Best Muti-tool for Camping That Will Actually Make Your Camping Trip Better
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What used to be an obscure tool for handymen and hunters, the multitool is riding the wave of EDC popularity. Now, exponentially more people have a multitool in their pocket than every before. This means the market is pressed to create better and more innovative tools on a regular basis.
For the last month we have been testing four of the best multitools on the market. These models vary considerably but they all fall into the category of a multitool. Some are built in the traditional plier-based model. We have a traditional Swiss army design. We even have a multitool that is shaped like a hatchet!
This list has a wide variety of tools, some performed better in the wilderness while others were perfect for EDC and workplace tasks.
How We Tested
These tools were used in the field and carried in daily life. It was noted how the tools were used and what they were most effective at. We also paid close attention to the durability of these tools and how they performed under pressure.
Off Grid Tools OGT-SA100 Survival Axe Elite Multitool Review
This is a unique tool on this list because it is a multitool, but it is not based on the plier design that we are familiar with when we think of a multitool. OGT-SA100 Survival Axe is based around its hatchet shape. The core design of the tool is a long handle with a rounded hatchet.
While the other multitools have short saws on this tool is designed to process smaller fuel for a fire. That is a big deal. While you might not want to carry a hatchet like this into work, you might find this is a great multitool for camping. A camping hatchet is a big deal.
So, what else does the Survival Axe feature besides the hatchet option.Check Prices of OGT-SA100 Survival Axe
The head of this tool features several tools. The opposite edge of the hatchet also features a hammer, pry, wire twist, recessed nail puller and nail remover. The head of the tool has three nut sizes cut out and a gas shut off, too! These are very effective tools to have
The handle of the survival axe is more than just a handle. The handle features a glass breaker and a seat belt cutter. It’s a very long and very straight, rubberized handle. It does not feature the ergonomics of a well-made hatchet, but it is limited in options because the great tool that the handle conceals.
The handle of the Survival Axe contains a 6-inch Sawzall blade and that can go a very long way in a survival situation. Sawzall blades are very cheap, very light and can be stored in a tight stack that you store in your backpack. With that blade you can do all sorts of sawing activities that are out of the scope of most multitools.
The head and tang of this weapon is built around 1055 carbon steel. The handle is glass reinforced nylon and both are very durable.
Overall, this tool will not be the one you take to work everyday in the pocket next to edc flashlight. However, it is an option for the outdoors that presents a few things that are vital. The ability to process wood with the hatchet and Sawzall is just vital. While at the same time offer up some tools for getting around the urban environment.
Bear Grylls Ultimate Multitool Review
In the world of multitools and tactical tools in general Gerber has made a massive impact. The Ultimate Multitool by Gerber and Bear Grylls is a tough and reliable multitool. Its stainless-steel handles have a lot going on with rubberized grips locking mechanisms.
Overall, the tools pliers, which we consider to be the main function of a multitool is smooth spring loaded and effective. The pliers are made up of tool steel and have wire cutters at the base.Check prices of Ultimate Multitool by Gerber and Bear Grylls
There are 12 stainless steel, weatherproof, tools that are folded into the handles. These include a fine edged knife and a serrated blade. These two knives lock into place with a safe T locking system that makes them more functional and reliable as a substitute for a full tang survival knife.
You also get a Philips head screwdriver, small flat head screwdriver, lanyard ring, small and medium flat driver and scissors for affecting things at the tool bench. You can also open bottles and cans with the included tools.
All the tools are sturdy and effective. I was very happy with the durability of this tool. Some multitools have the feel of strong aluminum and you feel a weakness in the overall makeup of the tool. Even though this model is completely stainless steel, it only weighs in at just over half a pound.
As far as aesthetics are concerned you are going to see the BG Bear Grylls logo built into the rubberized grips. They also feature his autograph on one handle. The tool looks great and the contrast of colors with the grey stainless handles the shining plier and tools along with the sparse Gerber orange makes a beautiful design.
The pouch included also features the autograph the BG logo and of course the GERBER logo as well. This sheath is basic and does not really overwhelm in any way. Its hard for me to imagine anyone actually wearing this sheath who is over 14 years old. That said, it looks good in the packaging.
The final piece of the puzzle is the Bear Grylls priorities of survival pocket guide that walks the owner through survival essentials like food, water and shelter. This is a pretty thoughtful little piece that can be stuffed down into your wallet as a resource in the worst-case scenario.
Overall, you come away with decent multitool that is capable of achieving most tasks. I am not sure, outside of the mini survival guide, how Bear Grylls has differentiated this model from say a Leatherman or any other quality Gerber multitool. That said, it’s a very effective EDC tool to have on hand at all times.
Victorinox Swiss Army Tool Chest Review
While the plier based multitools dominate the market today, there is something to be said about the classic Swiss army knife. These were in the dreams of young boys going way back. They were looking to earn their pocketknives and gain access to the various tools that were held within.
This Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool & knife took our 2nd place spot for the very best multitool because vast capability and ease of carry. It was a close decision on many levels and this 2nd place ranking would be a 1st place if this knife was put up against standard pocket knife style multitools.
Now, most of these Swiss army knives have a few tools hidden inside of them. Some of the coolest even have a pair of scissors tucked in there. The Tool Chest by Victorinox has taken this idea to the next level. It has just gone totally insane with the sheer number of tools and uses that could be fit into one multitool.
This model packs over 30 functions and 17 unique tools! At lest than a half a pound you get a lot of tools that can slide right into any pocket. These tools range from things you might use on a daily basis like the screw drivers, toothpick or straight blade, to things you might only use in a survival situation like the compass and magnifier.
- 5-inch Locking Blade
- Lever Design Serrated-Edge Scissors
- Wire Stripper
- 75″ Double-Cut Wood Saw
- Phillips Locking Screwdriver
- Metal File
- Metal saw
- Magnifying Glass
- Precision Screwdriver
- Wire crimper
- Wire cutters
- Nut Wrench
- Integrated Rotating Compass with Slight Line
- Universal Wrench
- Fish Scaler with hook disgorger
- Key ring
What we liked most about this model was the fact that it could so thoroughly address the needs of specific areas of your life. For example, there are levels of personal hygiene that can be managed with this one tool that no other tool on this list could even dream of.Check prices of Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool & knife
The tweezers, toothpick, scissors and file can be used to trim, clean and pluck your way back to a position of good personal hygiene. Obviously, the toothpick gives you an option for dental hygiene that is vital. This tool would be a great companion from a hygienic standpoint.
From the TOOLS standpoint you are going to see some serious benefits in the Tool Chest. If you are a handyman or someone who finds themselves at the workbench a lot, this tool is tremendous. You are going to be able to use the small pliers, wire crimpers, cutters, nut wrench, ruler, files and maybe even that ruler function.
For the survivalist you are going to have access to a serious saw, a few great blades for carving, the magnifying glass that will allow you to capture the sun and start fire, the fish scaler for making your meals a little more palatable and, of course, that straight locking blade that is vital to survival.
Overall, we are dealing with a tremendous tool here that strikes a perfect balance between EDC pocket tool and outdoors instrument for orienting and survival tasks. It’s also just a marvel that they created such a powerful tool in such a tight package.
Gerber Center Drive Review
The Center Drive by Gerber is a new take on the classic plier based multitool. The center drive operates on a different mechanism. Instead of the fold out plier design these pliers come straight out from the center of two powerful stainless-steel handles. These handles are longer than most multitools and that is one of the biggest benefits.
Large handles mean that you can hold even longer tools. These tools are effective and some of the best tools to be nested in a multitool. The high carbon 3.25-inch straight edge locking blade is nearly an inch longer than the average multitool blade. The blade and the magnetic center axis bit driver both open without you having to engage the plier in the multitool so you always have access to these whether the Center Drive is open or closed.
The bit driver comes with 13 interchangeable bits in Philips, flathead, square tips, hexagonal and even star tips. These are contained on a rubber strip that holds the 12 that are not in use while you keep the most important one in the bit driver at all times.
The longer handles also give you better leverage on the locking mechanisms which makes it much easier to unlock and put these tools away safely. In fact, you could open and lock these tools with one hand.Check prices of Center Drive by Gerber
Once you engage the pliers you get access to the rest of the features of the Gerber Center Drive. The internal tools feature a dual sided file, an awl, a small pry attachment for removing nails and a can opener. There is also a saw blade. Upon further inspection of the opposite side I found another small bit holder with a flat head bit in it.
If you are someone who needs a bit driver on your side or handles lots of maintenance task each day, the Center Drive is a very effective tool. It is not only outfitted with larger tools but the entire unit itself feels more durable than the average tool. The pliers are robust, and the handles are tight and strong.
Overall, the Gerber Center Drive is the strongest and most innovative multitool on our list. Gerber has made a statement with this tool and it is clear that it looking to not only create durable tools but tools that mimic real tools and not smaller version built into most multitools.
Best Multitool for Camping
Outdoor adventure is a booming industry and there are more people headed off into the wild than ever before. It would stand to reason that a quality tool for camping would make sense to have on hand.
OGT-SA100 Survival Axe offers up the very best multitool for camping. The hatchet, by itself, is a powerful addition to anyone’s camping loadout. Even if you have a hatchet or a woodsman’s axe you could still be prepared with one to share or a backup. The Sawzall blade will come in very handy in terms of how you process wood.
The other tools on this list would be able to handle some things for you in the wilderness but the Survival Axe gives you big power and big leverage. Hammer edge could be used for driving posts into the ground and even retrieving them at the end of the camping trip.
The hatchet edge is easy to sharpen, and we used a simple two grid puck style sharpener to handle that.
Don’t forget, you should also carry a few replacement Sawzall blades in your pack as these are easy to change out and very lightweight to carry. You can get a lot done with this one simple tool and to me that is the definition of something to carry on a camping trip.
You might even find use for the nut wrenches and the other simple tools that are tied to this tool.
Best Multitool for Survival
While you might think the Survival Axe is the best multitool for survival. I mean, its in the name, right? Well, we found that there was one other tool that stood out for its survival capabilities even more than the Survival Axe by Off Grid Tools.
In fact, it was the Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool & Pocket Knife that really took the cake in terms of a survival multitool. If you know your stuff than you will quickly understand how the Tool Chest was chosen.
Let’s start by looking at some of the most important aspects of survival:
Survival is not camping. You can leave camp and drive home whenever you like and that makes things very different. You can warm up in your car or camper. Survival is you v.s the wild and that can get scary fast.
The Victorinox offers up several benefits when it comes to being able to survive. You can use the compass to take advantage of maps and even general direction towards waypoints that you have passed along your way.
Many times, when people get lost, they are close to the original path they stepped off. Panic sets in and they traverse even deeper into the woods. If you have a map and a compass it can make a world of difference.
If you cannot find your way out of the woods and the night is approaching, you should consider getting a fire started. The Victorinox offers up the ability to catch the suns rays and turn them into a fire-starting heat source. The magnifying glass is an incredible tool when it comes to harnessing the power of the sun. You can scorch tinder and get fire started.
Another big challenge when it comes to survival is dealing with personal hygiene. This is a standout tool when it comes to dealing with personal hygiene. You can get a lot done with the tweezers, scissors, files and toothpick included in this tool.
In terms of food you will also be able to scale fish, which are about some of the best protein options for the survivor. This is because they are captive and that makes a huge difference. You aren’t chasing squirrel and deer around the woods and expending all kinds of precious calories.
There are also a number of tools and a number of blades that can also help you along the way.
For these reasons we have given the nod to the Victorinox as the best multitool for survival.
Best Multitool for EDC
The explosion of EDC has created a massive market and opportunity for great tools, like these, to be prepared. It is this competition that pushes companies to make better, smaller, stronger, more efficient tools all the time.
When it comes to an EDC multitool you want to have a tool that you are going to use, a tool that fits in our pocket without trouble. For this reason, we cannot talk about the Survival Axe. You just cannot carry this thing each day in a comfortable manner, in most cases.
With practicality and likelihood of use in mind we chose the Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool is a powerful set of tools that can be used on a day to day basis. The tough pliers, bit driver and the powerful 3.25-inch blade are all great tools that you might use each day.
This is a light tool but very effective. It’s slim and carries well. You can even use the provided sheath that comes with this tool to carry your bits along with it.
In terms of EDC there are several tools that could do the job. The Center Drive performs tasks the very best and offers tools you will use each day.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Multitool for Backpacking
After reviewing all these tools, we were hard pressed to find one value that stuck out above all. These are all great tools at great prices. They are all very durable and effective tools that would likely sit on your hip or in your pocket till you are bored of them.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi-Tool stands out because it is built as a high-quality tool by Gerber means that you are getting some serious value.
No matter how you feel about Gerber products, this is a high-quality tool with several great tools built in.
Beyond the tool itself you also get a decent sheath to carry the tool in. This could affix to your belt or your pack. You also receive a simple, yet effective, survival manual. This manual is a very effective little read with survival in mind.
While you might not appreciate Bear Grylls as a multitool designer, the knowledge of his survival skills is there and having that booklet might help you out in an area you are less versed.
Three of the four multitools reviewed have a pair of pliers. These pliers are an integral part if not the main tool for this design. There are a few things that we looked for in these sets of pliers. When you look at a pair of pliers what do you see?
There is a collection of things that can be built into a simple pair of pliers that can make them even more effective. When we looked at these pliers, we were looking for durability and design. We were looking for a pair of pliers that was the most powerful and reinforced but also had a great multi use capability.
The Gerber Center Drive features a robust set of pliers that offer a number of solutions behind just the needle nosed uses. The pliers themselves are two pieces of joined metal that hinge together. They are sturdy and powerful. We could remover a fishhook with these and also crank down on bolts without concern about breakage or damage.
The design on these pliers offers an inch of needle nose capacity before expanding at the center to offer you a wider plier option for dealing with loosening and tightening bolts or nuts.
While many pliers offer up an option to clip wires and strip wires the Center Drive has a unique rotating blade on each side of the pliers so you can use different sizes of wire work. These also offer you three different edge to cut wire with if one should dull on you. I have never seen a feature like this before.
The Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool takes the cake on pliers.
We tested all our tools for durability, and we found that two of them stood out much more than the others. We have found that two stood out above the rest.
The first was the Survival Axe. You can wing this thing at trees and really abuse this tool. The handle, the head of the tool and the blade stood up great to radical types of use. It just seems to be built for punishment. There are few working parts that are small and delicate and that is a bonus, too.
Even if you bend your Sawzall you can replace it with a new one. The features are tight and short, so they are very hard to damage.
The other multitool that is highly durable is the Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool. This tool is built in such a way that it doesn’t open or expose any of the tools. That means if it falls or gets lost the tools are all protected. Until they are unsheathed from the handles you have a tight compact multitool that is mostly unaffected by damage of all kinds.
Even if the Center Drive is open, you will find that the tools are very durable. This is due to the fact that we are dealing with very strong and much larger tools than in most multitools. While the Victorinox has a whole host of tools, things like the scissors could be bent and would be troublesome to get back to functioning.
The Center Drive also carries on your belt in a sheath and that is an added layer of protection.
The Off Grid Tools Survival Axe has no blade option. Depending on your skill level you might be able to use the axe to deal with some carving tasks. Suffice it to say it will not be the top contender for a usable knife in this group.
The Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool on the other hand has a tremendous 3.25 inch straight edged blade that locks into place. This blade is something that anyone would be happy to carry just as a solo pocketknife. It is made from high carbon steel and its very easy to keep sharp because of its straight edge.
This blade is also backed by that great stainless-steel handle set that gives it a tremendous amount of backbone for real use. Some tools give you a knife but hardly any confidence to really bear down on that knife.
Finally, this blade is accessible with one hand. You can open the knife on the Center Drive just by using your right hand and that is a huge benefit when it comes down to access to this blade.
Despite the collection of blades throughout all these tools this blade by Gerber is a standout model that deserves the top spot on this list.
We stood before these four great tools and for weeks we pulled them from the boxes, looked them over, learned about them and even researched them further. It was interesting to see what more we could learn about these tools from the internet. The composition and things of that nature were not featured on the boxes they arrived in.
In most reviews like this we find ourselves torn between the many tools because they are often close in how they operate and what they are capable of. These tools have been very interesting because, while they are all multitools, they are not just that. They do not fit the typical mold, in most cases.
This meant we had to use them in a variety of environments to understand where they shined and where they struggled. It became clear early on that some of these tools were better suited for the outdoors and others for use in the workshop.
Each one of these tools has a few outstanding features at least. From the radical number of tools and functions in your Victorinox Tool Chest to the hatchet-based design of the Survival Axe, you will find that each of these multitools has value beyond a bit driver, blade and some pliers.
Overall, we were blessed with four great options and these options are all viable solutions. What you choose to do with your multitool should heavily weight which one of these is the right option for you. While no single tool would stand as a detriment there are undoubtedly tools that will perform much better in certain environments than others.
We hope you enjoyed our in-depth review of these four great tools. This review taught us one other thing about multitools. If you have one and if you carry it each day, you will find that you are more likely to act and solve problems throughout your day.