Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members! We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community, click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

leatherman wave plus vs swiss army knife champ

Hi, I'm trying to decide between the leatherman wave plus and the swiss army knife champ for my 14-year-old boy. We camp, plus he's learning to be more handy.  Thoughts? Thank you!

2 Replies

I posted this same answer in the other category you posted it to.

I'm sure a 14-year-old boy would love either.  I know I would have.  But personally I think both are overkill and too heavy for backpacking and not really that ideal for bushcraft.  I actually have both tools in some version of other.  Both were gifts and I hardly ever use either. I prefer the Swiss Army knife since it is easier to use for an occasional task. I have the original Leatherman and it requires a lot of care to deploy the knives without doing oneself a mischief.  It does have pliers which are easy to use.

For backpacking generally something like a Victorinox Clasic or a Leatherman Micra (which I take) is generally adequate.  They are small, light weight and effective.

I'm not really a bushcraft guy but I had a sheath knife when I was a kid which I enjoyed immensely so you might look there and pick something quality.  For looks, the Buck Selkirk sold with a fire striker is appealing but it is made in China if you care about that.  I have no opinion as to its quality except for reviews which are generally very good. REI sell various similar knives.

Possibly a more generally useful type of knife is a folding locking knife like the  Benchmade Griptilian or the Spyderco Paramilitary 2.  These are quite expensive but would make a very cool gift for a responsible teen.  The problem with pocket knives of this type is they tend to be taken to places they shouldn't be.

And that is of course a point that should be made.  Knives can be weapons and teenage boys tend to be a bit overenthusiastic in that department which can get them into trouble.  I'll leave it to your judgement as to what your boy is ready for.  Also, knives that are legal to carry in the US may not be in other countries.  The UK, for example, has strict rules.


Another option to consider is the Leatherman Signal.  It's a bit heavy for backpacking, but specifically designed for camping.  I have used the small hammer and stake puller for my tent stakes many times.  The saw is very effective and can cut through thick branches.  It can also be used to start a fire.  It would be a great tool for teaching camping skills!