I would keep the one with scissors. I tend to use the scissors on my little knife more than I do the blade. I cannot recall ever wishing that I had pliers with me unless I was fishing. You can always pick a hot pot off a fire with a folded handkerchief.
You might ask yourself whether you need everything that comes on a multi-tool. A lot of hikers, myself included, get by with a 0.7 oz Victorinox SAK Classic (knife, scissors, file, toothpick, tweezers), or less. The Classic weighs an ounce less than the Squirt. The Squirt is cool but forces you to carry stuff that you'll likely never use in the backcountry such as screwdrivers and a bottle opener(?).
You say that you already carry a knife. You may wish to re-evaluate your knife/other-tool system. Carrying both a knife and a multi-tool means that you are carrying unnecessary and redundant weight.
Pliers. I have one in my pocket now. Scissors are nice but those pliers are sharply ground and work as tweezers as well. I have both kinds and the one with pliers gets used more. I've used it as a pot holder, fixed zippers, cut wire/guitar strings, etc.
Scissors. Having occasionally carried one or the other, scissors get used 10:1, easily. I always imagine having to repair something that requires pliars and it keeps not happening. Scissors OTOH seem to have a lot of uses, and offer a certain precision that a simple blade can't match.
I have quite a few multitools and I take them out of the drawer and open em and stuff now and then, but I NEVER TAKE EM backpacking cause the only time I ever needed it was with my sled, when I needed the pliers on a clevis pin, so when I sled the pliers multi tool which weighs 7 oz, goes in the side pocket in the sled. So I guess yeh I take a 7 oz pair of pliers in my sled, why do I do that? Thats stupid. So basically I think multitools for backpacking are a waste of weight.
I have to say, relative to Pika and the tiny swiss army knife, I believe that for bping basically you only need a knife to spread mayonaise on your food, so a wide blade is better than a miniature narrow blade, so in that respect I carry a Gerber LST a 1.6 oz knife with a 2.5" long nearly 1 inch wide blade.
The actual tools that I carry are a miniature phillips and straight screw drivers and a pair of tweezers. I would rather carry specific tools than generic tools.
Oh, and a pair pf nail clippers. So I guess nail clippers are like safety scissors, and they go well with the LST. Jim
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
I have to say, relative to Pika and the tiny swiss army knife, I believe that for bping basically you only need a knife to spread mayonaise on your food,
Gee, I use my fingers for that on the rare occasions when I take mayo along; I lick them clean when finished spreading. Mayo is a necessary ingredient of a BLT sandwich and helpful on a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich: both of these are short, slow trip items. I thought everyone used their fingers to spread mayo, butter, jam and hummus; right hand for spreading and the left for nose picking etc. I may need to re-examine my manners. Right?
I've gotta agree with Jim again. (I find I'm doing that a lot - I'm OK, aren't I? )
I messed with a Leatherman micro, but I found that, like many things designed to do several jobs, it didn't do any of them well.
I've gone back to carrying a Gerber LST (the middle-sized one), a pair of folding scissors (Coghlan or REI, I forget which), a tweezers, and a nail clipper. I don't use any of them often, but when I need them, they work perfectly. They weigh an ounce or two more than the Micro, but they're pounds lighter in terms of functionality.
As far as pliers or screwdrivers, I don't carry them anymore (no clevis pins or sleds to deal with.)
Seems like the consensus is for scissors -- and I'd have to say I've found scissors more useful than a knife. (I can spread stuff with a spoon handle if I don't want to have the manners exhibited by some folk ).
However, on one damp and windy hypothermia-promoting day hiking across the Tonto platform in the GC one January, I was grateful to have a pliers on a no-name, fairly junky multitool (only weighs about 3 oz.). My backpack strap broke and I was not able to deal with getting a knot untied with my fingers and then threaded and re-tied to effect a repair. The needle nose pliers worked like a super-tweezer and were the only tool that could have saved the day. I don't think I could have done it even in warm weather and as it was, the wind blowing across my wet hands (couldn't do the work with gloves on) made them impossibly clumsy on their own.
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The two items on my Leatherman Squirt that I use most are the pliers and the nail file. Also the tiny screwdriver to tighten the screws on my glasses. So far I've found the knife blade, small as it is, quite sufficient when I need to cut something (moleskin, duct tape, frizz sticks for fire kindling, a point on a stick to replace a lost tent stake, my fingers...).
I have found quite a bit of use for the pliers. In addition to using them as a pot lifter (I've tried the bandanna, and either it gets wet or I burn a hole in it--both in the later case), I often use them where others with more dexterity would use their fingers. I never have had a lot of strength or dexterity in my fingertips, so I find the pliers (and occasionally a screwdriver) a big help for everything from adjusting pack straps to helping with fiddly knots.
I don't use mayonnaise, even at home, but when I spread hummus or peanut butter I generally use my spoon rather than my knife. I really don't want to try licking off that sharp blade!
I really would question the need for a second knife with the Squirt!
Edited by OregonMouse (06/07/0904:18 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Also where you hike matters. I've used my pliers twice to pull cactus and dagger plant spines from my shin and calf. Those spines are about 1mm thick and about an inch long. Tweezers would not have worked. Also, in my ham radio hobby, pliers are essential out in the bush.
If you want a third option, wander into a Radio Shack and check out the Leatherman Squirt they sell. It's for electronics and has a really nice tweezer built into the thing. What would normally be pliers is a combination wire stripper/plier/scissor thing. A very nice tool, and nobody talks about it.
When going for lighter weight, I'll carry a Swiss Army Classic. I've modified the scissors to cut wire by grinding a tiny notch in the blades close to the pivot point, similar to a bicycle cable cutter. That notch can be used to grip things like cactus spines in a pinch. It will cut right through a guitar string!
For super all out light weight, a single edged razor blade works fine...not much good on spines though.
I have a fairly good set of plastic tweezers in my first aid kit that I use for cactus spines; that and duct tape for the little fuzzy spines called glochids that come with prickly pear. I carry a comb and good forceps when I am out with my dog.
Around here, the ouch-champ is the so-called jumping cholla. Spines from that can easily go in a half inch and they are barbed making them a real bi+ch to pull. I once had one go through a tendon on my right hand and into the bone underneath. I couldn't move one finger until I pulled the spine that had things nailed together. Bad stuff!
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
I've experienced the "jumping cholla's" cousin the "pencil cholla". The spines have little paper like sheaths that stay in the wound. You really have to dig those out with tweazers and irrigate, irrigate, irrigate. That's bad if you're running low on water. But, it does have nice strawberry type fruit that you can eat if you singe off the spines.
If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't. Either way, you're right.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I have scissors on my Victorinox (Swiss Army) knife that are really handy. I also just got a tiny multitool as a trade show freebie and it looks like a mini Leatherman with pliers. At only 2.2 oz in a nylon sheath, I'll be taking that too.
For my skis, I have another tool in case I break a binding or lose a screw.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
Loc: Washington State, King County
"I have never found myself needed to have a pair of scissors for something a knife couldn't do..."
I think this is another case of differing "style", approach, whatever, as in backpacking I've never found a use for pliers but I use the tiny scissors on my 0.8 oz pocket knife a lot more than I use the blade. The scissors allow for much more control when trimming a blister, cutting duct tape or whatever to protect the blister, trimming finger- or toenails, making gear repairs, cutting holes in a yard waste bag to make a hasty rain tunic, ... cutting anything where a higher degree of control is desired.
What I can't think of are [m]any examples of things that I'm likely to encounter where very small scissors couldn't do what a knife blade can.
I'm not saying that the pliers aren't a better choice for some people, folks who do different things in the woods or approach problems differently than I do or whatever ... just that for my personal backpacking style, very light & small scissors are the no-brainer choice.