When Leathermans came out they were an absolute godsend to the practical camper or traveler. They revolutionised the multi-tool market and set the benchmark by which all subsequent imitators have been judged. Their brilliant craftsmanship and utility have been matched by only a few of the subsequent attempts to infiltrate this market. Unfortunately the best multi-tools will cost you your first-born. Having lost two Leathermans then, I opted for the much cheaper option. Enter the “Kit” multi-tool.
Retailing for around $15 (US$8) the Kit Multi-tool comes in at well under the cost of the competition. Of course it cannot hope to compete with the likes of Victorinox or Leatherman for quality of workmanship, but the difference in price certainly goes a long way to making up for that shortfall.
The Kit Multi-Tool has most of the accessories, including the pliers, three flat-head screwdrivers, Phillips-head screwdriver, can opener, file, saw, and two different sized blades all made from stainless steel. Whilst the construction seems exceptionally sturdy, this tool can be quite hard on the hands if using it for anything more than cosmetics. It also comes with a funky carry-case that we fashion-conscious travelers may choose to attach to our belt (or perhaps throw out).
It is perhaps when traveling in the Third World that these little gems come into their own. They are great “gifts” for those lovely border-guard friends we all make. They can be traded for local items or given as a gift to your hosts. And if you lose the Kit Multi-tool… who cares? Take a few of them, use some as gifts, lose the others, but for God’s sake, don’t come home with any of them.