Field Tested: SOG PowerLock

When you need it most, nothing is more valuable than a good multi-tool. SOG has long been my preferred manufacturer of multi-tools with my original Paratool now going well into its second decade of loyal service. A couple of years ago I decided to elevate my multi-tool game and acquired the SOG PowerLock. Having used it more times than I could ever remember, I thought it was worthy of a long-term review.

Made of 420 Stainless Steel and featuring 18 individual tools, the PowerLock is not an insignificant piece of equipment. At a tad over 9-ounces it has the heft and feel of a proper piece of repair gear and includes all of the essential tools required for most emergency fixes. What makes the PowerLock such a useful tool, and earns it the “Lock” namesake, is the locking feature behind each of the fold-out tools. Other tools have to be used with some caution as the individual tools are not secured in place and can fold inward if not used with care. The PowerLock’s tools click into place with authority for confident use. This is particularly noticeable when using the awl, screwdrivers or file, tools that often incur multi-directional forces.




The other elements of the tool which I’ve come to fully appreciate are the two folding covers that enshroud the individual tools. It seems like an innocuous feature, and even a little cumbersome, but those covers make for a comfortable grip when applying force to the primary tool, the pliers. Those pliers employ SOG’s innovative Compound Leverage hinge which produces twice the closing force of any other multi-tool. This allows the cutting blades to easily slice through a quarter or even a nail with minimal effort.




In use the tool unfolds effortlessly in one fluid motion and once in hand feels solid and secure. The pliers have enough brawn to be used for all the ad hoc duties that pliers frequently endure, and the lifetime warranty ensures the tool will be around for years to come. Even the heavy Cordura sheath with heavy belt clip is overbuilt for maximum durability.

The more I use my PowerLock the more faith I have in its ability to extricate me from any mechanical jam that threatens my progress. At $115, it’s not a cheap tool, but no good tool is measured in dollars. When it is needed most, it is priceless.



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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.