Choosing the right Multi-Tool: A guest post by Morry Barnes

Hi Readers,

Ben here; Still look after this website I promise. Ive picked up a few extra hobbies of the last few years and I want to share those with you soon; but before that I want to introduce you to Morry Barnes. A Multitool Expert that has written a piece for us on how we should chose a Multi-tool for a trip / to purchase. Details on particular tools can be found on his website.


Morry’s credentials and website can be found at


Choose the perfect multi tool for your hike – save money and get the best value

I remember a talk I had with one of my friends a few years back. I especially remember one thing he said: “Hiking is simply putting one foot in front of the other.”

He was not much of a hiker, I knew that, but that statement made it obvious that he didn’t know the first thing about hiking and what goes into it. Done right, hiking will never be “putting one foot in front of the other”.

On a serious hike, the best you can hope is to maximize the time enjoying what’s around you and minimizing the time resolving issues that arise. And the key to doing this is right preparation.

“Right preparation” being the operative term here. It can be the difference between a memorable adventure and spending your time thinking about problems you need to solve.

A good multi tool is positioned very high on my list of items to bring on one of my hikes. It used to be just that quirky novelty in the past, but it has gone a long ways since that and became something of a lifesaver when I’m ways away from home.

Being a lifetime outdoorsman, hiker, camper, hunter and survivalist, I believe I’m more than eligible to give you advice or two concerning proper multi tools for your trip. Especially if you’re just starting out with all this hiking and spending time outdoors business.

How do I plan on doing that?

By teaching you the same set of steps, I personally use when picking a multi tool for my own adventure time. One run through my personal list of questions will provide you with the optimal solution every single time.

What are we waiting for? Let’s ask away.

Question 1: Will this multi tool save me space and weight?

Let’s talk packing and, to be more specific, tools that will find their ways to your backpack.

The inferior hiking option includes bringing a clutter of single dedicated tools. They will eat up all of your packing space, make you heavier, and passing great distances on foot will prove to be a real pain when you’re encumbered that way. Chances are you’re not even going to use a half of it, maybe even more. You’ll curse the day you overpaid those fancy camping pieces, which look great, but are in essence unnecessary and just weigh you down.

I’ll also say that the optimal solution for your hiking might be a simple, minimalistic multi tool, which will have all the functions you’ll ever need, yet somehow won’t take up nearly as much space as those clunky, fancy, pain-in-the-neck tools.

On top of all this, you won’t even be able to bring all that you could possibly need if you go for single tools. You’ll be bound to leave something at home, and end up needing that specific piece later on. That can never happen with multi tool. Where one piece goes, they all go, ready to get the job done.

Hiking is all about traveling light. Proper multi tool will help you reduce the weight and save a lot of space without loosing out in the functionality department. You will be thanking your lucky star you went for the multi tool, especially if it’s a longer journey..

Question 2: Will this multi tool be versatile enough?

This is the best field for newbies to show how green they really are. Or for veterans to show their prowess, whichever way you like.

Newbie will go and get himself a multi tool featuring 3 gazillions of different functions and pay his kid’s college fund for it. He’ll, of course, end up using 3 or 4 tools, but he’ll still yank around pounds of steel.

An example

The Leatherman Charge ALX review can be found on Morry’s site

Let me tell you how I go about it. I like to keep it minimal. You need far fewer tools in the wilderness than you might imagine, but you want them all to be excellent and do their job without a hitch.

Here’s what I consider to be essential:

  • You’ll definitely want a good pair of pliers featuring wire cutters
  • Blades are simply a must, get the multi tool that packs both fine and serrated edge
  • Screwdrivers – Phillips and regular ones, but make sure they’re top quality
  • Opener for cans and bottles

Less is more in the wilderness kids. This might seem like a list that’s not nearly enough for your hiking endeavors, but it’s just right, trust me. It proved to be quite sufficient for me in more than one occasion.

Question3: Is this tool well made and high-quality enough?

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but let’s dig deeper and see what “high-quality” really means.

Bunch of manufacturers out there deploy marketing strategies that are aimed to confuse the customers and make them go for products that are advertised as “high-quality”. Most of the time those products are pure junk and a waste of your cash.

Talking from a place of experience, here’s want you want from your tool:

ü  Let’s start with the handles – you don’t want them to be made of materials that are susceptible to corrosion. Titanium is the way to go here

ü  Look for tools that are manufactured out of 420 cc steel (except the blades). It’s stainless of course and much stronger than titanium due to the low chromium level. It’s also a pain to break, so it’ll serve you well for ages. It’s not good for the blades though, so keep that in mind

ü  Look for blades that are made of 154CM steel. The main advantage of these blades is the fact that they’ll keep their edge way longer than 420 steel ones. I’m talking up to three times longer

Let no manufacturer or their cunning advertising ever make you forget the true meaning of the word “quality” again.

One overseen non-no

Stay clear of anything “coated”. Multi tools that are coated with titanium, for example, will cost a lot more but won’t bring long lasting benefits. It just says we made it look like titanium, but it really isn’t.

Question 4: Will this tool be safe enough?

Here’s what we’re looking for here:

  • All tools should lock in position, especially the blades
  • One-handed deployment should be easy and safe
  • You should be able to use any tool while other pieces remain open too

Those are my steps folks. They served me well for years and now I past them down to you all.

We all have outset of needs and one tools will never fit them all. The goal of this text is not to tell you which multitool to choose, but to eliminate the confusion about what’s quality and what’s advertising.

When you drill down to a few tools that seem right for you, you can read customer reviews and see which multi tools suits your needs best.

Stay safe and make smart choices


One Response to Choosing the right Multi-Tool: A guest post by Morry Barnes

  1. couldn’t have put it any better than that, i have used leatherman tools for some time and i have never had a hitch. am looking forward to use the leatherman bracelet multi tool my next biking session.

Leave a Response

six + = 15