The Leatherman name has been synonymous with multi-tools for just about all of the company’s 38 years of operation. Founder Tim Leatherman arguably kickstarted the EDC craze when he launched his PST (Pocket Survival Tool) in 1983. Since then, hikers, DIYers, road trippers, and just about anyone who could make use of a pocket tool has trusted Leatherman to deliver a quality piece of gear. And their latest, the Leatherman Bond, doesn’t disappoint.
We at Cool Material have long been fans of Leatherman. So we were thrilled to learn they’d be debuting a brand new tool in 2021. A fully modern redesign of the tool that started it all, the Leatherman Bond takes the best of Tim Leatherman’s original PST and updates it for today’s world.
We’ve spent some time familiarizing ourselves with the Leatherman Bond — bringing it on a road trip, hikes, and putting it to use around the house. Here’s how it measures up.
Why Do I Need a Multi-tool?
If you’re new to the EDC game, a multi-tool is a great place to start. As the name suggests, it’s an all-in-one piece of gear that can tackle multiple projects. Most multi-tools start with the simple pocket knife and add on various features including files, screwdrivers, and more.
As the story goes, Tim Leatherman himself came up with the idea for a multi-tool while on a budget trip to Europe in 1975. Leatherman used his trusty pocket knife for most tasks but realized a pair of pliers would come in handy for quick fixes like hotel plumbing or simple car repair. So, the idea for a multipurpose pocket tool was born.
Today, we use multi-tools for everything. Around the house, it helps to open packages, hang shelves, and tackle leaks under the sink. On camping trips, it can fix a wobbly chair, slice bread, or open a cold beer. At this point, it’s a bit cliche, but a quality multi-tool fits a toolbox in your pocket.
Why Do We Like the Leatherman Bond?
The world of EDC and multi-tools is complex and expansive, so it can feel daunting to know where to start. And, the original PST and its successor, the PST II, were retired by Leatherman in 2004. Well, we think the Leatherman Bond is the perfect entry-level multi-tool.
The look and feel of the Bond is nearly identical to the OG PST. Lightweight in body and simple in construction, the Bond is comfortable to hold and relatively easy to use. It’s compact and minimal, all of the tools are tucked neatly away on the interior, and delivers the essential tools one would need in everyday use (more on that later).
Plus, for the durability, weight, and functionality of this type of multi-tool, it’s hard to beat the price. At $50, it is both one of Leatherman’s most affordable tools and, arguably, most practical tools.
What’s Included in the Leatherman Bond Multi-tool
The Leatherman Bond packs 14 tools into a single package — that’s two more tools than the original PST. In your Bond multi-tool you’ll find:
- Needlenose Pliers
- Regular Pliers
- Hard-wire Cutters
- Wire Cutters
- Wire Stripper
- 420HC Blade
- Can Opener
- Bottle Opener
- Wood/Metal File
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Medium Screwdriver
- Small Screwdriver
- Ruler (4 in | 10 cm)
The Bond is an efficient multi-tool. Its compact size means no space is wasted and Leatherman has packed in a laundry list of tools into a true piece of EDC gear. Additionally, a black nylon sheath comes included with every purchase.
While you can splurge for a more specialty multi-tool, we feel the Bond is best for everyday use. Sure it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a more complex Leatherman tool like the Signal or Surge. But, if you’re looking to gift a starter multi-tool, or purchase one for yourself, get the Bond.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
While many of Leatherman’s more recent products have all of the tools accessible on the outside, the Bond recalls the build of the PST with the pocket knife, screwdrivers, and other tools located on the inside. This sacrifices some of the convenience for a bit more safety – the tools won’t open up on you while it’s in your hand or pocket.
When you first purchase your Bond, you might also notice some serious tension in the tool. The best way to loosen it up? Use it! The tools will offer some resistance as you pull them open but that means you can be confident they won’t give way during use. And, the Bond will gradually become easier to open as you work through each of the tools.
On the other hand, we found that the knife had the least resistance to open. That’s likely because it’s the tool you’ll be using the most so it’s fairly easy to open quickly. We’d just encourage caution while you’re using it. That being said, while the knife is in use, it stays locked in place superbly and is well blocked by the body of the multi-tool.
The Bottom Line on the Leatherman Bond
Like Ocean’s Eleven and Scarface before it, the Leatherman Bond is a fantastic remake of a tried and true classic. With an updated design, dialed-in toolset, and comfortable feel, the Bond is one of the best entry-level multi-tools on the market. For $50 you won’t find a better, more efficient piece of EDC gear.