Multitools have been a part of our lives for several decades and have been engineered to be a do it all tool box. Manufacturers include everything but the kitchen sink to ensure that we have the tools we need for any occasion and to keep us prepared. The downside to this is the tool is not specialized for a specific task and this general design makes the tool heavy. It also can be a deciding factor in which tool you purchase or edc if you have a collection like me. Several tool companies are designing tools that are specific to a job title, recreational activity or task and the Leatherman Signal is one of those tools. The Signal is patterned after the Leatherman MUT design and scaled down so it’s not such a massive beast. Weighing in at only at only 7.5oz the Signal is enough tool for the task and light on the tools so it's easy to carry where ever your headed.
The Signal is a tool designed for the outdoorsman and is geared towards general camp duty. Plus it has some added features that could get you out of a pinch if you were put in a survival situation. The tool is a standard butterfly style tool with pliers as the focal point of the design. Closed the Signal is 4.5 inches in length and comes with two methods of carry; a stainless steel pocket clip or a carabiner.
The outside of the tool gives you several different items that you can use to aid you in your camping trip or urban survival. First off we have a one hand opening knife; there are several Leatherman tools that feature an outside opening blade but this one is thicker than on some Leathermans. The blade is what I would call a modified sheepsfoot style with a combo edge that is composed of both a standard edge and a serrated edge. The combination of this blade style and thickness make it good for general utility and it can withstand more stress than most Leatherman blades of this size.
Opposite of the blade the Signal has a wood saw that is accessible from the outside. This saw is great for removing small limbs around camp and works well for its size. The saw is not a bi-directional style but rather this one cuts when the saw is pulled on a draw cut. This style is standard on most Leatherman tools and does not get bound up too easy. I found the works well on green wood as well as dry and could comfortably handle up to 2 inch branches.
On the opposite end of the tool it features a carabiner which also doubles as a bottle opener. Like the MUT this tool also incorporates a hammer. The hammer is not intended to be used for driving nails but could be used to drive tent stakes and other tasks which require a quick tap and a hammer is not handy. The hammer is a backup feature that is there when you have no other tool available. This hammer also incorporates a 1/4 inch and 3/16 hex drivers. The 1/4 came in handy when using an accompanying adapter to accept standard driver bits. Using them in this configuration allows for greater torque when driving screws.
The defining features of this tool are the emergency whistle, ferro rod and diamond sharpener. These tools were designed for a worse case scenario in which a person would be stranded in the woods with little on them to survive. The emergency whistle is released from the handle by a retention spring that is on the inside of one of the handles. The whistle is quite loud and could easily be heard a mile away. It's not as good as some of the other whistles but for what it is it will work in a situation that demands one. On the back side of the whistle is the ferro rod. The ferro rod is rather small and works well for being small. I was able to throw a good amount of sparks using the back of the saw and starting fires was quite easy. The life span of this ferry rod isn't a long one and could get a lot of use on camping trips. Leatherman does offer replacements via their store and they are quite affordable.
The last emergency tool is the diamond sharpener. The sharpener is housed on the outside of the tool and is released by depressing the locking mechanism for the inside tools and sliding the sharpener downwards. This sharpener is small and would only be good when all your chips are down and you have nothing else to sharpen your knife with. It could also be used to sharpen fish hooks and other things in the field if the situation called for it. The sharpener does have a nice shape to it and due to its location makes holding the tool more comfortable when cutting material.
The tools on the inside of the Signal are the bit driver; which uses Leatherman proprietary bits. The bitdriver comes with one double sided bit that has a phillips on one side and a flat on the other. This will get you out of most situations and could be coupled with a bit kit for more versatility. The can opener which does as the name implies and an awl which has an eye for threading material, if you needed to any kind of emergency sewing in the field. The awl I feel isn't as good as some of the other tools Leatherman produces. I felt it wasn't as sharp and didn't bite real well when using it to bore a hole in wood or other soft material.
Finally we have the pliers of the Signal when the tool is fully opened. These are the same pliers that Leatherman is incorporating on their new tools. The head is larger and features replaceable wire cutters that are hardened to resist damage. Being made out of 154CM stainless they are really quite tough and better than carbide bits on other manufacturers tools. I personally like the new head design because the teeth are more pronounced and I feel I get a better grip on objects than the original plier design.
Overall the Signal is a nice addition to the Leatherman lineup and they hit home on a lot of design elements. This could be put to use as an everyday tool or one you carry when your out in the woods. I don't feel the tool is gimmicky and I love the fact Leatherman is making tools for niche markets and not just run of the mill toolbox tools. I look forward to what else Leatherman has up its sleeve.
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