Best survival & EDC multitool

Survival experts review the best multitool for preppers and EDC. See their favorite picks for your budget and needs.

[See the full post at: Best survival & EDC multitool]

  • Comments (12)

    • 9

      While researching for multitools, the primary ones I identified were the Leatherman Wave+ and Charge+ TTi, Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X, and Victorinox Hercules.

      The Hercules has some advantages over Leathermans – a large knife, [probably] better saw, better awl/reamer for poking holes in wood, toothpick, tweezers (good for ticks, splinters)… But it’s a multitool based around a knife, and I already have a field knife. And I want to be able to lock my tools in place, not do that thing I’ve always done with Swiss Army knives where I don’t wrap my whole hand around it in case the tool were to swing back towards my fingers. So that one is out, even though there’s a lot of good stuff there.

      But the Spirit X looks like it really could replace a Charge+ or Wave+ just fine. According to what I’ve read, the pliers are better engineered, don’t put the user at risk of getting pinched, and the whole thing is more ergonomic and solidly constructed. Looking at the tools the Spirit X has, the only thing I feel like I’m missing compared to the Charge/Wave is the diamond file and serrated blade. If I have a field knife and separate sharpener, it doesn’t seem like that much of a downside.

      So this is all to ask, was there a reason the Spirit X wasn’t considered for review? I got a Skeletool CX in the meantime, but I’ll be looking for a full-service multi-tool at some point. At this moment, the Spirit X is looking like the one, unless there’s something I’m missing.

      • 2

        Thanks for the tip! I agree it’s definitely worth looking at, and we’ll include it in our next version of this article.

    • 8

      I’ve had a wave for years and like it okay.  I had an old one handed open gerber about 20 years ago, and have always wanted a similar feature on the better constructed leatherman – thats why I really want to try the Leatherman Free. 

    • 5

      I’ve been hearing a lot of good about Leatherman’s Free P2 and Free P4. The key advantage over the Wave to me is that all the tools are on the outside, which has really been a problem for me with the Wave.  The P2 is also lighter than the Wave, but it has a combo blade and no saw, which is a dealbreaker for me. The P4 is .1 oz heavier than the Wave and brings back the separate serrated blade and the saw. The pricetags are (so far) preventing me from taking the leap, but I’m really liking the idea of not having to open up the tool every time I want to use one of the smaller tools…

      • 3

        Since posting this, I bought the Free P4. Honestly, a great upgrade to the Wave, in my opinion. I’m happy to relegate my Wave to a side bag and use my Free P4 on a daily basis. Tool complement is pretty much as good for my purposes because I didn’t really take advantage of the replaceable driver bits anyways. The ease of use as compared to the Wave can’t be overstated–I find myself using the Free P4 way more often just because I can get to pretty much every tool with one hand. It’s just a lot more frictionless. It also lacked all the little finicky problems my Wave had when I first bought it years ago, like sticky pivots. The pricing still grates on me a bit, but I’m very happy with the tool.

      • 1

        Glad you like the Free P4. I’ve had a Wave for years and years and love it. I do use the replaceable driver bits so I think I’ll have to stick with the Wave for now. 

        I like the look of the Free P4, it looks like a great option and I might have to give it as a gift to some family members this year.

    • 3

      Before I learned about TP, I bought myself a Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier.

      I recently purchased 3x Leatherman Wave+s (my GB, partner GB, second EDC kit), but I’m considering returning these in favor of the Gerber, namely because the suspension makes the pliers a lot smoother to operate.

      Do y’all know why there’s no suspension in the Leatherman? Or why the Gerber is a worse pick?

      • 7

        I suspect, but have never confirmed, that the reason why Leatherman avoids having the spring-loaded pliers in most of their tools (there are a few exceptions) is because they’re an added point of failure. I know in some of the multitools I’ve used, they’ve gotten gummed up and had to be removed. I agree that they make the pliers a lot easier to use, though. 

        Gerber is generally considered a worse pick because people don’t trust their quality control and choices of material. But it’s hard to tell what part of that is old news, what part is undeserved rumor, and what part is reality. Gerber just puts out so many different products at so many different price points and quality levels that it seems wrong to drop a broad judgment anyways.

        My own results have been mixed but I’ve found at least their keychain tool (the Dice) to be reliable enough it stays on my keychain at all times.

      • 2

        Thank you for the additional context! 

    • 1

      I recently upgraded from the Leatherman Sidekick to the Wave+ for EDC.  I appreciate the improved blades, which was the main reason for my change.  A good surprise was that the Wave+ small bit driver screwdriver perfectly fit my eyeglass frame screw, which the Sidekick’s screwdrivers would not.  (Very helpful for field repair of eyeglasses or sunglasses.)  However a bad surprise was that the fancy Wave+ large bit driver was too wide, and the screwdriver attachment inside it too short, to reach one of the recessed screws in a kitchen appliance that I easily reached with the more basic and slender screwdriver in the Sidekick. 

    • 2

      Just bought another Leatherman Wave+, and it looks like they’ve finally improved the included sheath — it’s actually worthwhile now, not the throwaway junk from when TP first endorsed the tool years ago.

      • 1

        What is the sheath of the Leatherman Wave+ made out of these days?

        I have two older normal Waves and one has a leather sheath and the other has a canvas fabric.



        I like the snap of the leather sheath over the velcro. But the canvas sheath does have some extra storage for Leatherman bit kit and canvas is more durable to scratching and scuffs than leather.

        leatherman bit kit