Back in the future, in 1996 Leatherman released the first generation of its meanwhile legendary Wave. I’ve gotten one of them as a gift and I still use it to these days. General design of all Leatherman multi tool reaches back to the year of 1983, that year the company was founded and started its indescribable triumphant advance in that branch.
Why should you buy a multi-tool, like the leatherman Wave?
Well, the answer depends on your purpose what you want to do with.
Its one of those tools that I would recommend to own, no matter if you are an outdoorsman, hunter, soldier or working in Law Enforcement, as it embodies the essence of all Multitools. Like I mentioned before, I own this particular leatherman Wave for way over 20 years now and it never left me alone in any situation where I needed it. From the cold and freezing Alps to the burning heat of the Sahara, its roughly 10cm closed length and 241g of 420HC stainless Steel did its job, no matter what.
CONSTRUCTION & LAYOUT
The overall construction is simple and easy to remember.
While the Wave is closed you’ve got access to the knife, serrated knife, saw and file. If you are opening the Leatherman Wave, the pliers unfold and you are able to use th tools placed on either side. On one side scissors and different sizes and patterns of screwdrivers. On the other side the screwdriver with changeable bits, a bottle opener and the big slotted screwdriver as well as an eyelet for a retention line.
The Leatherman Wave 1st Gen is the essence of a general purpose multi-tool. Let’s start with the basics, the knife. You can do everything you want, the spearpoint edge is even good enough to kill fish or something similar. You can do sensitive work with the knife of the leatherman Wave. The more or less 7,4cm long blade will work trough everything if you keep it sharp.
The next knife, is the serrated knife or bread knife. It works like it supposed to do, nothing more or less. The saw, even after 25 years of constant use, remains sharp like on day one. I would recommend you to cut smoothly and not with too much pressure to make the saw work best. The file of the leatherman Wave has a rough and a smooth side.
The smooth one is even fine enough to clean your fingernails. The rough side works fine if you want to smoothen an area or for precise work in the woods. The wave needs a bit more attention regarding maintenance than other tools, just apply some lubricant fro, time to time and you are fine.
The pliers feature needlenose pliers on the front, which is well suited for precise working and a pair of regular pliers in back for more rough work. The wire cutter in the first generation of the Leatherman Wave isnt replaceable like in the current generation of the Wave. I’ve used the wire cutter a lot in the past, you can obviously see it very well. An often overseen detail of the Leatherman Wave is the electrical Crimper but ive used it rarely in all those years.
The wire stripper on the bottle opener is very handy if you need to fix a broken wire on the fly. The bottle/can opener itself works like it is supposed to do. The bit screwdriver did its job over years in the same manner like an average medium screwdriver.
The other arm of the leatherman Wave keeps three different sizes of screwdrivers which are very useful for gun maintenance in the field or driving some small size screws into something.
You will find the right size of screwdriver in any situation. In comparison to the current generation, you won’t find the smaller bit driver.
The scissor is spring operated and never leaves you alone if you need it. It doesn’t matter if you just cut your nails or some small cables. It just works fine and does it job as supposed.
In turns of carrying the leatherman Wave, I prefer to use the supplied solid made leather pouch when on duty.
I really appreciate that leather pouch, it may look old school, but in all the years of using it it didn’t break or got damaged. This is a huge advantage of real leather, you won’t break it as easily like a nylon pouch.
PERFORMANCE & OBSERVATIONS
Like I said earlier. The Leatherman Wave is my EDC tool, where I go it will go with me. What I really learned to appreciate over the years is the quality of manufacturing and all used materials, even the screws, which hold the Leatherman Wave together still dont move at all. Leatherman paid attention to the details, for example the rounded edge of both arms of the Wave grant a good grip while preventing pressure points on your palms.
The 10cm closed length and 16cm open length is very handy and doesn’t disturb you at all. The handling is very intuitive after a while and you really just need other Multi-Tools for special applications.
After almost 25 years of usage in so many kind of different environments it is th lifetime partner of EDC tools. Nothing to this design is outdated and it is more affordable than many competitors.
Well, this is perhaps the most prolongued long-time review we ever did on RBT. It is surprising how this small and yet capable tool did hold up over all those years. The Leatherman Wave is a legend and a Multi-tool you cant go wrong with. We are excited how some competitors products and also some of the newer ones will perform in 25 years.