You’re stranded on a deserted island. You get one item. What do you choose?
We’ve all heard that question before, and probably answered it in various naive ways, but there’s actually a correct answer. Yes, as any outdoorsman or wilderness survival expert will tell you, the correct answer is: the multi-tool. In this guide, we will review a few best the best survival multi tools and how to use them!
Why Are Multi Tools So Awesome?
Multi-tools have evolved to become so much more than the standard Swiss army knife style gadget. Many still retain those classic, practical features, but with all kinds of exciting twists. They now include hammers, axes, shovels, and more. There are wearable multi-tools, credit card-sized multi-tools that fit in your wallet, and even multi-tools that double as carabiners. Understandably, these handy little wilderness survival tools are beloved by backpackers, hunters, and city slickers alike.
With the multiple options out there for an already multi-functional item, it can feel overwhelming to decide on just one. That’s the point of a multi-tool, though; one tool for every task, one tool to rule them all. If you’re trying to decide what exactly that means for you, it’s best to determine exactly which tools are highest priority and try to find a combination of those. That’s going to be different for a cyclist than a fisherman or a wilderness backpacker.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the slickest, snazziest multi-tools out there right now for any task. These are some of our top choices in survival multi-tools right now, all reasonably priced, and all so damn cool you might just go looking for a deserted island.
Best Survival Multi Tools
Here are a few of the coolest survival multi tools on the market:
This bad boy is incredibly affordable and a classic, versatile choice. It includes an axe (yep, an axe), hammer, knife, saw, multiple blades, Philips and flathead screwdrivers, File, pliers, wire cutter, can opener and wrench. It’s made of stainless steel with a sturdy wood handle, and a safety lock, of course. It’s portable enough to be an everyday tool, but because of its wide array of tools is also an excellent choice for outdoorsmen and women.
This hardcore survival kit is pretty much a box of multi-tools—and more. Some highlights of this well-rounded kit include a military knife, emergency thermal blanket (which can be used to build a shelter, or keep yourself warm), and a waterproof compass that glows in the dark as long as you leave it in the sun or a light source. It’s a heavier load than many of the other items on our list, but that’s just because this survival kit is really, really, REALLY thorough. If you want a well-organized, portable kit that can complete pretty much any wilderness survival task thrown at you, Changku’s 11 in 1 kit is an extremely safe bet.
This multi-tool has a lot of big, impressive, heavy-duty features; it’s a shovel, axe, hammer, and saw. As such, it’s particularly appealing to those for whom snow shoveling or any sort of digging is necessary. You can chop your fire wood one moment, then use it to dig a toilet hole the next. The manufacturer literally describes this multi-tool as “virtually indestructible”. Its excellent customer reviews have us tempted to agree. Its even specially designed to minimize hand fatigue while kicking butt out in the woods. The kind of physically strenuous tasks the FiveJoy is equipped to handle aren’t easily achieved by every multi-tool, particularly the smaller ones.
At first glance this one appears to be a funky curved axe, but like any multi-tool worth its salt it has several other handy features hiding in convenient places. Specifically, that big shiny curved axe, spanner, hammer, nail puller, tire chain hook, pry bar and lever. Oh, yeah. The appeal of the Trucker’s Friend lies somewhat in its name, in that it really is a great road trip multi-tool to keep in your trunk. Unsurprisingly, it weighs in as the heaviest multi-tool on our list at 2.3 lbs, but that’s nothing when you imagine using it to fix your 18-wheeler. Many of its features would come in equally handy at the campsite or on the trail.
This credit card-sized multi-tool has a grand total of 14 listed functions, though if you’re creative you’ll find many more. As the manufacturer describes it, these functions help prepare you for “wilderness or urban survival”. We’ve seen plenty of wilderness survival tools, but this one is the first proclaiming its uses for urban survival, too. For us outdoorsy folks, urban survival can be just as challenging as that in the wilderness! With its compact size and affordable price tag you really will want to take it everywhere. As an added bonus, it’s rust free stainless steel. It will slide easily into a wallet, or slipped into a purse or pocket. It’s the kind of multi-tool you’ll want to have on you at all times.
This thing would look rad if it was just a bracelet, but it’s so, so much more: various box wrenches, hex drives, screwdrivers (flat and Phillips), oxygen tank wrench, carbide glass breaker, sim card pick, cutting hook, socket drive adapter, and bottle opener. Did I mention you wear all of this on your wrist? You can sport it anywhere, including through airport security. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but the bracelet is easily adjustable if you want to share it with a friend or two. Besides all of that, it has the respected Leatherman name and 25-year limited warrantee that goes with it. The awesome customer reviews speak for themselves.
The Gerber Multi-Tool looks like a Swiss Army knife on steroids being held by Edward Scissorhands. In other words, what more could you want? It’s nothing too flashy, though, with 12 components fairly standard in the multi-tool world. You’ve got your pliers, a wire cutter, a couple of blades, various screwdrivers and openers, scissors, and a mini saw. This multi-tool, with all its variations on multi-tool classics, proves you can’t have too much of a good thing. It’s incredibly affordable for its quantity and quality of capabilities, too.
Along with the credit card multi-tool, this one is the most travel friendly and compact. It has a lifetime warrantee to boot. With only 5 features (knife, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, bottle opener, and carabiner) it may have the fewest number of capabilities, but you still get a lot of bang for your buck. Every outdoorsman and woman needs a carabiner, so why not get the most out of that carabiner you physically possibly can? It probably isn’t the only survival tool you’ll ever need, but the multi-tasking elegance of this design is just too perfect to pass up.
So, back to our original question…you are stranded on a desert island and only get one get one item. What do you choose? Hopefully, something from this list!
In all seriousness, adding a survival multi tool (or maybe a few) to your arsenal is a smart choice for any hiker, camper, angler, or survivalist. In an emergency situation, having the right multi tool could make all the difference.
When it comes down to your final choice, you really can’t go wrong with anything on our list. All of these tools have been tried, tested, and reviewed honestly by thousands of people just like you. They all have very few (if any) weak points and can definitely be counted on for great performance.