Lets face it what man doesn’t like a sophisticated pocket-knife?! All those bush-craft utensils you simply can’t do without in the….office. Ok, so maybe we won’t use fifty percent of the wonders within…but it looks cool right?! I’d been after one of these man-knives for a while for bicycle touring and was torn between the two market Goliath’s, Swiss and Leatherman.
I can’t claim I’ve gutted many fish, used the thread loop, made use of the Electrical Crimper, or turned to the ruler on the road so far. However, it’s incredible how much you actually rely on this invaluable piece of kit. Whether you need to repair your bike/tent/panniers/shoes, prepare food, remove a splinter or deal with any other annoying occurrence on the road, you can rest assured that your pocket knife will be a faithful companion.
I began searching for my pocket knife in the normal fashion, reading reviews from people on the ground. With every company claiming to produce the worlds greatest pocket knife your only hope of getting a constructive review is looking to real people using these products daily. Forums are a fantastic place to get an unbiased no-nonsense review on just about anything, pocket knives being no exception. Youtube is also awash with product reviews and often provides the added bonus of a hands on demonstration.
After a great deal of searching I had come to a completely useless conclusion, Swiss and Leatherman are both great. This is often the difficulty when choosing between two upmarket brands, the reality is they both make quality products. Forums and reviews seemed to suggest the choice was preferential rather than clear cut and after my own investigating I’m inclined to agree. The Swiss Army knives generally offered a few more built in utensils, whilst the Leatherman had a more simplistic everyday appeal. In the end I made my decision not based on the reviews found on forums or youtube, It was helping my housemate pack down his room.
Everything had to be taken apart to fit through the door, including the huge double bed (…he’s six foot five and a half). We used his fifteen year old Leatherman for everything…including having to saw through the entire bed frame…don’t ask! His model only had the essentials, but if it didn’t have the exact tool, you could usually improvise. I loved the rugged no nonsense durability of the device, it really was a pocket knife you could rely on everyday. Don’t get me wrong, the Swiss Army knives are fantastic, but after my day with the Leatherman I also became a victim of the “ preferential " verdict the forums had been talking about. I went for the Leatherman Rebar as it felt similar to my mates old one, rugged and durable with a few more toys. I also had the blade engraved with “Semper Exploro" meaning "Always Explore" in latin. If you’re largely bikepacking you may want to look into the lightweight Leatherman Skeletool.
I have used my Leatherman Rebar on every tour since and I love it. The build quality is fantastic and unlike many cheaper alternatives the tools don't bend under tension. It has already proved itself invaluable for maintaining my kit on the road and provides more than enough tools and accessories for almost any job. Moreover, the Leatherman is not just a tool for exploration, it's also fantastic for everyday life. I may have bought the Rebar predominantly for bicycle touring, but I use it regularly around the house, in the garden and on the car.
So there you have it, just a few personal thoughts and feelings on another another piece of gear from my pack list. Check out the videos below for a Leatherman Vs Swiss comparison and a comprehensive Leatherman Rebar review.
The Leatherman Rebar comes with the following tools:
- 420HC stainless steel clip point knife
- 420HC sheepsfoot serrated knife
- Needlenose pliers
- Regular pliers
- 154CM replaceable wire cutters
- 154CM replaceable hard wire cutters
- Wire stripper
- Electrical crimper
- Small screwdriver
- Large screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver
- Wood/metal file
- Bottle opener
- Can opener
- Awl with thread loop
- 8" | 20cm ruler