Choosing The Best Multitool For Backpacking

Conquerwild’s #1 pick for Best Multi Tool For Backpacking: Gerber Suspension NXT-Multi-Tool!!

When backpacking, it’s important that we stay prepared for whatever the wilderness may throw our way. One great way to remain prepared is by keeping a hiking multitool handy. The beauty of these versatile gadgets is that they’re able to take almost every essential tool you might need while backpacking, and cram them into one compact package.

There are dozens upon dozens of multitools to choose from out there, each boasting their own special features. The main question is: which is the best multitool for backpacking? I’ve found what I believe to be the best products out there and reviewed them all! Here’s my take on the best multitools for camping, hiking and backpacking:

What We’ll Be Reviewing:


Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool – Most High Quality

Tools Included:

  1. Needle-nose pliers
  2. Regular pliers
  3. Medium screwdriver
  4. Replaceable wire cutters 
  5. Wire stripper
  6. Wood saw
  7. Ruler
  8. Electrical crimper
  9. Fine edge knife
  10. Serrated knife
  11. File
  12. Spring action scissors
  13. Bottle opener
  14. Can opener
  15. Small and large bit drivers

The Leatherman name is one that many frequent tool users hold in high regard. That’s because they’ve been killing the game of knives and multitools since they were founded in 1983. This product is a revamped version of their original Wave multitool, and it’s a definite step up in quality.

Coming in either silver or black (the black looks absolutely awesome), this multitool has a whole lot of functionality compacted into a small presentation. The plethora of tools on this thing range from your standard needle-nose pliers to the quite advanced electrical crimpers (making it a good multi tool for electricians). Each of these tools can be safely accessed and used with just one hand, thanks to the sturdy locking joints. Also, this multitool’s all-locking blades are designed so that accidents are preventable, even when it’s in your pocket.

This is one of the best selling multitools out there, and for good reason. It’s crafted for those who need a little bit of everything in their multitool. Yet still, it’s easy enough for first timers to use. This is definitely a top notch product.

Pros

  • All of the tools can be accessed with just one hand.
  • Both blades and the wood saw are razor sharp straight out of the box.
  • This compact and lightweight multi tool weighs only 9 ounces.
  • It comes with a handy, nylon sheath for safe keeping.
  • The wire cutters are easy to replace.
  • It has a 2.9” stainless steel blade, which is quite large for a multitool.

Cons

  • It’s the most expensive product on this list.
  • The black version of this tool scratches easily.
  • It doesn’t come with a pocket clip.

>>> Check It Out On Amazon <<<

The Veitrold Mini Hammer Multitool – Most Unique

Tools Included:

  1. Hammer head
  2. Nail claw
  3. Flat grip pliers
  4. Pipe grip pliers
  5. Wire cutters
  6. Serrated blade
  7. Straight knife
  8. Saw blade
  9. File
  10. Bottle opener
  11. Phillips-head screwdriver
  12. Flat-head screwdriver

The Veitrold Mini Hammer Multitool is perhaps the most unique product on this list. That’s because, as the name suggests, it comes with a hammer! In fact, if you didn’t know any better and you saw this thing from far away, you might think this was nothing but a hammer. That’s the beauty of this multitool’s super compact and seamless design.

I love the aesthetic of this product with its black finish and rugged-looking handle. It’s just as tough as it looks too, because it’s made of stainless steel. In spite of its durable frame, this multitool is nice and lightweight. It weighs in at 8.96 ounces, just slightly less than the Leatherman (beating it out by 0.04 ounces- about the weight of a thumbtack!).

If you happen to be here in search of a tactical Father’s Day gift, you can purchase this product with “Best Dad Ever” printed on the side- which is kind of funny to me. It’s a nice little touch nonetheless. With or without the inscription, this multitool will keep most backpackers satisfied.

Pros

  • It’s an affordable, 12 feature multi tool.
  • It has dimensions of 5.51” x 2.76” x 0.25”, making it super compact (and lightweight).
  • It comes with a convenient little holder which has a belt loop.
  • There are 2 safety locks, one for the hammer/pliers and one for the rest of the tools. This means it’s super safe and solid.
  • The stainless steel makeup of this multitool means it’s rust resistant and anti-corrosive.

Cons

  • Veitrold’s customer service is reportedly not the best.

>>> Check It Out On Amazon <<<

Gerber Suspension-NXT Multi-Tool – Best Pick Overall / Best Value

Tools Included:

  1. Needle-nose pliers
  2. Standard pliers
  3. Wire cutters
  4. Scissors
  5. Partially serrated blade
  6. Bottle opener
  7. Can opener
  8. Awl
  9. File
  10. Ruler
  11. Wire stripper
  12. Cross-head screwdriver
  13. Small flat-head screwdriver
  14. Medium flat-head screwdriver
  15. Large flat-head screwdriver

Now for a trusty multitool that I put my own faith in every time I go camping or backpacking: the Gerber Suspension-NXT. I’ve owned this multitool for a little while now and I must say, it’s done me pretty well.

This ultralight multi tool is sleek yet solid to the touch. Its slim design makes it feel non-intrusive, even when it’s in my pocket for long periods of time. When I don’t want it in my pocket, it’s small enough to fit into every compartment in my backpack.

Each of the tools are strong and durable as well. The partially serrated blade was razor sharp right out of the package when I bought it. All of the screwdrivers are sturdy and easy to use. The pliers are spring-loaded and the grip feels very natural in your hands.

Now, I’m not what I’d call a handyman by any stretch of the imagination. Yet still, I’ve found use for almost every tool within this product. Specifically, the blade, scissors, awl, can opener, bottle opener and pliers have come to my rescue more times than I can count. I just keep it in my backpack at all times, for all types of expeditions- you never know what problems you may run into when out in the woods. Overall, the Gerber Suspension-NXT is an affordable multitool of quality and I’ve been nothing but satisfied with my purchase.

Pros

  • It features a pocket clip and a lanyard hole for easy carry.
  • It’s super affordable.
  • At 6.7 ounces, this is the most lightweight multitool on this list!
  • It’s made of stainless steel, making it resistant to rust and corrosion.
  • When completely folded, this multitool is only 4.25” long. It’s super low profile.
  • It’s got 15 useful tools, all of which lock safely when extended fully.
  • This is one of the few multitools out there that has a real cross-head screwdriver.
  • All of the tools can be accessed without opening the entire thing.

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with a carrying case or sheath.
  • The ruler is so tiny and hard to read it’s practically useless.
  • You sometimes have to dig your nail into the tool tabs a bit to get some of them up.

>>> Check It Out On Amazon <<<

WETOLS 21-In-1 Multi-Pliers – Most Affordable

Tools Included:

  1. Combination pliers
  2. End cutting pliers
  3. Needle-nose pliers
  4. Blade
  5. Wood/Metal file
  6. Hexagon sleeve
  7. Sickle
  8. Rope-cutting knife
  9. Bottle opener
  10. Can opener
  11. Slotted screwdriver
  12. Mini slotted screwdriver
  13. Holepuncher/awl
  14. Saw blade
  15. 4 double sided drill bits

If you need absolute maximum functionality, then this multitool by WETOLS has certainly got you covered with a grand total of 21 tools in 1! That’s more than any other multitool on this list. Each of these tools are super reliable and efficient thanks to the high quality stainless steel and the user-friendly design.

When it comes to safety, it’s important that your multitool is self-locking… And this product is. It definitely should be, considering the amount of tools that this thing boasts. Each one of those tools is made with sand-blasted stainless steel. Moist environments are no match for this rugged tool as it’s resistant to oxidation and corrosion. When it’s fully opened, this thing looks like some sort of mechanical butterfly, which can be a bit intimidating. However, the tools open cleanly and easily, so it’s not nearly as hard to operate as it seems.

The most unique part of this multitool is its inclusion of 4 double-sided drill bits. The nylon pouch that comes with this product is a perfect place to store the bits when you’re not using them. From the safe and sturdy grip on this multitool to the extensive features, the WETOLS Multi-Pliers holds up well against even the most expensive products on the market.

Pros

  • The needle-nose pliers are spring-loaded, so you should have less hand fatigue when using them.
  • It’s super affordable, making it the best budget multi tool on this list.
  • With 21 different features, this multitool is also the most versatile product on this list.
  • It’s self-locking, with an easy-to-use button release.
  • When completely folded up, this multitool is about the size of a soda can.
  • The nylon carry pouch is super convenient and durable with enough space for the multitool and each of the 4 drill bits.
  • Each tool can be accessed on its own without moving other tools.

Cons

  • This multitool may be a bit overwhelming for beginners.
  • It’s a bit heavier than most other multitools out there (11.8 ounces).

>>> Check It Out On Amazon <<<

ROXON Storm – Best Emergency Multitool

Tools Included:

  1. Regular pliers
  2. Needle-nose pliers
  3. Wire cutters
  4. Glass breaker
  5. Saw blade
  6. Flat-head screwdriver
  7. Phillips-head screwdriver
  8. Knife
  9. Scissors
  10. Rope cutter
  11. Reamer
  12. Corkscrew
  13. Bottle opener
  14. Can opener
  15. Ruler

If I had to choose one product as being the best backpacking multi tool for emergency situations, the ROXON Storm would likely have my vote. This is a fantastic little tool to keep in the glove compartment of your car. It’s actually the only product on this list which contains a tungsten steel glass breaker. It also includes a surprisingly thick pair of scissors, which are great for cutting through seat belts or rope.

This multitool is made from a mixture of different types of stainless steel. Unfortunately, it’s not all high quality stainless, but it’s reasonably durable and will likely live a decent service life. While this product is great to keep in your car, it’s also amazing to use when camping and hiking. The razor sharp saw is great for cutting firewood. The corkscrew is perfect for when you want to indulge in some camp wine. Practically every tool here would do well on a group camping trip.

Whether you’re a backpacker, first responder or just overly paranoid about crashing your car off a bridge, the ROXON Storm is a great multitool that’s equipped to get you out of some seriously dangerous situations.

Pros

  • It’s the only multitool on this list with a glass breaker and a corkscrew.
  • It’s got a total of 16 tools.
  • The scissors are pretty huge and heavy duty for a multitool.
  • It utilizes a strict oil seal treatment, making it rust resistant.
  • The pliers are spring-loaded, which makes them easier to use.
  • The V-hook rope cutter is specifically designed to avoid injury.
  • It comes with an additional bit set.

Cons

  • At about 1.4 pounds, this is by far the heaviest multitool on this list.
  • It’s not as anti-corrosive as more expensive multitools with higher quality stainless steel.
  • There is no lock for the saw, so you should really be careful when using it.

>>> Check It Out On Amazon <<<


What Is A Backpacking Multi Tool?

For the backpackers out there who aren’t super well versed in the world of gadgets and tools, the term “multitool,” may seem strange.

In reality, a multitool is exactly what it sounds like: a plethora of useful tools and features compacted into one singular contraption. They’re usually lightweight and sometimes small enough to fit in your pocket. The point of these gadgets is to eliminate the need to carry around multiple large tools.

A “backpacking” multitool comes with various tools that may come in handy during any hiking or camping adventure. There’s always something to open, something to cut, something to unscrew or some other problem that can be solved easily by your multitool. However, not every multitool out there is the same.

The In’s And Out’s Of Backpacking Multitools

If you’re going to be investing in a multitool, there are lots of factors to take into consideration before making a purchase. It’s important that you don’t go in blindly and choose something just because “it looks cool” or “it was cheap!” I highly suggest that, when searching for the best camping multi tool, you be mindful of the following aspects:

The Different Types Of Multitools

Just like any other tool or backpacking product, multitools come in many different forms. Most of these forms can be identified by the way that they fold, lock, appear or function. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Folding Multitool – This type of gadget is known for its ability to fold its tools in and out, usually in a butterfly formation. While folding multitools tend to be a bit larger than other types, they’re usually more versatile. They’re also one of the easiest to carry because of their compact, collapsible nature.

Foldable multitool closed up and sitting on a rock near the water.

  • Wallet Multitool – One of the more unique types of multitool out there, these are known for their slim and compact structure. While they’re great in the sense that they can fit into most wallets, they’re not usually the most versatile type of multitool.
  • Keychain Multitool – As the title suggests, these multitools are designed to be fastened to a keychain. As a result, they’re generally on the small side and don’t offer a whole lot of features.
  • One-Piece Multitool –  These are usually the most simple variation of multitool out there. What you see is what you get and all of their parts are stationary.
  • Specialty Multitool – This category of multitool represents each product that has a very specific design and purpose. These can include electrician’s multitools, survival multitools, fishermen’s multitool and so on.

How Durable Is It?

Clearly, if you want an efficient multitool that you can use on all your backpacking excursions, it needs to be super strong.

Material can make or break a multitool when it comes to durability. I always prefer stainless steel, because it’s super tough and very resistant to rust and corrosion. This means that you can use it in the rain or mist without shortening its lifespan.

Think About Safety

With any collection of tools comes the concern of safety. Many of these multitools come with knives, awls, wire cutters, scissors and other potentially dangerous instruments on them. It’s important that, if you have a folding multitool, it has a trusty locking mechanism.

Your tools should automatically lock in place when you open them fully. This way, when you’re using them, you don’t slip and hurt yourself. You should also make sure that your tools are easy to unlock and return to the closing position safely.

Ease Of Use

No one wants to buy a product that’s awkward and difficult to master, even if you’re a multitool pro. It’s important that each of the features on your multitool can open smoothly and close without difficulty.

Some products boast that they can be used with one hand (like the Leatherman Wave Plus). If you’re looking for maximum convenience, consider purchasing something like this.

Think About Portability

The entire purpose of a backpacking multitool is to make it easier to carry around multiple tools at once. Not everybody wants to lug around a big, bulky piece of metal while hiking. Therefore, it’s important that the product you buy is lightweight enough for you.

It’s also important that you have an easy way to transport your multitool. If you want to carry your device in your backpack, then you don’t really need to look for anything special. However, if you plan on carrying it in your pocket, then you need something small enough to fit.

Closed multitool in my hand over some rocks and shrubs.

Some multitools, like the Gerber Suspension-NXT Multitool, come with a pocket clip. These add a bit of extra security to your device and ensure that it won’t fall out of your pocket.

Sometimes, multitools come with lanyard holes as well so that you can fasten it around your neck. I usually find these to be a bit pointless, because multitools are usually too heavy to comfortably wear as a necklace.

If your multitool doesn’t come with either of these features, it may come with a sheath or carry pouch instead. Oftentimes, you can fasten these to your belt or waistline to allow for easy access.

The Most Common Multitool Features

Whether you’re looking for something super complex or very user-friendly, these are some of the most common and useful instruments found in backpacking multitools:

  • Blade Found on the majority of backpacking multitools, blades can be very helpful whenever you need to slice or carve something. As far as material goes, carbon steel blades are the easiest to sharpen and will give you the most efficient cut. 420 HC stainless steel is also easy to sharpen and affordable.
  • Pliers – One of the most common tools out there, many multitools use pliers as their main feature. These are used for tightly gripping, bending, twisting or cutting things. If you want better grip for small objects, consider buying a multitool with needle-nose pliers.
  • Saw – A more rugged cousin of the regular blade, saw blades are great for severing firewood on the go.
  • Spring-action scissors – These compact, easy-to-use scissors can be quite tiny. However, they usually work just as well as standard scissors.
  • File – These simplistic little tools are meant to shave off excess bits of material from something. Think of it as a nail file, but for more heavy-duty objects.
  • Wire cutters – When you need to sever something a bit tougher than a string or rope, wire cutters will help you get the job done.
  • Bottle opener – There’s nothing wrong with using your multitool to crack open an ice cold beer (or coke, if you’re under the age of 21).
  • Can opener – Oftentimes when camping, your meals depend largely on canned foods like beans, peas, sausages, etc. It’s almost impossible to open these without a can opener.
  • Awl – A somewhat uncommon tool that not everybody’s familiar with, the awl is a sharp instrument used to punch holes into things.
  • Screwdrivers – An absolute must have for any multitool, since you never know when you’ll need to tighten or loosen a screw. It’s best when a multitool has several sizes of screwdrivers. It’s an added bonus if they have both phillips-head and flat-head extensions.
  • Reamer – Another somewhat uncommon tool, reamers are designed to enlarge pre-existing holes.
  • Ruler – Many multitools include a small ruler. You never know what you might have to measure on your camping trip.

Multitool with tools open and staggered on a rock near the water.

The Special Features

Here are some of the features that aren’t quite as common, but will be a great bonus for your multitool.

  • Electrical crimper – A tool that allows you to conjoin 2 separate electrical cords by deforming them and forcing them together. These are great for electricians on the go.
  • Hammer head – Being that hammers are such large and rugged tools, they’re often only found in specialty multitools. These are usually built to withstand high levels of impact.
  • Corkscrew – While not every backpacker finds themselves opening bottles of wine in the wilderness, this tool is super helpful to those who are looking to get their party on in the woods.
  • Glass breaker – A literal lifesaver in treacherous situations, glass breakers are an essential part of emergency survival multitools. They’re usually made from a very hard rock such as tungsten or diamond and can break through a car glass window.

Think Ergonomics

There are more than 30 muscles in the human hand. If you choose a multitool that’s uncomfortable to hold, you’ll quickly tire them out.

Many products are designed with special curvature to fit into your hand, which makes for much comfier operation.

If you’re using a butterfly multitool, it’s always great when it has spring-loaded pliers. This means that your pliers will rest in the open position, making them much less strenuous to use.

Deciding What’s Right For You

Now that we’ve taken a look at each of the main, objective elements that affect multitools, it’s time to look at the factors that individual backpackers face. Use this information to reflect upon your own objectives, needs and goals as a multitool owner.

What Will You Be Using Your Multitool For?

If you’re reading this page, the obvious answer to this question may be, “backpacking, duhh!” Remember that not every backpacker faces the same circumstances.

If you’re using your multitool for a survival-type expedition, then you should probably look for something hardcore with survival tools like saw blades and rope cutters.

If you don’t need something quite as rugged, look for something with fewer intense features. Seek out the essentials that work for you and your level of expeditions.

Assess Your Abilities

Not every person who purchases a backpacking multitool would consider themselves to be a “handyman” (or “handywoman”). If not, then that’s okay. There’s still a place for you in the world of multitools.

However, it’s important that you stay within your league of abilities. Don’t purchase something with more features than you can handle. You’ll be wasting your money and potentially putting yourself in danger.

Assess Your Price Range

With each different style, design and brand of multitool, comes different prices. If you’re on a budget, don’t be afraid to purchase something on the lower end of the spectrum. Will it be as high quality as some of the more expensive options? Probably not. 

However, finding the right product is not always about, “what’s the most high end option I can find?” It’s more about choosing the best crafted product for your individual needs.


Conclusion

Regardless of what level of backpacker you consider yourself to be, I firmly believe that everyone can benefit from owning a multitool. These versatile gadgets will help you accomplish such a wide variety of tasks in a simple, compact and efficient way.

When choosing a multitool for yourself, just remember to look at each product objectively. Examine what each option has to offer and then determine which features will benefit you the most as a backpacker.

There are tons of great choices out there and the best option for you will depend on your own circumstances. However, in my eyes, one product stands out as being the greatest overall.

Our Top Pick Is…

The Gerber Suspension-NXT Multi-Tool!!

Call me a bit biased because I own this product, but I purchased it for a reason! The Gerber has everything any backpacker/camper needs in a super slim, compact structure. Its spring-loaded, butterfly design is super user-friendly and the inclusion of a pocket clip makes this thing incredibly easy to carry around. 

Being able to access each and every tool without opening the entire device is a huge plus and I’ve found nearly all the features on this multitool to be super useful and effective. It’s an affordable choice that was definitely worth my money, and is probably worth yours as well.

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