Survival and preparedness have hit the mainstream in a big way over the last decade. More and more ordinary, law abiding people are beginning to really think about what they need to survive in an emergency situation.

The everyday carry, or EDC, movement is a big part of this. One of the most important parts of a well built EDC is a high quality multi tool. We’ve decided to help you fill out your EDC by putting together a list of the best survival multi tools as well as a basic features and buying guide.

Best Survival Multi Tools

So what is a survival multi tool?

What it comes down to is any tool you carry with you that helps you survive a dangerous situation. Most regular multi tools would provide you with a lot of value in the wilderness or city. They have tools galore and give you a real chance of getting out unscathed.

Let’s see what some of the top survival multi tools are and how they stack up against one another.

Leatherman Signal

Leatherman Signal Survival Multi Tool

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The Signal is Leatherman’s most wilderness centric tool to date. It’s built around a standard butterfly fold design but incorporates some pretty innovative features. The Signal is 4.5 inches long and weighs 7.2 oz. It provides you with 19 tools, including:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Regular Wire Cutters
  • Hard Wire Cutters
  • Wire Stripper
  • Awl With Thread Loop
  • Hammer
  • 420HC Combination Knife
  • Saw
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • 1/4 in Bit Driver
  • Hex Wrench
  • Bit Driver
  • Carabiner
  • 3/16 Hex Wrench
  • Safety Whistle
  • Ferrocerium Rod
  • Diamond Sharpener

The Signal is a tool designed for hiking, camping, and general outdoor activity. The majority of its 19 tools are specifically for wilderness and survival tasks. This is especially true for its removable tools, located in clever slots along its handles.

These give you everything you need to maintain your main blade, signal for help, and start a fire. The ferrocerium rod lets you quickly produce a shower of sparks with the back of the saw blade. If you find your knife getting a bit dulled by constant shaving and chopping of wood you can easily put a field edge on it with the diamond sharpener.

The more standard tools included on the Signal are themselves excellent in a survival situation. You have everything you need to saw through small branches, scale and gut fish, or securely hold a fish hook or other object.

The hammer is great for pounding down makeshift pegs, especially when compared to a rock. Overall the Leatherman Signal is one of the better survival and wilderness multi tools on the market.

For more information about the Leatherman Signal, check out our full review.

Leatherman MUT – AR Survival Multi Tool

Leatherman MUT Survival Multi Tool

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The Leatherman MUT is basically the Signal’s bigger brother. It has a much more tactical focus than the Signal but still provides an ample tool loadout. It’s larger than the Signal, coming in at five inches long and weighing a full 11.2 oz. Despite this it only has 16 tools, including:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Regular Wire Cutters
  • Hard Wire Cutters
  • Stranded Wire Cutters
  • Wire Crimper
  • 420HC Combination Knife
  • Saw
  • Replaceable Cutting Hook
  • Hammer
  • Bronze Carbon Scraper
  • Bolt Override Tool
  • #8-32 Cleaning Rod Attachment Point
  • Firearm Disassembly Punch
  • Carabiner and Bottle Opener
  • Large Bit Driver

The MUT’s a great tool if you do a lot of shooting, especially AR15 or M4 shooting. Many of its tools are designed specifically for AR maintenance and field repair. It has everything you need to field strip, clean, and reassemble your rifle wherever you find yourself.

If the type of survival you’re planning for includes a risk of gunplay the MUT will keep you fully prepared and ready to fight at all times. There is a downside to this level of specialization though. The MUT has fewer general purpose tools than many similarly sized multi tools. It’s also large and heavy, not exactly something you want to lug around in the woods.

It does still have a knife, a saw, and a hammer built right in though. Just with these tools you can carve, cut branches, and hammer things down if you find yourself in need of a shelter or preparing other tools.

The Leatherman MUT is an excellent tool for military and law enforcement personnel as well as sport shooters and preppers. It’s great for urban survival scenarios but lacks in useful wilderness gear.

For more information about the Leatherman MUT, check out our full review.

SOG Flint Aluminum Survival Tool

SOG Flint Survival Multi Tool

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The SOG Flint is a survival tool with a fairly unique design. At first glance it looks just like a tactical pen or kubotan, but that just scratches the surface of what it has to offer. It uses a screw open design and packs four different tools into its body, including:

  • Ferrocerium Rod with Striker
  • Tinder Compartment
  • Carbide Glass Breaker/Self Defense Tool
  • Safety Whistle

The Flint feels undeniably good in your hand. The outside portion of the tool gives you access to the emergency whistle on top and the glass breaker on the bottom. It’s designed to provide maximum force on a tiny impact area. The hardened carbide tip makes it perfect for shattering glass if you’re trapped in a vehicle or structure.

Once you open it up you see how cool its design really is. There are three screw open parts to the Flint. One contains a sizable ferrocerium fire starter rod, the next a small striker, and the last is an empty compartment meant to hold tinder.

Once you reassemble the Flint in fire starter mode you have an easy to use method to start a primitive fire. We really liked how sturdy its anodized aluminum construction was. You don’t need to baby this tool, it can take a licking and keep on ticking.

Schrade Full Tang Tactical Hatchet Survival Multi Tool

Schrade Full Tang Survival Hatchet

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If you’re looking for a survival tool that packs some oomph the SCAXE5 from Schrade is the tool for you. It combines a high carbon steel hatchet with a reasonably sized pry bar. It’s great for chopping wood and preparing shelters or a fire in a survival scenario.

One thing we really like is the full tang design of the hatchet. It gives you much greater strength when chopping and reduces the chance of a failure in the field. The nylon handle fits well in the hand and is comfortable enough for continuous use.

The pry bar seemed kind of gimmicky at first but proved to be pretty useful. It’s large enough to work well for popping pretty large nails out and has a fairly intense point we found sharp enough to go through can lids in a pinch.

The SCAXE5 won’t light any fires or gut any fish but it does let you power through wood or lever open a door in an emergency. Overall it’s a quality product at a reasonable price.

CRKT Eat’N Tool Outdoor Survival Spork Multi tool

CRKT Spork Survival Multi Tool

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The CRKT Eat’N Tool is one of those things you don’t know you need until you have it. It’s made from bead blasted stainless steel and gives you seven different tools in an emergency, including:

  • Metal Spork
  • Bottle Opener
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • 6, 8, and 10 mm Hex Wrench
  • Carabiner

Primarily a spork, the Eat’N Tool is great to keep on your keychain for impromptu snack breaks or campfire cookouts. It has everything you need to pop a beer and enjoy a bowl of hearty soup or tasty chili out in the woods.

The flathead screwdriver and hex wrenches actually work a lot better than you would expect. The screwdriver is located on the side of the Eat’N Tool and lets you use the entire body of the spork for leverage. The wrenches work the same way. Even better, you can choose from a variety of different color options.

Is the Eat’N Tool all you need to survive? Definitely not, but it does give you several useful tools at a very low price. Plus it looks downright cool on your keychain.

Leatherman Charge+ TTi

Leatherman Charge Plus Survival Tool

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The Leatherman Charge+ TTi is one of the company’s most impressive offerings to date. Everything about it, from its titanium handles to precision manufacturing, screams quality. It gives you 19 different full sized tools, including:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hard Wire Cutters
  • Wire Stripper
  • Wire Crimper
  • S30V Straight Blade Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Edge Knife
  • Saw
  • Cutting Hook
  • Spring-Action Scissors
  • Eight Inch Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Diamond File
  • Large Bit Driver
  • Small Bit Driver
  • Medium Flathead Screwdriver

The Charge+ TTi is quite possibly the best multi tool on the market today. It exemplifies everything right with the multi tool market. The tools it contains are all made to the highest standards, with the best possible materials.

It’s on the pricey side to be sure, but you get a ton of value for your money. The main knife blade of the Charge+ is made from high end S30V stainless steel. This makes it both extremely sharp and highly corrosion resistant. Exactly the qualities you want while fighting for your life in the hostile wilderness.

The other tools it provides give you a real fighting chance in the wild. You’ve got an almost three inch long saw and a serrated knife blade. These let you quickly cut and process small to medium branches for shelters or fires. The pliers and cutters are great for working with fish and fishing hooks.

If you want the best multi tool you can get and are willing to pay for it, the Leatherman Charge+ TTi is the tool for you.

For more information about the Leatherman Charge+ TTi, check out our full review.

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Belt

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Bear Grylls has a well deserved reputation as a survivalist and woodsman. His partnership with Gerber has produced several interesting tools, including the Bear Grylls Survival Belt. It’s a nylon webbing belt with a hidden pocket containing lots of useful survival gear. It includes things like:

  • 30 Feet of 20 lb Fishing Line
  • Four #6 Barbed Fishing Hooks
  • Two Fishing Weights
  • Two Ball Swivels
  • Snare Line
  • Signaling Mirror
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Flathead Screwdriver

If you find yourself trapped in the woods with no way out fishing is one of your best potential sources of food (see our best fishing multi tool guide). The Survival Belt gives you everything you need to build a basic fishing pole. It also has close to 20 feet of sturdy snare line for trapping small game.

The belt itself is 42 inches long and has a zippered pouch on its inside edge. This is great for hiding cash or storing small amounts of tinder. The buckle itself contains all the other gear until you need it.

As a survival tool it makes sense. After all, who leaves the house without a belt on? While we don’t think it should be your only survival multi tool the Bear Grylls Survival Belt gives you considerable value for its size and price.

Survco Tactical Survival Multi Tool Credit Card

Survival Credit Card Multi Tool

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The Survco Tactical Credit Card Axe is a tough little tool that’s made to be the best survival credit card available. It’s seriously strong, built out of 12 gauge stainless steel, and provides you with 20 different survival functions, including:

  • Tomahawk
  • Axe
  • Skinner
  • Scraper
  • Shovel
  • Seatbelt Cutter
  • Bottle Opener
  • Water Valve Wrench
  • Gas Valve Wrench
  • Three Hex Wrenches
  • ÂĽ Inch Bit Driver
  • Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Nail Puller
  • Saw
  • Arrow Head
  • Spear Point
  • Atlatl

Like most survival credit cards this one is meant to be partially disassembled for use. The big difference here is the sheer size of the Survco. It’s thicker and heavier than just about any other credit card multi tool we’ve seen.

The main body of the tool is actually meant to be used as an axe or tomahawk head. Inside you’ll find a steel arrow head that pops loose along with several other tools along the sides and back of the Credit Card Axe.

We were a little worried about carrying around an axe head in our wallet but didn’t end up having any problems with it. The axe blade itself is fairly dull from the factory but can be sharpened up in a pinch or simply used as is.

It’s an interesting concept that’s pretty well executed. Overall we thought the Survco Credit Card Axe was useful.

Leatherman Raptor

Leatherman Raptor Survival Multi Tool

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For EMTs and other first responders seconds can mean lives saved or lost. In that kind of high pressure environment you need the best gear possible. The Leatherman Raptor is that gear. It’s a pair of specialized multi tool shears that provide emergency services personnel with six different tools/functions, including:

  • Folding Medical Shears
  • Strap Cutter
  • Ring Cutter
  • Ruler
  • Oxygen Tank Wrench
  • Carbide Glass Breaker

We’ll be straight with you, most people won’t get a lot of use from a Raptor. It’s a highly specialized tool with a dedicated user base. If you have need of a Raptor there’s nothing better on the market.

What makes it so revolutionary is its folding design. Much like Leatherman’s standard products fold around pliers the Raptor folds around a pair of medical shears. When fully closed it’s an extremely compact product that fits perfectly in a belt sheath. You can also store them in a fully deployed position just as easily.

The Raptor is on the pricey side but we honestly can’t hold that against it. Every tool on the Raptor is extremely well made and gets the job done every time. The combination of high quality tools and convenient storage options make it a must have tool for EMTs and other emergency services personnel.

The Friendly Swede Pocket Survival Multi Tool Pen

Pen Survival Multi Tool

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The Friendly Swede Pocket Multi Tool is a pretty cool little tool. It uses a screw open design in a pen shaped body that contains nine different tools. These include:

  • Stylus/Ballpoint Pen
  • Scraper/Knife Blade
  • Saw
  • Whistle
  • Ferrocerium Rod
  • Bottle Opener
  • Hex Wrench
  • Glass Breaker
  • Flathead Screwdriver

The Friendly Swede isn’t an everyday use kind of tool. Around half of its included tools are specifically for a wilderness survival situation. The others are mostly too small to do well in day to day use. The exception to this is the nice little bottle opener.

It packs a lot of tools into a very small space but does make some sacrifices for this. The knife is honestly more like a scraper than a true blade. It will let you shave off a bit of tinder but you won’t be cutting much else with it. The same was true of the saw. You can only expect to get through twigs with it.

Overall though we felt this was pretty well made and packed with features, especially for its small size. None of the tools are sturdy enough for hard use of course but they do provide some basic emergency tools in a survival situation.

The Ultimate Paracord Survival Multi Tool Bracelet

Paracord Bracelet Survival Multi Tool

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Paracord bracelets are a popular EDC accessory that combines manly fashion with a lot of useful tools. The Ultimate Paracord Survival Bracelet from Last Man is a great example of this. It’s designed to unravel in an emergency and provide you with more than 16 survival tools, including:

  • 12 Feet Paracord
  • Miniature Fishing Kit
  • Ferrocerium Fire Rod with Striker
  • Natural Tinder
  • Compass
  • Safety Pins

The fishing kit gives you everything you need to outfit an emergency rod and get fishing. Fish is one of the best forms of protein in a wilderness survival situation so it’s hard to overstate how valuable that is.

Other things we liked included the design of the bracelet’s closure. Most paracord bracelets use a small plastic buckle, sometimes with a whistle built in. Last Man went with a really nice looking loop system. It uses the ferrocerium rod and its striker as the anchors for this loop.

All in all a very well put together paracord bracelet that’s available in a wide range of colors and patterns.

Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Knife

Huntsman Survival Swiss Army Knife

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The Huntsman is what most of us think of when we picture a swiss army knife. It uses Victorinox’s classic fold out design and gives you 15 different tools. These include:

  • Large Straight Blade
  • Small Straight Blade
  • Wood Saw
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wire Stripper
  • 3 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • 6 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • Multipurpose Hook
  • Corkscrew
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpick
  • Key Ring

If you were ever a Boy Scout there’s a pretty good chance you owned a Huntsman. It’s that iconic of a tool. It has everything you need to whittle, carve, thread, and slice plus a whole range of other uses.

There’s a reason swiss army style knives are still in demand over a century after their invention. They’re high quality products in an excellent form factor. The Huntsman lacks the pliers and wire cutters of most butterfly multi tools but it makes up for it with its compact size and lightweight.

If you’d like to put a legitimate piece of living history in your bug out bag or EDC the Victorinox Huntsman is a great tool to go with.

Outdoor Element The Firebiner Survival Carabiner Multi Tool

Firebiner Survival Carabiner Multi Tool

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The Firebiner is a survival specific carabiner multi tool designed to be unobtrusive and useful. It’s a full size carabiner clip that includes tools like:

  • Utility Cutter
  • Bottle Opener
  • Carabiner
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Spinning Fire Striker

The fire striker was honestly our favorite part of the Firebiner. Think of a pre childproof BIC lighter. All the flashing sparks and easy spin without the gas lighter. It produces a large shower of sparks with every turn but was tight enough not to turn on its own.

The utility cutter is great for cutting fishing line or thin cordage. We really liked how easily the bottle opener was to use. Many keychain tool bottle openers are a bit lacking. This one always popped the top on the first try.

If you’re looking for a new way to organize your keys and prepare for a disaster the Firebiner is a great option.

Best Survival Multi Tools Buyers Guide

If you’re trying to survive in the wilderness there are a few universal constants. No matter what you’re going to need to eat and stay warm. Beyond that though there are a lot of features, style points, and sizing options that have to be addressed.

We’ve tried to cover some of the most important points in this buying guide.

Price

There are two schools of thought with survival multi tools. The first is that you should invest in a single high quality multi tool that fulfills both EDC and potential survival needs. For this one you should invest in a full sized tool that provides you with lots of tools.

The second is that you should look for cheaper purpose built tools that provide only one or two functions. Think ferrocerium rods with tinder compartment, or a keychain tool with a few good uses. These generally cost between $5 and $30 and mostly provide survival specific usefulness.

Both have merit, and you don’t have to be one or another. You can carry a very nice EDC multi tool and several smaller survival gadgets. Playing around with your everyday carry is honestly half the fun.

Style

There are a lot of multi tool styles out there. Some of the most common include:

This honestly just scratches the surface. There are lots of one offs and specialty tools that have their own categories as well. For survival tools most varieties provide some kind of value. The full size multi tools and swiss army knives provide tons of useful features but are kind of large and annoying to carry if you don’t already have one.

Smaller keychain, credit card, and pen style tools are much easier to keep with you. Unfortunately they usually can’t match the full size tools for actual functionality. Choosing the best survival multi tool is a balancing act. Pick the best possible tool that you’ll actually carry.

Size and Number of Tools

For a true survival situation more of bigger tools is always going to be better. A heavy duty multi tool with 20+ large tools is going to give you a lot more value than a small credit card tool. There is an important caveat to this though.

The best tool to have in a survival situation is the one you actually have. Many people buy large multi tools thinking they’ll love them. Once they actually try carrying them around though they realize that they’re much too heavy or cumbersome. Make sure whatever survival multi tool you go with is the one you’re actually willing to carry.

Handy Tools

Once you know what type and size of multi tool you want you should consider tools. Every multi tool has a different tool loadout. Make sure you cover the essentials of survival with your multi tool.

Knife
A knife is just about the most useful tool to have in a survival situation. You can carve, skin, cut, baton wood, and do all kinds of other useful tasks with one. In general bigger is better when you’re in the wilderness. A larger blade can be used for more intense purposes and will hold up better under potentially abusive conditions.

There is a place for smaller blades as well. Many purpose built survival tools have knives that are little more than razor blades. These can be used for cutting line or basic whittling. In the end, they’re better to have than nothing.

Saw
A saw is one of the top three or four most useful things to have for survival. It allows you to process limbs that are too large for a knife blade. This means you can build a sturdier shelter and feed your fire with larger pieces of wood.

When possible you should try to find a main multi tool that has a reasonable sized saw. Don’t be afraid to supplement this with a more specialized tool as well though.

Fire Starter/Ferrocerium Rod
Being able to reliably start a fire is probably the most important part of wilderness survival. Most people will start to experience symptoms of hypothermia just 10 minutes after exposure to the elements. Without a way to warm yourself up death will inevitably follow.

Having fire also lets you boil water. Drinking untreated water is a good way to end up with a bad case of dysentery.

A ferrocerium or fire starter rod lets you produce a spray of sparks when scraped with a piece of metal. When combined with tinder you can get an ember going and ignite small pieces of kindling. It’s always a good idea to have a fire starter in your survival multi tool.

Scissors
Scissors aren’t essential from a survival perspective but they make a lot of things easier. With a good pair of scissors you can prepare tinder, cut cloth, and precisely slice through cordage.

If you have the option we definitely recommend you have pair of scissors in your multi tool.

Awl
An awl is a very useful tool to have on a survival multi tool. A lot of people don’t actually know what an awl is. It’s used for puncturing different materials, usually for threading or binding. You can add a hole to your belt or process freshly tanned hides to make clothing in an emergency.

This ability to thread and stitch gives you a lot more options for clothing and shelter in a survival scenario.

Conclusion

The best survival multi tool is always the multi tool you have with you. It doesn’t matter how amazing and loaded out your multi tool is if it’s sitting in your workshop when you need it. Make sure you balance the type of tool you want with what you’ll actually carry regularly. That being said, there are some characteristics that make some tools better than others.

Of the tools we reviewed one immediately stood out from the rest. The Leatherman Signal has the combination of usefulness and portability that really sets it apart.

It has both a ferrocerium rod and a diamond sharpener that can be used on its own blade. Having a sharp blade and a way to start fire is an essential part of survival. The fact that it also packs in an awl and a hammer was basically just icing on the cake.