by Diane Spicer
This Leatherman multitool review focuses on the full size Leatherman Knifeless Rebar model.
Does a hiker need one of these?
Is this the best multitool for car campers?
Let's find out.
But not until we do this.
Hiking For Her was contacted about the possibility of testing a Leatherman multitool on the trail, and then writing a review.
As you'll read in a moment, HFH had several motives for agreeing to try out a multitool.
But what you really need to know in this part of the review:
In other words, you're getting it straight from the
horse's hiker's mouth, with no sugar coating, in this Leatherman multitool review.
Here's the truth: In the past, I have been intimidated by the plethora of options any Leatherman offers.
When examining all of the craftily engineered tools, I get a little queasy.
In other words, sometimes ignorance (of what could go wrong) is bliss.
But that doesn't seem like a sensible reason to askew a multitool, am I right?
Here's another motive for this Leatherman multitool review:
I've seen bush pilots, mechanics, and other hikers with these tools on their belts, and because I have the highest respect for these folks, it made me curious about carrying one myself.
The lack of a knife on this gadget gave me pause, because a knife is considered one of the hiking Ten Essentials.
I also wondered about the universality of this multitool - does one size fit all?
Let's get to answering those questions in this Leatherman multitool review!
Made in Oregon (USA), you can find a Leatherman in multiple size ranges:
The Knifeless Rebar is listed as a full size device, with these specs:
This is a sturdy, well built metal multitool that shouts quality when you handle it.
It won't corrode or rust with regular outdoor usage in all weather conditions.
Just for fun (and amazement), let's list the 15 tools it contains in that four inch footprint:
Looks like plenty of repair options, no?
Leatherman gives you an exploded, labeled diagram in their bright yellow boxes.
As a biologist, I have to say I love this!
Okay, let's start this Leatherman multitool review with the obvious upside of having the right tool for the job when something goes wrong with your stove, tent or other critical piece of hiking gear.
Let me state for the record that a Leatherman multitool has come along on every car camping trip I have taken in the past 2 decades (although it wasn't mine).
It's been used for:
So I was already a big fan of this multitool for car camping.
And now I have my own Leatherman! (evil laugh)
This particular full size multitool at first glance seemed a bit too big for regular use.
Except for these 2 facts:
Which brings up the most important thing I see you, a backpacker, receiving from carrying a Leatherman:
peace of mind
Personally, I'm willing to leave behind something in order to make room for this mobile tool kit.
And I can't think of the last time I took a multi-day hiking trip and something did NOT break :(
Look at both sides of this approach:
What's that worth to you?
Perhaps a lot more than the ~$69 (U.S.) this multitool costs.
It's an investment of sorts in your future peace of mind, and the further you stray from an easy rescue, the more priceless it becomes.
A person who enjoys a lot of camping will have multiple opportunities to use the bottle opener, the can opener, the saw, the pliers, and possibly the wire stripper on every trip.
The small saw could come in handy, but 2 types of wire cutters? I can't think of a time when I needed that in the backcountry.
Don't fret! Leatherman is already one step ahead of us.
They provide a lot of options for choosing the right combo of tools for the jobs you do routinely on the trail, or around the campfire.
Regardless of which size you go for, take at least five minutes to play around with opening, closing and using the plethora of tools - before you head out to the trail.
I'm guessing you already realize that you can use a multitool at home:
And you know those times when something falls apart but you feel too lazy to rifle through the garage or junk drawer for a full sized tool?
The Leatherman on your belt will come in handy.
This made me think hard, until I sat down and counted the times in the past five years that I needed a knife on a hiking trip.
And yet, I carry a Swiss army knife in my survival kit on hike after hike after hike.
You know, "just in case".
Where did I get this training?
My Girl Scout leaders.
Forty five years ago.
Throwing my usual abundance of caution to the wind, I declare that it's possible the time has come to upgrade to a versatile multitool.
Handing this bladeless multitool to a youngster can be done without the worry of a knife being used inappropriately.
And due to the quality workmanship and long guarantee, tell your kid that someday, this Leatherman will ride along in her pack as a family hiking heirloom.
LeatherMAN on Hiking For HER?
Let's not be hasty.
Leatherman was the real life last name of the person who invented this multitool, who also happened to be male: Tim Leatherman.
And the original version was marketed as a Pocket Survival Tool, a name which appeals to male and female hikers alike.
Carrying a Leatherman multitool might make you prone to hoping things break, just so you can grab this little beauty off your belt and look like a bad*ss hiker.
And to go full on geek, you can get it engraved!!
But beware of an unintended side effect of Leatherman usage:
In Hiking For Her's humble opinion, "Tinkerer tendencies might ensue" should be disclosed on that user guide!
So if you decide you're adding one of these to your gear list (or want to gift one to someone you love), don't say I didn't warn you.
With every gear review I write, I invite you to send me your questions. It's my intention to give you all the facts you need before you purchase an item for your gear locker.
Here's a fact I forgot to mention: If you have arthritic finger joints, you might need a bit of help pulling the small tools out from the metal housing.
See? As much as I wrack my brain trying to cover all the angles which might interest you, I might overlook something that's really important to you.
You might also like to pull together a simple gear repair kit to give yourself more options with your Leatherman.
Leatherman Multitool Review
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She’s been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for nearly five decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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