I was never a Boy Scout, but I buy into the whole “be prepared” thing. I could just be thinking about a “Lion King” song, though. It’s hard to tell. And while I don’t think anyone needs to go full prepper — I’m not a fan of MREs, nor do I have enough ammo in my basement — keeping a few key items handy can literally save your life.
But which items do you need? Depending on your vehicle, storage options might be limited. Do you need a knife, some pliers, a hatchet, maybe a hammer? Why not all of the above? There are some great multi-tools out there that give you capabilities unseen by your parents’ and grandparents’ generations, but the space is full of oddballs and no-name manufacturers. One such offering comes from RoverTac and its Multi-Tool Camping Hatchet.
What drew us to RoverTac, aside from it being about $25 on Amazon, was that it isn’t like your traditional multi-tools from Gerber or Leatherman. The company went for a multi-tool that’s an odd mishmash of things, and we couldn’t see it being anything more than a drunken Amazon purchase that inevitably will collect dust in your toolbox.
We have a penchant for such purchases, however, and the need to beat the living tar out of everything we touch, so we snagged the RoverTac multi-tool to see if it could deliver a full 14 usable tools to help you on your next journey. Will it fail the test? Let’s get at it and find out.
Unboxing the RoverTac Multi-Tool Camping Hatchet
First, it’s time for the time-honored tradition of unboxing. The RoverTac comes in a pretty simple package; just pull up the front flap of the box, and it’s open. The reinforced nylon sheath with the multi-tool tucked inside is revealed. The only other items in the box include one of those weird silica-gel packets and a RoverTac thank-you card.
First impressions of the sheath were pretty positive. It feels pretty sturdy, even without the tool inside. On the back is a double-stitched piece of nylon so you can slide it onto your belt. A clip-on option might have been better, but it seems solid.
Pop up the velcro flap, and you’ll find the multi-tool wrapped in clear plastic. Releasing it from the plastic, I held the tool for the first time. Without knowing the weight, I would say that it felt substantial enough to hit something with.
RoverTac boasts that this tool is useful in your car or out camping, hiking, or fishing. I’m not going camping for another month, so I set out across the couple hundred acres of my in-laws’ farm in central Pennsylvania to see how many ways the RoverTac Multi-Tool might be useful.
Before I do that, however, let’s hit the highlights of what RoverTac says this thing has under the hood. They note 14 built-in tools, including:
- Knife blade
- Wire cutter
- Regular pliers
- Flat-jaw pliers
- Fish descaler
- Bottle opener
- Assorted wrenches
- Philips screwdriver
- Slotted screwdriver
- Large slotted screwdriver
Yep, that’s 14. When you begin folding out the various tools, you only count five fold-outs at one end and three, including the hammer, pliers, and axe, on the other end. RoverTac has a handy diagram in the Amazon listing that highlights each of the less obvious tools. For example, one fold-out is a bottle opener, hex wrench, and a flat-head screwdriver. Another is a fish descaler, file, and slotted screwdriver.
On the other end, it’s the same deal. They count the flat-jaw pliers and the regular pliers as two separate tools, with wire cutters at the ready nearby. Each of those is used by removing the tail lock mechanism on the other end to release the spring and allow the tool to expand. The axe side comes with a small nylon cover that attaches with a snap. It’s a nice safety addition to keep your body parts safe when it’s not in use.
Getting After It With the RoverTac Multi-Tool Camping Hatchet
- Good: Reasonable price for 14 tools, great for “I’m in a pinch” relief.
- Bad: The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work.
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I was able to try out the RoverTac by tackling a few of the never-ending projects at the farm. As I said, it’s weighted well, coming in at 14.9 ounces. It weighs a bit more than some regular Leatherman-esque multi-tools out there, but it adds a few extra features. I don’t imagine most users of this tool are going to be spending a lot of time with it in hand since it’s designed for quick jobs. However, it’s screwed together well, and each tool folds out without much effort. It feels like it would stand up to some punishment.
On the vehicular front, I hopped in to help service one of the aging tractors. Not all of them do daily duty, but they are cool. I had the RoverTac at the ready, using the slotted screwdriver to easily take off an access panel. The hex wrenches supplied within are great in theory, but you need to get lucky and happen to have the right size. For this particular job — replacing the oil filter and oil and handling disgustingly greasy bits — I did not have the proper Allen keys, but your results may vary.
Elsewhere, I hacked off some small branches growing over the patio with the hatchet, but anything more than about an inch in diameter isn’t going to be all that easy. You’ll need multiple pinpoint-accurate strikes to take on larger shrubbery.
While replacing a lightbulb in the pool, my father-in-law was faced with a bent metal bracket. It was keeping the bulb housing from sliding back into its spot under the diving board. I told him that I had just the thing for that job. I jogged back triumphantly with the RoverTac and used the pliers to bend the bracket back into place. Quick and easy. Bonus points for the son-in-law.
I wish I got to try out the fish descaler, but I got skunked.
What’s Good About the RoverTac Multi-Tool Camping Hatchet
Versatility is this RoverTac tool’s best attribute. With a fairly compact size, it won’t take up much room in your backpack, toolbox, or even glovebox. The number of times I’ve been out hiking, riding, or camping and thought, “Man, I wish I had fill-in-the-blank tool,” is more significant than I’d like to admit. This thing is billed as a do-it-all multi-tool, and it manages that pretty well on quick jobs.
RoverTac built something that feels very sturdy. Long-term testing would be needed to confirm that, but I tossed it at a barn wall — hatchet throwing is still a thing, right? — dropped it a few times, and I tried to bend the fold-out tools. The black-oxide-coated attachments held up, but I imagine over time that coating would start to wear away, particularly on the hammer.
What’s Not Great About the RoverTac Multi-Tool Camping Hatchet
The RoverTac is pretty versatile, but one size doesn’t always fit all. The Phillips screwdriver, for example, is a bit small. I managed to quickly find a screw head that it wasn’t very effective on because of the screw’s larger size.
Similarly, the hatchet and hammer are definitely suited for very small jobs. If you are looking to make some good s’mores sticks at the campsite, you’ll be fine. The hatchet is sharp but not terribly so. I was able to hack off small branches with it, as well as with the nicely serrated wood saw, around the farm. However, getting the hatchet to give up a satisfying thwock while driving it into a fence post wasn’t all that easy. The shot of the tool sticking up with the axe-end embedded in the fence was a bit of theater. It’s actually just pressed down into a gap in the wood. Looked cool, though.
For anything more substantial or any lengthy nailing process, look elsewhere. The RoverTac is a tool for those times where you don’t have other tools. It’s the “in case of emergency, break glass” tool and not so much the go-to item you’ll always reach for.
Our Verdict on the RoverTac Multi-Tool Camping Hatchet
This feels like a cheap gift you might get at a corporate retreat. It’s capable, but you’ll need highly specific situations to make the most of the RoverTac Multi-Tool. Its one-size-fits-all (meaning small) approach means that, occasionally, it just won’t fit.
If you are in the market for a single multi-tool that includes additional features that others don’t have, like a hammer and hatchet, that are still built around a set of pliers, the RoverTac is right for you. But for less than $30, there are much lighter sets such as this Gerber needle-nose tool with even more fold-out attachments, and it’s backed by one of the biggest names in the business.
This RoverTac isn’t quite up to spec, but the good news is that there are a lot of options out there for your multi-tool needs. To that end, stay tuned to our Guides & Gear section as we wade further into the multi-tool multiverse.
FAQs About the RoverTac Multi-Tool Camping Hatchet
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q. What size is this tool?
A. It measures about seven inches long from tip to tip. Folded, it’s about three inches wide at the top, which expands by less than two inches when the pliers are in the open position. You’re looking at about one inch for overall profile width.
Q. How long is the knife attachment?
A. Mick Dundee wouldn’t be too excited about it. It measures 3 1/8-inch long, or 80 mm, if you believe in that kind of thing.
Q. Can you really escape from a car with this?
A. Hopefully, you won’t have to try, but I think so. The hammer is small, but with the overall weight of the tool, I think you could pretty easily break a car window with it. Ideally, the various cutting tools could get through a seatbelt in a pinch as well.
Q. How wide do the pliers open?
A. About an inch and a quarter. That’s big enough for most small jobs, but it’s advertised as being able to work on plumbing pipes, of which I am dubious.
Q. Does it feel sturdy?
A. Very. Virtually everything you can touch is made of metal, with the possible exception being the tail locking mechanism. Even that is likely made of hard plastic.
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