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Knives and Multitools

Leatherman FREE K4/K4X

The most compact multitool of 2021.

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Most multitools are bulky enough that they end up in your pack rather than your pocket, and are thus harder to deploy when needed. But the FREE K4 is the length of a Snickers bar and slim, so it can stash neatly in the front pocket of your hiking pants (the attached clip helps as well). A 3.3-inch, stainless-steel blade (straight in the K4, serrated in the K4X) is sharp and durable: “It cut through dry, stringy cabbage palm when my bigger blade couldn’t,” one tester said after working trail maintenance in northern California. In addition to the knife, the FREE K4’s handle contains three screwdrivers, a bottle opener, an awl, a package opener, a pry tool, and spring-action scissors. They all open one-handed and stay put when deployed thanks to a magnetic lock, which was crucial for pulling out rusty screws with the Philips screwdriver while we replaced old trail signs in Mt. Tamalpais State Park. “The tools did not wiggle one bit, even after repeated opening and closing over six months,” our tester says.

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