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Multi tools are go-to gear for every outdoorsman and they’re available with a wide variety of functions, and in varying sizes and weights. In addition to the usual knife blade options, pliers, bottle and can openers, screwdriver bits, and scissors, here are a few other attributes to look for in a well-rounded multi-tool.

Safe Locking

This product features a custom component locking system for optimal safety. Gerber

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A saw blade on a multi tool can be used for everything from field dressing game to building emergency shelter. Not all multi tools have this feature, but if you’ve ever needed a saw in the woods and didn’t have one, a full-function multi tool is a great way to make sure you always have that blade on hand.

Does Everything

Despite having 18 components, this product can be opened with only one hand. LEATHERMAN

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Some multi tools will throw a spark with a ferrocerium rod and others won’t. It requires hard steel and a square spine on the back of the knife blade, which should firmly lock to avoid accidental closing when scrapping the ferro rod or fire steel. Carry a bit of wet/dry tinder in your tool’s sheath and you’ll have everything you need for fire making in one versatile package.

Easily Pocketable

At only 2.75 inches when fully closed, this product can go with you everywhere. Gerber

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Not all multi tools are designed with one-hand operation in mind, but most can be handled single-handed with the right technique. They don’t have to be spring loaded to perform as such; they just have to fit your hand comfortably and offer a platform against which you can lever the tool open using your thumb.

Guaranteed Quality

With a 25-year warranty, this Portland-made product commits to its quality. LEATHERMAN

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A small “micro tool” is the best keychain you can own. The two most common types feature either a plier or a scissor as the main element. Some have both. All other things being equal, you’ll likely get more use out of the pliers than the scissors.

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