The many and varied uses of an Antarctic multi-tool.

A tale of ingenuity

You cannot understimate the value of owning an Antarctic multi-tool that allows for knife and tool combinations of unsurpassed quality. They equip and prepare you for the everyday adventure or the unexpected challenge. All the tools you need in one!

It has become apparent to me that a good percentage of our station population sports a Leatherman or similar-multi-tool as day to day wear (especially the hard-working ones). This got me wondering - is it is the nature of the wild environment, harsh work conditions or the ever formidable A-Factor that prompts people to seek comfort in carrying a multi-tool? Or is it a completely different reason??

Just recently, whilst sitting around the dining table with my colleagues, it dawned on me. Listening to them boast about the most creative way they used their multi-tool that day...or as it would come to be known 'The Leatherman use of the day' was none of the above reasons at all. They carry them to seek out the most adventurous uses, then compare war stories and claim the best use for that day!

One of the unspoken rules of multi-tool use of the day is: PHOTOS or it didn’t happen. This has proven difficult for some of the more advanced moves and resulted in people teaming up to claim the title. Although currently unconfirmed, there have been rumours around the station of people carrying multiple tools to increase their chances of winning(?).

Some top-level uses include:

  • Multi-tool masking-taped to the end of a pool cue to replace roof tiles

  • Spectacular opening of champagne bottles with the knife

  • Cutting oversized logs for firewood

  • Opening lids on steel fuel drums

  • Jump-starting a ute using 2 multi-tools (unconfirmed)

  • Removing deeply lodged earplugs

  • Performing precise engine adjustments on a bulldozer

  • Constantly chipping ice from anywhere and everywhere

  • Suffering abuse in the absence of a hammer

  • And many more that didn’t make the cut.

The spike in popularity of multi-tools on station has brought all shapes and sizes out of the woodwork. We have a considerable collection of the range here on station, from 30-year-old classics to the latest and greatest. There has also been a surge in people customising them, from subtle changes to the performance features such as knifes to files, or carrying additional ‘bit kits’ with them, to some even sporting custom paint jobs and lettering on the sides.

All I can say is long may you seek solace in your multi-tool and enjoy many adventures together.

This is my Leatherman. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Mine is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my multi-tool is useless. Without my multi-tool, I am useless.

Definition: 'A-Factor' (adjective)
The nature of working in Antarctica, where any simple 5-minute task can suffer from multiple unforeseeable circumstances leading to it taking considerably longer than expected.

- Dylan ‘The Kid’ Scott (Wilkins Plant Operator)