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Multi tools are perfect for every occasion. Well, pretty much every occasion. You wouldn’t necessarily take one to a fancy cocktail party, but in almost every other situation, you’ll find a way to use your multi tool in some way. Actually, even at a cocktail party – you could use it to open bottles of beer and wine… So they are actually useful in literally every situation! All jokes aside, the best survival multi tools are just about the most versatile and multi-functional tools in your pack. They’ll come in handy across a multitude of different outdoors and survival functions, including:
- Building shelters
- Starting fires
- Manipulating and hanging tarps
- Making repairs to cars, electronics, or other tools and equipment
- Crafting fishing lines and hooks
- Campfire cooking
- Building small game traps
- Making splints and other first aid uses
- Carving or shaving wood
And the list goes on and on and on.
We’ve had a good few over the years and have tried a bunch of different brands and styles. One thing’s for sure, though, it’s one of our favorite and most used tools. We take it camping, fishing, use it for DIY and yard work.
Recently, we decided to put together a list of the best survival multi tools for outdoorsmen, prepping enthusiasts, and survivalists. The best survival multi tools each have their own pros and cons, with different features and tools included, so it’s not always an apples to apples comparison.
Take a look at these key points to keep in mind when you’re buying a multi tool. Hopefully they’ll help you make the right decision
What will you use your survival multi-tool for?
To make sure you get the right tool, it’s worth asking yourself a bunch of questions. How are you going to use it? Are you going to need pliers? Is it for camping or DIY? Are you going to use it everyday or are you buying it for your First Aid Kit in your car and will rarely touch it?
Your answers to these questions will help you narrow your choice down. If you’re relying on your tool for daily industrial work, it might be worth spending a little more to guarantee the strength and quality you can rely on. On the other hand, if it’s a tool that gets taken out once a year for your family camping trip, maybe a simpler, cheaper tool is for you.
What type of survival multi-tool fits your needs?
Asking yourself what style or design of tool you’re looking for is a great way to eliminate a lot of unsuitable choices. Do you want a Swiss Army knife, a folding multi tool, or a more niche design like an axe, bracelet or keychain tool?
The classic multi tool revolves around the shape of pliers, with other bits unfolding out. The swiss knife is an iconic design, where the knife is the main focus. There are other more unique and novel designs available as well. You’ll need to decide what works best for you, but keep in mind that there’s a reason why either the pliers or the knife have been the focus in the classic designs – both those tools are useful in many situations and need to be as sturdy as possible.
Are there any tools you particularly want or don’t want? Most of the tools on the list come with screwdrivers, wrenches, knives, saws, files, and can openers. But if you want a magnifying glass, a ruler or scissors, this might narrow your field of choice.
It’s extremely important that you can use your multi-tool comfortably – that it fits well in your hand, and that you can get good grip strength around the handle. You definitely want to avoid multi tools that slip out of your hand, or don’t allow you to get enough leverage for more challenging tasks. Think about the different when using a good and bad screwdriver – in one case, your hand slips and it takes ages. With good screw drivers, there’s a good fit with the screw and with your hand and it’s a smooth and easy motion.
Comfort and ease of use are extremely important when it comes to all tools, multi-tools included, so if it doesn’t fit quite right in your hand or you can’t apply strength safely, then don’t feel bad about returning it.
How do you want your multi tool to look? While most high quality multi tools are constructed of stainless steel, many of them come in either silver or black. They also fold closed/open in different ways. While we don’t recommend choosing survival tools based on how their look, if the functionality is the same either way, then pick the one you think looks better.
If you buy one of the best survival multi-tools, there’s a chance you can continue using it for the rest of your life, especially if you take the time to maintain and care for it. Some of the higher quality brands offer fantastic durability, whereas the more budget brands tend to offer products that don’t necessarily stand up to the test of time. In our opinion, it’s worth paying an extra $40 or $50 to get a product that is truly a ‘Buy it For Life’ product, versus something that might only last a couple of years.
Of course, if you can’t spare that extra money then go with a budget option. Just know that the craftsmanship and construction quality aren’t really comparable if you’re talking about the top quality brands versus the more generic brands.
The brands that offer the best survival multi tools also offer excellent warranty programs that allow for repairs/replacements in many situations. Again, if you have a “Buy it for Life” mentality, then this is worth taking into account. Leatherman offers a 25 year warranty, and all repairs are made in the USA. Victorinox offers a lifetime warranty. Very few brands have warranties that last this long, so if you go with one of the top survival multi-tool brands and you run into problems 10 years down the line, make sure you take advantage of the warranties that are on offer.
The Best Survival Multi Tool
The best survival multi-tool for you is going to depend largely on how you plan to use it, what features you’re looking for, and what you’re willing to pay for in terms durability/quality. Regardless of what style multi-tool you’re looking for, what features you want, or how much you’re willing to pay, we’re confident that you’ll be able to find the best survival multi-tool for your specific needs somewhere on this list.