The Leatherman Sidekick is a well-made multi-tool with a nice selection of features. I found it to be just slightly larger than I would prefer for pocket carry. I would highly recommend it for belt pouch, pack, tackle box, or similar carry.
Last Spring, the Youth Ministry Leaders at our church gave me a gift card to a sporting goods store. It was an expression of appreciation for the oversight that I was temporarily providing to the youth ministry. I was deeply touched. I had been greatly blessed by observing the ministry of the leaders to the young people of our church. It was nice to see that they appreciated my ministry as well.
I had been eager to try out another Leatherman multi-tool for quite some time. I had previously tested the Leatherman Wave and the Leatherman Skeletool. The Leatherman Wave has a great selection of tools, but I find it just a little too large for everyday carry (EDC). I typically carry the Leatherman Skeletool every day, but I wished that it included a pair of scissors among its tool selection. I was eager to see if the Leatherman Sidekick was small enough to comfortably carry every day while providing a larger range of tools than the Skeletool.
I never thought that I would first become involved in youth ministry after I was already in my 60s. But about a year ago our previous Youth Pastor stepped down, and our Senior Pastor asked me to oversee the ministry until we could call a new Youth Pastor.
There was a time almost 40 years ago when I actively sought a position as a youth pastor. It was during the spring of my senior year of college. I was engaged to be married right after graduation, and then planned to start seminary in the autumn. I was preparing for a lifetime of ministry, and thought that serving as a youth pastor might help me gain some additional ministry experience.
I heard that a church near my seminary was looking for a youth pastor. I applied for the position and was invited to come as a candidate. After the end of the candidacy period, I waited with baited breath to hear the outcome of the church’s decision. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, when I could stand waiting no longer, I called my contact at the church and asked what the church had decided. He replied somewhat hesitantly, “After due consideration, the church decided to get aluminum siding instead.”
Now, almost four decades later, I am finally deeply engaged in youth ministry.
I ordered the Sidekick from the website of the above-mentioned sporting goods store using my gift card. The multi-tool arrived a little more than a week later.
The product box was 8.5×5.25×2 inches. The box was appropriate, being neither too flimsy nor too fancy for its contents. The box also contained a wealth of interesting information:
The Sidekick is made in these United States from parts made in the United States and in other countries.
It contains 14 tools. These tools are a spring-action needlenose pliers, spring-action regular pliers, spring-action wire cutters, a plain blade knife, a serrated knife, a wood/metal file, a saw, a small flathead screwdriver, a medium flathead screwdriver, a large Phillips screwdriver, a ruler, a bottle opener, a can opener, and a wire stripper.
The multi-tool is covered by a 25-year warranty.
It is made of 420HC stainless steel.
The knife blade can be opened with one hand.
The multi-tool is made by Leatherman Tool Group, Inc., PO Box 20595, Portland, OR 97294. The street address is12106 NE Ainsworth Circle, Portland, OR 97220. Their phone number is (503) 253-7826 and their web address is www.Leatherman.com.
The Sidekick weighs 7 ounces, is 3.8 inches closed, and has a blade that is 2.6 inches long.
The box warns, “Caution: This product contains one or more sharp blades or pinch points.”
I will now go on a grumpy old man rant and say that in any half-way rational and functional society, anyone foolish enough not to figure out on their own that a multi-tool has sharp blades and pinch points should be too ashamed to make an issue of it in open court.
I ordered the Sidekick because I believed that it included scissors as one of its tools. This was due to sloppiness on my part. I had viewed the Leatherman Wingman on the sporting goods store website, had then viewed some other items, and then tried to return to the Wingman to order it. Instead, I accidentally ordered the similar looking Sidekick. Since the Sidekick is the same size as the Wingman, I decided to go ahead and test it to get a sense of whether or not I should go on to test the Wingman as a potential replacement for my Skeletool.
I took my trusty Skeletool out of my left front pants pocket, and replaced it with the Sidekick for the testing period.
I quickly discovered that I like the bit-based screwdriver system of the Skeletool more than the fixed blade screwdrivers of the Sidekick. When the bits of the Skeletool wear out, they can be easily replaced. When the screwdriver blades of the Sidekick wear out, replacing them will be more difficult.
The Sidekick is significantly heavier than the Skeletool. That has advantages and disadvantages. It is less pleasant to carry, but the pliers are of the Sidekick are significantly more robust than the pliers of the Skeletool.
I used the Sidekick over the course of weeks for the host of tasks for which I typically use my EDC multi-tool. I used it for things like opening boxes, cutting cords, turning screws, and gripping nuts. It worked dependably and effectively at these various tasks.
The Lesson of a Tick
I took the Sidekick on a camping trip with my wife, our daughter and son-in-law, and our grandchildren. One evening during the trip, I discovered that I had a tick on my back. At that point, I was glad that I was also carrying my Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army knife. Although I was primarily carrying the SD for the scissors, it was good to have the tweezers so that my wife could use them to pull the tick out of my back. I decided that I would continue to carry the SD along with whatever other knife or multi-tool I might be carrying. That made consideration of a Wingman as a possible replacement for both the Skeletool/SD combination no longer relevant.
The Mini Survival Kit
After a couple of more weeks of carry, I decided that the Sidekick was just a little too large for pocket carry. It tended to dig into the back of my hand when I reached into my pocket for other things. The Skeletool does not do this.
I was putting together a mini survival kit to keep in my camper at that time. I decided that the mini survival kit would make a fitting home for the Sidekick.
The container for the mini survival kit is an empty plastic one-pound peanut butter jar. In addition to the Sidekick, the jar contains a ferrocerium rod with a striker, ten cotton balls made into waterproof tinder, waterproof matches in a waterproof case, a whistle, a compass, and a butane lighter.
A couple of months after I put the mini survival kit in the camper, the Sidekick came in handy. I needed to move the latch catch on the camper door down in order to keep the door from popping open every time we hit a pothole. I used the pliers on the Sidekick to remove the rivets from the latch catch in its original position after the cores of the rivets had been drilled out. Then I used a screwdriver from the Sidekick to tighten the screws that I used to replace the rivets when I reinstalled the latch catch in its new location. I also used the serrated knife on the Sidekick to custom fit a piece of molding (“trim a piece of trim”) so that it could accommodate the nuts on the screws in their new location. So all in all, the Sidekick came in extremely handy.
I found the Leatherman Sidekick to be just a little larger than I prefer for pocket carry. It did turn out to be a handy size for inclusion in a mini-survival kit for vehicular carry. I found it to be very useful in that application.
If you are looking for a multi-tool for pocket carry, I recommend the Leatherman Skeletool. If you are looking for something just a little larger and more robust with a larger selection of tools for belt pouch, pack, tackle box, or vehicular carry, the Sidekick would make an excellent choice.
I did not receive any financial or other inducement to mention any vendor, product, or service in this article.