All-in-one tools are hardly new. The Swiss army knife (SAK) was invented all the way back in the mid-1880s. Multitools came on the scene about a century later with the advent of the Leatherman multitool. Each category has faithful supporters, and some of us admire both, but an all-in-one tool can’t really be all-in-one if we need a backup. Which is best? The debate continues.
Leatherman has been synonymous with multitools since they created the first one in the 1980s. Over the years, they’ve seen competition come and go, and through innovative product development, they continue to defend their position at the front of the pack. Case in point: Have a look at the Skeletool CX. With this tool, Leatherman has maintained its lead over other multitools as it encroaches on traditional SAK territory.
- Closed length: 4 inches
- Open length: 6 inches
- Blade length: 2.6 inches
- Width: 1.24 inches
- Thickness: .52 inch
- Weight: 5 ounces
- Needle nose pliers
- Regular pliers
- Hard wire cutters
- Wire cutters
- 154cm knife
- Bottle opener
- Large bit driver
- Large and small Phillips screwdriver bit
- Large and small flat screwdriver bit
- Handle bit storage for convenient and easy access of bits while not in use.
- Locking blade for safety.
- Replaceable pocket clip that you can clip to a pocket belt, or remove the clip and use a sheath.
- Outside accessible features mimic the functionality of a pocket knife.
- Every tool is one-hand operable.
Some campers have been slow to adopt multitools due to their bulkiness and weight, opting instead for SAKs. Multifunction knives with comparable tool assortments typically weigh half as much as their multitool counterparts. Although some of the SAK tools are less robust than their multitool counterparts — pliers and wire cutters, for example — the weight savings and ease of pocket-carrying tip the scales in that direction. But by removing excess metal in the framework of the tool and creating a more sleek overall design, the developers of Skeletool answered the challenge.
Another noticeable change in the Skeletool is the back-to-basics tool selection. Rather than finding ways to load more and more tools onto a single platform, they only included those that are the most necessary. Why carry tools you will probably never use? Even with the stripped-down design, after a field test of 19 multitools, Wirecutter proclaimed Skeletool “the best tool for most jobs.” We agree.
There is much to be said about the convenient accessibility and one-handed operation of the lock knife blade while the pliers are closed. Other multitools require two-handed operation, and you need to first open the pliers just to deploy the knife blade. Plus, the knife blade is made of 154CM blade steel that holds an edge longer and resharpens better than the competition. In camp, you’ll use the knife far more often than the pliers, so the knife-centric design makes a lot of sense. It feels and functions more like a SAK than a traditional multitool.
If you’re looking for a rugged multitool for camping that will do all the odd jobs that come up while being easy to carry, this could be it. The lightweight, less bulky, more functional design of the Skeletool CX makes for an excellent all-purpose, everyday multitool.
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