Pat’s Product Review: Leatherman Surge – Improved

If you don’t know about Leatherman multi-tools, you must have had your head in the sand for a lot of years. Today, we’re taking a look at the improved Surge  multi-tool. To be sure, if you are serious about Prepping, Survival, hunting or working around your homestead – you absolutely, should have a multi-tool on-hand. My “Blast” Leatherman (sadly, now discontinued) is on my belt every single day, right there, next to my spare magazine, for whatever handgun I’m packing. And, it goes without saying, the multi-tool is used a lot more than my handgun is.

The Leatherman “Surge” is one of the two largest multi-tools, that Leatherman manufactures – and that’s not to say they are overly large, they are not! I’ve seen some pretty huge multi-tools over the years, and while they were workhorses, they were just too big to carry on my belt or in a pocket. Closed length of the new Surge is 4.5-inches, and it weighs in at 12.5-ounces. Yes, it’s a little bit on the heavy side, however, for all it does, it really isn’t too heavy in my humble opinion.

The improved Surge is only slightly more beefy than the original, and it has all locking features on it – every tool that is in the handles, locks open tightly. Several of the tools can be opened while the Surge is still closed, too – you simply pull the Surge out of its included sheath, and you don’t have to bother opening the two handles, to access some of the tools, you can open the tools with the handles closed.

Here’s a quick run down on the 21 tools that are contained in the Surge: needle nose pliers, regular pliers, 154CM replaceable wire cutters, 154 CM replaceable hard-wire cutters, stranded wire cutters, electrical crimp, wire stripper, 420HC knife, 420 serrated knife, saw, spring-action scissors, awl with threaded loop, ruler (8-inches), can opener, bottle opener, wood/metal file, diamond coated file, blade exchanger, large bit driver, large screwdriver and a small screwdriver. And, there is a lanyard ring, for attaching the Surge to your pants or around your wrist, if working around water or any other place where you don’t want to drop your Surge.

I have found that, the wood saw on Leatherman multi-tools, to be the best of the best, they can really cut wood all out of proportion to the size of the saw, and the teeth really do fast work on tree branches – I use the wood saw around my small homestead all the time, for cutting low-hanging tree branches.

The 420HC stainless steel knife blade and serrated knife blade come with a good edge on them – unlike many knife blades on other multi-tools, that are dull and useless. I like a serrated knife blade when cutting through cardboard or wet rope, or rubber hoses. The folding scissors are really cool – they cut better than a lot of other scissors I’ve used – and we’re talking full-sized scissors, too.

I’m forever breaking a fingernail and it might not sound like the end of the world, however, I hate having a jagged fingernail. The folding scissors can trim the nail, and the diamond file does a great job of smoothing the nail, too.

The large and small screw drivers come in handy, for all kinds of minor repairs. Just a couple weeks ago, my mechanic and friend, was working on my youngest daughter’s car, she had a coolant leak, and he pressurized the cooling system, and in short order, found that a brand-new upper radiator hose was leaking at the clamp. He didn’t have a screw driver handy – he was working in my driveway, and I handed him my Leatherman, with the large screwdriver opened and a few seconds later – no more coolant leak. I know, I know – you’re all wondering how I can get my mechanic to come and make a house call, right? Well, he’s been out of work for a year – due to two cancer surgeries, and he is going stir-crazy sitting at home all the time, and is always looking for something to do – so he came to my digs and worked on a couple of our cars.

When my youngest daughter was in the US Army, and going through Combat Medic training, my wife and I gave her a Surge, and she, and many of her fellow soldiers were always using her older model Surge for various chores…she was glad to have it with her all the time. At some point, the army issued Combat Medics a Gerber multi-tool, and I have one myself, but I don’t carry it with me any longer. I like the way you can flick the pliers out of the handles, however, one major problem showed itself in short order. If you are using the pliers, and squeezing hard on a nut or whatever you need the pliers for, and the pliers slip, we are talking major hurt. What happens is, the meat of your hand gets caught (squeezed) between the pliers handles – I bruised the meat of my hand several times with a Gerber. In contrast, with the Leatherman multi-tools, you don’t have this worry, because you have to unfold the handles, to expose and use the pliers, and if the pliers slip, the handles can’t close on the meat of your hand. Maybe I’m the only person this happened to with a Gerber multi-tool, but it happened one too many times, and I don’t use it any longer.

One of the best things I like with the Leatherman line-up of multi-tools (and other products) is they all come with a  25-year warranty. If something breaks, they will repair or replace it – down to their smallest multi-tools. And, some tools can be user replaced, like the saw blade – it can be replaced if worn out or broken.

The new and improved Surge can be had in stainless steel, or blackened stainless – it’s still stainless steel. And, it can be had with a standard sheath or a MOLLE compatible sheath for use on MOLLE vests. Tim Leatherman was the inventor of the true multi-tool. While the Swiss Army Knife has been around forever, I’ve yet to find one I’d be willing to bet my life on,since they break rather easily under a load. Not so with the Leatherman multi-tools. So, if you are serious about Prepping, and you don’t have a good multi-tool, check out the new and improved Surge from Leatherman. The price is approximately $135, but shop around and you might find them a little cheaper on the Internet.  – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

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