Aside from the fact that 95% of all multitools in existence will only ever open bottles of beer, they’re undeniably cool little gadgets to have ‘just in case’. And a ‘just in case’ reason became apparent to me two years ago when a friend crashed his motorbike and I had to cut through a barbed-wire fence to allow rescuers in to a field save him.
At the time I had a very cheap multitool stashed in my bike which included a wire cutter, and the incredible pain in my hand, trying to use it to cut the fence, was an important lesson in what is, and isn’t good design for a multitool.
I took Trekmates’ Omega 10-in-1 tool out on our test trail and looked for things to do with it that could be genuine ‘just in case’ situations, and here’s a run-down of how the 10 tools worked.
- The Wire Cutters. They cut through 1mm chicken-wire with absolutely no problem. I asked permission from the farmer to have a go at chopping a bit of spare barbed wire, and with a lot of effort and wriggling it was possible. It was quite sore on the hand, but I was actually quite impressed that a tool this small could do it at all.
- The Sharp Blade. At 1 inch long it’s going to be a challenge to kill and skin an elephant, but for whittling sticks and chopping through webbing & ropes it’s plenty sharp enough and quite solidly held.
- The Pliers. I used these to grip and bend a tent-peg. They worked fine, although like the Wire Cutters, they’re not the most comfy of tools on the palm of your hand.
- The Saw. Well, it’s crap. More like a breadknife than a saw and cutting through 1cm twigs was a challenge. Not impossible, but a challenge.
- The Screwdrivers (3 x straight of different sizes and 1x phillips) I used these to screw in a couple of loose gatepost screws and they worked OK. I like the fact that there are 3 to choose from
- The Small Knife. Come on, I’m a bloke. Why would I ever choose to use the ‘small’ knife?
- Bottle Opener. Works a treat, which is the most important thing, right?
- The Nail File. I file a sharp edge off the barbed wire, which worked really well.
The unsung hero of the whole ensemble though is the packaging. The little tool comes in a classic tin box, which is unbelievably useful to carry 1st aid, navigation gear, sweets or other essentials.
Made from Stainless Steel, so it won’t rust, the mini multitool weighs in at about the same as an apple, so it’s pack-friendly. And at £15, including the very useful tin, it’s not bad value either. (And at £9, which I’ve found online, it’s a great deal!)
One thing it lacks, however, is a carrying attachment. You can’t stick it on a keyring, lanyard or carabiner, which is a shame.
SUMMARY: Trekmates has a reputation for selling mid-range, useful gizmos and this multitool fits right in. It’s the baby of their range, but is well built, rustproof and the tools all work pretty well considering its size. For a low-cost, ‘just in case’ investment, it’s a rather fine piece of kit. It just lacks an attachment mechanism, and could be a bit more comfy in the hand when using pliers and cutters.
Price: £15 rrp (£9 online)
From: Google Shopping
More info: Trekmates
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