When Leatherman released its first multi-tool, I immediately bought one. I can’t tell you how many times I have been stuck somewhere without a set of tools. The Leatherman seemed to be a great stop-gap for when you needed some makeshift pliers, or a screwdriver, knife or file.
But after using it a few times, I found it insanely uncomfortable (among its other limitations). So I threw it in a drawer and instead filled a small Klein canvas bag with essential tools and stashed it in my truck.
Fast-forward more than 25 years. I’m at the farm of my friend Narayan, and he is using one of these tools in the field. Really using it. Carrying it on his belt every day. I asked to take a look.
It was the Leatherman Skeletool, and it was nothing like my old boxy Leatherman. The handles are ergonomic, the build quality is much better and all the tools work well, if not superbly.
Gone are all the oddball tools that you won’t need unless you are fishing on an asteroid. Instead, you have heavy-duty pliers with wire cutters. There’s a good knife that locks in the open position – like a traditional locking folding knife. Plus a hex-bit chuck (a Phillips and straight driver are on board) that will take standard hex bits.
Plus there is a carabiner that works as a bottle opener.
The Skeletool comes in three colors (I got it in green so I could easily find it). And there are some customizable options for the fancy lads. The base Skeletool is $65, made from stainless steel and is made in Portland, Ore. I’ve been using mine regularly and am so glad I gave the company a second chance.
— Christopher Schwarz
Read other entries from The Anarchist’s Gift Guide here.