Chances are that when you read this, you’re not camped out on the Pacific Crest Trail somewhere, sawing down your kindling for just the right minimalist campfire and deboning the fish that has to sustain you for a two days’ hike to the next outpost. And chances are that you’re not a tech repairman who spends entire days in ducts with limited tools.
In reality, most of us are working to find that balance between career, home life and our passion for the outdoors. And that means that in the same week, we might be setting up for an event at work, wiring speakers into our refinished basement or opening a can of baked beans by a roaring fire beneath a harvest moon.
And therein lies the beauty of the Leatherman Free P4 ($139.95) – quite possibly the most well-thought-out multi-tool to date.
Without ease of access, tools are essentially ineffective. The Free P4 is something of a feat of micro engineering, packing 21 tools into a handy 8.6-ounce, 4.25-inch piece. And they’re all easy to access with just a short learning period.
Leatherman has always had a reputation for being solid. They aren’t cheap because they’re made well, and made in Portland, OR (a part of the country with a long history of both rugged work and outdoor adventure).
What you may first notice about the P4 however, is the feel created by the magnet opening and closure: a smooth, reassuring movement. All of the tools lock and many of the features are operable with one hand, because we all know how often the other hand is full (if not both.) Leatherman has packed all the tools we might need for jobs both domestic and in the wild efficiently into one tool.
And we decided to test out the most functional through this fall. The only thing it’s missing is a surfboard fin key (hint hint).
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