leatherman multi-tools in a row leatherman multi-tools in a row

Top 5 Multi-Tools for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Top 5 Multi-Tools for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Looking for the perfect gift for that person on your list who spends more time outside than inside? Well, good news. We went to our resident expert, Teddy Cosco, to see what Leatherman multi-tools are his favorites and why. 

For the everyday carry enthusiast: Skeletool® CX

The lightweight, compact nature of the Skeletool® lends itself to circumstances where I want to have a multitool with me, but I don’t want any extra weight. The built-in pocket clip is great because I can clip the Skeletool® to a belt loop and also open a cold beverage with the bottle opener built into the outside of the tool. In the city, I keep the Skeletool® on my jeans and I even keep one clipped to my briefcase; the straight blade on the CX makes a great letter opener. Outdoors, this is a perfect lightweight day-tripper

leatherman skeletool blade in log outdoors

For the serious camper and backpacker: Signal®

The Signal® is a hike-in camping must-have. The tool offers a variety of functions tailored specifically to camping, notably the tent peg hammer and the ferro rod and still is surprisingly compact. The ferro rod is a game changer for those times when your lighter dies or your matches get wet; always good to have a backup ignition source. Also, if things go really sideways, the Signal® has an emergency whistle! I also really like the combination straight and serrated blade. Whether I’m cutting up some salami for lunch or cutting cordage to string up a tarp, the knife covers a lot of bases without adding extra weight. 

leatherman signal colored on rock outdoors

For the I-do-everything outdoors types: Wave®+


The Wave®+ is, in my opinion, the best all-around, all-purpose outdoor tool. It would be difficult to create a multi-tool that has a greater balance of functionality, practicality, size, and weight. My brother runs a guiding business in the Yukon, and he tells every guide, client, and cook to carry a Wave®+. So, if it’s good enough for someone who spends most of his life in the bush, it’s good enough for me! For general purpose camping, the Wave®+ is all you really need, whether you’re dealing with a temperamental outboard motor or prepping dinner for the family, the Wave®+ does it all. When I’m in camp, you’ll find this on my hip in the Ainsworth leather sheath

leatherman wave with blade in wood outdoors

For the fishing afficionados: FREE® P4


I think of the FREE® P4 as the one-handed Wave®+: it has virtually identical functionality, but all of the tools can be accessed with one hand. This is particularly useful when I’m fishing. There are times when I’ll want to release a fish without taking it out of the water. I keep a P4 in a sheath on my wading belt, so that when I’ve brought the fish in close, I can access the pliers with one hand, remove the hook from its mouth, and send the fish on its way with minimal contact. This improves catch and release fish mortality. 

leatherman free p4 on log in the forest

For the campfire chefs: FREE® K2


If I’m prepping a camp meal for friends and family, the FREE® K2 is my workhouse. I like the compact design and one-handed knife operation, which fits nicely in my hand and makes meal prep a breeze. It uses magnets so there’s no friction which means it moves super smoothly. The straight blade is great for chopping vegetables, dicing onions, and even filleting fish! When I’m truck camping, I will generally have a Wave+ on my hip and have the FREE® K2 on hand for when mealtime rolls around. Particularly, if I’m feeding a big group! 

leatherman free k2 on rock


Just in case these don’t cover the type of person you’re shopping for, check out our Adventure Gift Guide for even more multi-tools made for the adventurer. Happy shopping!

Teddy Cosco is an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, a passionate outdoorsman, enthusiastic home cook, and sometimes-lucky fly fisherman. Exploring the tundra via floatplane, fishing off the coast of Alaska and camping throughout Western Canada, he grew up with the outdoors in his blood. Follow @castandiron for adventure and recipe inspiration.