First impressions are hard to change, and my first impression of True Utility’s Multimate was that it was heavy. Really heavy. And because of that I decided early on that it was somehow lesser than a Leatherman. However, it’s grown on me as I’ve used it, and I have to admit that I now really like it.
Let’s address the weight thing straight away. My Leatherman Wingman weighs in at 190g. The True Utility Multimate weighs in at a hefty 270g, and if you include the hex-head bits a pocket-bulging 350g, which isn’t far off a can of Coke.
That said, I think I was wrong to regard this as an hiking tool and regard weight as such an important issue. I decided to keep it in the house (and car) as an out-and-about tool instead, and that’s where it came into its own.
You get all the standard multitool tools like blade, file, bradawl, bottle and can openers, along with the Leatherman-like pliers. In the case of the Multimate, these are all very sturdy and positive in use. A manly CLUNK is audible as tools snap into place and there is very little twist and wobble when things are in use. The pliers, in particular, are amongst the most comfortable I’ve ever used – the chunky, smooth handles are a hundred times more comfortable than any Leatherman when you squeeze hard on the wire-cutter.
The Multimate + Lite has a trick up its sleeve in the form of a small LED light built in to the pliers end of the handle. This serves both as emergency torch, and also as a detail light when you’re using the pliers in the depth of some machine, or in the dark – it’s brilliant!
The master-stroke of the Multimate though is the hex-socket driver. Supplied in a rubber sheath, housed in the rugged canvas belt-holster, you get a set of 12 screwdriver and hex-head (allen key) bits. These then slot onto a magnetic socket on the Multimate.
The genius part of this is two-fold. Firstly, you can select the correctly sized tool for any screw, which is important to avoid rounding it off. And secondly because if and when you wear out any of the bits, you can replace them with ones found in any hardware store. There’s nothing bespoke about them.
As much as I’m impressed by the Multimate, it has a flaw. The scissors (which work OK) and saw blade are extremely difficult to extract from the tool. The scissors lack a fingernail recess entirely, and the saw requires a lot of ‘persuasion’ to get at. If you have no fingernails, or long fingernails, you’ll struggle to get access to a lot of the tools.
However, having said that, the price of the Multimate + Lite is lower than even the entry-level Leatherman tools, so it represents a bargain for the number of tools you’re getting. I’m going to keep mine on the motorbike, where the various hex-heads could come in very handy.
SUMMARY: True Utility’s Multimate + Lite has some very impressive tricks up its sleeve. An in-built LED light is very useful, and the hex-head socket bits are a brilliant idea. It’s a great tool for vehicle, home or garage use, but a bit heavy for trail/hike. The comfort and stability of using it is excellent, and the price is low. Some of the tools are really hard to extract from the handle though.
Price: £39.98 rrp (delivered free)
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