Why Leatherman's Multitool Bracelet Is Beautiful But Useless

Why Leatherman's Multitool Bracelet Is Beautiful But Useless

A multitool you can wear on your wrist? Neat! But, will it actually be useful as, you know, a tool? I don't think so. This is manly wrist fashion, not a genuinely useful wearable. For the last couple of years, braided lengths of paracord worn on your wrist have been a thing. The idea is that they enable you to easily carry 6m or more of the multi-purpose rope with you anywhere, leaving you prepared to tie stuff up on a moment's notice.

Some even have clasps that double as a whistle or compass and because paracord comes in such a huge variety of colours, you can choose a bracelet that best compliments your tactical cell phone holster or special edition German special forces boots or whatever.

But, while arming yourself with tools or materials (and hopefully the knowledge to use them effectively!) is an admirable goal, these paracord bracelets have become trendy man jewelry. Worn to signify to other manly men that you're the kind of guy who has also come up with a zombie apocalypse survival plan and would love the opportunity to tell you about it. How often are you really surprised by a life or death situation that requires you to tie a few knots to save the day? Not that often, I'd suspect and, when you do, you can likely find another source of cordage that doesn't require you to destroy your sweet bracelet to deal with it.

Enter the Leatherman Tread, a wearable multitool that packs 25 "tools" into one bracelet-cum-watchband. The company hasn't detailed the function of each of the little metal bits and pieces yet, but looking at it I can see a bottle opener, a line cutter, a carbide glass breaker, box wrenches in a few different sizes and the remaining dozen or so tools appear to be various riffs on the flat driver.

That's the start of the Tread's problems — you rarely need more than one size of flat-head screw driver. What can be handy is one tiny Phillips (or Phillips compatible flathead) that will fit eyeglasses, then one substantial Phillips for actual screws. The Tread has two of the latter and zero of the former. But, even those two "real" Phillips drivers aren't going to be much use.

Why Leatherman's Multitool Bracelet Is Beautiful But Useless

Let's say you're out in the wilds of say, your cubicle, when you suddenly encounter a life or death situation involving a loose screw. Do you have time to remove and disassemble your wrist watch or bracelet in order to fix it? And, when you do, will that dinky little half-length bit actually be able to access the screw head? In any circumstance more recessed than a flush screw head with plenty of clear access for your closed fist to turn in, neither of the Tread's two Phillips drivers will work.

Why Leatherman's Multitool Bracelet Is Beautiful But Useless

It does appear as if some of the Tread's tools will at least be partially accessible by simply removing the bracelet/watch and folding its band to "unfold" the tool you need. Others seem as if you might need to remove them from the band in order to use them. So, at best you've got a multitool that will be awkward to use and, at worst, one that requires disassembly before you can use it. Lost parts anyone?

Why Leatherman's Multitool Bracelet Is Beautiful But Useless

The difference between a real tool and bullshit one is palpable. Compare the "Phillips Screwdriver" on this Gerber Shard to the real deal. I mostly use the Shard as a bottle opener and occasionally as a prybar, but am under no illusions that it'd ever be able to turn a screw and carry another tool that can.

Then there's that dinky nature of the included tools. A carbide glass breaker, for instance, is a pretty useful thing to have on you. Car windows are pretty hard things to break and, if you're either in an accident or need to rescue someone from one, then you may need to break a window. But, you still need to land several pretty solid blows on a window for a glass breaker to work. Will a watch band folded up awkwardly in your hand with the glass breaker protruding only minimally and on a hinge deliver enough of a blow to shatter safety glass? I'm sceptical of its ability to do so.

The entire use-case for small, easily carried tools like this one is that they can give you the capability to solve mechanical problems in a pinch. That may be breaking a window, undoing bolts or just tightening the hinge on your glasses. But most of the time, if you're in a pinch, it's real capability that's going to get you out of it; a half-assed excuse for a tool that's too small and flimsy to get the job done is just going to frustrate you. http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/fix-absolutely...

And, the thing is, Leatherman already specialises in making genuinely capable tools that are incredibly easy to carry with you. The Leatherman Style PS that I carry as part of my keychain toolkit is small and light enough to go with you anywhere and, because it doesn't have a knife blade, is even TSA compliant. It's a genuinely useful, high quality, versatile tool that can delivery substantial capability everywhere from day-to-day home, office or automotive repairs to helping you respond to a genuine emergency. It's only $US20 and it's twice the tool this watchband will ever be. http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/why-i-carry-a-...

I carry that as part of a little too kit that fits on my keychain and includes the ability to see stuff when it's dark, signal for help, pry stuff open, store and transfer data and, yes, fix things. And I use it to do those things often several times a day, it's actually handy and it rides seamlessly in my pocket. That little tool kit is perfectly complemented by a quality, quick-deploying folding knife. The one I carry includes a carbide glass breaker on its pommel and here that feature is genuinely useful because the full-size knife handle turns the whole thing into a real hammer you can easily smash glass with. I know, I've done it.

It may hide in my pocket, failing to signal to other dudes that I'm a manly man, but it's a real toolkit that can perform real work. The Leatherman Tread is not.


Comments

    Yikes.

    Well i reckon this would have been handy on more than a few occasions flying the quads and planes.. something rattles loose and you left all your tools at home... this could have kept me flyin a few times!

    And it does also look awesome! :)

      Unlikely in my planes or quads, access to tighten those servo screws not suitable for such short tools.

      "Anyone flying RC aircraft without some sort of backup plan is a:- tool." lol ( not you or me of course.)

      Nice Jewellery, if you are into that sort of thing. So why not in Titanium.

    What do you do if you're at the beach and don't have any pockets? Do you hope you don't lose your sunglasses screw before you get home to your Leatherman Style PS (pretty gay name, that) or do you spend a minute getting the right tool from your bracelet and fixing it on the spot? I can see justification for either and each is just as lame. I use my pocket for putting broken things in so I can fix them properly, with proper tools from my manly tool-chest, when I get home. Those little pocket Leatherman things are nearly as toy-like as the bracelet.

      Did you read the bit where he said...

      What can be handy is one tiny Phillips (or Phillips compatible flathead) that will fit eyeglasses, then one substantial Phillips for actual screws. The Tread has two of the latter and zero of the former.

      ?

      So, no, you can't tighten the screw in your sunglasses with this.

    "It does appear as if some of the Tread’s tools will at least be partially accessible by simply removing the bracelet/watch and folding its band to “unfold” the tool you need. Others seem as if you might need to remove them from the band in order to use them."

    Which ones require you to dismantle the bracelet to use?

    I think this should be seen as jewellery first and functional tool second. Yes, it might be slightly awkward to use some of the tools but if you want to unscrew 100 screws you'd use a screw driver, not this. It's a handy little thing to have on the person should the need arise, but it's not necessarily a go to device if you can source something better. There's an obvious trade off for usability towards fashion and being able to have it on the person at all times, and I think anyone that purchases this would understand that going in. With any luck you'll have no issues taking it on a plane in carry on either, which can't be said for many other tools.

    I can't imagine this tiny bracelets really intended for smashing car windows, and for light use it appears to be anything but useless.

    I have a Leatherman Wingman and its great but this bracelet just make the whole brand look bad.

    The window smasher is a good thing to have but its better to just have a dedicated window hammer, you can even get them with a seat-belt cutter (which I also have in my car)

    This item looks like a great idea. We've entered an age of wearable technology - here, wearable tools is wearable old technology.

    I find it interesting that interesting that this whole article is entirely based upon the superficial - specifically reviewing pictures. That screwdriver comparison is particularly brutal. It's just a picture - we don't know what quality of metal was used, for instance.

    Ummmm....

    "What can be handy is one tiny Phillips (or Phillips compatible flathead) that will fit eyeglasses" - Seriously??? I've had glasses for 10 years and not once have i had to tighten a screw.....

    "Manly-Man" - What are you trying to say?

    " Do you have time to remove and disassemble your wrist watch or bracelet in order to fix it?" - You are suppose to use the entire band as the handle, thus not dismantling it....

    Are you upset it doesn't have a little flashlight? Take your own advice and Man-Up. The tread is basically a back-up for the back-up tool.

    Grow up and get a haircut.

    I hope all you people bagging this tool never get yourself into a situation where your stuck in a car upside down after a horrific traffic accident with petrol leaking into the vehicle and sparks threatening to ignite at any second with NO tread on your wrist thinking what a fool you feel like because you forgot to carry your faithful multi tool on this fateful day ...OH WELL.

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