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Backpacking Gear for Beginners: Multi-tool or Knife

This post is part of the Backpacking Gear for Beginners course.

Why do you need a multi-tool? 

Part of the 10 Essentials, a knife or multi-tool can help in emergencies. A Swiss Army Knife is a perfect example of this. It can help cut paracord, get a sliver out, prepare food, cut bandages and deal with countless other issues we encounter on the trail.

One option is to just take a knife. A blade is better than nothing but having all the other tools on a multi-tool are helpful. I can’t count the number of times I’ve used the tweezers from a Swiss Army Knife or the pliers on a Leatherman. 

Larger knives

Unless I’m hiking alone, I don’t typically take a large knife. It can be useful for bushcraft and survival if you need it but most days a small multi-tool is very helpful. 

List out repair tasks

List out all the tasks you’ll probably use the multi-tool for and look for one that handles most of them. You might need to pull slivers, cut food, cut paracord, clip toenails, whittle sticks, cut bandages, cut duct tape, tighten screws on gear, or punch new belt holes. If any of your gear like backpacks, snowshoes or skis has screws, small screw drivers might be helpful.

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