The Best TSA-Approved Multi-Tools For Survival Or Self-Defense

Traveling can be fun, but going through the Transportation Security Administrations checkpoints can leave you feeling exploited and defenseless.  The TSA’s rules are constantly changing, and it can be difficult to know what you are allowed to have on a plane.  Because of this, we’ve broken down the best survival and self-defense tools TSA will allow in this handy guide.

All of the tools shown below are 100% TSA approved, meaning they will allow you to carry them in your carry-on bag on a flight without hassle. Unless things change again. (I had half plastic, half metal baby fingernail clippers seized from me once.)

Just in case the TSA gets overzealous, you can prevent your multitool from being stolen from you. One travel hack that works for some is to open up all the tools and place it in the change tray. If that doesn’t do the trick, another quick tip is to pack an envelope with pre-paid postage. That way, if you run into any problems, you can avoid confiscation by mailing it home or to a friend instead.

*All images courtesy of Amazon

1. Gerber Shard Keychain Tool

Backed by a titanium nitride coating to help prevent corrosion, this shard keychain includes a wire stripper, bottle opener, lanyard hole and more. It also comes with flat and Phillips head screwdrivers. It’s small and easy to carry. The Shard, made with a unique keyhole, can easily attach to a split ring or key ring, which lets you keep the multi-tool handy at all times.

Size: 3.1 x 1.3 x 0.6 inches and weighs .0.32 oz., with lightweight easy to grab-and-go functionality you should imagine from a great keychain multi-tool.

The best news is that this little tool won’t break the bank either.  You grab this one for $6.95 on Amazon.

2. Gerber Dime Multi-Tool Travel, Bladeless

This handy multi-tool includes needle nose pliers, wire cutters, scissors, a zipper hook, small and medium flat screwdrivers, tweezers, a bottle opener and much, much more. Built by Gerber again, it’s definitely one heck of a quality carry-on tool. This tool is bladeless for travel-friendly use, features a butterfly open design, with comfortable ergonomic handles, stainless steel construction, and a convenient keychain ring.

Size: 0.7 x 5.5 x 6 inches

This handy tool will cost you $14.95 on Amazon.

3. TREAD Wearable Tool

Made in the United States, this multitool is “ready for anything. With the functionality of a Leatherman, all in one stylish package, The Tread’s modular design is fully customizable to fit your needs and your wrist. The Tread is fully adjustable to fit your wrist. Simply add or remove links in quarter-inch and half-inch increments to fit.  It also has a variety of box wrenches, hex drives, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, oxygen tank wrench, carbide glass breaker, sim card pick, cutting hook, socket drive adapter, and bottle opener. This one is meant to be worn everywhere, not just on the airplane. 

Size: 3.9 x 5.9 x 9.4 inches

This one will set you back a bit coming in at $174.95 on Amazon.  However, it comes with a 25-year limited warranty.

4. Piranha 2 Multi-Purpose Pocket Tool

The Piranha 2 multi-purpose pocket tool features  7 tools, which include a scraper, bottle opener, 1/4″ hex bit driver, medium screwdriver, open wrench (English), box wrench (Metric), and box opener.

Size: 4.9 x 2 x 1.1 inches

This one is not as pricey as the wearable tool.  Amazon has it listed for $14.99.

5. Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool

The Style PS is the ultimate pocket-sized multitool. Put it in your pocket, clip it on your bag, and even take it when you travel right in your carry on bag. It’s lightweight and compact size makes it easy to take with you anywhere. The Style PS features spring-action needlenose and regular pliers, spring-action wire cutters and scissors, flat and Phillips screwdriver, tweezers, nail file, and combination carabiner and bottle opener. Style PS also only requires one hand to open and use all the tools.

Size: 3.1 x 2 x 1.3 inches

The Style PS is selling for $29.95 on Amazon

6. NiteIze DooHicKey

This keychain multitool is inexpensive and can tighten bolts and screws or open a bottle. It features a box Cutter, a bottle opener, wrench (.25”, .3125”, and .375”), ruler (inches and centimeters), carabiner, and flathead screwdriver.

Size: 2.6” x .7” x .1”

You can snag one of these on Amazon for only $3.98!

7. Zootility Tools Wildcard

This folding credit card knife is TSA-approved. Made entirely of heat treated stainless steel, it features a replaceable blade, built-in screwdrivers, a pry-bar, and a bottle opener.  Since it’s the size of credit card, it also easily slides into your wallet.  Zootility WildCard™  knife is TSA compliant, however, if you get in a confiscation situation, you can just surrender the blade, and keep the handle, which features built-in screwdrivers, a pry-bar, and bottle opener, making it the ultimate tool for everyday carry and replace the blade later. 

Size: 2.2 x 3.2 x 0.1 inches

This multi-tool is available on Amazon for $35.00

*All Amazon prices are current to when this article was written and may change after publication.


This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 1st, 2018
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15 Responses to The Best TSA-Approved Multi-Tools For Survival Or Self-Defense

  1. Undecider says:

    You can also tear an aluminum beverage can in half if you need a sharp edge quickly.

  2. Mark edward marchiafava says:

    Or, or, or you can do what I do: REFUSE TO FLY, problem solved. And yes, you ARE welcome.

    • It will be interesting to see how that will help you when the TSA is stationed in every transportation terminal, shortly.
      The Border Patrol is already running permanently installed checkpoints on interstate highways close to the Mexican border. The day will come when they won’t close, soon. Most of their staff for them comes from the Hispanic population in southern California, which are mostly bi-lingual and lacking in any concept of the difference between a state citizen and an American citizen. They usually ask if one is a citizen, without specifying of what, and I have no trouble answering yes, since everyone is a citizen of somewhere.

      • Mark edward marchiafava says:

        At some point, even lazy, ignorant, complacent Amerikan sheeple will say “enough.” I am Soooooooo looking forward to that day
        I totally avoid any such terminals, DRIVE everywhere I go, mostly in the middle of the night.

      • The middle of the night is when LEOs have the most spare time to follow a suspicious vehicle/driver until they do something they can be cited for. The only vehicles that have any immunity are heavy trucks, which are usually only pulled over by DOT-certified state police officers. I was the only vehicle in the Grapevine CHP station when I was pulled into an inspection bay by a bored inspector. We spent more time talking than he did inspecting, since the power unit was a brand new box van and was towing my chase van, whose lights worked perfectly, as intended.

      • Mark edward marchiafava says:

        the ONLY reason I chose the middle of the night is to avoid the IDIOTS who REFUSE to get out of the LEFT LANE !! My drive from SW Mississippi to SE Tennessee is MUCH quicker at that time by some 30 minutes !!!

      • I learned how to get them to move out of the left lane. Pace them in the slow lane, right next to them. If that doesn’t do the trick by itself, it will when they get stuck behind one of their own kind and have to wait for you to pull up next to the other. Don’t give them the satisfaction of passing the other. Odds are the second one will speed up to get back in your lane in front of you, and the first will blow by both of you to do likewise. This works much better if you happen to be in a 18-wheeler and trap them alongside your trailer.

      • Mark edward marchiafava says:

        ain’t got time for such idiots.
        Will stick to my midnight runs, LOL……………..
        Back in the “old days,” I’d peek around the right shoulder, make SURE no one is changing a flat or some such, smoke ’em on the right…………really gets their attention

      • That is fine. Just be ready for what will happen when some of the idiots start driving at night to avoid people like you.

      • It will also get you a ticket in states (most of them) where passing on the right is illegal. This usually appears in the same states that post “keep right except to pass” or similar signs on long stretches of rural highways without anything to turn left on.
        Bubba won’t care either way.

      • Mark edward marchiafava says:

        all too familiar with such “laws.” On one particular ride on the motorcycle, got stuck for MILES behind a pair of what I refer to as “steering wheel holders,” which is NOT to be confused with real truck drivers. Finally smoked ’em on the right.
        Got off to get gas just southwest of Johnson City,TN, went to get back ON I-75 and the locals were on the overpass, looking south, LOL…………someone must have dropped a dime / quarter on me

  3. I have several multitools and have seldom found a use for any of them.
    But then, I have never owned a smartphone either. I don’t even carry my dumphone if I’m not expecting a call. Nothing has ever improved on the terminated voicemail box I used to have. When I’d get a call, I could go to any payphone and retrieve a message, after being advised I had one via a numeric pager. All of this cost less than my prepaid flipphone does a month, now, $15.
    If I happened to be away from my tool stash, I’d just ask someone to loan me their multitool. They are more ubiquitous than cellphones, here.

  4. Fred762 says:

    My favorite aproved travel tool is my has my truck keys and in it I can carry my tools and my firearms anywhere I want and the Gestapo,…er the TSA gons can go punk themselves.

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