Leatherman has announced several new multi-tools at the 2014 SHOT Show – the Leap, a multi-tool for younger users, and a refreshed line of Juice multi-tools.
Leatherman Leap Multi-Tool (for Kids)
The Leap is the first Leatherman multi-tool that was designed for younger users. What is perhaps most unique about the Leap is how it can be used without a knife blade. Leatherman’s product announcement says that when the user is ready, the 420HC knife blade can be permanently added to the multi-tool.
Jason Carpenter, product manager for the Leap, is quoted in press materials as saying:
A regular Leatherman is meant for adult hands, and isn’t comfortable or safe for smaller users. Our goal was to craft a multi-tool made explicitly with kids in mind.
Leatherman Leap Features
- Combination needlenose and regular pliers
- Wire cutters
- Wood saw
- Soda bottle opener
- Optional 420HC knife blade
- Phillips screwdriver
- Small and medium slotted screwdrivers
- Safety locks that prevent users’ fingers from being in path of the tools
- Two-hand-opening knife blade for safer blade deployment
- Glass-filled nylon handle scales
- Ergonomic grip designed to train users to open blade away from themselves
It seems that the Leap isn’t just a shrunken-down multi-tool. It was designed for kids’ smaller hands and promotes safer operation.
What I especially find appealing is how the sheepsfoot knife blade can be added to the tool later on, depending on user’s maturity and responsibility level. That’s not to say that younger kids should be unsupervised with the Leap, as it still has pliers, scissors, and a saw.
One more thing I find appealing is how all tools are accessible from the outside, with the tool closed.
I asked Leatherman’s contact for clarification about the knife blade, and whether it can be installed and removed by parents, and they informed me that once the knife blade is installed, it is attached for good.
The reason we didn’t want the ability to remove the blade once it’s installed is that, knowing the way things go, kids might try to disassemble the tool themselves, which wouldn’t be safe. Once the supervisor feels the child is ready, the knife blade is permanently inserted to the tool to avoid that. Installation is pretty easy and safe since it has a guard, but taking it out again would be pretty tough.
ETA: Summer 2014
Color options: red, green, blue
Leap First Impression
The Leatherman Leap seems like a good idea. It’s a smaller multi-tool designed for kids’ smaller hands, and it also boasts a bunch of safety features. The price point seems a little high, but I doubt anyone would want to trade compromises for a lower price. This looks to be a serious tool designed for younger users.
Leatherman Juice Multi-Tool Refresh
At the 2014 SHOT Show Leatherman has also announced a refreshed line of Juice multi-tools. The Juice tools are Leatherman’s compact and pocketable multi-tools.
The features and functionality of all current Juice models, C2, S2, CS4, and XE6, will be unchanged. In other words, the differences will be in the color scheme and handle scales.
The new handles are slightly textured and their colors are said to be more naturally toned. Leatherman is hoping that the new colors satisfy consumers’ need to escape from the barrage of technology, and that the new texture further drives home the natural look with a more natural feel.
ETA: Spring 2014
New Juice First Impression
I am actually quite fond of the Juice multi-tools, and own an orange S2. It’s what I tend to carry when in urban areas, as it’s more pocketable than my other multi-tools. Plus it has a passive slip joint knife lock and two-handed knife deployment, which draws less stares in public and around people unaccustomed to knives outside of kitchen and dining areas.
I like the idea of new handle colors, although I would have to feel the wavy texture before I could decide on that.
With my S2, the color options were orange, which I do like, and a boring somewhat sterile gray. The new color options look pretty good to me, and they do seem to give the tools a somewhat earthy look. The styling is vibrant without being very ornamental or ostentatious.