The Essentials: Pocket Protectors

Mar 11, 2010
Outside Magazine
Pocket Protectors

No, Eddie Bauer's Belay Knife is not one you'll pass on to your grandkids. But at a mere 1.4 ounces, this combo-blade folding knife is among the lightest pocketknives you can find—ideal for ultralight hikers or climbers. It also clips to a carabiner and, at 2.3 inches, is just long enough to be useful around camp. The handle isn't the most rugged we've seen, but when every ounce counts, it's worth the trade-off. $25;

Like the original, only better. The Swiss Armed Forces has changed the design of its standard-issue knives only four times since 1891. In 2008, the top brass called for an update—a grippier tool that could open with one gloved hand. They got it: Victorinox's new Swiss Army knives have a more ergo­nomic handle with no-slip rubber pads. The only difference between this one, the One-Hand Forester (which has a combo blade, saw, screwdriver, etc.), and the military issue? This one (thankfully) also has a cork­screw. $60;

Gerber's new Strata is not a multitool. It's an arsenal, with scissors, a tool designed specifically to open plastic packaging, and seven other outer tools—some of which do double duty, like the bottle/can opener—including spring-loaded pliers with wire cutters inside. The tools can be a little stubborn to access and stow (a bummer at this price), but it's still a beefy (7.4-ounce), reliable multitool at a fair price. $104;

Ultralight bike tools skimp on key features (like a chain tool); heavier tools pack in extra, rarely used wrenches. Crankbrothers' burly aluminum-and-steel Multi-17 gives you everything you need for the average breakdown—a chain tool, four spoke wrenches, plus hex, torx, and standard drivers—at a respect­able six ounces and a smoking price. $27;

Filed To: Knives, Multi-Tools

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