Mechanical Advantage

Upgrade your armory with the coolest knives and multitools out there

    Photo: Photographs by Shana Novak

1. COOK
Japanese steel holds an edge like no other. SHUN BY KAI's Damascus-clad KAJI 7" HOLLOW GROUND SANTOKU does the work of three chef's knives, slicing, dicing, and mincing. Bonus: The lifetime warranty includes free professional sharpenings. $250; shuncutlery.com

2. CLIMB
With its weight-saving design, serrated blade, dual thumb studs, and index-finger hole—for secure grip and carabiner clipping—the 4.2-ounce GERBER REMIX has the most climbing-friendly features we've seen in one knife. $30; gerbergear.com

3. DO IT ALL
The most versatile and full-featured multitool in the lineup, VICTORINOX's classic SWISSTOOL RS is our go-to piece for plucking thorns from bike tires, slicing cheese, cracking beers, punching that extra belt hole, you name it. If you can't do it with this thing, call a mechanic. $105; swissarmy.com

4. MINIMIZE
CRKT's two-ounce LI'L GUPPIE pocketknife/multitool may look "cute," but with a one-inch blade, adjustable 10mm wrench, bottle opener, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, and carabiner-like clip, it's plenty useful. $30; crkt.com

5. BIKE
Eleven tools for 4.5 ounces? Deal. Ditch that brick in your jersey pocket for the carbon-fiber-and-titanium PEDRO'S CRITICAL MASS OR bike multitool. It weighs a third less than similar steel tools and features a spoke wrench, Torx head (for brake rotors), two screwdrivers, and seven hexes. $70; pedros.com

6. FISH
Dehook that feisty pompano and trim that tangle with FISHPOND's five-ounce, spring-loaded BARRACUDA PLIERS, which are made out of aerospace aluminum but sport tougher (replaceable) steel jaws and clipping edges. $140; fishpondusa.com

7. SIMPLIFY
LEATHERMAN's 4.5-ounce FREE STYLE CX (available in May) trims the design of the company's award-winning Skeletool to the bare bones: pliers/snips, blade, pocket clip, period. Cutouts and carbon-fiber elements help keep the weight down. $72; leatherman.com

8. SPLIT
The FISKARS 8" HATCHET is stubby, but that's the point: It weighs just 14 ounces, stashes easily in or on a pack, and pulls double duty hammering tent stakes and whipping up kindling. Bonus: a hollow, nearly unbreakable fiberglass-composite handle. $31; fiskars.com

9. SLICE
SPYDERCO has updated its wicked little CRICKET with a serrated edge. Its hooked blade grabs as it cuts, and at just three-sixteenths of an inch thick, it pockets easily. Careful when busting this thing out, though; it's kinda scary. $85; spyderco.com

10. WORK
BENCHMADE's beautiful, serrated 950 RIFT opens in a millisecond with just a thumb and a flick of the wrist. The premium (and pricey) industrial-grade steel body ain't light, but pairing it with a featherweight composite handle keeps this badass utility blade under five ounces. $195; benchmade.com

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