This article was published in partnership with Leatherman
The right gear makes your life easier. That’s true whether you’re fixing odds and ends around your house or camping in the great outdoors. If you fancy yourself a burgeoning gear fanatic—or you’re shopping for one come holiday time—you want to focus on items that live at the intersection of form and function. Rather than collecting stuff, you want to hone in on the pieces of gear that epitomize innovation within the outdoor, home, and everyday gear space.
Designers and engineers continue to push innovation. It’s that desire to disrupt and fill a void that led Tim Leatherman to create the first pliers-based multi-tool in the world back in 1983. The company is still innovating today, constantly making its signature design more practical and useful.
To help round out your kit, we’ve assembled utilitarian pieces from Leatherman’s latest tools to add to your everyday carryall, as well as specialized products that make weekend pursuits better and more enjoyable—be it a trip to the backcountry or entertaining at home.
Consider this the ultimate gift guide for the outdoorsman in your life who needs the most innovative gear on the market.
1. Leatherman Curl
The Curl is all about streamlining the tool-deployment process. A number of tools designed to be used with one hand—including a 2.9-in, high-carbon steel knife blade—can be accessed from the outside, giving Curl the utility of a pocketknife and the functionality of a multi-tool. Other essentials include the spring-loaded scissors, a flathead screwdriver that doubles as a pry bar, and a bit driver that’s customizable with Leatherman’s Ratchet Driver ($29.95) and Bit Kit Set ($24.95).
2. Leatherman Wave+
Wave+ is smaller than many multi-tools with similar features (18 in 1), which makes it an ideal everyday carry for the DIY guy on the move. The ability to access both blades and the saw from the outside gives Wave+ pocket-knife functionality. But the coolest innovation is the customizable bit driver: Wave+ comes with large and small drivers, and also accepts Leatherman’s accessory Bit Kit Set, making it incredibly useful whether you’re working on your glasses, a bicycle, or even assembling furniture.
[$109.95; leatherman.com]Get it
3. Decathlon 2 Second Easy Tent
Camping is fun. Setting up a tent isn’t. Decathlon solved that problem with the 2 Second Easy Tent, a three-season shelter with a groundbreaking design. Instead of having to set up the tent piece by piece with poles, the 2 Second tent is erected just by pulling a cord. And it’s just as easy to pack away.
[$229; decathlon.com]Get it
4. Leatherman Free T4
Leatherman eschews their pliers-based format for a more microscopic design that packs 12 practical tools in a build that’s not much bigger than a pocket knife. All of the tools are designed to be opened and used with just one hand, and it comes in at only 4.3oz and 3.6in when closed. Practical tools like a knife, bottle opener, and tweezers make this an obvious choice for the everyday carry fan. The brand new magnetic locking system offers a smooth, fast, and fool-proof way to open and close each of the tools.
[$69.95; leatherman.com]Get it
5. Ignik Backside
Ignik revolutionized propane by creating small, refillable propane tanks for camping. Now they’re taking that sense of innovation to portable heat with Backside, which puts 24 watts of warmth at your rear. The portable design incorporates battery-powered heat coils inside a comfortable foam pad that fits most camp chairs or converts to a bench seat if you want to share. Best of all, it can be powered by a USB-C or 12V power bank.
[$99.99; ignik.com]Get it
6. Leatherman Surge
One of the largest multi-tools Leatherman makes, the Surge is built for serious work with large, powerful pliers and a 3.1-inch blade, one of the longest knives you’ll find in a multi-tool. The size and suite of tools (21 in all) means the Surge is most at home in the workshop, pulling its weight alongside the full-size tools in the toolbox. The game changer, though, is its Blade Exchanger. This unique design allows you to switch out different saw blades (wood, metal, plastic…) depending on the material you need to cut.
[$139.95; leatherman.com]Get it
7. SoloStove Tower Patio Heater
SoloStove literally made fire more innovative with their portable firepits that maximized air circulation for a relatively smoke-free flame. Now they’ve taken that innovation to the tower heater which puts out 72,000 BTUs of heat in a clean, pellet-fueled flame with virtually no smoke or ash.
[$599; solostove.com]Get it
8. Leatherman Rebar
The Rebar has a lot of the same features as Leatherman’s original PST, but with a more refined design that makes it an ideal tool to have for everyday tasks. The 4-inch frame tool has surprisingly strong pliers and all-locking tools that make it easy to use with one hand. Everything in your tool box can be found here, from a Phillips head screwdriver to a wire stripper to an electrical crimper (read: it’s a godsend for light electrical work). There’s even a file, which comes in handy when you need to sharpen blades. Our favorite feature has to be the optimized pliers at the heart of the Rebar, which have been optimized for strength, giving them power beyond their small size.
[$79.95; leatherman.com]Get it
9. GOT Bag Rolltop
Looking for an innovative piece of gear that’s good for the planet? The GOT Rolltop is the first backpack built entirely from recycled ocean plastic. It’s also waterproof, has 31 liters of space, and has a laptop sleeve, making it an ideal everyday carry pack.
[$159; us.got-bag.com]Get it
10. Leatherman Wingman
The Wingman has all the features you’d expect from a Leatherman multitool, but its compact size (7oz and under 4-in long when closed) makes it the ideal everyday carry. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket and the removable pocket clip allows you to slide it onto the outside of a backpack for quick access. Speaking of which, several of the tools are accessible from the outside, including a 2.6-in locking knife blade. Open the Wingman up and the spring-action jaws reveal two pliers (needlenose and regular) and two wire cutters.
[$69.95; leatherman.com]Get it
11. Rab Mythic Ultra Jacket
Down-insulated jackets have been standard cold-weather gear for decades, but Rab takes things to the next level with Mythic Ultra. Not only is it packed with 900-fill European goose down that’s given a hydrophobic finish for water resistance, but Rab integrates a heat reflective layer to throw back up to 15 percent of body heat that would otherwise be lost.
[$475; rab.equipment]Get it
12. Outdoor Research Prevail
You know what’s warmer than a waterproof Gore-Tex glove stuffed with insulation and lined with fleece? A waterproof Gore-Tex glove stuffed with insulation, lined with fleece, and juiced with battery-powered heated coils. Outdoor Research has created an evolutionary leap in glove design with the small, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that fit snugly into the cuff of the Prevail, providing hours of on-demand, customizable heat when the weather is at its worst.
[$329; outdoorresearch.com]Get it
13. Leatherman Micra
Leatherman stripped away the excess and developed a strong stainless-steel tool that outperforms its pen-knife stature. The Micra is a minimalist’s dream with just 10 essential tools packed into a tiny package that weighs less than 2oz and is designed to fit on a key chain. Smart features, like spring-action scissors and tweezers, and a high-carbon blade make this popular with anglers, but its micro size means just about anyone can carry it on a regular basis.
[$34.95; leatherman.com]Get it
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