Leatherman Charge AL Multi Tool

The Rolls Royce of multi-tools: function and form in perfect harmony. Go camping without a Leatherman and you’ll curse yourself.  

There are a garden shed load of multi-tools on the market. Not all of them are up to the job, but the Leatherman AL certainly is. It’s the best camping tool since cavemen invented the flint axe.

Sharp and sexy
It has an impressive list of tools built around Leatherman’s signature set of fold-out pliers. None of these tools are superfluous to requirements and all the right one for the job – saw wood for the fire, gut fish, open cans, slice, screw, file, snip or clasp. Everything tucks neatly into black anodised aircraft-grade aluminium handles which are not only sexy but comfortable to hold, even if you are having to put some grunt into a tough job.

Four tools are accessed when the pliers are folded shut; knife, file, serrated knife and saw. All have separate simple thumb-press locks for quick closing and the two knife blades have thumb holes on their back edge so you can flip them open with one hand.

Can you cut? Maybe…
Fold the handles back to reveal the pliers which have two grades of wire cutters incorporated in their jaws. The inner tools also include a pair of scissors. These are possibly the AL’s only weak spot: just a couple of centimetres long, they are little fiddly to use and there’s not a lot of leverage in the dainty handle. That said they are very sharp, which helps them punch above their weight and cut through materials you would expect them to struggle with.

Instead of fixed screwdrivers there is a socket with interchangeable bits Supplied with a double ended Phillips and standard screwdriver and six other hex and screwdriver bits in a neat storage rack that sits in the AL’s leather carry pouch.

Well balanced in the hand
High grade materials
Good range of well designed tools

Scissors a bit puny
Not cheap

Stuff Says
Even a poor workman couldn’t blame this. The right tool for nearly every job a camping trip could throw at you.

Star Rating:

Tech Spec
Length:          10.2 cm closed
Weight:           238 grams
Materials:          Stainless Steel, 6061-T6 Aluminium Alloy, Bronze                                     Bushings, 154CM Stainless Steel
Needle-nose Pliers
Wire Cutters
Hard-Wire Cutters
Clip-Point Knife
Serrated Knife
Wire Stripper
Wood/Metal File
Diamond-Coated File
Large Screwdriver
Large Bit Driver
Small Bit Driver
Rule (8 inch/19 cm)
Bottle/Can Opener
Bits and Accessories:
Phillips and flat tip eyeglasses screwdriver
Phillips #1-2 and screwdriver 3/16″
Hex 5/32″ and 9/64″
Hex 1/16″ and .050
Hex 1/8″ and 7/64″
Robertson #2 and #3
Hex 3/32″ and 5/64″
Screwdriver 1/8″ and Torx #15
Removable Pocket Clip
Quick-release Lanyard Ring



Stuff.tv January 2009

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