My father gave it to me in high school. He was an electrician, carried one every day, and swore by it. It was a big deal to me then, and still is now. That first design hurts a little if you have to really clamp down on the pliers, but man...I love it. It's been on almost 50 camping trips and has never failed me. So when I heard about the Leatherman Signal the excitement was bittersweet, because what else did I need? My original Leatherman was damn near perfect. Well, I've spent a year with the Leatherman Signal now, and wanted to share a few thoughts about it.
One of the things I seem to talk about the most with other friends is the build quality. It's just an extremely solid multi-tool that I wouldn't think twice about relying on if I had too. I have no doubt that the Signal would tackle anything the wilderness would throw its way.
I also appreciate the fact that I can carry it either belt clip or carabiner style. If I'm setting up camp and using it a lot I like how accessible a carabiner makes it. No, a sheath isn't what I'd call "slow," but if you're working with a lot of rope the constant sheathing and unsheathing gets annoying.
The whistle works great but is a little tricky to get the hang of. I actually tested it at 105 db, which is loud for such a tiny whistle. It does however, require a fairly exact placement of the lips due to it's size.
The saw is great, but we all know that Leatherman has always made aggressive, effective saws on their multi-tools. No surprise there. The Leatherman Signal also comes with a sharpener that works great if you are skilled. If you've done a fair amount of sharpening you know that it often comes down to feel and the skill of the operator, versus whatever the particular stone is. Here's a tip for the sharpener on the Signal: I was able to get a very nice edge by flipping it around and finishing with the side of the handle, as the metal is very smooth there. They probably wouldn't recommend this, but it worked great for me.
The last three tools on the inside are well chosen: awl (with thread loop), bottle/can opener, and a bit driver. There's a very firm liner lock, which I like, as it means less chance for something to slip and cause an injury at an inopportune time. The 1/4" and 3/16th" box wrenches built into the handle are nice, but I didn't use them all that much in the woods.
For camping and hiking this has become my tool of choice. It's not perfect, but it meets more outdoor needs than anything else I've seen on the market.