The Multi-Tool: Never Go Snowshoeing With Out It

What is a multi-tool? A lifesaver.

It was about 20 degrees, I was exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park and I was trudging through about three feet of fresh snow. The day was slipping away as Longs Peak hovered above me and the sun was setting behind the majestic mountain-scarred horizon. It was getting colder by the moment.

But, crazy ol’ me…I was still having fun shoeing around as twilight made an appearance in the Park. Dipping into a meadow off the ridge I was traversing, I decided it would be advantageous to sprint down the hill and enjoy the unscathed snow.

While running, I managed to catch the front of my right snowshoe under a tree branch. As physics would have it, I was flipped awkwardly into the snow as my shoe came dislodged from the branch and my other shoe smacked a rock.

After emerging from the snow and the chilly invigoration I experienced, I noticed my snowshoes had been seriously damaged. My heart sank considering I had a few more miles to hike and most of the terrain ahead was covered in powder.

I thought about the situation for a moment, realized how ironic it was and reached for my cell phone to call my wife. Before I requested a search party, I was searching through my backpack and I came across my multi-tool.

This off-brand, Wal-Mart bought tool was about to help me get out of a pretty good pickle. Most multi-tools are equipped with a pair of pliers, a knife, a mini-saw, a can-opener, a ruler, a file and much more. Somewhat like a pocketknife, the multi-tool is a great item for snowshoers to carry at all times.

The most important part of the multi-tool is the pliers. I used the pliers to realign my bent snowshoe frame and to bend my crampon teeth back into place. Good as new…sort of.

Once my snowshoes were back to a somewhat manageable state, I was back in the snow making my way to my vehicle. Although my snowshoes were usable, I had to deal with a new problem: The darkness. A headlamp would’ve worked great, but I managed to forget that important piece of equipment. Nobody’s perfect.

To purchase a good multi-tool, visit your local mountain outfitters and/or sports equipment store. Be prepared to spend between $25 to $125 for a multi-tool ranging in features. Some brands to watch for are Leatherman, Kershaw, Swiss Army, and Gerber (all these companies manufacturer a quality multi-tool).