Army Swisstool Spirit X
● Weight : 7.4oz / 209g
● Length When Closed / Open: 4.1” / 6.0”
● Number of Tools: 24
Although the Victorinox Swiss Army Swisstool Spirit X does not come in the classic Swiss Army knife shape, it has the same precision and quality as other models in the company’s range.
It is relatively lightweight and compact despite it being made completely from stainless steel. The tool has 24 different functions, including both a straight edge and 2 saws.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Swisstool Spirit X’s plain edge is lockable, which is unique in the multi-tool arena. The sleek leather pouch will also help to protect it from damage.
● Portable. Leather pouch included for transport.
● Fire-starting companion. Chop branches easily with its two saws.
● Lockable blade. Loch the plain edge for additional safety.
● Two-handed. Needs both hands for all functions.
Leatherman Tread Wearable Multi-tool
● Weight : 5.9oz / 168g
● Length When Closed: 8.6”
● Number of Tools: 29
The Leatherman Tread’s unique design stands out, as this wearable multi-tool has all the functionality of more traditional models.
The Tread boasts an impressive 29 tools, including screwdrivers, box wrenches, and Allen wrenches, all linked together to form a stainless steel bracelet. To use any of the tools, simply take off the bracelet, select the tool you want and get going.
Besides it being portable, one of the main benefits of the tool is that it has been approved by airlines. This means that you don’t have to worry about security confiscating the Leatherman Tread when you board a plane.
● Airline approved. Can be used while traveling around the globe.
● Highly versatile. Contains an impressive 29 tools.
● Very portable. Designed to be worn as a bracelet.
● Expensive. This is one of the most expensive multi-tools available.
● No knife. Only includes small tools such as drill bits.
Leatherman Wave Plus Multi-tool
● Weight : 8.5oz / 241g
● Length When Closed / Open: 4.0” / 6.0”
● Number of Tools: 18
The Leatherman Wave Plus is a very popular option for any camping adventure. It contains 18 tools that are accessible from the outside of the tool and can be opened and closed with a single hand.
At 241g (8.5oz), it’s slightly on the heavy side, but it’s manufactured from durable stainless steel and includes both a serrated blade and a straight edge.
The Leatherman Wave Plus multi-tool also comes with two replaceable wire cutters for long-term use. Replaceable wire cutters are great if you use it often and have to replace them while the other tools still function perfectly. It is backed by Leatherman’s 25-year guarantee against any defects or damage.
● Outside access. The tools are accessible from the outside.
● Compact. Slim shape but slightly heavy.
● One-hand operation. Tools can be operated with a single hand.
● Pricey. One of the more expensive tools available.
Gerber Suspension NXT Multi-tool
● Weight : 6.7oz / 190g
● Length When Closed / Open: 4.3” / 6.3”
● Number of Tools: 15
A revamped version of Gerber’s original multi-tool design, the Gerber Suspension NXT has been crafted with camping and everyday use in mind. Its slim shape fits easily into a pocket but the pocket clip means it can also be clipped to your belt.
It features a single 2.5” serrated/plain edge blade combination, as well as various scissors, screwdrivers, and has a total of 15 tools, including a wire stripper.
The open-frame design makes the Gerber Suspension NXT multi-tool one of the lighter multi-tools on the market that has more than 10 tools.
● Affordable. This full-function tool is budget-friendly.
● Accessible. Tools are all accessible from the outside.
● Lightweight. One of the lightest options with more than 10 tools
● Knife limitations. Only has a single serrated/straight knife blade.
Stanley 12-in-1 Multi-tool
● Weight : 6.4oz / 181g
● Length When Closed / Open: 4.5” / 6.5”
● Number of Tools: 12
The Stanley 12-in-1 multi-tool was designed for the budget-conscious camper, and is an affordable solution if you don’t need any extra bells and whistles.
This multi-tool is manufactured from durable stainless steel and includes several essential tools, like screwdrivers, two knives, pliers, and wire cutters. It is packaged neatly and its sleek profile slips easily into your pocket.
The Stanley 12-in1 multi-tool also includes a small nylon pouch that can be attached to a backpack’s outside or to a belt.
● Simple. Only has the basics so it won’t weigh you down.
● Portable. Includes a nylon carry pouch to attach to a belt or backpack.
● Affordable. A budget-friendly option for everyday use.
● Only inside access. Needs to be opened to access tools.
● Blade not lockable. The knife blade doesn’t lock.
Victorinox Swiss Army Champ Knife
● Weight : 6.5oz / 185g
● Length When Closed: 3.6”
● Number of Tools: 33
The Victorinox Swiss Army Champ Knife comes with an impressive 33 functions, which will provide you with just about anything you may need to fix camping problems. All these functions are packed into a sleek case using the classic Victorinox design for maximum portability.
This is one of the few Swiss Army knives that has both pliers and wire cutters, and it can do virtually anything that you might normally need bulkier alternatives for.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Champ Knife has two plain edges and one serrated metal saw that can be used for chopping up kindling in camp.
● Three knives. Has two plain edges and a saw.
● Lifetime guarantee. Backed by Victorinox’s lifetime warranty.
● Compact. 33 tools fit into a nifty portable package.
● Not one-handed. Needs both hands to open and operate.
Swiss+Tech 19-in-1 Multi-tool
● Weight : 3.2oz / 91g
● Length When Closed: 1.9”
● Number of Tools: 19
The Swiss+Tech 19-in-1 multi-tool is a good choice for campers that want the most compact and lightest gear. This tool only weighs 3.2oz and fits on a keychain so you can always have it with you.
It includes various screwdrivers, wrenches, hand drills, rulers, wire cutters, and pliers, all in a minute package.
The Swiss+Tech 19-in-1 multi-tool is constructed from stainless steel to provide maximum durability in even the harshest environments. It is also approved by airlines, so you can take it with you without worrying about airport security confiscating it.
● Lifetime warranty. Has lifetime protection against defects.
● Portable. Keychain-sized for easy portability.
● Highly affordable. Budget-friendly option for campers.
● No knife. Doesn’t include a blade.
Leatherman Skeletool CX Multi-tool
● Weight : 5.0oz / 142g
● Length When Closed / Open: 4.0” / 6.0”
● Number of Tools: 7
The Leatherman Skeletool CX has been designed with weight savings in mind by using a unique open-frame design. This reduces its weight to an amazing 5oz.
This tool comes with 7 functions, including hard-wire cutters, two types of pliers, a combo knife that locks, and a bit driver with storage for different bits. These tools are all accessible from the outside.
The Leatherman Skeletool CX multi-tool can be operated with a single hand for convenience. The built-in carabiner makes for easy storage on a belt loop or pack.
● Easy transport. An integrated carabiner makes packing easy.
● Bit storage. Screw bits can be stored when not in use.
● Super light. Only weighs 5oz.
● Very expensive. It’s expensive for only 7 tools.
Gerber Truss Multi-tool
● Weight : 8.4oz / 238g
● Length When Closed: 4.4”
● Number of Tools: 17
Although the Gerber Truss caters mainly to professional handymen, its functionality also makes it good for camping. It is constructed from a single piece of steel that provides a slender, compact profile and durability.
The tool has 4 industry-leading blades, which include two straight edges, a serrated/combo blade, and wood saw. This is perfect for all your camping requirements.
The Gerber Truss multi-tool also contains spring-loaded pliers, which increases comfort with repeated use as it helps to reduce hand fatigue.
● 4 knives. Multiple blade options make any camping task easy.
● Spring-loaded pliers. The spring-loaded pliers add comfort.
● Slim design. Made from a single piece of steel.
● Inside access. Tools aren’t accessible from the outside.
SOG PowerLitre Multi-tool
● Weight : 4.6oz / 130g
● Length When Closed / Open: 3.2” / 5.0”
● Number of Tools: 17
The SOG PowerLitre is a small device that has a lot of functionality in a compact package, making it a good option for campers that are weight-conscious. It uses durable stainless steel components in its construction that ensure long-term use due to being corrosion-resistant.
SOG has packed 17 useful tools into this multi-tool, including multiple bit drivers and screwdrivers, wire cutters, pliers, and even a corkscrew.
Like any SOG multi-tool, the SOG PowerLitre multi-tool has a proprietary Compound Leverage system which enables smooth opening and closing for quicker access to the tools.
● Lightweight. Only weighs 4.6oz.
● Robust. Durable with complete stainless steel construction.
● Smooth opening. Quick tool access is provided via the Compound Leverage system.
● No saw. Does not include a saw.
Buying Guide for Camping Multi-tools
Due to them having so many functions, camping multi-tools are complex pieces of gear. To help you evaluate the world of multi-tools, we have compiled this buying guide so you can easily find the right multi-tool that will meet your requirements.
Here are 4 of the most important things to keep in mind as you shop.
Number of functions
When it comes to multi-tools, it’s easy to think that more functions are better than fewer functions. However, there comes the point where more parts make a multi-tool so heavy and unwieldy that it’s not really convenient to carry around.
At the end of the day, if your multi-tool is so big that you never carry it, it’s not serving any useful purpose.
So, choosing a camping multi-tool is all about finding a balance between all the tools you need, weight, and value.
Somewhere between 5 to 20 functions is ideal for most campers, though it’s about quality more than quantity.
These are the most useful functions you should have on a camping multi-tool:
● Knife (plain edge and serrated)
● Assorted screwdrivers and bits
Although this list of essential tools may seem pretty short, you don’t need to carry other tools into the woods unless you use gear that need specific tools to repair.
These tools are more than enough to cater for most situations during camping adventures. Although having more features may be handy, it’s often best not to let the desire for more tools add weight to your pack while you’re camping or hiking.
There is fortunately a wide range of great tools available in the multi-tool world, such as the Gerber Suspension NXT, and the Victorinox Swiss Army Swisstool Spirit X that combine many functions with light weight to provide maximum versatility.
Most multi-tools are within the range of between 3oz and 10oz (85g and 284g), with anything weighing less than 7oz (198.4g), such as the Stanley 12-in-1 multi-tool, considered relatively lightweight.
Most tools vary in size between 3” and 4” (7.6 and 10.2cm) while closed as they have to be small enough to easily fit into your pocket.
Some suppliers, like Leatherman, took portability to a whole new level by designing wearable multi-tools, such as the Tread, which reduces both the weight and the bulk in your pack.
Multi-tools mostly use a butterfly design. The tools included are encapsulated in two casings that also become the arms of collapsible pliers if these are included.
This design permits the tool to be both functional and portable at the same time.
There are however other design criteria that should be considered. Some functions, such as lockable knifes, are useful safety features, especially if younger campers will be using the tool.
A number of models, like the Gerber Truss, have pliers that are spring-loaded, and this will reduce fatigue and improve hand comfort.
Most multi-tools, such as the SOG PowerLitre and the Leatherman Wave Plus, use stainless steel for their construction, and for good reason as stainless steel is strong enough to withstand rugged environments.
Although stainless steel is often a relatively heavy material, models like the Swiss+Tech 19-in-1 and the Leatherman Skeletool CX utilise compact designs that enable amazing weight savings.
Victorinox is known for constructing its tools from durable plastic polymers, like the Victorinox Swiss Army Champ Knife, which helps in saving weight without sacrificing functionality.