One truth that I've come to learn about first aid, is that when an emergency presents itself, you don't want to be stuck without a tool that could allow you to administer treatment more quickly, whether it is cutting a branch that's pinning someone down, or severing a nail from a beam to avoid pulling it out of the patient. And by incorporating 17 different tools into its design, the Leatherman Wave greatly lowers the odds of ever being without the right tool, not just for first aid, but for ANY job.
Since the original Swiss Army knife, multitools have been popular, with compact designs and a wide variety of uses. Although the Swiss thought of the idea first, Leatherman has made dramatic design improvements, bringing the technology into the modern day. Leatherman designs and makes all their products in the USA, and their multi tools are extremely high quality with intuitive functions.
One of Leatherman’s most popular items is the Leatherman Wave. Its all-around utility, high quality, and relatively low cost make it one of the best multitools on the market today.
Leatherman is able to pack so much utility into a limited variety of tools because the designers focused on simple common actions. Other brands, like Victorinox Swiss Army knives, have a specific, specialized tool for every job, but the Leatherman design understands that we only need several different basic tools for the things we do every day.
We need to grasp things, cut things, open things, pry things, smooth things, and measure things. No matter which multitool you buy, it should provide these functions. When picking out a multitool, ask yourself “WHAT do I need to grasp, cut, open, etc?” If the answer is “I don’t know, lots of stuff.” Then the Wave is what you’re looking for.
The Leatherman Wave
The first thing that you will notice about the Wave is the weight. It is almost as heavy as a solid block of metal with the same dimensions because every bit of space is packed with tools.
The next thing is that these tools have high tolerances with no wiggle or play in them. The Leatherman Wave tools lock open but use friction to stay closed instead of locking, and it works fine. There is not much chance of anything opening by itself, but I also have not had any problems opening the tools with my fingernails.
When the multitool is closed there are no sharp pieces sticking out to catch or poke holes in clothing.
- Folded dimensions: 4” x .75” x 1.25” (10cm x 1.9cm x 3.2cm)
- Main blade length: 2.9” (7.37cm)
- Weight: 8.5oz (241g)
A Complimentary Multitool - The Leatherman Raptor
For EMTs, firefighters, and other first responders, trauma shears are standard equipment. Leatherman Raptor shears have 6 tools specifically designed for response to heavy trauma, vehicle extractions, and burn victims. For more information, check out our full article on the Leatherman Raptor.
Leatherman vs Victorinox
Swiss Army knives are probably the most popular and prominent multitool on the market because they were the first multitool, but many of the tools on the Swiss Army knife are outdated or poorly designed.
Victorinox approaches multitools with a more-is-better attitude, but a good multitool is one that packs the most utility into the most convenient package. Every tool on the Leatherman Wave is well designed and fills a wide variety of different functions with no redundant or unnecessary pieces.
- I use the straight blade for everything, then when I am cutting food or need a factory-sharpened edge I use the serrated blade. That way the serrated blade is always clean and sharp.
- The Leatherman Wave has a pocket clip that can be purchased separately if you do not want to wear it on your belt.
- Leatherman has a 25-year warranty on the Wave and most of their other products. Send it back for a replacement or sharpening when it needs fixed. I did this with one of my knives, and it was an extremely easy process.