Aspen Times Weekly: Leatherman Tread Tool | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Times Weekly: Leatherman Tread Tool

by Stephen Regenold

GET IT

$165

www.leatherman.com

Tighten a screw, slice a box open, then crack some glass with a carbide tip. Leatherman touts you can do all this and more with the Tread, a bracelet coming widely to market next month.

The company advertises the Tread to be “as stylish as it is functional.” I tested it out this week. The $165 wearable tool is a sleek conversation starter designed for the office or the woods.

In use, the 29 tools range from convenient to superfluous. I removed the Tread from my wrist to tighten a door strike plate (Phillips screwdriver head) and sliced some nylon cord (cutting hook).

Its bottle opener, hidden on the clasp, is small but always handy to have. The tiny oxygen-tank wrench? I won’t be bringing that out any time soon.

Some initial reviews of the Tread have been lukewarm. Testers are torquing screws, tightening bolts, and removing SIM cards from phones with the bracelet’s built-in “pick.”

A common sentiment in some reviews is “All the implements work fine, but this is not a real multitool.” Indeed, there is no knife blade, no pliers, and the form factor — a flexible ring of forged steel links — is not compatible with precise tasks.

I guess I did not take the Tread so seriously. If you want a “real” multitool, don’t buy this bracelet. But if you want some pseudo-jewelry that might help with a small job or an ad hoc fix, look to the Tread.

That said, the bracelet is built in a way that it works as a stand-in for a screwdriver or other tools. Unclasped and off the wrist, its links fold down and lie flat in the palm.

You select an implement tip for a job and the bracelet is rigid enough in full grip to serve as a handle and give leverage for a bolt or loose screw.

Wear it and you will always be equipped for random adjustments and realignments, but mostly of the urban and domestic type.

As for backwoods use, the Tread will not replace a regular multitool or a Swiss Army Knife. It can’t start a fire or help you build a shelter.

But if you’re caught on a bike ride without a tool bag, spin the bracelet around and pray that Leatherman included the correct bit.

It weighs 6 ounces, hefty in a good way clasped above the hand. One caveat: Watch your arm hairs while twisting the Tread around; mine got snagged a few times while trying to locate an implement on my wrist.

My take on this wearable tool? The company has created a fun, usable product with a sleek, techy, outdoorsy aesthetic.

Wear a Tread and you’ll be prepared for, well, a lot of stuff. But keep a knife or a traditional Leatherman in your pocket as a backup, too.

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.


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