The popular Swiss Army Knife, with its fold-out blades, scissors, and screwdrivers, has inspired a burgeoning batch of compact multi-tools equipped for specific needs. There are multi-tools for cyclists, equestrians, fishermen, skiers — even one for basic computer repairs. The latest multi-tool incarnation is for outdoor challenges way beyond the reach of a pocket knife combo.
The Adventure Mate is a brawny 5-in-1 multi-tool for campers, back-country RV’ers, and others who might want a razor-sharp hatchet, tough-toothed saw, pointed spade/shovel, heavy-duty hammer, and a hook/puller for yanking out tent stakes, lifting hot pots off a fire, or hauling a canoe. Made of rust-resistant carbon-rolled steel, all five tools lock onto a hollow solid metal handle and are interchangeable.
The hatchet, saw, and hammer are basically one integrated piece. Slide the saw blade into the hollow handle, firmly secure it via the quick-release spring-loaded ball locking pin, and the hatchet remains exposed, ready for splitting wood, bushwhacking through branches blocking a trail, breaking up rocks for a fire pit, or some other muscular task. A keyhole set into the hatchet is for pulling out nails, and an included leather sheath protects the hatchet blade (and you) when not in use. The non-blade end of the hatchet forms a sturdy hammer with a 1-inch-diameter flat-topped head. Release the locked-in saw from the hollow handle, slide it through a slot in the hatchet tool, then lock it in place in the handle with the nearly seven inches of teeth exposed, and you’re ready to saw. The thick midsection of the hatchet/hammer functions as a steadying two-handed grip. The curved hook is integrated into the non-toothy end of the saw and hidden inside the hollow handle when the saw is in use.
Put that combo aside, and you can attach the spade tool to the metal handle all by itself, ready to dig a fire pit, latrine, or whatever.
All this oomph obviously is not pocket-size, but it’s small enough for backpacking. The parts stash neatly into a nylon canvas holster with a belt loop (or toss it into a backpack or anywhere in a vehicle.) Disassembled and stashed, the whole kit and caboodle is a portable 13 inches by 7 inches by 1.5-inches thick, and weighs about 4 pounds. Ready, set, go tackle the wilds.
Adventure Mate 5-in-1 Outdoor Multi-Tool is $149 in a textured stone-washed finish; a premium version, which differs only in its polished silvery finish, is $169; at www.adventuremate.com.