The Essentials: Pocket Protectors

Hardware to get you out of all kinds of jams.

    Photo: Photograph by Inga Hendrickson

1. BOARD MEDIC
Binding drama in the backcountry? Loose skeg at the surf break? Dakine's Torque Driver is a pocket-size, four-ounce ratcheting tool kit for skiers, surfers, and snowboarders, storing the six heads you'll need—including posidrive, for ski and snowboard binding screws, and two hex-nut wrenches for surf fins—in its handle. Just don't drop those little bits in the snow or sand or you're out of luck. $10; dakine.com

2. RAPID EXIT
CRKT's Norfolk White­water is an experienced river runner's secret weapon—its fixed combo blade is built for severing snagged lines or sawing someone free of a kayak or spray skirt. Hopefully, nobody will need rescuing, in which case this 3.3-inch knife—with a secure but nonlocking sheath and impressively grippy handle—does just fine cutting salami and slicing onions, too. $70; crkt.com

3. MINI MULTI
Most keychain knives are glorified toys. Leatherman's thumb-size Squirt PS4 is a real tool. Its sturdy steel construction and smart quiver of nine tools—pliers, scissors, a 1.6-inch knife, and two screwdrivers—make it reliable in a pinch, and perfect for whenever a full-size multitool is overkill, like in a backcountry repair kit. $40; leatherman.com

4. THE GRIPPER
Salt water will rust almost any knife, especially the edge. But Benchmade's 551SH20 Griptilian uses top-tier, scalpel-grade steel, which dramatically slows corrosion and rarely needs sharpening. The 3.4-inch, locking combo blade opens easily—with a push of the thumb or quick snap of the wrist—and the tacky handle feels solid even when wet or smeared with grease. $120; benchmade.com

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