A knives/Multi tools section under reviews.

11:10 a.m. on September 28, 2008 (EDT)
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I figure most of us will carry some sort of knife or multitool on the trail.I think that would be pretty helpful. On sort hikes i usually have one fixed blade, sometimes a pocket knife, and my leatherman. Just incase..

8:29 p.m. on September 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Considering that multitools seem to sprout new versions almost as rapidly as electronic widgets, I'm not sure how useful this would actually be. I have one multitool that I stick in for backcountry ski tours, but never found useful for backpacking or climbing trips, a SAK which has done just about everything I have ever run into in the wilderness (I would say "everything" but the Old GreyBeard might be forgetting something), a "rescue knife" that has proven useful on a couple climbs (no, no, I didn't cut my partner loose a la Vertical Limit, just sizing some rappel slings to leave behind), and a fixed blade that has seen a little use, but could have been substituted by the SAK in all but one or two of the cases - and no, I don't challenge griz or lion).

The problem I have found with every multitool I have had, tried, borrowed, or watched someone else do is like the "jack of all trades" - does lots of things, but none very well. The SAK does have a useful toothpick, and the pliers have been useful for "field orthodontry" twice, plus the scissors are adequate for toenails and fingernails, while the blades are barely adequate for cutting things. The Leatherman and leatherman imitations are ok for the needle-nose pliers, if you really need needlenose pliers, but I have found the knifeblades and screwdrivers to be next to useless (especially the Phillips) when you need something more than an emergency short-term tightening of a screw about to fall out (they usually don't fit into the space available - same problem with the SAK).

Since they are mostly decorative widgets to talk about (i.e., conversation pieces) and not real tools, I don't favor a special multitool discussion forum. The discussions that have come up have been pretty short-lived, in any case.

Now, a thread for knives that serve real functions in backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing - that sounds good. It helps to sort the knives and companies that are real quality and really cut what's intended from the junk "Ginzu" late night TV specials.

8:45 p.m. on September 28, 2008 (EDT)
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i see your point that most stuff in a leatherman is pointless. But i have two one i keep in my truck the wave. and on i keep on me almost all of the time the charge tti it's actually fairly descent at everthing i;ve done with it. the handles are titanium and the blades are s30v. it comes with different bits as goes, scredrivers, torx, etc.. and are all very well made. i do have 3 other multi tools that i would trust cutting butter let alone anything on an extended trip. but some of the more high end leathermans like the charge tti i would trust that through thin and thin.

I'm in college now for Diesel Technology and it takes a beating and keeps kicking.i use it for almost everyhitng.
again i agree i would say almost85% or more of multi ools are useless for outdoors use. but the high end ones are descent.

On the knife side of this. I agree completley again. I have a cheap ozark trail folding knife that i used to shave bark off of a stick for a walking stick, and it was dull after that. Then i have a couple of moras. cheap but very high quality. high carbon steel super strong, super sharp hold an edge well. but the only downside to the ones i have is that they are not rust proof but they do make stainless ones.

At least a knife section would be nice. Thanks for taking the time to listen.

9:59 p.m. on September 28, 2008 (EDT)
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I get good service out of my SAK, like Bill mentioned the toothpick and scissors are quite handy.
It is my opinion that the knife that can do the everyday chores well, is actually your survival knife. It is not necessarily the size, but the effectiveness of a knife that makes it useful. The term "survival" doesn't mean slaying a wooly mammoth, but rather everyday chores that keep you alive, such as building a shelter or fish trap, ect.
I have about ten multi tools, if you need pliers they are handy I guess. I have not needed pliers for the most part myself.
My favorite multi tool (when I carry one) is this one from SOG, it is head and shoulders above the others I own.

http://sogknives.com/store/B60.html

12:10 a.m. on September 29, 2008 (EDT)
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7bridge,
I have looked at a tool that may be the tti you mention, having lots of bits for flatblade, phillips, torx, and for other fasteners. That's one of those multitools that I was referring to that just never seemed to fit into the space needed to really tighten the loose fastener, unlike the real tools in my toolchest. The fasteners always seem to be in a tight, hard to reach location that the multitool with the bit in place just never seems to get into.

For backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, there are purpose-made fastener drivers that are designed to fit in and around the boot attachment plates and release mechanisms (for the skis) that are small and light enough to stick in a day pack (actually lighter than some of the multitools). That, plus a pair of real needlenose pliers (with built-in dikes) and a rescue knife, will actually do the emergency repairs, plus being almost the same weight as the multitool (funny how I have never needed to use them on my own gear, but sometimes have had to bail out other parties - "bail" in the sense that I carry some baling wire in the spare parts kit, as well).

9:50 a.m. on September 29, 2008 (EDT)
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Okay now I'm curious Bill, what do you use the bailing wire for?
I have an opportunity to go snow shoeing this winter in the Whites which I have done twice now, and I am eager to learn more.

11:28 a.m. on September 29, 2008 (EDT)
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Barb and I lead Snowshoe Ecology trips for the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge a couple times each winter, plus I still teach parts of the Winter and Snow Camping Safety course for Boy Scout leaders each year. Many of the people who show up have rental, borrowed, and otherwise "well-used" snowshoes. I also help with or lead an occasional skiing day tour. Inevitably, there is at least one equipment failure or deficiency. Sometimes it is a fastener that falls out or breaks. A particularly common failure is one (sometimes more) of the rivets on a snowshoe binding. Another common failure is pulling through the 3 holes in the boot toe of an XC 3-pin binding. The baling wire can be used to fix both of these. For the vanished rivet, just put in a few wraps of the wire through the holes and twist the ends to lock it in place. For the 3-pin binding, I make a quasi-cable binding. These work well enough to get folks back to the trailhead for a day trip. The baling wire also has been used to repair fiberglass ski poles. As you know, fiberglass poles (and carbon fiber, too) tends to shred rather than make a clean break. I carry a few lengths of 1/2 inch aluminum angle on such trips. With aluminum poles, you can often bend the pole back enough to work for the return to the trailhead, or if it actually breaks, make a splint with the angle section and duct tape. But broken fiberglass doesn't work well with just the duct tape wrap. So I brace it with some wraps of the baling wire, then the duct tape on top.

I have yet to figure out why there are so many failures on day trips. My fellow trip leaders have the same minimum of 1 per trip as well, sometimes more. Yeah, ok, rental gear is very much abused, and rental places tend to buy cheap gear rather than something durable (and much more expensive).

With baling wire, duct tape, glue sticks (the melt kind), wooden golf tees, and a few of the common fasteners used on XC skis, I can get most equipment failures back to the trailhead. Oh, and a spare ski tip (though with today's fat skis and skinny track skis on the same trip, it's hard to fit all potential tip breaks, especially if someone insists on bringing skate skis).

3:27 p.m. on September 29, 2008 (EDT)
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Thanks for the info, I will be one of those renters maybe.
I have an acquaintance in NH who does a good bit of XC skiing and snow shoeing. I would like to spend a few days touring the area. I don't own my own gear yet and my experience with any kind of rental gear is that it is usually well worn, like you pointed out.

1:42 p.m. on November 13, 2008 (EST)
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Have you seen the new Swiss Army knife with the multiple GB flashcard?

4:41 p.m. on November 13, 2008 (EST)
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I haven't, what is it exactly Gary?

5:27 p.m. on November 13, 2008 (EST)
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5:37 p.m. on November 13, 2008 (EST)
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Actually, it isn't so new, having been available in several forms for at least 2 years. That is, there are several SAK models with the USB memory. Although I haven't used one myself, people I know who have say it is YAUG (Yet Another Useless Gadget), subject to more than the usual limitations of "do everything, none well" gadgets. Consider that you can get several brands of 8G USB memory for $20 at Fry's. The minimum of $80-something for the cheapest SAK with 1G of memory looks terribly expensive. And if you have your Powerpoint stored in the memory, how are you going to use the laser pointer at the same time as you run the PPT?

5:59 p.m. on November 13, 2008 (EST)
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Oh, a flash drive.

I'd rather have the venerable corkscrew methinks.

4:25 p.m. on November 14, 2008 (EST)
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Yeah the flashcard would do little good if one had to cut off their hand to save their life :(

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