The first thing I noticed about the Signal is how much the Leatherman designs have evolved since I bought my first one in the mid 1990’s. It was a Leatherman Mini Tool which I carried for Ice Climbing, Scottish winter and Alpine mountaineering and expeditions. It was small, very strong, simple, a bit crude but very effective at cutting and repairing things. I have since lost it but replaced it with the excellent Skeletool. More recently I have had the opportunity to use the Leatherman Signal, a multitool specifically designed for the outdoors.
While the Signal follows the usual Leatherman design which revolves around the folding pliers it also has some unique features designed for the outdoor market.
Like most Leatherman multitools it has pliers, a knife, a saw, a bit driver and can and bottle opener. The main deviances are the addition of a hammer, an awl, a sharpener, a whistle and a ferro rod.
The knife is quite burly, definitely thicker than most other Leatherman blades and will certainly stand up to lot of abuse. The lower third of the blade is serrated making it easier to cut ropes. The knife can be opened easily one handed from the outside of the tool. The saw also opens from the outside of the tool and is surprisingly effective. The pliers are regular and needle nose with replaceable wire cutters. The can opener is effective and the bit driver has a flat head and Phillips screwdriver bit included.
The non standard features are cleverly designed. The hammer projects out below the main frame and is certainly good enough for bashing stuff that need to be bashed. Just below the hammer is a very useful carabiner clip. The awl is a useful repair tool to have on an extended trip or expedition. I was slightly dubious about the sharpener but it does work. The whistle I haven’t used but it’s nice that it’s there. I was also dubious about the ferro rod but it does actually work very well and I’ve used it to light gas stoves. The sharpener, whistle and ferro rod clip into place on the frame and are surprisingly secure.
I’ve been using the Leatherman Signal for a couple of months while working full-time as a mountaineering and climbing instructor. First up was a job I’d been meaning to do for a while. Up on the Kinder plateau there are odd bits of bailer twine still attached to some of the dams built as part of the Moors for the Future project. Cutting the twine out is a simple job with Leatherman Signal: one handed opening of the blade, bend down cut the twine, close blade with one hand and return to my pocket. Easy. I’ve used the ferro rod to light my MSR Reactor and Kovea Spider stoves, I’ve sharpened pencils, I’ve sawed, I’ve loosened over tight carabiner gates, I’ve opened cans and tightened screws. I fixed a clients harness with the pliers and have used the diamond sharpener to hone the knife.
The Leatherman Signal is a well designed and high quality multitool. It’s a bit slimmer that some other Leatherman so it’s easy to carry. It weighs 212 g so if weight was crucial I would probably carry a Skeletool or a lighter knife like an Opinel Outdoor, but it’s certainly light enough for everyday climbing and walking/hiking work in the Peak. I really like it, it’s been surprisingly useful and I’ll certainly keep carrying and using it. It feels durable and I’m sure it will last many years. If you feel you need to carry a Leatherman for outdoor work or leisure this is probably the one to get.
Buy here Leatherman Signal