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Multi-tool uses
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John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Multi-tool uses on 01/23/2008 09:36:11 MST Print View

Someone told me that I should take pliers on long hikes because they are needed to squeeze zipper sliders that get loosened by kids pulling on them when they get snagged (I have an 8 and 10 year old). Has anyone actually used pliers to fix a zipper ?

In general - are the pliers, can opener and screwdrivers on a multitool useful on longer hikes ? (In general I take tuna in a pouch, but I've never had to resupply at trail side towns before...) I also use a canister stove, (but may switch to alchohol).


Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
multi-tools on 01/23/2008 09:40:25 MST Print View

This will be an interesting thread for me too.

I've been considering getting the Leatherman Squirt P4 recently. It seems to me that pliers could indeed be handy on the trail. I tend to think of them as multi use equipment though: you can use them as pot holders and get rid of the designated, single use pot holder you might be carrying otherwise. That way the Leatherman isn't an extra 2.5 oz.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Multi-tool uses on 01/23/2008 09:51:54 MST Print View

I carry the discontinued MiniBuck 350 (1.3 oz.) I estimate that I use one of the tools about once per week of hiking.

What I use multiple times everyday is a pair folding scissors (1.0 oz.).

I generally have the lightest pack in the group that I hike with, but when somebody needs something they come to see me. Go figure.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Re: Multi-tool uses on 01/23/2008 10:39:07 MST Print View

Hi John and David...

I carried a Squirt S4 last year on the LT and used the scissors several times a day. I think that the pliers on the P4 are just a bit too small for most applications, and the scissors get so much use. Small plyers might be enough for the zipper pulls, though. I've never had this problem on a zipper, myself. This year's thru of the CT will find me either carrying the S4, or else my pair of folding scissors and the Spyderco Ladybug which is almost always with me off the trail.

Edited by Quoddy on 01/23/2008 10:41:54 MST.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Scissors on 01/23/2008 11:01:17 MST Print View

Hi John, you know, I'd looked at the S4, but then thought "what am I going to cut with scissors that I can't sut with a knife". That said, a lot of people opt for scissors over pliers I think. Maybe I'm just not thinking it through. What do you typically find that you use it so much on?


John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Scissors on 01/23/2008 11:23:41 MST Print View

David... There seem to be a lot of things that come up that scissors are the best option for. I particularly use them for food pouches, trimming moleskin and duct tape to fit perfectly, nails, occasionally fabric or line. It just works better than a knife for most application. Maybe I'll keep a list on the next hike of all the varied things I use them for.

Kenneth Reppart
(kreppart) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Multi-tool uses on 01/23/2008 11:31:20 MST Print View

Great thread. I wish Leatherman would put a tiny pair of scissors in the Squirt P4! I did break down and buy the P4 but I haven't convinced myself I need the pliers. I certainly don't need the screwdrivers. One thing to watch out for with the P4 is that it's fairly small, I'm not sure I'd want to use it as a pot lifter.

Swiss Army makes the Swisscard which contains a tiny pair of scissors. I have thought about ordering replacement scissors from them and carrying those with the P4.

Swisscard replacement scissor

Edited by kreppart on 01/24/2008 13:26:26 MST.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Re: Multitools on 01/23/2008 11:39:07 MST Print View

Yeah, I don't think I'd want to cut my nails with my knife! Good point.

I have a good solution: I'll carry the P4 and my girlfirend can carry the S4. ;) If pliers don't come in handy, I'll stop bringing them eventually.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Re: Multitools on 01/23/2008 11:41:39 MST Print View

Ken and David...

Coghlan Folding Scissors may be a solution for you to add to your P4. Just over an ounce and a reasonably good size to work with. Available at many hardware stores or online.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Nice on 01/23/2008 12:23:41 MST Print View

Thanks John, those do look pretty nice.

Jaiden .
(jaiden) - F
check out the coast micro fish tool on 01/23/2008 13:53:07 MST Print View

I got a coast micro fish tool from walmart for $8 or so. It has very small pliers as well as scissors. the scissors aren't that great though.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Folding Scissors on 01/23/2008 13:59:13 MST Print View

Fiskars makes similar ones that you can find in any craft / fabric store...

So does solingen.. but those ones are ~$60...

minimus also carries cheaper ones...

Kenneth Reppart
(kreppart) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Multitools on 01/23/2008 14:12:54 MST Print View

I'm sure the folding scissors are nice but if I 1oz to my P4 I'm at 3oz. Not the end of the world but it seems a bit heavy.

I'd prefer to use the scissors on an original swiss army knife, anyone heard of a 1oz pair of pliers?

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: Re: Re: Multitools on 01/23/2008 14:37:24 MST Print View

"I'd prefer to use the scissors on an original swiss army knife, anyone heard of a 1oz pair of pliers?"

With sufficient strength to be worthwhile? No. That's more like a strong pair of tweezers...

Have you ever considered yanking the scissors off your old swiss army?

Pete Ryan
(ppgc) - MLife

Locale: MN
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Multitools on 01/23/2008 15:53:27 MST Print View

For a small pliers I have the SOG CrossGrip, works great and is under 2oz. Usually though I carry a Leatherman Micra with the scissors, it lists at 1.75oz and I never even notice it in my pocket anymore.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
multitools - mini scissors in tiny sewing kit on 01/23/2008 15:55:19 MST Print View

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Pliers, can opener, screwdriver useful ? on 01/23/2008 17:28:50 MST Print View

Can anyone verify whether pliers are needed to fix a broken zipper (I've never had a zipper break either, but now I'm taking kids backpacking), whether the can opener comes in handy when you have to resupply in trail towns and enjoy adding tuna to pasta salads, and whether the pliers &/or screwdrivers are needed to fix anything on canister stoves ?

In general, I think the small Wenger Esquire (or Victorinox Classic) is probably all that's needed for backpacking - UNLESS the multitool pliers, can opener or screwdrivers are useful for something...

ps: There seems to be another thread developing here on whether scissors are needed and which ones work well. I've found the scissors on the smallest swiss army knives work much better than the knife blade for: cutting cordage (much better than a 1.5" knife), trimming hang nails and popped blisters, cutting a circle out of the middle of moleskin, rounding the ends of medical tape, and making an alchohol stove. They also trim loose threads on gear with less risk than the knife. The Victorinox classic has slightly smaller scissors than the Wenger Esquire. The Classic's scissors don't cut 1/8" braded cord very well - they slip along the cord when being closed. I bet the Esquire's serrated ones work better. Also, the Classic's scissors are so small that it's very difficult to press hard enough to cut fingernails. The larger scissors on the "standard" (3.5") size swiss army knives cut fingernails easily. I bet the mid-size scissors on the Esquire work better than the Classic's. But I'm sure the full size scissors on the 3.5" swiss army knives, Micra or Squirt S4 work much better.

I've also used the 1.5" knife on the Classic to make shavings and fuzz sticks to start a fire. It's possible, but I worry about breaking the thin blade every stroke and have to be really careful not to cut too deep before I turn the blade to shave along the stick. To take off bark, get below wet wood, or sharpen a stick to roast marshmallows, it's definitely a LOT easier to use the sturdier 2.5" blade on my Sypderco Dragonfly.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Multi-tool uses on 01/23/2008 18:14:24 MST Print View

Check out the article "ultralight knives and other sharp things"
One popular suggestion was to remove the scissors from the Swissarmy classic. I did this and found them intolarably tedious to use. I now use the cheap folding scissors that was in a med kit I had and I really like them.


Edited by MAYNARD76 on 01/23/2008 18:15:11 MST.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
multitool necessity on 01/23/2008 21:01:44 MST Print View

I only carry a pliers-based multitool when there's critical "equipment" that might need fixing. That's snowshoes or skis on winter trips, or complicated stoves on paddling trips. Beyond that, it seems to me that a broken zipper that can't be fixed by hand can be jerry-rigged with a safety pin until it gets home -- and serve as a visual lesson in equipment care to boot.

(Not that I've ever broken a zipper, nor do I have kids...)

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Multi-tool uses repairing zipper on 01/23/2008 21:16:48 MST Print View

when the inside of the slider becomes worn enough it no longer
brings the zipper teeth close enough together to hold, then
gently squeezing the side of the slider can return the zipper
to service for awhile. Eventually you will need to replace the

Salt water, sand and grit accelerate slider wear.

Uses for pliers.

Pulling out cholla cactus balls.
Used with heavy needle and thread for shoe or pack repair.
Repair of ski bindings
Removing jet or tubing on gas stove to clean