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Leatherman Tread review: Serious jewelry for the person who's always prepared

Gordon Mah Ung | July 15, 2015
Let's not kid ourselves, Leatherman's Tread multi-tool is jewelry. But it's truly functional jewelry that only the legendary multi-tool maker could make.

There's even an integrated 1/4-inch socket drive. The idea is you'd have the Tread on your wrist and then pocket a couple of your favorite socket sizes.

One issue I ran into early was the clasp getting inverted which keeps the Tread from closing. Initially, you'll think the only way to fix is to take it apart. You don't. You just to have flip the sim card pick over the 1/4-inch socket drive by fully extending it.

Perhaps the most unexpected function is the oxygen tank wrench. This feature probably caters to paramedics who may need to make a quick adjustment to the "oh two" of a patient when the oxygen wrench has gone sliding down the hillside of a car crash. These oxygen tanks, I'd imagine, require wrenches to set them rather than permanent knobs, to prevent accidental changes that could endanger a patient's life.

Each of the links is clearly labeled. Removing them is fairly easy. Just grab a penny, insert it into the slotted head, and rotate counter-clockwise. Make sure you torque the screw back down when reassembling it, though.

This is how you'll adjust the size, too. Most of the links let you take out about a half-inch of slack, and one of the links lets you cut out a quarter-inch of slack.

This is obviously a problem. On my 7.5-inch circumference wrist, I removed one link to get it to fit. That meant I had to choose just which tool I wanted to sacrifice. 

I personally like to wear my watches fairly loosely. If I had daintier wrists or liked to wear it tighter, I'd have to lose another link. As I'm not a paramedic, I lost the oxygen tank wrench, but that took with it the 3/16-inch and 1/4-inch hex drive. This led to some anxiety and worst-case scenario computations in my brain, where I'm sure I'll now run into a situation where I need an O2 wrench to save my life.

You may scoff, but for the kind of person that the Tread appeals to--always prepared--what good is the Tread if you don't actually have the wrench you need? 

Leatherman actually has a watch attachment coming too, which initially seems like a great idea until you realize you'll probably have to jettison two more links to fit it. With a small-enough wrist and the watch, it's possible you'll be down to just 10 functions on your wrist. That's something you need to consider if you're looking at the Leatherman Tread. I'd rather keep my Casio G-Shock (cause what else would a Tread wearer use?) and the Tread and the paracord friendship bracelet on my off hand.


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