The Essentials: Pocket Protectors

Hardware to get you out of all kinds of jams.

Mar 11, 2010
Outside Magazine
Pocket Protectors

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;

CRKT's Norfolk White¬≠water 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;

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;

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;

Filed To: Tools, Knives, Multi-Tools