LIGHTWEIGHT CARRY: GERBER ARMBAR SLIM-DRIVE
I’ve always been inclined to choose multitools with a truckload of tools. Heaven forbid I religiously carry a lesser multitool every day and, as fate would have it, it turns out it’s missing the one tool I need when I’m trying to accomplish an emergency repair in the field.
One thing I usually look for right away is a can opener because I’ve used one far more often than the ever-present bottle opener.
The trouble with that all-or-nothing attitude about multitools is that more often, instead of carrying it all, I end up carrying nothing.
Elaborate multitools can be heavy to carry in a pocket and might not make the weight limit I impose on my pack either when I consider all the other gear I might need on my travels.
The Gerber Armbar Slim multitools are lightweight alternatives. The Armbar Slim-Drive I’ve been using recently is simple and small, but still very useful. It has a single sheepsfoot knife blade with liner lock, a foldout bottle opener that can also be used for light prying, and a folding bit driver with one two-sided ¼-inch bit included. The bit features a flat screwdriver on one side and a Phillips screwdriver on the other.
The knife blade is 2.5 inches long with a plain edge and a hole for one-handed opening. The blade on mine—an early model—was a bit stiff to open.
The bit driver, the armbar for which the tool is named, extends the reach of the tool by an extra 2 inches. That solves a failing found in many other multitools with stubby little screwdrivers that are unable to reach the screw to be turned.
The tools are contained in an aluminum housing only 3.8 inches long overall. There’s a small keyring included. That might be most useful for attaching it with a carabiner to a pack. The tool weighs just 2.5 ounces. My tool is burnt orange in color. Other options are onyx and burnt bronze.
So, you don’t have a screw loose? Gerber also offers the Armbar Slim-Cut , which features a pair of scissors in place of the bit driver. The Gerber Armbar Slim-Drive might not be able to solve all the problems you might face in a day. But it will help with quite a few more than you could handle if you left your heavy multitool home.
Gerber ARMBAR SLIM-DRIVE
Closed Length: 3.8 inches
Blade Length: 2.5 inches
Handle Material: Aluminum
Locking Mechanism: Liner lock
Weight: 2.5 ounces
Tools: Sheepsfoot knife blade, bottle opener, swing-out bit driver, two-sided bit with Phillips and flat screwdrivers
A version of this article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2022 print issue of Knives Illustrated.