Saturday 27 October 2007

Leatherman Charge Ti

Being in the business of outdoors journalism, over the years I've used just about every multi-tool ever invented.

Many are rubbish. Some are ok. But to my mind Leatherman have always been the best - and this is the best Leatherman I've seen so far.

It's the Charge Ti. Like any multi-tool, it's got a list of tools and features - needlenose pliers, straight and serrated blades, saw, screwdrivers, can/bottle opener, etc.

But just comparing a list of gadgets is missing the point. Many multi-tools feel like a lump of scrap metal in your hand. This one just feels right. Like a well-balanced knife or hammer, it fills your hand with a good, solid feel. You feel in control. The edges are rounded so they don't dig into your palm, and the stippled surface gives extra grip.

Other tools have a habit of pinching you as you fold or unfold them. Don't ask me how, but the Leatherman simply doesn't. Good design, I guess. That good design is apparent in all sorts of little details. Look at the liner lock that holds the main blades open, for instance (highlighted by the red arrow in the photo - click the pic for a larger version). It locks automatically as you open the blade (which can be done one-handed), it holds the blade safely open, yet you can release it and close the blade again with one hand when you're done. And the locking mechanism for the smaller tools is effective and easy to use too.

Plus the Charge Ti has a pair of scissors built in, something that I find really useful (eg for fishing) and which is lacking on many tools.

What really impresses me about the Charge Ti is the sheer quality of engineering. Some tools actually rattle if you shake them. No chance of that here. Everything fits together like the lockwork on a fine gun.

This is a top quality tool that will last a lifetime and is a real pleasure to use. More info on the Whitby & Co website. Price around £120, with leather or nylon pouch.

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