Friday, March 20, 2015

Leah's Corner: Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool conquers the suburbs

by Leah Klocko

As you many of you know, I am the senior copy editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. While Jason lives and tests gear high up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I edit from the less illustrious Pittsburgh suburbs, not exactly a wilderness mecca. However, I am always excited to check out new gear, and thanks to Leatherman, I was lucky enough to be able test out their new Wingman multi-tool which they were kind enough to send my way recently.

I have to say it was a little intimidating at first. Lots of implements all in one. However, once I started working with the Wingman I appreciated having all my tools right there, with no need to go grab a screwdriver or dig up a pair of pliers.

The Leatherman Wingman features tough stainless-steel construction and 14 different tools including:

* 420HC Combo Knife, Spring-action Regular Pliers, Spring-action Needlenose Pliers, Spring-action Wire Cutters
* Wire Stripper, Small Screwdriver, Medium Screwdriver, Phillips Screwdriver,
* Spring-action scissors
* Wood/Metal File, Bottle Opener, Can Opener

I decided to check a few items off of my “To Do” list using the multi-tool. My AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5 Active test phone made taking photos of my progress a snap.

Task number one: Remove rusty nails from an old wicker chair on the porch. My cat likes to use the old chair as a scratching post and some of the nails had become exposed. I didn’t want him to hurt himself, so the nails had to go.

The spring-action needlenose pliers quickly became my favorite part of the Wingman. Their sturdy construction, comfortable grip and spring action made quick work of the nails. Only one problem. One of the nails broke off. Wingman to the rescue! I simply pulled out the wire-stripper which has a curved sharp end and used it to dig out the remaining nail.

Task number two: Tighten the door knob.

For some reason, the knob on my front door has a habit of becoming loose. If you’ve ever tried to work on a doorknob, the angle of access to the screws can cause problems if your screwdriver is too short or the handle is too wide. Not a problem with the Wingman.

Task number three: Cut open a gourd to get seeds for next year.

I had grown some tiny pumpkin-shaped gourdes in my garden this year and I wanted to cut one up to get seeds to plant next year. The knife on the multi-tool cut through with no problem even though gourds tend to have a pretty tough skin.

I then used the serrated part of the knife to cut a twig from one of the nearby shrubs. The Wingman cut through quickly without much effort.

Task number four: Test the Scissors

To test the scissors's cutting ability, I decided to cut a piece of felt. Fabric of any kind can be difficult to cut with scissors unless they are really sharp, and I honestly didn’t think the Wingman’s scissors would be up to the task. I was wrong. Once I got the hang of using them, they cut through the felt almost as well as my full size sewing scissors.

One small issue from a female perspective-- the knife and scissors could be a little easier to pull out. I tended to lose them in the handle and they were stiff enough that they bent my fingernails when I tried to open them.


All in all, the Leatherman Wingman is a very useful well-made tool. Plus it is small enough to fit in the palm of my not-very-large hand, and light enough to add little weight to a backpack or purse. (I had it in my purse at one point and forgot that it was in there!) Easy to carry in a pocket as well, with a nice clip that holds it in place.

Its handy features, especially for a suburbanite like me, has made it my ultimate “To Do” list partner. It saves me time running to get tool after tool. I can just move from one job to another with every tool right there in my hand. The Wingman's sturdy construction also means it should stand up to some serious stress. I can see that as I get used to my Leatherman Wingman, I will find more reasons to love having all of my tools right at my fingertips.

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