If you're out on a backpacking trip then make sure you have a multitool with you even if you have no idea what you need it for. And here's why...
Sure you know that you'll need to do everything from preparing a meal to lighting a fire, to chopping or sawing wood and you'll no doubt pack the tools for them.
But life on the backpacker trail isn't always that simple and sometimes SHTF in ways you won't expect, such as...
The pliers on your multitool might help you unstuck a zipper or your bag that would otherwise have to remain open to the elements.
Or use the tweezers to pull a splint out your finger that could otherwise get infected.
Or open that emergency can of food you weren't expecting to eat.
So carry one and make sure you have the best multitool for backpackers that you can afford.
Which is the best model?
You can see my top 3 picks and runners up below...
Here Are The Top 3 Backpacking Multitool Choices
OUR TOP PICK
Our favorite multitool on the market is the Gerber Gear Truss Multitool.
This is the first of two products by Gerber on this list but we’ve ranked this the best because it’s packed full of amazing features.
The Gerber Gear Truss Multitool is a lightweight multitool with a compact design making it perfect for all your backpacking needs.
There’s no need to worry about losing this small device within your backpack as it comes with the ability to mount vertically and horizontally to your waist belt or the backpack itself.
The handle of this device is constructed with a single piece of steel for ultimate sturdiness and excellent grip for a variety of tasks.
This device is also provided with additional strength when compared to previous Gerber multitools and has features to reduce hand fatigue while using the device.
The multitool itself includes a variety of outboard, locking, and spring-loaded tools for a variety of tasks.
Within these tools, there is a wire stripper, a medium flathead driver, and a ruler among a variety of others, making this one of the best multitools on the market.
- Lightweight design which won't take up much weight or space in your gear.
- Compact design meaning it can be tucked away easily.
- Mounts vertically and horizontally for whatever uses you need it for.
- Variety of tools so whatever task you have at hand you'll be prepared.
- Solid steel handle for good durability.
- No notable drawbacks.
We also love the Bravedge 12-in-1 multitool axe.
This device is a great option if you are looking for a multitool with durability as your main priority.
The Bravedge 12-in-1 multitool axe is built with stainless steel combined with PVC wood grain for an aesthetic look.
The device is also coated to protect against rust, ensuring you will be able to use this device for years to come.
Additionally, this Bravedge product comes with a nylon sheath which will hold the axe part of the multitool ensuring maximum safety while you are carrying the device.
It also comes with a rubber cover that slots over the top of the axe itself for added safety.
As well as all these wonderful safety features, as its name suggests this device has 12 different tools all included within the multitool.
The main features being the axe, hammer, a knife blade, and a hex wrench, as well as everyday things such as a bottle opener and a can opener.
With all these great features, it’s clear to see why this is one of the best multitools on the market.
- Stainless steel build means it's solid and durable.
- Comes with a nylon sheath.
- Rubber cover for safety so you don't injure yourself.
- Includes a variety of tools fit for all purposes so you'll not be stuck whatever task.
- Suitable for outdoor and indoor activities
- No notable drawbacks
Another excellent choice is the RoverTac Multitool Pocket knife.
As the name suggests, this product is designed to store it in your pocket while you are on the go.
It comes in three different color options allowing you to choose between black, gold, and green to pick the one that’s best for you.
The RoverTac product has a durable and sturdy design and comes with its own nylon pouch to give the device added protection when you are not using it.
It is built with black oxidation stainless steel which provides the device with a durable build and also protects against rust and corrosion.
This device also comes with a handy strap which enables you to attach it to your belt.
On top of all these wonderful features, this device also comes with 12 different tools including a knife, saw, and screwdriver, making this undoubtedly one of the best options available.
- 3 color options if you're someone who wants all his gear to be similar colours.
- 12 tools in one place which means whatever situation you're in then you're covered.
- Durable nylon pouch included.
- Rustproof and corrosion resistant.
- Withstands everyday wear and tear
- Heavy design
You should also consider the Gerber 30-000469 Dime Mini Multi-Tool.
This is the second Gerber product on this list and a great option if you want a small device.
The 30-000469 comes in lots of different color options allowing you to choose the one that suits you best.
It is built with stainless steel for a very sturdy design and is an excellent choice if you value accessibility.
This device is unique from the others on this list as it features a butterfly opening system for easy access to the variety of tools included in it.
These tools include spring-loaded pliers, wire cutter, package opener, and tweezers among a variety of others. With all this considered there’s no doubt that this is one of the best available options.
- Lots of color options.
- Stainless steel build.
- Includes 10 tools.
- Accessible butterfly opening.
- Available with and without a blade
- Tools can be tight upon first use
Finally, you should consider purchasing the RoverTac Multitool Camping Accessory.
If this tool interests you, you have the option of buying it in red or green.
Of all the devices on the list, this is the one that features the most tools with 14 different ones included within the multitool. Ranging from an axe through to a fish descaler.
This device additionally comes with a safety lock so you can always feel safe when you are not using it.
It has a full stainless steel design with additional black oxidation to protect the device against rust and corrosion.
This is an extremely strong device making it perfect for lots of tasks.
Finally, this device comes with an upgraded nylon pouch that covers the entire blade of the tool ensuring maximum safety when you are carrying it.
After considering all these wonderful features, there’s no doubt this is one of the best on the market.
- Available in red or green.
- Contains 14 different tools.
- Safety lock included.
- Nylon pouch included for storage.
- Strong design.
- Heavy design
Best Multitool for Backpacking Buying Guide
If you have a backpacking trip on the horizon, an essential piece of your kit is a multitool.
These small, but great, devices are packed full of features which will definitely make your life easier.
From first aid to fire starting to meal preparation, a multitool can help out with it all.
They are excellent value for money and a staple for any backpacker.
However, with so many different makes and models of multitools on the market, it can be difficult to know which is the best for you.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy buyer’s guide, packed full of all the information you need to know to make sure you make the purchase that is best for you.
If you still have any unanswered questions, check out the FAQ section at the end to clear up any confusion and ensure you make a fully informed purchase.
Durability and Weight
The first thing you should consider before making a purchase is the weight and durability of the multitool.
You will likely be getting a lot of use out of the multitool during your time backpacking so you want to buy a device that can withstand everyday wear and tear.
In general, the multitools that are more durable also tend to be considerably heavier than the flimsier devices.
This is because durability comes down to the material the device is built out of and durable materials tend to be on the heavier side.
The increase in weight may be off-putting as you will have to carry this device throughout your time backpacking, however, it is often a necessary evil if you want a device that will last.
When you are looking for a durable multitool it is a good idea to focus on the companies which have a good reputation.
These companies have usually gained their reputation through manufacturing products with longevity and durability and Gerber fits this criteria with their Truss Multi-tool.
As we’ve already mentioned, durable multitools often tend to be heavier than their less sturdy counterparts.
When it comes to backpacking, the weight of the items in your kit is extremely important.
You have to fit a lot into your kit for the time you are traveling, and you have to carry it on your back the entire time so you want to try and keep weight to a minimum.
Unfortunately, in this case, it comes down to weighing up whether you value the weight of the device or its durability more. The better quality multitools tend to be heavier and the lighter tools tend to be less durable.
You should weigh up your situation, including the time you will spend backpacking and the environment in which you will be traveling before you make a purchase.
Perhaps the most important thing you will look for when making a purchase is the features within the device.
Multitools are designed to contain a variety of different tools all in one space, but every multitool will contain different tools or functions.
These functions are what make the different multitools unique from their competitors on the market.
The best tools for you will be heavily influenced by the tasks that you will complete during the time you are backpacking.
On your search, you will discover that companies manufacture multitools designed specifically for different tasks.
For example, some companies will design a multitool which includes a fish descaler.
This is clearly included for environments where you will be catching and eating fish as it makes the food preparation process easier.
Whereas other multitools will include an axe, hammer, and screwdrivers which may be better suited for an environment where you will need to construct a shelter or some sort of building.
You will also find some multitools which are constructed for a more general purpose. These will often include a blade, a bottle opener, and a can opener as these will likely come in handy in a variety of different situations.
You should think about the environment in which you will be backpacking, consider the situations you may find yourself in, and buy a multitool accordingly with your needs.
Most people will find our top rated pick to have all the tools they need.
Another essential part of the multitool you should consider before making a purchase is the construction of the device.
This may not be something that would strike you as important, but it actually is.
The durability and accessibility of the device all come down to its construction, so you must have a well-constructed device to get good value for money.
There are a few things you should consider in terms of the construction of the device, the first being how easily it comes apart.
This might be a strange thing to consider, however, the different parts of the multitool will likely wear with use and will eventually need replacing.
Some multitools are constructed using a variety of bolts to ensure you will not lose any parts however this can make it difficult to detach parts to repair or replace.
You should try and find a multitool which will not lose any parts, however can be taken apart if you need to.
Another thing you should consider is the sturdiness of the individual tools within the multitool. You do not want a device that has wobbly tools as this will make it difficult to use and implies that the tool will be more prone to breaking.
To ensure the device you are buying is sturdy you should look for hinges and locking mechanisms to provide extra security for the device.
You should also look for a device built with a sturdy material, and preferably one which has been coated to prevent rust and corrosion.
It is likely the tool will get wet during your time backpacking, so you want to try and keep damage to the minimum, a great way to do this is by purchasing a device which is protected against rust.
Finally, you should consider the portability of the device.
We’ve already covered this briefly when we spoke about the weight of the multitool, but portability is essential when you are backpacking.
Every ounce of weight in your backpack is precious, so you don’t want too much of this to be taken up by the multitool.
The majority of multitools are designed with portability in mind.
They tend to be fairly small and considerably lighter than a full-sized variation of each tool.
It might be tempting to go for a multitool which is extremely small and compact, however, this might not be the best option.
Small multitools are lightweight which is great, but their small size also makes them easier to lose within your backpack, and harder to find when you need it.
However, a larger multitool may be more difficult to carry.
In this scenario, you should try and find a happy medium or pick the tool which you think will work best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most important tool for survival?
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most important tools for survival are water, food, and warmth.
In terms of tools on a multitool, different features will be more important depending on the situation you are taking the multitool into.
Some major features that people tend to prefer include a saw/axe, one-handed opening, and screwdrivers.
Check out the Truss Multitool as it has most of what you'll likely need.
Is it legal to carry a bladed multitool?
The laws surrounding multitools are quite blurred.
In many states, it is illegal to carry a knife, and if the multitool contains a blade technically this could be considered to be a knife.
Some multitools do not contain blades and due to this, they are perfectly legal.
However, if you buy a multitool that has a blade included in it, you should check the laws for your State to understand whether it is legal or not.
Are Gerber Multi-Tools made in the USA?
Yes, the company Gerber still manufactures a lot of its multitool models within the United States.
Gerber supplies a lot of US multitools and uses over 686 thousand pounds of US steel in their manufacturing process.
So hopefully now you've been able to choose the best multitool for backpacking, congrats!
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net