This is the second new tool from Leatherman which we’ve reviewed this year, and like the Wingman, the Sidekick is designed as a pocket-sized always-with-you accessory tool. Unlike the Wingman though, the Sidekick is designed more for outdoors use than indoors.
First off, I have to say that the Sidekick features a 2.3in long locking blade which, whilst undeniably safer to use than a non-locking blade, is illegal to carry in the UK unless you have a lawful reason (your job, a hobby you’re engaged in etc. Read more here). However, this is the tool which I carry when hiking. I keep it inside its leather pouch, tucked into a pocket of my backpack so that there’s no question of it being able to be quickly accessible as an offensive weapon.
The blade is sharp and useful since it’s on the outside of the Sidekick and quickly accessed with one hand. Reciprocal to the blade is a very sharp 1.5in locking saw, which will rip its way through a tree branch in no time.
The Sidekick is shorter than a classic Leatherman, at around 3.5in long and it feels ‘dense’ like they’ve really packed in as much as possible. It’s made from 100% Stainless steel, and as well as the aforementioned leather pouch, also comes with a belt clip and a carabiner. The carabiner itself features a bottle opener and hex-driver socket (although no hex heads are supplied).
Opening up the Sidekick, you see the familiar Leatherman pliers, which in this case are sprung so they open up easily. The quality of finish of the needle-nose part seems better than the Wingman, although you have to squeeze quite hard to get the wire-cutter to close fully.
Other tools nestled in the handles of the Sidekick are easily accessed with a fingernail. You get a large straight and cross-head screwdriver, an inch-long serrated blade (which I just cut my finger on), a can opener, small straight screwdriver, file, ruler and lanyard eyelet. They also manage to shoe-horn in a couple of wire strippers.
The whole assembly feels reassuringly well made, for what Leatherman describe as their budget tool. The handles are more comfortable to use than one of the classic Leatherman designs, although I’d be tempted to remove the belt-clip because it gets in the way when using the pliers.
Average price online for the Sidekick seems to be about £40 (significantly more expensive that Leatherman’s US pricing of $39), but it can be found for £27 which is more like it, and a bit of a bargain at that price.
SUMMARY: The Leatherman Sidekick is a well priced and well made tool. It features enough tools to be useful on the trail and for camping, and each of them works well. The only drawback is the fact that it’s a locking blade and thus not legal to be carried in all circumstances in the UK.