Air Mail: 12 Best TSA-Approved Multi-Tools

Photo: The James Brand Halifax

While we can appreciate that the TSA is in place to ensure everyone can travel in safety and security, they can also be the bane of our existence — from an everyday carry perspective, that is. The reasoning for this is pretty straightforward: the TSA has a list of travel-banned gear which typically encompasses that which an EDC enthusiast might normally carry. And while the greater reason for this is respectable and desirable, it means bringing things like knives or your typical multi-tool is out of the question when flying.

Fortunately, there are quite a few EDC brands and craftsmen who are keen to build pocket gear that meets the TSA’s fairly rigorous standards. And that’s excellent news for the rest of us, as it means there are airplane-ready options for most of the things we need — even tools used for cutting (not knives, per say, but things that have an edge sharp enough to cut through twine or tape. Which is exactly why we put together this collection. These are the 12 best travel-friendly, TSA-approved multi-tools for all your jet-setting adventures.

Nite Ize DoohicKey Keychain Multi-Tool

With a form not dissimilar to a house key, the Nite Ize DoohicKey is one of the most compact travel-friendly multi-tools out there. And since it’s small enough to fit on even the most crowded of keychains, there’s hardly a reason not to keep it on you — whether you’re traveling or not. it also packs a surprising punch, with five incorporated functions that include a bottle opener, file, flathead screwdriver, and a serrated edge perfect for opening packages.

Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 2.5″
No. of Tools: 5+

Purchase: $6

Kershaw PT-1 Keychain Multi-Tool

While an inconspicuous keychain multi-tool can certainly be desirable for some, others prefer their tools — no matter how small — to look like tools. If you fall into that category, then the Kershaw PT-1 is the TSA-friendly multi-tool for you. It boasts functionality that ranges from a bottle opener, to a pry bar, to a flathead screwdriver, as well as a box opener. It’s built from sturdy 8Cr13MoV stainless steel and has a glass-filled nylon grip.

Material: Stainless Steel & Glass-Filled Nylon
Size: 2.75″
No. of Tools: 3+

Purchase: $6

Gerber Shard Keychain Multi-Tool

Made from a single piece of titanium-coated stainless steel, this remarkably small keychain multi-tool packs a wallop — boasting 7+ functions in less than 3 inches. Those functions include a pry bar, dual screwdriver tips, wire stripper, bottle opener, and a box opener. And, aside from its excellent build quality and functionality, it also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so you can be certain it’s a good investment — however inexpensive it might be.

Material: Titanium Nitride-Coated Stainless Steel
Size: 2.8″
No. of Tools: 6+

Purchase: $8

SOG MacV Multi-Tool

What’s especially interesting about the SOG MacV multi-tool isn’t that it’s under 3 inches in length or its black-finished 3Cr13 stainless steel construction, or even that it incorporates 12+ tools into its functionality. What’s the most enticing thing about this device is that they managed to pack all of those features into a tool that’s shaped to look like the original skull icon from the MACV SOG Special Forces group that operated during the Vietnam War. And its unique form certainly makes it stand out from the rest of the TSA-compliant travel-friendly multi-tools.

Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 2.5″ x 1.5″
No. of Tools: 12+

Purchase: $8

Gerber Dime Travel Multi-Tool

The most traditional in regards to the form of the tools on our list, Gerber’s travel-friendly version of their Dime looks like a standard folding multi-tool, but also lacks any of the attachments that would deem it unsuitable for air travel. While that does mean there is no standard knife blade, it does still retain a number of other built-in functions — needle nose pliers, wire cutters, spring-loaded scissors, zipper hook, fine and coarse files, small and medium flathead drivers, a bottle opener, etc. It’s also still remarkably small, giving it the ability to fit on your keychain with little fuss.

Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 2.75″ Closed
No. of Tools: 10+

Purchase: $15

Leatherman Piranha 2 Pocket Tool

There’s no denying that the folks behind Leatherman are the kings of the multi-tool category. And so it should come as no surprise that they offer up one of the best travel-friendly tools therein. Specifically designed to be TSA-compliant, this travel-friendly tool boasts 7+ onboard features that include a box opener, bottle opener, stepped hex drivers, and more. It even comes with its own two-sided hex bit that has a Phillips driver on one end and flathead on the other. And, like all their gear, this tool comes with Leatherman’s 25-year guarantee.

Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 3.87″
No. of Tools: 7+

Purchase: $15

Griffin Pocket Tool

The only tool on our list that’s available in a number of different sizes, materials, and finishes, the Griffin Pocket tool might just be the best keychain-sized single piece multi-tool around. The smallest version measures up at just 3 inches in length — and 4.2 inches for the longest version. It also packs up to 15 different tools into its form, including a ruler, stepped hex wrenches, drivers, pry bar/nail puller, bottle opener, box cutter, and a bunch more. The largest version is also available in both metric and imperial measurements for an added bit of versatility.

Material: Stainless Steel or Titanium
Size: 3″-4.3″
No. of Tools: 9-15+

Purchase: $20+

Lever Gear Toolcard Pro

Made from 420 stainless steel and measuring up at about the same size as a credit card, this little pocket wonder boasts more built-in functions than any other on our list — boasting a whopping 40 in total. The wealth of functions include different wrench sizes, driver tips, a scraper/box opener, bottle opener, and so much more. It also weighs just one ounce, so you can easily slip it into your wallet without too much fuss, taking it with you literally anywhere you might travel.

Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 3.35″ x 2.79″
No. of Tools: 40+

Purchase: $26

Tactica M100 Multi-Tool

While this might look like a keychain carabiner at first glance, it’s actually one of the most impressive non-folding pocket multi-tools we’ve ever come across. For starters, it features a sturdy stainless steel core that’s wrapped in a composite exterior — which is 40% lighter than titanium but remarkably strong — offering added durability, scratch-resistance, and just the right touch of style. It also boasts over 20 built-in functions that range from a box opener to stepped hex wrenches, a hex bit driver socket (with bits included), and more. There’s even a bottle opener for when your work is all done.

Material: Stainless Steel Core With Composite Exterior
Size: 3.15″ x 1.57″
No. of Tools: 20+

Purchase: $40

TT Chopper Pocket Tool

Measuring up smaller than a pinkie finger, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a one-piece multi-tool with as much to offer as the TT Pocket Tools Chopper. Made from solid stainless steel, this keychain device features a bottle opener, bit driver, stepped hex wrenches, driver tips, a scraper/box opener, and more. It’s also made right here in the USA, if quality craftsmanship is important to you.

Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 2.25″
No. of Tools: 13+

Purchase: $45

EDC Card Multi-Tool

Built to fit in the credit card slot of any wallet, the EDC Card multi-tool boasts 30+ functions in a remarkably compact format. But it isn’t just extensive in all that it has to offer; it’s also made from one of the best materials out there — military-grade S30VN blade steel. What that means is — while it can open boxes, bottles of beer, tighten screws, and remove nails — it is also practically indestructible. Pick this bad boy up and you’ll be able to rely on it for lifetimes — yes, plural.

Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 3.25″ x 2.06″
No. of Tools: 30+

Purchase: $50

The James Brand Halifax Keychain Multi-Tool

Possibly the most beautiful keychain multi-tool ever built, The James Brand’s Halifax is a perfect balance of form and function. Crafted from ultralight and insanely sturdy billet titanium, the tool measures up at just under 3 inches in length, but still manages to have a bottle opener, pry bar, screwdriver, box opener, and scraper functionality. It’s also finished in black Cerakote for extra durability and stylishness. And, of course, it is entirely TSA-compliant.

Material: Billet Titanium
Size: 2.875″ x 0.625″
No. of Tools: 5+

Purchase: $50

20 TSA-Compliant Travel Essentials

A multi-tool is hardly the only thing you need to make your travel as successful and comfortable as possible. Find everything else you could possibly want on our list of the 20 best TSA-compliant travel essentials.