The Best Leatherman Multi-Tools for Every Activity

Last Updated: August 2020

There's an appropriate Leatherman out there for everyone. To help you choose the right one for you we have put together a list of the best Leatherman multi-tool for each outdoor activity.

Quick Recommendations

There's an appropriate Leatherman out there for everyone. However, with so many options, it can be challenging to determine which one will meet your needs.

To help you choose, we have put together a list of the best Leatherman multi-tool for each outdoor activity.  

Then we break down the many different activities that call for a classic Leatherman before taking a look at the many available Leatherman models.

Last of all, we will take a look at the history of this iconic brand.

Best Leatherman for Your Outdoor Activity

Choosing the Leatherman multi-tool that meets your needs can be challenging. Especially when you consider how many options there are and how many tools each model contains.

To make things a little easier, we've provided recommendations for those that have a specific activity in mind, including camping, fishing, backpacking, everyday carry, and survival.

Best for Camping: Leatherman Charge Plus TTi

The Leatherman Charge Plus TTi  is often considered to be the best multi-tool for those that love to camp. This popular multi-tool features 19 tools in one package. The titanium frame is a major selling point because of its durability and lightweight design.

Tools include pliers, replaceable wire cutters, a wire crimper and stripper, serrated and plain knives, a saw, spring-action scissors, a cutting hook, bottle openers, files, and more. (MSRP $150)

The Charge Plus TTi may be a little expensive for some. If so, consider looking into the Leatherman Wave. The Wave is still a popular option with a wide assortment of tools, but it costs nearly half as much as the Charge Plus TTi.

Best for Fishing: Leatherman Supertool 300

Spend a little time on the water, and quickly you'll find yourself in need of a handy multi-tool for countless reasons. From cutting lines to gutting fish, the Leatherman Supertool 300 is a popular fishing accouterment.

Featuring 19 tools in one, the Supertool 300 contains knives, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, an electrical crimper, a wire stripper, bottle and can openers, a file, a saw, an awl, and a ruler.

The tool's 25-year warranty should hold up well to salt and grime that often accrues after long days of fishing. (MSRP: $80)

Best for Backpacking: Leatherman Wingman

Similar in nature to the camping multi-tool, the backpacking multi-tool should be ready and willing to help at a moment's notice.

Whether you're preparing food after a day on the trail or repairing a rip in your softshell jacket, camping enthusiasts look to the Leatherman Wingman for assistance.

This lightweight tool contains 14 different tools and weighs less than 7 ounces. Best of all, the Wingman only requires one hand to open and operate every single tool, including the ones that aren't accessible from the outside. And with a locking blade, you can always cut with confidence. (MSRP: $50)

Best for Everyday Carry: Leatherman Wave

The Leatherman Wave has been a favored multi-tool amongst everyday carry, or EDC, enthusiasts for years. It's one of Leatherman's best-selling models for a reason.

Mainly, as it contains 17 tools, from pliers to drivers to cutters, and it measures only four inches when closed. 

The secret to the Wave's success comes from its externally accessible locking blades that deploy single-handedly without even needing to open up the tool.

While other Leatherman tools are often geared towards specific activities, the Wave is an excellent option that you'll likely find a use for every day. (MSRP: $90)

For more everyday carry recommendations, check out our EDC Essentials Buying Guide.

Best for Survival: Leatherman Signal

The Leatherman Signal is a favored option amongst campers and outdoorsmen. This is because it contains outdoors-specific tools such as a fire-starting rod and an emergency whistle. That being said, it also makes for the perfect survival tool because it includes the tools you'll need should situations get dicey.

If you lose your lighter, the Signal's fire-starting rod will quickly come in handy. If you need to attract attention or scare away a predator, the whistle is ready to perform.

If you need to hit something really hard, the hammer tool can come to the rescue. Though most Leatherman tools can serve as survival tools in a pinch, the Signal is specifically built to do just that. (MSRP $105)

Leatherman multitool

Different Types of Leatherman Tools

Now let's break down the many different types of Leatherman tools based on size, toolsets, and overall needs.

Leatherman Pocket Tools

Leatherman pocket tools store easily within the confines of your pocket. These tools are built to join you throughout the day. Furthermore, many don't have knives or sharp edges so that you can take them on a plane.

Pocket tools like the Leatherman Brewzer feature a bottle opener and a mini pry bar for day-to-day tasks.

Others like the Leatherman Cam are equipped with multiple sizes of wrenches and bit options. Search through Leatherman's extensive inventory, and you'll find that many of their pocket tools are built for activities such as skating, hunting, surfing, or spending time in the snow.

These pocket tools also make for the perfect gift in a pinch.

Leatherman Keychain Tools

Leatherman keychain tools are similar in size to the pocket tools, but as you may have guessed, they are easily attached to your set of keys.

Leatherman keychain tools contain an assortment of equipment such as a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, a bottle opener, and a file. The Leatherman Squirt is a popular keychain tool option that weighs only 2 ounces, yet it contains nine different tools.

Other keychain tools, such as the Leatherman Style, have multiple features.

These include pliers, wire cutters, scissors, screwdrivers, carabiners, and more. Again, these tiny multi-tools make for the perfect last-minute gift.

Leatherman Pocket-Sized Multi-Tools

Not to be confused with Leatherman pocket tools, the pocket-sized tools are multi-tools that remain small enough to fit in your pocket.

Many of these pocket-size tools come equipped with a pocket clip to ensure they stay secure and ready for action. 

The Leatherman FREE T4 is the company's latest offering that requires only one hand to access every single tool. Made from durable stainless steel, the FREE T4 contains 12 different tools in one convenient package that weighs just 6 ounces.

Equipment in the FREE T4 includes a pocket knife, a pry tool, spring-action scissors, a package opener, and even an extra small screwdriver.

The Leatherman Skeletool is another favorite. It features seven different tools, including a knife, pliers, an exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters, and a carabiner/bottle opener. The handle also holds an extra bit.

Perhaps best of all, this multi-tool is styled with a topographical map print for those that feel most at home in the great outdoors.

Leatherman Full-Size Multi-Tools

These are the classic multi-tools that contain a wide variety of equipment. 

This category includes Leatherman's most popular model, the Leatherman Wave. The Wave is the most popular option because it contains a wide assortment of tools — 21 tools, to be more precise. 

Including pliers, replaceable wire cutters, a wire stripper, knives, a saw, spring-action scissors, a ruler, can & bottle openers, files, and screwdrivers. 

Leatherman Heavy-Duty Multi-Tools

These are the beasts of the bunch. Leatherman heavy-duty tools are designed to withstand dirt, dust, grime, impacts, and any other form of torture you throw their way.

You may notice that Leatherman features full-size tools and heavy-duty tools in separate categories, but these are by-and-large the very same. Only small differences will make the heavy-duty tools both heavier and better for long-term use.

Such as interchangeable parts that can be swapped after years of repetitive use. This makes them heavier, and a carrying case that attaches to your belt is a must-have option.

Some of the more popular heavy-duty Leatherman tools include the Leatherman Surge, which features an astonishing 21 tools.  And the Leatherman Super Tool 300, our recommendation for fishing.

The History of Leatherman

The origin story of Leatherman goes something like this. Tim Leatherman was traveling through Europe with his wife in 1975 when their old Fiat suddenly went kaput.

Tim was a handy husband, and so he took out his classic pocket knife to fix the many things that broke from time to time. His simple tool worked well enough, but often he wished it contained a set of pliers for those tougher jobs.

After returning home from their time abroad, the engineer in Tim decided it was time to reinvent the classic multi-tool. He developed a simple prototype that would later become the Leatherman PST. This stood for pocket survival tool.

The Leatherman PST comprised 13 different tools that stored elegantly into a five-ounce, four-inch package.

However, it didn't become a hit until 1983 when it was picked up by Cabela's for 500 orders. Sales continued to climb, and soon there were over 30,000 Leatherman PSTs in circulation.

The Portland, Oregon, company has since sold millions of tools to customers around the world.

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Key Takeaways

Finding the Leatherman that's right for you can pose a challenge, but fear not! After all, it's always better to have more options than less at the end of the day.

If you find yourself struggling to pair your activities with the perfect Leatherman, consider matching your personality to the right Leatherman instead.

And rest assured that no matter which one you choose, it will surely be built to last for a lifetime of use.

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