Budget multitools are not necessarily a bad thing and the Mountaineer is a good example of how to do a tool properly with the bottom line in mind. The first thing you notice on this is the textured plastic handles which provide a decent grip compared to some of the slick stainless steel models available. the black plastic also makes a nice contrast to the solid brass Allen screws on each corner. This tool could easily be assembled for cleaning, modification or repair, all of which is a handy feature not offered by most higher end brands.
Opening the tool up we find out quickly why it doesn't have a sheath- the Mountaineer has a decent sizer carabiner tucked inside. This is a pretty neat idea, and doesn't take up an overly large amount of space. Rounding out the handle are a small reamer, Victorinox style can opener with integrated screwdriver and standard type plain edged main blade.
On the other side there's a metal saw/file, a phillips head screwdriver, Victorinox style cap lifter with integrated screwdriver and a wood saw.
The plier head is a typical "halfway" type plier head- it's halfway between a blunt nose and needle nose plier head for maximum versatility. I am not a huge fan of this configuration, but it seems to be the most popular. there is an integrated wire cutter, and the plier jaws are spring loaded. A nice feature, but one that takes some getting used to if you don't normally have it!
As with any tool, the Mountaineer does have it's drawbacks as well, however keeping the price in mind, it is certainly understandable. The most obvious fault is the fit and finish of this tool. gaps are obvious at every joint which is a testament to lower quality labor force and machinery used to manufacture it.
The Mountaineer is also bulky. It's weight is significant (236g/8.34oz), though not unheard of for it's size, but the overall mass of it is significant. It is much wider than most other full sized multitools and this isn't helped by the addition of the thick plastic scales.
Also, for a tool in this price range I know one can't expect a significant number of innovative features, but locking implements are important, and in their absence, a good backspring system is paramount, but the Mountaineer sacrifices this to round off the handles.
Overall, the Mountaineer is a decent tool for the money, and if you are a person who often loses, loans them out or just wants to leave it in a tackle box, this may be the tool for you. For the majority of people however I would suggest spending a little extra money and purchasing a decent tool like the SwissTool Spirit .
- Price- at around the $20 mark, this tool is hard to beat
- Integrated carabiner
- Comfortable handle scales
- Obvious manufacturing flaws and low QC
- No locking implements/backspring design lacking