Leatherman doesn’t make the Squirt S4 any more, so I plan to hold on to mine for as long as is humanly possible. I’m not an outdoorsman by any means, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t found uses for the Squirt S4 in the every day.
This awesome little multi-tool features ten smaller tools, and I’ve used all of them at one point or another. The killer feature for me, however, are the pair of spring-loaded scissors that are concealed in the center of the S4. These have helped me with stray threads, stubborn packaging, and even long nails. The scissors are such an integral feature to me that I think of the S4 as a pair of pocket scissors well before I’d see it as a pocket knife.
I grew up playing — and accidentally cutting myself — with my parents’ Swiss Army knives (this one in particular). I loved the compact nature of those crimson tools, and I was enchanted by the way each piece would click perfectly into place. I’ve been fascinated with multi tools for as long as I can remember, and they’re probably the precursor for the supreme gadget love I now bear. However, it wasn’t until high school that I encountered the Leatherman brand of multi-tools.
It all started with my best friend’s Micra, which he would play with during philosophy class. The Micra is apparently Leatherman’s most popular model, and it also features a set of ten tools. It’s a little larger than the Squirt, but it still fits nicely on a keychain. I was fascinated by Leatherman’s different approach to multi-tools, which had them deploy from the interior (as opposed to Swiss Army Knives, which often deploy tools from the exterior). I also think it’s a stroke of genius to have both halves of the tool become the handle for the resulting spring-loaded scissors (or pliers, depending on the tool). It was my friend’s Micra that inspired me to pick up two Squirt S4s — one for me and one for my dad.
I’ve had my little Leatherman for close to ten years now, which is pretty amazing for something that has seen so much use, and which could be lost so very easily. The tools all still work perfectly, with the exception of the scissor and knife blades, which could use some serious sharpening. I kept the S4 on my keychain for a number of years, but last Christmas I decided to separate it from my growing bundle of keys, so I designed and made a custom leather sheath for it, which fits nicely on my belt. The fit is tight, and an earth magnet at the bottom keeps the Leatherman from falling out on its own. A little leather strap attached to the S4’s key ring makes it easy to pull out at a moment’s notice.
Up until now, the pieces on my site have been about equipment that I’ve bought within the last year, or which are still readily available on the Internet. The Leatherman Squirt S4 that sits on my belt features chipped paint and a set of ten hard-wearing tools, and you can’t find it it in stores any more. In an age of increasingly ephemeral electronic tools, I also want to take the time to celebrate this kind of design.