The Leatherman Squirt is a truly pocket-sized multitool weighing only about 60g. It can be worn on a keyring but has pliers, blade, scissors, file, wire-cutters, bottle-opener, flat-head and cross-head screwdrivers.
You might wonder if something so small can really be usable. The answer is yes. The tools are excellent quality and when you need something quick to hand it usually does the job.
The main reason I take the Squirt on cycle tours is for the pliers. Pliers aren’t generally considered an essential tool for cycle touring so most bike multitools don’t have them. However, I find them useful and like to have a pair for emergencies. I could take a dedicated pair of pliers or a larger multitool but favoured the Squirt for these reasons:
- low weight
- small enough to keep in pocket or bar-bag
- small non-locking blade so no worries about legality of carrying – in some countries locking blades are illegal
- decent range of tools
The pliers on the Squirt are spring-loaded and have better reach and leverage than you might imagine. They are really nicely designed and work pretty well considering the size. I’ve pinched my hand quite nastily with some other small multitools but have never had this problem with the Squirt. The jaws aren’t very large obviously and are narrow so don’t give all that much grip. They also taper less than some other multi-tool pliers so aren’t that well suited to very fine jobs. However, they are tough little pliers which can take a fair amount of force and have held up to years of use.
The blade is extremely sharp. So sharp in fact I’ve used it to gut fish. I wouldn’t recommend this, however, as the blade doesn’t lock so can easily fold back on your fingers. The shape and small size of the squirt combined with the sharpness of the blade can make using it a little nerve-wracking but it’s a very good blade and cuts cleanly and efficiently.
The screwdrivers, although tiny, work surprisingly well. In fact I prefer them to the ones on my dedicated bike multitool. You won’t get great leverage but for delicate jobs like adjusting deraillers they work brilliantly.
The file is also excellent. It has different filing surfaces on three sides and can be used for wood, metal, plastic or even fingernails. I stripped a nipple on a spoke so couldn’t remove it that way but managed to file through the spoke in seconds using the Squirt.
The scissors, though by no means bad, are a little disappointing for Leatherman’s standards. They are spring-loaded and cut paper, fine cloth, bandages, plasters and even fingernails easily enough. However, I’ve found that over the years they have loosened slightly and their effectiveness has diminished a little – though they still work acceptably. It could of course be that they’re not really meant to be used as nail clippers, despite me finding them extremely useful in that task! They are much better scissors than you’ll get on most small multitools – scissors on cheaper multitools are often incapable of cutting anything, even paper.
It would be fantastic if the wire-cutters were capable of cutting brake or gear cables. Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to cut either using the Squirt.
All the tools are easy to access – though you need to use the nail of your thumb or finger. The keyring hook slides out of the way in use, which is a nice touch as I’ve found them to be a nuisance on other multi-tools. All in all it’s a nice multi-tool to use and very well designed.
The Squirt I own is riveted together so can’t be dismantled. Considering the size I think this is fair enough and is no different to most swiss army knives. I get annoyed with multitools that constantly need to be tightened and, apart from the scissors, I haven’t noticed the Squirt loosening at all with years of use. Newer models of the Squirt, however, seem to have hex bolts and so may need tightening.
The Squirt isn’t a particularly cheap multitool and considering you can buy similar ones for a fraction of the price you might be wondering if it’s really worth it. I would say yes. The quality of Leatherman products is way above the cheap ones you’ll find in department stores. They are extremely well designed and the quality of materials and build is superb. The extra price you pay gets you a quality tool that will work effectively and reliably for many years compared to something that could easily break and may not even work at all. I’ve gone through a number of cheaper multitools and found them to be practically useless and even dangerous. The Squirt on the other hand is genuinely useful, has lasted for years and I would expect it to last many more.