Best Multitool for Backpacking (2022 Guide)

Read our review of the top seven multitools on the market before choosing one for your adventure.
Multitool for backpacking

Hiking, Tools

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Bringing the best multitool on your backpacking trip can make or break your survival situations. Plus, they can help you with a range of unexpected tasks that may come up on your backcountry adventures, from cutting rope to expelling a splinter from your hand that you got while chopping firewood.

Shopping for a multitool can be daunting, since there are so many different options out there, whether it’s the classic pocket-knife designs, the hammer and hatchet combo multitools, or the butterfly opening multitools with sturdy pliers. 

Table of Contents: Top 7 Multitools for Backpacking • Buyer’s Guide • Summary

#1: Best Overall

Swiss Army Knife SwissChamp Multitool

Victorinox SwissChamp

#2: Value Shoppers

Gerber Dime

#3: Premium Shoppers

Leatherman Wave Plus

Compare Top Mutlitools for Backpacking

We analyzed dozens of multitools on the market, scored them based on common comparison metrics, and chose our seven top picks based on their performance in our review. During our research, we also read hundreds of customer reviews to gain an understanding of real-life problems with each tool. Read on to compare our top recommendations.

Multitool # of Tools Our Score Summary
33
9.9
Best Overall
12
9.3
Best Value
18
9.6
Best Premium Option
9
9.1
Best Keychain Tool
14
8.7
Best for Chopping Wood
12
8.7
Best Tool Locking System
13
8.1
Best Camping Knife Multitool

Top 7 Multitools for Backpacking

#1. Victorinox SwissChamp

As perhaps the most tried and true, classic multitool, the Swiss Army Knife is an iconic tool for many handy functions you may need while on your backpacking trip. It comes with 33 different tools and fits nicely into your pocket, on your keychain, or inside your hiking pack.

Specs:

  • Weight: 6.53 ounces
  • Length: 3.6 inches
  • Number of functions: 33
Victorinox SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife
Photo credit: Victorinox
  • Pros
  • Cons

Uniquely includes a magnifying glass, which can work in conjunction with the tweezers to remove splinters

Features more functions than many competing multitools

Many customers state the scissors are considerably stronger than other multitools in this review

Over one inch thick, so not best for someone looking for thinner multitool

Has smaller pliers than some other multitool options

Takeaway: We chose the Victorinox SwissChamp as the best overall multitool for backpacking due to its breadth of functionality, impressively small size for carrying on your trip, and traditional, classic look that has been around for decades. However, if you’re looking for a more modern multitool with sturdy pliers, other options may be better for your trip.

#2. Gerber Dime

Smaller multitools like this one can be worth their budget-friendly cost, since they are easy to carry around and feature essential capabilities. The tools in the Gerber Dime are made of a quality 3Cr13 stainless steel, although the price tag is often lower than many other options.

Specs:

  • Weight: 2.2 ounces
  • Length: 2.75 inches
  • Number of functions: 12
Gerber Dime Multitool
Photo credit: Gerber Gear
  • Pros
  • Cons

Features a unique and handy retail box opener tool

Includes slide-out tweezers, which are typically not included in other multitools of a similar size

Comes at a lower prices than many competing multitools for backpacking

Isn’t suitable for heavier tasks, such as clipping thick wires, due to its small size

Some reviews complain about its knife blades' sharpness and flimsy weight

Takeaway: If you’re shopping on a budget and looking for an option that is often around $20–$30, we recommend the Gerber Dime as the best multitool for your backpacking trip. It’s one of the smallest options in this review and can easily attach to your lanyard or keychain. It also includes some unique valuable functions like its tweezers and box opener. However, since it’s a cheaper option, we found it to be a bit less sturdy and sharp than other products.

#3. Leatherman Wave Plus

If you’re going backpacking and you may be fishing on your trip, you could need a trustworthy fish scaling tool. That’s just one example of the 18 useful tools compiled in this premium multitool, making it worth the investment if you’re willing to spend a bit more on your purchase.

Specs:

  • Weight: ‎11.2 ounces
  • Length: 4 inches
  • Number of functions: 18
Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool
Photo credit: Leatherman
  • Pros
  • Cons

Made in the U.S., unlike many competing products

Includes a 25-year warranty to guarantee satisfaction (learn more about terms and conditions on Leatherman’s website)

Comes with a nylon sheath than can attach to your built

Considerably heavier than other tools, so may not be best for longer backpacking trips

More expensive than most other multitools on the market

Takeaway: If you’re a premium shopper looking for the highest quality product on the market regardless of price, the Leatherman Wave Plus may be your best bet. Whether you need a strong saw with sharp teeth for cutting rope or scaling fish or hefty needle-nose pliers, this might be your most trustworthy option, although it’s not the best for those who want a lighter or less-expensive multitool.

#4. Leatherman Squirt PS4

As one of the most popular small multitools on the market, this thing offers impressive functionality for its size. Its tools include scissors, pliers, screwdrivers, a file, a sturdy knife, and a bottle opener—all made with stainless steel.

Specs:

  • Weight: 1.9 ounces
  • Length: 3.1 inches
  • Number of functions: 9
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multitool
Photo credit: Leatherman
  • Pros
  • Cons

Comes in multiple colors: black, blue, and red

Can cut and feather kindling well with its knife to help you prep for your fire

Includes a 25-year warranty to guarantee satisfaction (learn more about terms and conditions on Leatherman’s website)

Some reviews mention the scissors breaking after a few uses

Can be pricey compared with other multitools of its size

Takeaway: We recommend the Leatherman Squirt PS4 for campers and hikers who want a small, simple multitool they can put on their keychain. At just under the size of a traditional lighter, it’s extremely easy to carry around anywhere you go, but it’s not the best option for those looking for more functions and capabilities, since it includes only nine, which is less than many other options out there.

#5. RoverTac Multitool Hatchet

This multitool doubles as a heavy-duty hatchet and hammer, making it incredibly useful for your backpacking trip. It also includes a hex-assorted wrench, pliers, a wire cutter, a knife, a saw, and more, making it an all-inclusive and durable option on the market.

Specs:

  • Weight: 15 ounces
  • Length: 7 inches
  • Number of functions: 14
RoverTac Hatchet Multitool
Photo credit: RoverTac
  • Pros
  • Cons

Axe comes sharpened, making it perfect to take out on your trip right when it’s delivered

Comes with a nylon pouch that fully covers the blade, keeping you protected from its sharm edge while backpacking

Includes a 100% satisfaction guarantee

Heavier than all other multitools in this review

Doesn’t fit well in most pockets

Takeaway: For a heavier, unique multitool that can help with any wood chopping projects that you may take on while on your adventure, we recommend the RoverTac Multitool Hatchet. We liked its handy features and strong stainless steel material with durable black oxidation, but we wouldn’t recommend it to campers or hikers going on a longer trip, since its larger size can be tedious to carry around.

#6. RAK Hammer Multitool

When you’re on a backpacking trip, you’ll likely need to set up a tent (unless you’re more of a hammock camping person). Bringing a hammer multitool can be handy for hammering your tent stakes into the ground when setting up camp. This tool also features 11 other helpful uses.

Specs:

  • Weight: 10.8 ounces
  • Length: 6.22 inches
  • Number of functions: 12
RAK Hammer Multitool
Photo credit: RAK
  • Pros
  • Cons

Has spring-loaded pliers with a locking function

Can hammer nails surprisingly well, even though it’s smaller than most hammers

Comes with a nylon carrying case

Some customers complain about the pliers handle being easy to break

Saw blade is hard to use due to its small length

Takeaway: The RAK Hammer Multitool is useful for hammering your tent stakes on your trip and has other common uses. It includes an impressive locking system for each tool and spring-loaded pliers. It also makes a great gift for campers and hikers alike, but it may not be the most tactical option for advanced backpacking trips.

#7. iunio Hiking Trowel

If you purchase this tool, you may not need to bring a separate camping knife, since its blade is strong and trustworthy. It also features pliers, a saw, a bottle opener, and other functions, in addition to a durable pouch for everyday carry.

Specs:

  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Length: 4.2 inches
  • Number of functions: 13
Pohaku Multitool Knife
Photo credit: Pohaku
  • Pros
  • Cons

Has a larger knife blade over 3 inches long than many competing multitools in its class

Comes at a lower cost than other options—typically under $20

Includes a unique rope cutter that cuts rope quicker than other tools we tested

Has smaller and shorter pliers than other multitool options

The Phillips-head screwdriver tool is too small for many screws.

Takeaway: If you want a camping multitool that doubles as a quality knife, we recommend getting the Pohaku Multitool Knife. Although most competing products also have knives, we found this one to be the most reliable stand-alone knife. Plus, it has plenty of other uses as well. However, its pliers are smaller and its materials are a bit cheaper in quality than some competitors.

Common Functions on a Multitool

What are multitools good for anyway? Well, there’s a wide range of capabilities packed into each multitool. In fact, the Victorinox SwissChamp includes a whopping 33 functions, and many other tools come close to a couple dozen. Here are the most common uses found in a multitool:

  • Knives: One primary function of a multitool is cutting things with the knives it carries. Many have a few different blades to serve different purposes, such as a serrated blade and flat-edge blade. Many of the best camping knives also have multitool aspects to help you get the most value out of your tools.
  • Pliers: Many multitools have butterfly opening pliers in the center of the tool that are strong and useful for various situations, from pulling out your camping tent stakes from the ground to unscrewing pesky bolts. They are typically spring-loaded and easy to use whenever you need to pull them out.
  • Wirecutter: Those pliers usually also have wirecutters between them in the form of a pressure or crossover cutter. The pressure cutter has sharp edges that meet in the middle when you close the pliers, allowing you to force them shut and cut the wire. Whereas, the crossover cutter’s sharp edges extend past each other when they close, giving you more leverage for the cut, but potentially causing the wire to bend and get stuck between the overlaps.
  • Screwdriver: Most multitools have Phillips-head screwdrivers and flat-head screwdrivers somewhere on the device to serve one of the most common needs that you might not expect—unscrewing various screws.
  • Scissors: When you’re on your backpacking or hiking trip, you may need to cut some rope on your tent or pack. Luckily, most multitools also have standard spring-loaded scissors for anything small you need to cut.
  • Bottle opener: Drinking a cold drink on the trails is a great way to finish a long day in the wilderness, and your multitool can help you get the bottle open with its bottle-opener tool.

If you’re looking for more functions, read our reviews above that discuss the most unique ones for each product. Additionally, you could consider other multitool outdoor gear, such as camping shovels.

How to Choose the Best Multitool for Your Trip

Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine how to choose the best multitool for backpacking on your outdoor adventure:

1. What Size Do You Need?

Selecting the size should be the first step when shopping for your multitool, since that will help you narrow down your options and figure out which one is best for your trip. You should choose a size that makes the most sense for what you can fit in your pockets or hiking pack.

While some tools like the Leatherman Wave Plus and RoverTac Mutlitool Hatchet are on the longer and heavier side, but excellent sturdy options, other ones like the Gerber Dime and Leatherman Squirt PS4 may be better suited for those who don’t have a lot of carrying space.

2. What Functions Are Most Useful?

Multitools serve many different needs, and you can predict scenarios to help you determine which functions are most important to you. You can narrow down your choices based on the specific capabilities that you’re looking for.

Do you anticipate needing an extra axe on your trip for chopping wood? If so, you might consider the RoverTac Multitool Hatchet over the other options. On the other hand, if you’re not sure what sort of situations will come up, your best bet might be going with the Victorinox SwissChamp, since it features the most functions out of all options in this review.

3. How Durable Do You Need?

Finally, you want your multitool to be as durable as you need it. Similar to considering the size, you want the quality of material and weight to play into your decision as well. 

For instance, if you have a bigger budget and are looking for a durable, trustworthy multitool, you might consider the Leatherman Wave Plus as your top choice, but if you don’t anticipate needing your tool for heavy use, you might be fine with a cheaper option like the Gerber Dime.

Before You Leave: Summary

We’ve compiled this list of a range of impressive products on the market with unique benefits different shoppers’ need to help you find the best multitool for backpacking that fits their budgets. To help narrow down your search, we recommend determining your specific needs. 

If you’re looking for a tool to help you chop wood or hammer tent stakes while on your backcountry trip, you might look to the RoverTac Multitool Hatchet or the RAK Hammer Multitool, but the Victorinox SwissChamp or the Leatherman Wave Plus may be more useful if you’re looking for a solid tool for many unexpected uses that may come up while you’re out in the wilderness.

Additional note: Remember to always be careful when handling multitools on your backpacking trip, since some of their functions can be sharp and dangerous to you or others if not used with caution.

 


 

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