In 2000, my son presented me with one of my favorite Mother’s Day presents ever: A Leatherman Multi-tool. I can’t remember which model it was, only that it had so many blades and points and screwdrivers I felt that I easily could get lost in the woods with it and some twine and survive by my wits alone.
At this time, I was camping and bicycling regularly in the Rocky Mountains. The multi-tool was always with me – in my bike bag or my camping gear crate, and when it wasn’t in one of those places, it was in my purse, though it had started looking pretty gnarly from much use.
Then the September 11th attacks happened. Without even thinking, I started to board a plane and was astonished when airport security said my Leatherman had to go or I couldn’t get on the plane. I put it in a basket with other items that were supposed to be mailed back to their owners, but that was the last I saw of it. Though I did understand the necessity of preventing potentially harmful materials from entering the planes, I was deeply upset by the loss of this truly handy tool.
Late last week, our assistant editor, Caleb Regan, to whom I had told this story some time earlier, came in my office with a very nice surprise. A brand new Leatherman Super Tool 300! I was pleased to a degree most women reserve for diamonds or a trip to the Bahamas.
I’ve just started cycling again and have no camping trips planned yet, but this baby is almost a good enough reason to dust off the tent and check the sleeping bag for rips. Even though it doesn’t have a corkscrew, I’m sure I could come up with some sort of field expediency that would remove cork from bottle. What it DOES have is pliers – needlenose and regular – as well as wire cutters, an electrical crimper, two knife blades (including a serrated blade – always important for slicing that great French bread one schleps on a camping trip), a wood and metal file, a saw, screwdrivers, an awl, ruler, can-opener and wire stripper.
I could start a new civilization with such a tool.