There’s no question that snowmobiles have gotten significantly more dependable over the past couple of decades. However, just because you don’t have to bring two spare sets of spark plugs and/or have to be ready to handle carburetor issues beside the trail anymore doesn’t mean that snowmobilers should venture out into the backcountry unprepared.
It’s amazing to me how, in recent years, even friends who consider themselves rather handy and mechanical end up looking unprepared when something happens beside the trail – it’s like we’ve all been re-trained to think that, as long as we have a mobile phone and a chance at cell reception things will work out. However, sometimes the simplest things that could be quickly handled with the right tool(s) in hand end up becoming big deals or notable headaches if your pockets are empty.
That’s why I feel that – at the very least – you should have a quality multi-tool like the Leatherman Wave+ on you at all times when snowmobiling. Yes, there are certainly ways to be more prepared and additional tools that would be wise to bring along, but a well-designed multi-tool like this can get you out of a lot of jams.
When fully collapsed, the Wave+ is 4 inches tall and 1.25 inches wide, and is sold with its own carrying case. Hiding inside, though, is a compact device with seemingly endless possibilities utilizing its 18 tools that can perform countless tasks.
When closed, the user can pull out two sturdy 3-inch knives (one straight, the other serrated), a two-sided 3-inch file (a pattern for wood on one side, metal on the other) and a rather aggressive saw blade that’s surprisingly tough.
Fold those tools back into the main body and rotate the Wave+ open, and a large needle nose pliers comes to the forefront – but there’s a lot more going on within those extended arms, as it has regular plier teeth, standard wire-cutter blades and hard-wire cutter blades all built into the two extended sides.
Down below, still hiding within the body of the Wave+ are more tools, including a combination can/bottle opener with a built-in wire stripper plus a regular- sized screwdriver with reversible regular/Phillips bit on one side; a handy scissors, small-bit driver (also reversible) and a large screwdriver blade is tucked into the other side. Virtually all of these tools can be locked solidly into place when fully extended, and they have a sturdy feel – unlike some of the cheap off-brand pocket knives/multi-tools that are available on the market.
Best yet, the crafty folks who design these things are always trying to make multiple uses out of every square inch of their creations, including making the underside of the needle nose plier extensions into a wire crimper and putting measurement marks into the main metal body to make it a ruler. This isn’t intended to be a glowing review of just the Leatherman Wave+, however, but rather a pitch for the whole category.
In the average winter, my multi-tool comes out of its pouch during trailside situations about a dozen times – from cutting the remaining Kevlar fibers from an exploded drive belt to tightening a loose screw, removing and replacing plastic rivets to working on a wiring connection, every few weeks a situation comes up where somebody I’m riding with will say, “Does anybody have any tools?” This winter, be the one who has a problem-solving multi-tool – it takes up such little space but can handle so many different situations.
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