Leatherman Free T4. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Leatherman Free T4. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Price: £74.95
Weight: 124g
Size: 9.3cm x 2.1cm x 2.4cm
Country of manufacture: USA

Leatherman’s Free range of multi-tools feature a system that allows one-handed opening of the tools – useful if you need to keep hold of what you’re working on while selecting a different implement.

The Free T4’s 12 tools fold into a 9.3cm (3.6 inch) housing – our version came in red. It feels very robust and well put-together, in line with expectation of the American brand’s quality. It has a pocket clip that can be unscrewed and removed. This adds 4mm to the overall thickness.

With the exception of the main 5.6cm (2.2 inch) knife blade and a small pair of tweezers, all the tools are accessed by pressing down on cams at each end of the tool housing. This causes the tools to pop out of the handle and you can then select which one to open fully. Once the selected tool is fully extended, it locks in place. To close it, you push a small sprung lever to enable its release and it can then be closed back into the body.

The same system applies to the knife blade, except that it has a large indent in the body to allow it to be pushed open by your thumb and finally clicked into fixed place. There’s also a fingernail aperture to pull it out with if preferred. The locking mechanism aids safety as the blade and tools won’t fold back on your fingers accidentally unless you slide the release lever first.

It’s important to note that, although the knife blade and tools are shorter than three inches, in the UK, because the blade locks, in law you must have good reason or lawful authority to be in possession of the T4 in a public place.

The T4, as with the other tools in the Free range, has Leatherman’s magnetic opening and closing system, which enables smooth operation of accessing the tools. The tools are all opened from the outside of the housing.

The T4 is a good size for backpacking. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The T4 is a good size for backpacking. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The knife blade is a very sharp and is made from 420HC high-carbon stainless steel, which gives it good corrosion resistance. It tackled various tasks at the campsite and in the home with ease.

The T4 also has a pair of spring-action scissors. These allow one-handed operation, with a spring keeping the two blades in the open position, and cutting achieved by simply pushing on the small handle. They were useful in easily opening food sachets at camp, snipping off loose threads and even tidying up broken finger nails.

Another of the tools is a file, so you can finish off the finger-nail maintenance. It will also work on wood and metal. At the end of it is a medium-sized flat-blade screwdriver. On the same side of the Leatherman multi-tool is a three-in-one blade, which has a larger flat screwdriver at its end which also doubles as a priser for getting lids and similar items off, plus a package opener for getting through packing tape or plastic packaging.

The awl tool can be used for making a hole in materials such as leather belts, canvas or wood, or to enlarge them. The point of the awl also doubles as a small flat-blade screwdriver.

On the same side of the housing is a bottle opener the end of which encompasses a Phillips screwdriver.

The final tool is a small pair of tweezers that slide out from a recessed opening on the main housing. These were useful for fiddly little items or even removing splinters or even, carefully, ticks if you haven’t remembered to pack your tick remover.

This year and its various lockdowns hasn’t been the best for camping excursions but on the welcome occasions when we have been able to hit the hills for a night or two under canvas, the Leatherman tool was a welcome accompaniment. Its relative small size meant it slipped easily into the rucksack and it didn’t add much weight to the pack.

We also found it useful round the house for odd tasks.

The T4 incorporates 12 tools. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The T4 incorporates 12 tools. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Quality of the Oregon-made multitool was good, and it comes with Leatherman’s 25-year warranty.

The design, with its easy opening tools saves the usual awkwardness of conventional fingernail recesses and the possibility of broken nails. Action was smooth and the locking was secure. Unlocking the tools was simple too.

Features: 25/30
Performance: 27/30
Design: 17/20
Quality: 9/10
Value for money: 7/10
Total score: 85/100

The Leatherman T4 was supplied to grough by UK distributer Whitby and Co.

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