Multi-Tools

Multi-Tools

Multi-tools have been a part of Scouting since the start of Scouting. The first Official Scout Knife came with several tools, allowing Scouts to do so many tasks with this single tool. Over the year, multi-tools have become ever more popular and there are many quality options to choose from.

BSA Official Knife

Image: 1930s Remington Ad

Multi-Tool Examples

Here are a few popular designs to give you an idea of the different types of multi-tools out there. These examples are included because they include:

  • Blade

  • Saw

  • Awl

  • Can opener

  • Good reputation for quality

  • "Reasonably" priced

There are several really nice Hi-End or excessive options that were not included.

Note: as excellent as multi-tools can be, they tend to be expensive. Consider the cost of a tool and the likelihood it will be lost of left behind on a campout.

Victorinox Farmer Alox

The Swiss made Victorinox Pioneer Alox is set up with the same tools that came with the original Official Scouts Knives. This tool configuration was so utilitarian, it was used on the United States’ first manned mission to space on May 5, 1961. If you add an saw to the Pioneer, you have the Vicorinox Farmer Alox, an excellent tool for a Scout.

  • Spear Point Stainless Steel Blade

    • 1000 uses

  • Saw

    • Notching and cutting for many Pioneering/Woodcraft tasks

  • Awl

    • Punching/sewing leather and thick canvas

    • Drilling holes in wood

  • Can Opener (with mini screwdriver)

    • Opening cans of food

  • Bottle Opener (with screwdriver and wire stripper)

    • Opens the rare glass bottle

victorinox.com

Victorinox Farmer Alox

Image: victorinox.com

Victorinox Ranger

The Ranger has the same toolset as the Victorinox Master Craftsman used by NASA on the Space Shuttle plus has corkscrew and hook. With 21 tools, high density toolset has just about any tool a Scout will ever need and more.

This knife is good for a Scout who loves to tinker and loves gadgets.

victorinox.com

Victorinox Ranger

Image: victorinox.com

Victorinox Forester M Grip

This has is similar to the Swiss Soldier's Knife 08, which is used by the military in many countries, including the US. The Forester has a smooth blade instead of a serrated blade and a corkscrew instead of a Philips screwdriver. The smooth blade is easier to sharpen and better for carving and whittling. The corkscrew is useful for loosening knots, which makes it more useful to a Scout than another screwdriver.

The Forester M Grip is large for a Swiss Army Knife and comes with a locking blade. The locking blade is beefy for a Swiss Army knife and is safer to use since it won't collapse on your fingers while using the knife.

This a good options if you want a heavier duty knife with the utility of a Swiss Army Knife.

victorinox.com

Victorinox Forester M Grip

Image: victorinox.com

Leatherman Rebar

Leatherman Rebar has a toolset that covers most outdoors needs. The pliers have many uses and come in handy when working with snares, bending metal and loosening bolts.

  • Pliers - many uses

  • Non-serrated knife - easy to sharpen and good for carving/whittling

  • Serrated knife - good backup knife, good for fiber rope, difficult to sharpen

  • Saw - many woodcraft tasks

  • File - sharpening

  • Awl

  • Can opener

  • Scissors - used for trimming moleskin and ducttape

  • Total of 17 tools

leatherman.com

Leatherman has several other great options

Leatherman Rebar

Image: leatherman.com

Leatherman Signal

The Leatherman Signal is marketed as a survival tool. The has a few extra bells and whistles, well at least a built in whistle. The only thing not perfect about this tool is the partially serrated combo-knife blade. This blade is still an excellent tool, but will make wavy cuts when carving and is more difficult to sharpen than a straight edge blade. Tools include:

  • Pliers - many uses

  • Combo straight-serrated knife - best/worst of both

  • Saw - many woodcraft tasks

  • Awl

  • Can opener

  • Whistle

  • Ferrorod

  • Knife sharpener

  • Total of 19 tools

leatherman.com

Leatherman Signal

Image: leatherman.com

Gerber Truss

Affordable for a pliers type multitool. Tools include:

  • Pliers - many uses

  • Non-serrated knife - easy to sharpen and good for carving/whittling

  • Serrated knife - good backup knife, good for fiber rope, difficult to sharpen

  • Saw - many woodcraft tasks

  • Awl

  • Can opener

  • Small file

  • Scissors - used for trimming moleskin and ducttape

gerbergear.com

Gerber Truss

Image: gerbergear.com

SOG Poweraccess Deluxe

Great toolset. Also comes in black if that's important to you.

  • Pliers - many uses

  • Non-serrated knife - easy to sharpen and good for carving/whittling

  • Serrated knife - good backup knife, good for fiber rope, difficult to sharpen

  • Saw - many woodcraft tasks

  • File - sharpening

  • Awl

  • Can opener

  • 21 tools total plus 12 piece hex bit set

sogknives.com

SOG Poweraccess Deluxe

Image: sogknives.com

Victorinox Swiss Tool Spirit X

Premium Multi-Tool with Pliers. This tool is also very heavy for a multi-tool.

  • Pliers - many uses

  • Non-serrated knife - easy to sharpen and good for carving/whittling

  • Saw - many woodcraft tasks

  • File - sharpening

  • Awl

  • Can opener

  • Scissors

  • 24 tools

swissarmy.com

SOG Poweraccess Deluxe

Image: swissarmy.com

Tools

So which tools does a Scout need? Well, it depends. A single knife blade will cover 90% of the tasks a multitool may be used for, but the other tools will make other jobs possible or at least much easier. Here are the most useful tools for Bushcraft:

  • Straight edge knife

    • 1000 uses

    • Easy to sharpen

    • Great for smooth cutting and carving

    • If this multitool is your main knife, you must have a good straight edge knife

  • Serrated edge knife

    • Stays sharp longer

    • Great for cutting fiber ropes

    • Great for cutting bread, especially croissants (straight edge will crush these)

    • Difficulty to sharpen

    • Great secondary knife (if multi-tool has other knife or you are carrying another knife)

  • Saw

    • Many woodcraft tasks

    • Cut wood

    • Notch wood for snares and camp gadgets

    • Cutting for carving

  • Pliers

    • So many uses

    • Snares

    • Random repairs

    • Pulling fishhooks

    • Wire cutters - particularly beefy ones - are needed for wire snares

  • Can opener

    • If you need one, you need one

  • Awl

    • Drilling holes in wood

    • Also good for leatherwork

  • File

    • Use to sharpen tools

  • Scissors

    • Not really needed for Bushcraft, but has many uses

    • Great for smooth and complex cuts on leather, moleskin, birch bark, duct-tape

    • Needed for leather-craft work.

More

For more information on Multi-Tools, see nwscouter.com