I’m a firm believer in always carrying the 10 Essentials into the woods with me. Being prepared with a basic kit is crucial for maintaining safety when the unexpected comes up. Each of the items must be chosen carefully to fit the conditions you expect to face. One item that I carry consistently on every trip is a pair of Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors. This item serves as my knife and multi-tool, and I feel it provides superior functionality.
Migration From Knife to Scissors
My multi-tool of choice used to be the Leatherman Super Tool 200. I carried it everywhere and it always lived up to its name. It was just as handy on my sailboat as it was in the woods or at work. It cost about $90 and weighed 9 oz (according to Leatherman’s website.) When I used to sail a lot, the strong pliers were a god-send around the boat. The blade maintained a pretty sharp edge and was pretty useful everywhere I went. I used most of the other tools, but not very often.
A few years ago, I came across a story in Backpacker Magazine about assembling an ultra-light, go-anywhere kit that was air-travel friendly. The article recommended the new Leatherman Style PS which had recently been approved by the Transportation Safety Administration as a carry-on. As I fly a lot, I decided to buy one. This tiny tool weighed in at just 1.58 ounces and cost $20. Although it didn’t have many of the features of the larger Super Tool, it did have a little pliers, a tweezers, and a file/screw driver. In place of a traditional knife blade, it had a tiny scissor. I started carrying it with me when I flew, and used it often.
One day while preparing for a hike, I was thinking about what I could do to lighten my load a little. I had already trimmed most of my kit, but was still carrying my Super Tool. I felt that big lump in my pocket and realized I was carrying a half pound hunk of steel that would probably get very little use. I took it out and exchanged it for the Style PS. Over the next year, I continued to carry the Style PS instead of the Super Tool, and it never failed me. That is, until I lost it. Then I lost another one. And another one.
Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors
In the summer of 2013, I went on a week-long section hike of the Appalachian trail through New Jersey. I went with three of my sisters, was responsible for most of the planning and gear selections. I had recently lost yet another Style PS and needed a replacement, but I was tired of shelling out $20 every time this little knife escaped me. I was looking around Campmor and I saw the Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors.
These scissors intrigued me. This little gadget cost $5.99 compared $19.99 for the Leatherman Style PS. They weighed a bit more at 4 oz, but still less than my old Super Tool. They had a bright orange handle, big blades, and a bunch of other features. In a pinch, the blades could even be separated and used as knives.
That’s when it occurred to me: the most frequently used tool on my Style PS was the scissor. The scissors on the Style PS were functional, but tiny and delicate. They were also difficult to use with gloves on. The Coglhan’s scissors were much larger, more robust, and could be easily used while wearing thick gloves. I purchased a pair of Coghlan’s 12-in-1 scissors along with a replacement Style PS and would compare the two on my upcoming trip.
When we set out for our 72 mile hike across the Garden State, I carried the Leatherman and my sister carried the Coglhlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors. Over the next 7 days, we used the 12-in-1 dozens of times while the Style PS never left my pocket. The scissors worked great for anything from opening food packages to cutting Leukotape for our feet.
From now on, the Coglan’s 12-in-1 was my tool of choice for all outings. For simple tasks like cutting, scissors are easier and safer to use than a knife. For tasks like shaving wood for kindling, the scissors could be disassembled and used one side at a time. They are easy to use with gloves on and they never get lost.
Specifications and Comparison