What multitool is right for the trip you’re doing?
Muti-tools, we’ve all seen 127 hours and are aware of the follies of cheap alternatives. Being a young lad and having an imitation Swiss army knifes was probably, in hindsight, a good thing. Bluntish knifes, poor quality so really I couldn’t do much damage. Now I’m heading towards my mid 40s and I like the quality and durability that expense afords. For years Gerber has been my go to. 25 years ago I bought my first Gerber. A small, penknife like unit. Small, tough, durable, reliable. It was and still is brilliant. I think the current Armbar is its closest relation. The Gerber had quality blades, that were sharp. The screwdrivers weren’t defeated by stubborn screws, and the scissors…quite simply fantastic-even to this day. They’re branded Fiskards- I now know these brands to be one and the same.
A year after my first Gerber-back in the late 1990’s I spent …if memory serves £103 on the …GERBER MP600. A quality tool that served me well. Only last year I was using the file on the 600 and it snapped. This was my fault for sure, I was using it inappropriately. I emailed Gerber, and they asked if I had proof of purchase-which i did, then sent me a list of their current tools and said choose. I chose the Centre-drive. Closest to what I was replacing (And the most expensive). The tool arrived, with sheaf and I thought nice.
Nice. Not blown away, but nice.
Leatherman to me was always a blah blah brand, trying to keep up with Gerber-In my eyes. But I started looking at research, videos and decided I would like to see for myself. The Leatherman Surge was by far the biggest/toughest tool that was sold, and so I purchased one. Out of the box, the build quality was outstanding. It fitted together well, it was solid (Heavy) and compact. Even the sheaf was good.
I wanted to compare them side by side, like for like, almost the same prices, almost the same tool… almost.
SO side by side the Gerber almost looks clunky. It doesn’t have the same fit and finish…which is a shame as I have older Gerber’s that are finished beautifully like the Skeletool. It seems that Gerber and their quest for domination has forced them to rain in their ostentatious feel. £100+ I want to feel where my money has gone. Dont get me wrong, Gerber have always been my tool of choice. I used to love them simplicity. Perhaps as I am getting older I prefer something a little more deliberately luxurious….and heavy. As ‘Boris The Blade’, stated in Snatch, Heavy is good, weight is a sign of reliability. Food for thought.
Both tools have the same length blades, just over 3cm with locking features. Both are very sharp. The Leatherman’s blade is slightly wider. Leathermans’ Surge is easy to operate one handed to get the blade out, the Gerber is slightly more of a struggle-but it is accessible, one handed without opening the tool. The Gerber has another accessible feature-while the tool is closed and that is the centre drive driver. It has a pouch with additional heads-very useful, and a solid tool. Surge by Leatherman has another good quality cerated blade accessible while the tool is closed. I think this is a more useful tool, quickly requiring a blade is an essential, however quickly requiring a screwdriver…perhaps not.
The Surge has a removal saw bit. A blade that can be replaced, with anything at any time. You could use a jigsaw blade, a hacksaw blade, anything. A feature I like and feel given the tool a future. If all other tools are broken, you can buy a blade and equip the tool. Great feature-very similar to my old Gerber MP600, that had this feature-not sure if any tools do any longer within the Gerber range.
This is, and it’s the only tool I’ve seen that has a pry bar. A small, but sturdy prying bar. I love it, and think this is great. Definitely a big plus for the Gerber.
Well, both tools are brilliant, both are reliable. Gerbers’ LIFETIME warranty is faultless (Keep any receipts) The centredrive with the tools is brilliant. My old MP600 is always used for screwing, as the bits are there.
The winner of these two tools is the Leatherman. The scissors are what and why this tool wins. It feels better made, its tools slide in and out with ease. It’s a delight to hold.
There you have it.