The Best Multi-Tools for Skiers

Multi-Tools for skiers

Three Leatherman Multi-Tools with Bit Drivers

My backcountry repair kit is on the thin side when compared to many skiers, but I always carry a multi-tool in my pack – read more about backcountry repair kits. In my experience, the highest use tools for addressing boot, binding and unforeseen backcountry issues are a scewdriver of one sort or another, pliers and a good blade. Scissors are a nice plus but not a requirement, and a bottle opener is always a handy companion. Although there’s no true dedicated multi-tool for skiers on the market at the moment, there are numerous generic multi-tools that meet skier needs. After trying a variety of different models, I have narrowed down a selection of multi-tools that offer what I like to have handy in my pack. Here are three different Leatherman brand multi-tools that feature bit drivers and make great multi-tool for skiers.

The key detail on all three of these tools is the built-in bit driver. While the the built-in driver is short and is designed for Leatherman’s proprietary non-standard bits, you can boost the functionality by adding the Leatherman’s “bit extender.” The extender accepts standard 1/4″ bits and turns these multi-tool into very functional bit drivers for reaching binding screws. Not only does the bit extender add usable length for reaching tight loactions, it’s compatible with all regular 1/4″ bits.

leatherman skeletool bit driver multi-tool

Leatherman Skeletool with accessory bit driver extension

Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

For the gram-counting minimalists among us, the Leatherman Skeletool is the clear choice in bit-driver multi-tools. It’s bare bones for sure (ha!), but offers the basic essentials for turning screws, cutting stuff and the utility of pliers in a lightweight five ounce package. Together with the bit extender, it weighs less than either of the other included tools on their own.

Tool selection is limited to the multi-use plier, partially serrated blade, a bottle opener and the all-important bit driver. But the reality is that it offers the essentials for doing emergency repairs and adjustments on modest-length trips.

The Skeletool includes a couple of bits for the built-in bit driver and stores the spare inside the handle. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s the Leatherman bit extender that really gives you the ability to reach the wide variety of screws found on boots and bindings. Just add a couple of torx bits, a #3 posi-drive, plus Philips and flathead bits and you’ve
got a lightweight, low-profile tool for getting out of a jam – all for under a hundred bucks. The Skeletool with the bit extender is the set-up in my day-trip repair kit.

MSRP: $75 – 5 oz – check prices for Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

MSRP: $29 – 1 oz – check prices for Leatherman Bit Driver Ratchet Extension

Leatherman Signal Muti-Tool

Leatherman Signal with all the accessories

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

The Leatherman Signal multi-tool is the middle-of-the-road model of the three tools featured here. At seven ounces, it’s a touch lighter than the Charge but still heavier than the Skeletool. It’s also got a nice blend of tools including a partially serrated blade, small saw, can opener, diamond sharpener, hammer, hex bit driver, safety whistle, and ferrocerium rod – hence the Signal name.

I can’t really say the sparker has proven to be very functional in my attempts at starting a fire, and I certainly would not bet my life on starting one with it. But perhaps someone more skilled than I in primitive pursuits could find more success.

The aforementioned hammer is built into the end with the clip and is actually reasonably effective. It’s small size actually makes for precise albeit relatively light hammering, but it’s actually pretty well suited to using on small binding and boot parts.

Like the other two multi-tools, it accepts the Leatherman Bit Driver Ratchet Extension, which I deem a required accessory if you really want to be able to reach binding screws and have reasonable leverage for emergency repairs.

MSRP: $120 – 7.5 oz – check prices on the Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

MSRP: $29 – 1 oz – check prices for Leatherman Bit Driver Ratchet Extension

Leatherman Charge Multi-Tool

Leatherman Charge

Leatherman Charge with accessories

The Leatherman Charge is the heaviest and most fully-featured of the three tools included here. It boasts 19 different tools and features. And by heavy, we’re talking a full eight ounces or half a pound – that’s 227 grams for the metric crowd. It’s hefty for sure, but I’d rather carry the weight and be able to ski out than not carry it and have to walk out on one ski or similar.

The Charge is the ticket for multi-day trips. The main benefits of the Charge are having a small pair of scissors, a micro-screwdriver that’s nice for eyeglasses/sunglasses adjustment and multiple blade options. Beyond the above, a small saw and file can also prove their value very quickly when you need to cut through wood or work on a ski edge. The bit driver fits the aftermarket bits available from Leatherman (pictured) as well as the bit extender (pictured). Really, if you want to be able to reach binding screws and have reasonable leverage, the Leatherman Bit Driver Ratchet Extension for an extra $29 should be considered required equipment.

MSRP: $140 – 8.3 oz – Check prices for the Leatherman Charge
MSRP: $29 – 1 oz – check prices for Leatherman Bit Driver Ratchet Extension

Read about emergency backcountry repair kits and check out the minimalist Swiss+Tech Mini Pliers

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