Guest Author - Dale Y the Maintenance Guy
You will find one in my pocket everywhere I go. From the store, to a job, to a formal attire function. I wouldn’t be without a 'pocket pal', and in my opinion, the best friend a person can have.
The original 'pocket pals' lend their heritage to the Swiss army knife, those multiple bladed wonders that the Swiss army carried around with them. From there, Boy Scout and Girl Scout knives became the American equivalent, and they work well for what they are made to do.
But, the 'pocket pal' I am talking about is a multifunction fold-up tool kit designed to fit in ones pocket or purse. Usually they are designed around a pliers or a wrench, with a knife blade, screwdrivers, files and other assorted gadgets that can be indispensable at times, especially when something breaks.
The type that I write of was actually invented by an American named Tim Leatherman. He based his 'pal' around a full sized pliers, unheard of at the time, and then packed in all the other goodies to create a revolutionary design. Using only the finest quality steels, it was an engineering masterpiece that worked as good as it looked.
Leatherman essentially created the market, and now the imitations are almost endless. But the quality is where the value is, because although you can buy very inexpensive tools like these, when you are in a pinch and need them to work, the cheap ones will fail you every time.
Campers, hikers, mountain climbers, sometimes bet their life on a particular tool like this, and in the world of maintenance, a reputation is worth just as much. That’s why if you want a toy, get a cheap foreign made type, but if you want the real thing, American made, in my opinion, is the only way to go.
I cannot tell you how many times a ‘pocket pal’ has saved my bacon, both on and off the job. From cutting barbed wire off a stricken horse, to tightening up a steaming radiator hose clamp about to blow, to shutting off a stripped water valve that was beginning to flood an apartment. Then afterwards, having the tool to file the hangnail I had gotten in all the excitement!
Make no mistake, I completely and totally recommend that everyone have one of these tucked away in a pocket, glove box, or utility drawer at home, and if you opt for an inexpensive knock-off, I wouldn’t even bother. So here are 3 of my favorites, and any one of these will do the job well.
The Leatherman leads the field in function and durability, and if you want the best, this one is for you. Gerber tools are also very well crafted 'pocket pals', and I don't believe that anyone can go wrong with one of these. The least expensive of the bunch, but still a worthy 'pal' is the Coleman brand, and these are inexpensive enough to give anyone a taste of the absolute practicality of having one within easy reach.
A friend in deed, is a 'pocket pal' in need! Don’t leave home without one.
Make sure you check out my exclusive video on Pocket pals, just copy and paste in your browser, which will give you a very good idea of what's out there, and what may be right for you!