Jan 23, 2008 at 8:36 am #1226886
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Someone told me that I should take pliers on long hikes because they are needed to squeeze zipper sliders that get loosened by kids pulling on them when they get snagged (I have an 8 and 10 year old). Has anyone actually used pliers to fix a zipper ?
In general – are the pliers, can opener and screwdrivers on a multitool useful on longer hikes ? (In general I take tuna in a pouch, but I've never had to resupply at trail side towns before…) I also use a canister stove, (but may switch to alchohol).
Thanks.Jan 23, 2008 at 8:40 am #1417327
This will be an interesting thread for me too.
I've been considering getting the Leatherman Squirt P4 recently. It seems to me that pliers could indeed be handy on the trail. I tend to think of them as multi use equipment though: you can use them as pot holders and get rid of the designated, single use pot holder you might be carrying otherwise. That way the Leatherman isn't an extra 2.5 oz.Jan 23, 2008 at 8:51 am #1417329
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
I carry the discontinued MiniBuck 350 (1.3 oz.) I estimate that I use one of the tools about once per week of hiking.
What I use multiple times everyday is a pair folding scissors (1.0 oz.).
I generally have the lightest pack in the group that I hike with, but when somebody needs something they come to see me. Go figure.Jan 23, 2008 at 9:39 am #1417332
Hi John and David…
I carried a Squirt S4 last year on the LT and used the scissors several times a day. I think that the pliers on the P4 are just a bit too small for most applications, and the scissors get so much use. Small plyers might be enough for the zipper pulls, though. I've never had this problem on a zipper, myself. This year's thru of the CT will find me either carrying the S4, or else my pair of folding scissors and the Spyderco Ladybug which is almost always with me off the trail.Jan 23, 2008 at 10:01 am #1417334
Hi John, you know, I'd looked at the S4, but then thought "what am I going to cut with scissors that I can't sut with a knife". That said, a lot of people opt for scissors over pliers I think. Maybe I'm just not thinking it through. What do you typically find that you use it so much on?
DaveJan 23, 2008 at 10:23 am #1417337
David… There seem to be a lot of things that come up that scissors are the best option for. I particularly use them for food pouches, trimming moleskin and duct tape to fit perfectly, nails, occasionally fabric or line. It just works better than a knife for most application. Maybe I'll keep a list on the next hike of all the varied things I use them for.Jan 23, 2008 at 10:31 am #1417339
Great thread. I wish Leatherman would put a tiny pair of scissors in the Squirt P4! I did break down and buy the P4 but I haven't convinced myself I need the pliers. I certainly don't need the screwdrivers. One thing to watch out for with the P4 is that it's fairly small, I'm not sure I'd want to use it as a pot lifter.
Swiss Army makes the Swisscard which contains a tiny pair of scissors. I have thought about ordering replacement scissors from them and carrying those with the P4.Jan 23, 2008 at 10:39 am #1417340
Yeah, I don't think I'd want to cut my nails with my knife! Good point.
I have a good solution: I'll carry the P4 and my girlfirend can carry the S4. ;) If pliers don't come in handy, I'll stop bringing them eventually.Jan 23, 2008 at 10:41 am #1417342
Ken and David…
Coghlan Folding Scissors may be a solution for you to add to your P4. Just over an ounce and a reasonably good size to work with. Available at many hardware stores or online.Jan 23, 2008 at 11:23 am #1417349
Thanks John, those do look pretty nice.Jan 23, 2008 at 12:53 pm #1417363
I got a coast micro fish tool from walmart for $8 or so. It has very small pliers as well as scissors. the scissors aren't that great though.
http://www.eknifeworks.com/webapp/eCommerce/product.jsp?Mode=Cat&Cat=53&SKU=PC2875Jan 23, 2008 at 12:59 pm #1417365
Fiskars makes similar ones that you can find in any craft / fabric store…
So does solingen.. but those ones are ~$60…
minimus also carries cheaper ones… http://www.minimus.biz/detail.aspx?ID=7937Jan 23, 2008 at 1:12 pm #1417371
I'm sure the folding scissors are nice but if I 1oz to my P4 I'm at 3oz. Not the end of the world but it seems a bit heavy.
I'd prefer to use the scissors on an original swiss army knife, anyone heard of a 1oz pair of pliers?Jan 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm #1417375
"I'd prefer to use the scissors on an original swiss army knife, anyone heard of a 1oz pair of pliers?"
With sufficient strength to be worthwhile? No. That's more like a strong pair of tweezers…
Have you ever considered yanking the scissors off your old swiss army?Jan 23, 2008 at 2:53 pm #1417394
For a small pliers I have the SOG CrossGrip, works great and is under 2oz. Usually though I carry a Leatherman Micra with the scissors, it lists at 1.75oz and I never even notice it in my pocket anymore.Jan 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm #1417395
@cbertLocale: N. CaliforniaJan 23, 2008 at 4:28 pm #1417406
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Can anyone verify whether pliers are needed to fix a broken zipper (I've never had a zipper break either, but now I'm taking kids backpacking), whether the can opener comes in handy when you have to resupply in trail towns and enjoy adding tuna to pasta salads, and whether the pliers &/or screwdrivers are needed to fix anything on canister stoves ?
In general, I think the small Wenger Esquire (or Victorinox Classic) is probably all that's needed for backpacking – UNLESS the multitool pliers, can opener or screwdrivers are useful for something…
ps: There seems to be another thread developing here on whether scissors are needed and which ones work well. I've found the scissors on the smallest swiss army knives work much better than the knife blade for: cutting cordage (much better than a 1.5" knife), trimming hang nails and popped blisters, cutting a circle out of the middle of moleskin, rounding the ends of medical tape, and making an alchohol stove. They also trim loose threads on gear with less risk than the knife. The Victorinox classic has slightly smaller scissors than the Wenger Esquire. The Classic's scissors don't cut 1/8" braded cord very well – they slip along the cord when being closed. I bet the Esquire's serrated ones work better. Also, the Classic's scissors are so small that it's very difficult to press hard enough to cut fingernails. The larger scissors on the "standard" (3.5") size swiss army knives cut fingernails easily. I bet the mid-size scissors on the Esquire work better than the Classic's. But I'm sure the full size scissors on the 3.5" swiss army knives, Micra or Squirt S4 work much better.
I've also used the 1.5" knife on the Classic to make shavings and fuzz sticks to start a fire. It's possible, but I worry about breaking the thin blade every stroke and have to be really careful not to cut too deep before I turn the blade to shave along the stick. To take off bark, get below wet wood, or sharpen a stick to roast marshmallows, it's definitely a LOT easier to use the sturdier 2.5" blade on my Sypderco Dragonfly.Jan 23, 2008 at 5:14 pm #1417416
@maynard76Locale: New England
Check out the article "ultralight knives and other sharp things"
One popular suggestion was to remove the scissors from the Swissarmy classic. I did this and found them intolarably tedious to use. I now use the cheap folding scissors that was in a med kit I had and I really like them.Jan 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm #1417436
@bjamesdLocale: South Coast of BC
I only carry a pliers-based multitool when there's critical "equipment" that might need fixing. That's snowshoes or skis on winter trips, or complicated stoves on paddling trips. Beyond that, it seems to me that a broken zipper that can't be fixed by hand can be jerry-rigged with a safety pin until it gets home — and serve as a visual lesson in equipment care to boot.
(Not that I've ever broken a zipper, nor do I have kids…)Jan 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm #1417437
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
when the inside of the slider becomes worn enough it no longer
brings the zipper teeth close enough together to hold, then
gently squeezing the side of the slider can return the zipper
to service for awhile. Eventually you will need to replace the
Salt water, sand and grit accelerate slider wear.
Uses for pliers.
Pulling out cholla cactus balls.
Used with heavy needle and thread for shoe or pack repair.
Repair of ski bindings
Removing jet or tubing on gas stove to cleanJan 23, 2008 at 8:53 pm #1417443
Thanks Brian, I can't believe I never saw the Ultralight Knives and other sharp things article.Jan 24, 2008 at 2:37 am #1417465
@archnemesisLocale: England, UK
I have repaired broken zips in the field without using tools – just forcing the zips to reknit by hand. It's not a fun task.
If a zip has seriously broken in the field then what I have done in the past is sew that section of the zip closed and deal with it.
I generally try and avoid zips in high-stress applications such as luggage and tents.
On a trip to Iceland volcanic dust (which is everywhere) would happily destroy zips in days. Any exposed zip was a candidate for death.
If you are seriously worried about zips then pack a few buttons or toggles in with your sewing kit together with some thin para-cord. Then if you have serious zip issues you can still field-sew a safe and secure closure. At 1-2g per toggle it should fit in even a SUL pack ;-)Jan 24, 2008 at 5:08 am #1417469
I have fixed zips by squeezing them with pliers. I wouldn't carry pliers on a trip to deal with this remote possibility though. I don't think I need pliers or would carry them on a backpack trip, but do carry them when weight matters less (paddling) or if I am fishing, or if I am skiing and may need to fix something there. I use the tiny light scissors in my med kit if I need scissors.
I do like having a real knife though, and to me, if you are going to actually use the knife blade, having the blade lock is a very important safety feature. A weakness of the knife blade on most of the multi tools is that they don't lock, or they lock poorly. Currently, I have the SAK one handed trekker, which has a large locking blade. I also really like having the saw if I may make a fire, and the OHT has a great saw.Jan 24, 2008 at 5:33 am #1417472
Pliers work good for crushing that ice stuck in your mustache instead of letting it melt and drip on your clothing.Jan 24, 2008 at 6:25 am #1417480
THAT's the one I've seen before and thought would make a good pot gripper…
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