6 Best Leatherman for Camping (Guide and Reviews)

Best Leatherman for Camping

What’s the best Leatherman for camping? Seriously, it’s whichever one you have in your pocket at the time something breaks. Leatherman does an outstanding job making sure every multitool they develop has all the basic functionality you could possibly need.

However, the reason they make over 2 dozen different designs is that different activities have different needs. By focusing on what you really need when camping, we’ll help you narrow down the long list of Leatherman multitools to find exactly the one that is best for you.

To make it easier for you we’ve included links to where you can purchase these amazing Leatherman tools. These are affiliate links which means if you make a purchase we could earn a small commission.

Why Leatherman?

Brad has been using his original Leatherman PST for over 35 years. And when I say use it… he pulls it out for everything. This is not a tool that sits in his dresser draw. It goes fishing, camping and hiking with him without fail as well as he pulls it out for emergency repairs around the house.

Leatherman is made of high quality steel so they will last a lifetime, which is backed up with a 25 year no hassle warranty. All Leatherman are made right in Portland Oregon where the team takes great pride in giving you an amazing product. They test in real life situations to ensure their tools will hold up against whatever you throw at them. For more details about what makes Leatherman the premier manufacturer of multitools, pop on down to the bottom of this post where we are going to take a deep dive into the Leatherman story.

Let’s get real, you are going to pay top dollar for a Leatherman tool compared to many brands on the market. And this is definitely a case of you get what you pay for because Leatherman is a top notch multitool. Each tool is thoughtfully designed with the user in mind. If you are looking for a cheap throw away tool, you are in the wrong place.

✔️ You can’t go wrong with this Leatherman Multitool:
If you get to the end of this and still can’t decide, head back to Leatherman’s Wave Plus. It’s the number one seller for a reason. It works for almost every situation. In fact, we can’t think of any tool you must have for camping that isn’t on the Wave.

 

Best Leatherman Multitools For Camping

We couldn’t pick just one, because everyone’s camping style is a little bit different. Some of you will need more mechanical features while others are just looking for a quick repair and many of you just want to build a campfire. For that reason we’ve selected 5 of Leatherman’s tools, each for a different reason.

Leatherman Signal – Designed with Outdoor Adventure in Mind

Weight: 7.5oz
Closed Length: 4.5”
Primary Blade Length: 2.73”
Knife Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
Number of Tools: 19

The Leatherman Signal stands apart from your traditional multitools in the way it has been specifically designed to incorporate the tools you need most for camping. Overall this is a pretty cool tool for camping and our top recommendation for the best camping multitool.


Of course you’ll find all the traditional tools like pliers, knife blades, screwdrivers and wire cutters. In addition, with your outdoor adventure in mind there is a sturdy saw blade, fire starter and emergency whistle. It has a built in and easily accessible carabiner clip for hooking on your pack or belt loop. One end has a heavy duty flat edge, perfect for hammering in tent stakes. And don’t forget the bottle opener and can opener that you’ll want handy when you are ready to relax for the evening! (You’ll find the full list of all included tools at end of this article)

Wave vs Signal

The Leatherman Wave, described below, is the top selling multitool and is perfect for almost any job out there. However you’ll love that the Signal has incorporated extra tools specifically for camping and backpacking that are missing in the Wave. The only tool tradeoff that we think might matter to you for camping is the knife blade if you love wood working while out in the wild. The Signal has a combined serrated and flat knife blade where as on the Wave they are two separate knife blades.

What you may not like about the Signal

The Signal is well designed for outdoor activity, not for home improvements or car repair. Yes, it will work for all of the above in a pinch. But if you are only going to own one tool that needs to do absolutely everything then you are better off with the universal multitools below like the Wave. If you are willing to invest in the perfect tool for the job, then without a doubt the Signal will serve you the best on all your camping adventures.


Leatherman Wave Plus – Overall Best Leatherman for Camping

Weight: 8.5oz
Closed Length: 4.0”
Primary Blade Length: 2.9”
Knife Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
Number of Tools: 18

The Leatherman Wave Plus is incredibly well organized with the most commonly used tools accessible from the outside… no need to open the pliers. Less used tools are tucked out of the way on the inside of the plier handles.


Every tool, with the exception of the pliers will lock into place which improves both functionality on hard jobs and your safety since they won’t close unexpectedly on your hands. You’ll also love the one handed functionality for most tools. Easy to open and easy to close leaving your other hand free to hold what you are working on in place.

In additional to the most common tools like pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, etc, you’ll find several camping critical tools including a saw blade, bottle opener and can opener. (You’ll find the full list of all included tools at end of this article)

What you may not like about the Wave Plus

At just over ½ pound I think most back country hikers would agree that is more weight than they’d like to carry on the trail when every ounce counts. However for general camping this is our overall top choice for the greatest versatility.


Leatherman Charge Plus – For Those Who Love a Great Knife

Weight: 8.3oz
Closed Length: 4.0”
Primary Blade Length: 2.9”
Knife Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
Number of Tools: 18

For the average camper, we wouldn’t recommend upgrading to the Leatherman Charge Plus because you probably won’t notice the differences. But you will notice the difference in price. However, there are a couple scenarios where it is worth the extra bucks.

Wave Plus vs Charge Plus

The biggest difference, as it relates to camping, between the Charge Plus and the Wave Plus is in the quality of the steel used in the knife blade. Don’t get me wrong, the Wave has an amazingly strong blade that will last the average user a lifetime. But if you use your knife a lot, then upgrading to the stronger steel blade will payoff in less sharpening time.

Other differences is the Charge plus has a re-engineered plier head that has improved its strength which is important if you are also working on your vehicle when camping. It also comes with an upgraded nylon sheath that has a place to store a pack of the interchangeable screwdriver bits if you find yourself using the screwdriver tools often. (You’ll find the full list of all included tools at end of this article)


Leatherman Sidekick – Best Budget Multitool

Weight: 7oz
Closed Length: 3.8”
Primary Blade Length: 2.6”
Knife Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
Number of Tools: 14

So maybe the price of the Wave Plus  or the Signal caught you off guard. Leatherman has a great alternative multitool at almost ½ the price in the Sidekick. Rather than go to another brand of multitool and likely get an incredibly inferior tool, the Leatherman Sidekick is a great choice for the budget conscious camper who wants a quality universal multitool.

There are a couple things we really like about the Leatherman Sidekick over the Wave Plus or Signal.

  • Obviously the significantly lower price.
  • Then we like the design of the pocket clip that lets you easily attach the multitool to your belt or backpack. It’s easy to remove if you prefer to put it in it’s nylon belt sheath for easy access.
  • We also like that it is about 10% smaller and 1.5 ounces lighter which is a big plus if you want to add this to your backpack.

Something to consider about the Sidekick:

Other than the knife blade, the rest of the tools do not lock when extended. To counter, Leatherman has made the individual tools with really solid retention when extended so the likelihood that they will swing closed when in use is slim so probably not a real issue for most campers. (You’ll find the full list of all included tools at end of this article)

Wave Plus vs Sidekick

  • Probably most impactful to camping is the Wave has a Diamond Coated File which would be pretty useful for smoothing out burrs on your axe or sharpening another knife.
  • The knife is ⅓ inch shorter, but for normal camping use should be more than enough knife.
  • Scissors which probably isn’t a big deal. For most camping uses, you can cut just as easily with the knife.
  • The Wave has an 8inch ruler running the length of the body which can be useful when fishing or repairing something. Whereas the Sidekick has just a 1.5 inch ruler that seems pretty useless for any camping task.


Leatherman Surge – The Big Daddy & Best Multitool for RV Campers

Weight: 12.5oz
Closed Length: 4.5”
Primary Blade Length: 3.1”
Knife Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
Number of Tools: 21

The Leatherman Surge is a lot like the Wave Plus, only beefier. If you have no need to carry your multitool for hiking then this is the perfect tool for someone camping in an RV or van. The beefier size of the Surge is great for all those “home on the road” repair jobs that sneak up on your when you are on the road. It’s the top choice for guys in maintenance work because of the tool selection and the strength of the multitool.

Wave Plus vs Surge:

The design of the tools in the Leatherman Surge are very similar to the Wave Plus, with the most commonly used tools easily accessible on the outside without opening the pliers. You’ll find a little more functionality for electrical work. There’s also an awl with a thread loop that would be amazing if you needed to repair a tent on the road. (You’ll find the full list of all included tools at end of this article)

There’s really nothing to not like about the Surge except perhaps the size if you are hoping for a compact multitool. The Surge will take care of so many repair jobs in a package the size of a man’s fist and should be in every glove compartment.


Best Leatherman Knife for Camping

Leatherman FREE K2 Knife – Perfect for Backpacking

Weight: 4.9oz
Closed Length: 4.5”
Primary Blade Length: 3.3”
Knife Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
Number of Tools: 8

The Leatherman Free K2 is a very sweet knife that has many of the benefits of a multitool. At 1/2 the weight of most multitools it is perfect for backpacking.

The design makes it easy to open and close all the tools with one hand and uses a magnetic locking system that makes using these tools super smooth. The simpler design has every tool on the outside for quick and easy access.


Leatherman Tools Comparison Chart

Here's a quick look at the tools in each of these Leatherman Multitools. (note on phones this is better viewed by turning your phone horizontal.)
 SignalWave PlusCharge PlusSidekickSurge
Total Tools1918191421
AwlAwl w/Thread Loop- -- -- -Awl w/Thread Loop
Bit DriversBit DriverLarge Bit Driver
Small Bit Driver
Large Bit Driver
Small Bit Driver
- -Large Bit Driver
Blades420 HC Combo Knife420 HC Knife
420 HC Serrated Knife
154 CM Knife
420 HC Serrated Knife
Cutting Hook
420 HC Knife
420 HC Serrated Knife
420 HC Knife
420 HC Serrated Knife
Files- -Wood/Metal File
Diamond-coated File
Wood/Metal File
Diamond-coated File
Wood/Metal FileWood/Metal File
Diamond-coated File
OpenersCan Opener
Bottle Opener
Can Opener
Bottle Opener
Can Opener
Bottle Opener
Can Opener
Bottle Opener
Can Opener
Bottle Opener
PliersNeedlenose
Regular Pliers
Needlenose
Regular Pliers
Needlenose
Regular Pliers
Needlenose
Regular Pliers
Needlenose
Regular Pliers
Ruler- -Ruler 8"Ruler 8"Ruler 1.5"Ruler 8"
SawSawSawSawSawSaw
Scissors- -ScissorsScissors- -Scissors
Screwdrivers1/4" Hex Bit DriveMedium ScrewdriverMedium ScrewdriverPhillips Screwdriver
Medium Screwdriver
Small Screwdriver
Phillips Screwdriver
Small Screwdriver
Wire WorkWire Cutters
Wire Stripper
Hard-wire Cutters
Wire Stripper
Wire Cutters
Wire Stripper
Hard-wire Cutters
Electrical Crimper
Wire Cutters
Wire Stripper
Hard-wire Cutters
Electrical Crimper
Wire Cutters
Wire Stripper
Wire Cutters
Wire Stripper
Hard-wire Cutters
Stranded-wire Cutters
Electrical Crimper
Wrenches1/4" Box Wrench
3/16" Box Wrench
- -- -- -- -
OtherHammer
Caribiner
Safety Whistle
Ferrocerium Rod
Sharpener
- -- -- -Blade Exhanger

The Leatherman Story

The Leatherman story is one of pure entrepreneur perseverance. During his adventures, Tim Leatherman found a need to compactly carry a variety of tools for quick repairs. He loved the idea of incorporating a pair of pliers with a pocket knife. Unable to find a company to take him seriously, he partnered with a friend and started producing what we know today as the Leatherman multitools in 1983. Their first customer was Cabella’s and the family of Leatherman tools was born.

As you can see in this video, Leatherman tool owners are a loyal group because it is a tool they trust. The multitool that my husband, Brad, still uses today is that original design that he received as a gift from his sister shortly after production started.

All Leatherman tools are made in the USA of the highest quality metals to ensure a very long life. Each tool is carefully designed to have the strength it would need if it were a stand alone tool. And Leatherman stands behind every purchase with a 25 year, no hassle, guarantee. We know you will love your Leatherman tool, whichever one you decide upon as your best Leatherman for camping.


Hey, If you love camping, don’t miss out on our reviews and shopping guides for other great camping products:

⛺ Best Camping Hatchets
⛺ Best Ultralight Chairs for Camping
⛺ Best Lightweight Headlamps

The best leatherman multitool held in hands, compare the choices. #WalkingTheParks