The Leatherman Bond EDC Multi-tool is the latest iteration of the mid-level ‘full size’ Leatherman tool, featuring 14 tools in an all-stainless steel shell. It sits alongside the iconic Victorionox Swiss Army Knife in the multitool category of our best camping knife guide. Designated as an EDC, or 'every day carry’, the blade length is UK legal, at least in theory. It's available to buy now, with a UK RRP of £59.95.
Leatherman Bond EDC Multi-tool review: design and build
The Leatherman Bond EDC Multi-tool comes in a cordura belt-pouch, and unpopping the closure immediately conveys a sense of robustness and quality, a feeling that carries through into the knife itself. Weighing in at a solid 176 g, and at 10cm long, it’s not a large knife, but feels solid in the hand, the two stainless handles adding a sense of robustness.
Unfurling these two handles reveals the original differentiator for Leatherman knives – the pliers. These are needle-nose style, with a larger section to the rear, followed by a wirecutter area, a configuration that gives maximum bang for buck. Inside the handles is an eclectic array of tools, one side sporting a wood/metal file, two flat head screwdrivers and an awl, the other a blade, can opener and a robust philips screwdriver blade.
Leatherman Bond EDC Multi-tool review: performance and comfort
Performance is a strong point on most Leatherman tools, the Bond being no exception. It’s obvious from the stiffness as you unfold the pliers that tolerances are very tight, and even after a week or two’s use, the fit is still very snug indeed. Another area this really shows is right out at the point of the needle-nose pliers, where the meeting point is so tight you can’t actually see where it is when closed. This is not only good for precision, but great for longevity too. The pliers are as good as any you’ll find at this smaller hand tool end of the scale, able to cope with smaller repair jobs with ease.
The knife blade is sharp, and clicks into place reassuringly (it can’t actually lock and be UK legal, so Leatherman has done a good job bridging that gap), as do the other tools, which can be deployed and the two main handles clicked back closed, giving a very secure grip for tougher jobs. Another nice touch is that the whole knife is held together by knurled bolts that can be tightened as the parts wear, unlike cheaper riveted models.
One gripe about the Leatherman Bond design is comfort – the stainless handles are slightly uncomfortable in places – not sharp, but with a noticeable edge that under pressure can be a touch annoying. Another slight bugbear comes from the plier-centric design - if you just want one of the smaller tools, such as the knife blade to open an envelope, you’ll need to open both sides of the plier handles to halfway, find the knife blade tool, open it out, then close up the pliers without slashing yourself. It’s not a new problem, but it can make things quite cumbersome, especially when the joints are new and stiff.
Leatherman has made a variety of design tweaks to combat handle-confusion, adding an obvious cut-out to one handle to indicate the knife blade position, two dots on one handle to indicate flatheads and file, and a small square that flags the handle with the excellently-machined Phillips head.
Another strangely compelling bit of weirdness is the ruler across the back of the main handles, which on closer inspection needs a bit of advance familiarity to use in the field. The centimetre scale runs from 1-8 on the left, the tip of the left handle being zero. 9cm is level with the left side of the handle stud, 10 the left springlock, 11 the beginning of the right handle, 12 to 19.5cm is on the right handle, with 20cm just off the end of the handle. In short, with practice this is a usable 0-20cm rule, but without experience there are some significant gaps in the rule, which put it in the 'emergency use-only' category. Arguably that’s the overall job of the Leatherman Bond anyway, but there’s not much point in emergency measuring devices that may not work.
Leatherman Bond EDC Multi-tool review: verdict
Minor gripes aside, the Leatherman Bond EDC Multi-tool is a quality camping knife, and in situations where pliers might come in handy is really in a class of one. Other Leatherman models might feel more polished, but at this pricepoint you’re getting a lot of knife for your money, and one that’ll last for years. A solid performer with a good range of high-quality tool blades, this is a genuine pocket-sized toolbox to rely on in a pinch...