Leatherman has been the dominant force in the multitool industry and never seems to stop innovating. Year after year they wow us with these shiny new creations, and we anticipate these releases. I do feel over the last serval years, we have seen a slowdown in new products and more of a rehash of what they already produce.
When the Curl was announced, I thought alright here we go, let's see what they've been working on. Instead of being wowed, I feel like Leatherman just took two models and put them together and called it a new creation. So, is it a new amazing tool? Or just a cash grab for the folks in Portland? Let's take a look.
In an ever changing world companies like Leatherman are forced to innovate and diversify in order to stay competitive. Leatherman CEO Ben Rivera took the company in a new direction back in 2015 and released the Leatherman Tread multitool. The Tread was a tool born out of necessity for Ben on a trip to a theme park and his current tool was not allowed in the park. The Tread has gotten a lot of press in the last couple years; some positive and some negative. One fact that remains is that it's still a hot seller for the historic tool company.
Most folks think of multitools as plier based tools that have an assortment of functions. In fact the company Leatherman has become synonymous with the word multitool; similar to how Kleenex is being used to define tissues. Leatherman had a big inspiration back in 2015 and released a multitool which was very different than the standard modeling. Current CEO Ben Rivera had a run in with the security at Disneyland and told him he couldn't bring in his Wave multitool. This got the gears turning and this helped develop a new type of multitool; wearable.
Multitools comes in a vast variety of shapes and sizes and certainly have had a lot of changes to them since the first Leatherman was issued. In spite of all those changes the general look and functionality hasn't deviated much. Tools are usually clumped into two categories; Swiss Army style or plier based which is what most people associate with.
Multitools have been a part of our lives for several decades and have been engineered to be a do it all tool box. Manufacturers include everything but the kitchen sink to ensure that we have the tools we need for any occasion and to keep us prepared. The downside to this is the tool is not specialized for a specific task and this general design makes the tool heavy. It also can be a deciding factor in which tool you purchase or edc if you have a collection like me. Several tool companies are designing tools that are specific to a job title, recreational activity or task and the Leatherman Signal is one of those tools. The Signal is patterned after the Leatherman MUT design and scaled down so it’s not such a massive beast. Weighing in at only at only 7.5oz the Signal is enough tool for the task and light on the tools so it's easy to carry where ever your headed.
What kind of people would write collect and review multitools? Quite simple really- we are designers and do-ers, outdoors types and indoor types, mechanics, doctors, problem solvers and problem makers. As such, we have, as a world spanning community, put every type, size and version of multitool, multifunction knife, pocket knife and all related products to every test we could manage in as many places and environments as there are.