If you make the mistake of trying to bring a multi-tool onto a plane these days, chances are you’ll be donating it to the TSA. Unless that tool is the PowerLock Traveler from SOG. That’s because SOG designed it with all the usual tools you might need, except for the knife blade, making it TSA-compliant.
Packed into this 420 stainless steel tool (our review one has the satin finish, but they offer it in black as well for a little more money), you’ll find the usual jaws with needle nose pliers at the tip, grippers in the middle, and a hard wire cutter at the base. Built into the handles are a 3 sided file, large, medium, and small flat blade screwdrivers, a phillips screwdriver, can opener, ruler, crimpers, small scissors, robertson drive, a 1/4 drive, and of course, a bottle opener. Closed, it’s only 4.6 inches long, and fits into the included nylon sheath. When open, it’s 7 inches long, which makes it easy to work with.
Each tool opens and locks into place fairly smoothly, thanks to the PowerLock system. While there is a bit of friction, there isn’t any side to side play. That should even out over time. Unlocking a tool to fold it back in only takes a press of the flat PowerLock button, which disengages the locking bar from the notch in the back of the tool. This is easy to do, but not by accident, making it a welcome addition on the PowerLock Traveler, and a safety feature on other models that have knife blades or other sharp tools.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t need all these tools when I travel, but as a photographer, many of them do come in handy. The screwdrivers and scissors seem to get used a lot, as does the bottle opener at the end of the day. At home is another story. It seems that I always have some electrical project to do, so the strippers and crimpers are nice to have handy. What I really love about the PowerLock Traveler though, is the Compound Leverage™ pliers. There are some flat gears hidden away that compound the applied force, allowing the pliers to grip better with less effort, and making the hard wire cutter very easy to use, even if you don’t have strong hands.
With Father’s Day coming up, the PowerLock Traveler makes a great gift. It’s a solid, quality tool that has plenty of uses around the house, shop, or worksite. And I’m sure that airplanes are not the only ones restricting multi-tools with blades, so it’s nice to see that being addressed. If you are planning on flying with it, you may want to check in advance though, as it would be a shame to have you or your dad give it up to the TSA. SOGknives.com