In the palm of your hand

You feel ready to take on more if you have a proper multi-tool within reach. Here are seven to choose from.

Go! Camp & Drive - - Gear - Text Schalk Jonker

Multi-tools are noth­ing new. In fact, it dates back to the Ro­man Em­pire, when Cae­sar’s men were equipped with some­thing that is rem­i­nis­cent of a Swiss Army knife. They used it as cut­lery, but the fork, spoon, knife and tooth­pick folded out just like that fa­mous red knife’s blades and tools. When com­pa­nies like Leatherman started adding pli­ers and a screw driver to the de­sign, things changed, and this prod­uct be­came so pop­u­lar it seems th­ese days you should rather judge some­one by his multi-tool than by the way he dresses.

Big boy

The one thing that makes the Leatherman Sig­nal dif­fer­ent from all the other mod­els, is the built-in di­a­mond-coated blade sharp­ener. It also has an emer­gency whis­tle and a fer­ro­cerium rod to help you get your fire go­ing. With this guy you are pre­pared for the un­ex­pected, and with its 19 tools you should be okay in any sit­u­a­tion. It has two pli­ers, two types of wire cut­ters, a knife blade, opener for bot­tles and cans, and a socket with re­mov­able prongs. With the blade (which is 69 mm long) closed, the Sig­nal stands at 114 mm. And like all Leatherman prod­ucts, it has a 25-year war­ranty. Price From R2 770 at Awe­some Tools. go! Drive & Camp says It even has a lit­tle ham­mer.

As strong as an ox

Leatherman says the pli­ers in the Su­per Tool 300 are the strong­est it’s ever pro­duced, and the handles are de­signed so that you can get the mouth of the pli­ers into the small­est of spa­ces. It also has a no-non­sense wire strip­per, which can be used to cut the in­su­la­tion of elec­tri­cal wire. It has 19 tools in to­tal – you’ll be your neigh­bour’s hero when he wants to do a closer in­spec­tion of his LED lights’ wiring. Price From R1 685 at Awe­some Tools. go! Drive & Camp says It has four screw­drivers (flat-head and Torx) in dif­fer­ent sizes. So you can fix any­thing from your ice fridge to your sun­glasses.

A good op­tion

If Leatherman is the Naas Botha of multi-tools, then Ger­ber is the Gysie Pien­aar. Maybe not as well-known, but not any less depend­able. The Evo Tool is 100 mm long, and be­cause it’s made of metal, it weighs 337 g. Its blades also fold out from the in­side, and with its sharp-mouth pli­ers you can get into those hard-to-reach spots. Its blade is 52 mm long and it also has a small pair of scis­sors. Price R1 170 at go! Drive & Camp says The Ger­ber has a 25-year guar­an­tee.

For the sake of sur­vival

If out­doors­man Bear Grylls puts his name on any­thing, you can prob­a­bly safely say you’re deal­ing with a qual­ity prod­uct. This multi-tool is also made by Ger­ber, and it’s so tough it’s not afraid of any chal­lenge. It has ex­tra grip on its handles and spring-loaded pli­ers for easy use. You also get three screw­drivers, two blades, a wire cut­ter, and scis­sors. Folded up it’s just longer than 100 mm, its blade is 60 mm in length and it weighs 249 g. Price R1 350 at go! Drive & Camp says Its com­po­nents are wa­ter­proof, so you don’t have to worry about rust.

Close at hand

The Side­kick is per­fect for some­one who first wants to see if a Leatherman is for him or her. Although it’s one of the smaller mod­els on the mar­ket – 97 mm long with the blade folded in – it doesn’t mean it’s any less ca­pa­ble. It’s made of stain­less steel and has 14 tools, in­clud­ing pli­ers, two blades and a saw, can and bot­tle opener, flat-head and Torx screw­drivers, and a wire cut­ter. Price From R1 080 at Awe­some Tools. go! Drive & Camp says The blades fold out from the out­side. That means you don’t even have to open it up to take out a blade.

Don’t look down your nose

There are times when your sharp-mouth pli­ers will frus­trate you – like when you have to firmly grip a 12 mm bolt. In th­ese in­stances you’ll be very thank­ful for this lit­tle guy from Ger­ber. Its pli­ers know how to grab hold onto some­thing, and with its sturdy handles you’ll eas­ily keep your grip. It has two knife blades, three screw­drivers, a bot­tle and can opener, file, and even a ruler. Its long­est blade is 36 mm long and folded in it’s 124 mm. It weighs 255 g. Price R1 390 at go! Drive & Camp says There’s also a wire cut­ter that you can put in the mouth of the pli­ers and take out as needed.

Dy­na­mite comes in small pack­ages

This lit­tle guy doesn’t just fit into your pocket, it is also easy on the pocket. It’s made of stain­less steel and has 10 func­tions, in­clud­ing a knife, pli­ers, a small saw­blade, two flat-head screw­drivers and a Torx screw­driver, bot­tle opener, and a file. With the blade folded in it’s 105 mm long. Price R400 at Cape Union Mart. go! Drive & Camp says Its blade is 51 mm long and it weighs 300 g.

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