Just thought I would share some thoughts I had on multiuse items from an article that I wrote. The article was on bicycle touring, but I think it worth considering here.
A number of folks mandate that all items must do at least double duty. No single purpose items allowed. At least one of the proponents of this philosophy that I know rejects better options out of hand because they were single use items and would give the item no consideration.
On the face of it the mandate sounds like a good idea. Items serving multiple purposes has to be a good idea, right? Well actually it might not be in many cases. The thing is the following have to be considered:
1. Does the multifunction item actually weigh less than the single purpose items it replaces
2. Does the multifunction item actually do the functions all as well or at least well enough
3. Are all of the functions actually necessary, if not is the item lighter than the single purpose items that it replaces that are actually necessary
4. Are any problems created by the multifunction item? For example do you need it for two different purposes at the same time or will the item be wet or dirty from one use when it is needed for another
After considering all of that, some multipurpose items make sense and others not. Also the answer is not necessarily a simple straight forward one.
Bottom line... Consider multipurpose items but consider everything and only use them when they make sense.