Introduction: Tips & Tricks, Hang Your Pocket Tool

Picture of Tips & Tricks, Hang Your Pocket Tool

Improved Version 1.3

Can't live with them (because they wear a hole in your pocket and look insidious with their threatening bulge-like manifestation in your pocket), and of course, you can't live without them. Solution: use an S-hook to suspend your pocket tool inside your pocket! Comfy, safe, and very stealth. Currently I carry a medium-sized pocket tool -- a Leatherman Juice Cs4 -- but I've had bulkier Victorinox Swiss Army Knifes that benefit just as much from suspension.

Years ago I learned to hang my pocket tools from the inside corner of my pocket, because otherwise they would grind away against my leg if I just dropped them in the pocket, and they would look rather goofy, worse than even an engineer's pocket protector bulge. Also, they are rather expensive items to loose through a developing hole in your pocket -- scenario: you are running for the subway and the tool finally plunges through the hole in your pocket and clatters down to the electrified rails as you step aboard, and the railway security people hold you back from recovering your beloved tool. You must bow pay $1,000 to get out of jail and ~$85 for a new pocket tool. All this could have been avoided with a ~$0.50 S-hook.

Yes, the hook was the thing for me, and all of my pocket tools have gotten them (I am a connoiseur of pocket tools and have a few to suit my changing moods). S-hooks -- oh glorious S-hooks, so useful for many things! -- have kept my pocket tools safe, unobtrusive, and accessible (in fact once I capsized my dory and 360'd it a few times, and had to cut the rigging to get the sail down since everything had jammed, and there my knife was, still hanging from its hook in my pocket. If you want to be really top-shelf, buy a stainless steel S-hook from a marine store to match your stainless steel tool (this will also prevent any galvanic action between hook and tool. Ha! I just told a nerd joke! Did you get it? Huh?).

The useful introduction stuff ends here. You may proceed to step 1, although as ever I have more to say in my appendix below.

Appendix I

The only time I remember being separated from my pocket tool (except for airline trips, lately) was when I had a stroke a few years ago. I was caught by surprise, healthy (well, so I thought), well exercised, relatively young. So, as the ambulance people carry me out on the gurney, I reach for my Swiss army knife on the side table -- perhaps I am thinking they will bring too some of the wood that is in my bedroom with which I am building my outrigger canoe (see instructable 'Build a sailboat-in-a-closet') along with the spare underwear and a book, and I can continue to work on the boat in the ICU with the little saw? I don't know, for my girlfriend tells me I was speaking in Klingon, and so who knows what my brain was thinking?

But I did want that knife. It was my constant companion, my talisman; it has a saw, and scissors, and little pliers, and a teeny drill -- everything needed to fix whatever, though there is a lot in my life right then beyond the heal-all of a pocket tool.

The ambulance people don't know; they gently push my reaching arm back onto my chest, and talk about me like I'm not there. 'What does he want?' they are saying (but not to me, I don't exist). I want my pocket tool, and I don't have it NOT because it has no hook, but because I have no pants on; you see, I had my stroke in the early morning! You can't think of everything.... but don't let that stop you from trying the hook.

Step 1: The Stuff and the Result

Picture of The Stuff and the Result


(1) A pocket tool. Selecting this deserves a whole instructable, or at least a step, but not today. But this is important: your pocket tool should have a stout key-chain hanger thingie on it. The older Swiss Army Knives did not, and the thin hanger on the knife I owned since 1980 actually came near to wearing through. A Victorinox store fixed my broken scissors spring for free recently but can do nothing about the keychain hanger. Tip: string 1/8 inch nylon cord through the cork-screw and tie the S-hook on it. Good news: Newer Swiss Army Knives now have very thick hangers, and the Leatherman brands do too (at least mine does).

(2) A hook. I suggest an S-hook, the smallest and thickest one you can find, thick because it spread the strain through your pocket cloth better.

(3) A small spring-ring for key-chains (one might come with your tool, but I got mine off retired key-chain Maglites flashlights.

Alternative: I have used picture-hanging hooks (basically, folded flat metal) and though they do work, their edges are sharp and seem to wear the cloth on your pocket more than a small S-hook.


(1) Put the the ring on the keychain thingie on your pocket tool.

(2) Put the S-hook on the ring (the ring-plus-hook permit sufficient twistability so that the pocket tool has some room to move, reducing strain on all the parts). Leave one side of the S-hook open to hook on your pants pocket, though you can close it a little.

(3) Put it in your pocket and start your day ready to face anything that can be faced with a pocket tool! It will feel so comfortable you will have to pat your pocket to make sure it is there. The public will hardly notice it until you go through one of the many detectors that are there to both protect and remove your personal freedoms; see brief rant below:

Brief rant: USA has gone crazy with worrying about pocket-tools; it is very sad; you are now some kind of suspect if anyone sees you with a pocket tool (and if it is a traditional old pocket knife with just a blade or two, then, even worse! Oh, horrors! A knife! A pure knife!).

Warning: It is still possible for the tool to fall out of your pocket when you recline on a couch; I wear loose comfy pants with vertical pocket slits, and that has happened; also while sitting on a car seat, uncommonly. I assume that tight uncomfortable bluejeans with their small, tight, nearly useless pockets would solve that problem, but then you are stuck with uncomfortable bluejeans, which seem to be made solely to look good in advertising pictures.

But in other walks of life, it will be safe -- most recently I've biked, camped, and hiked in Ireland -- very active castle-climbing, rath-exploring, tent setting-upping, and pint-drinking, and I never lost it.

The photo shows me in my weekend workshop pants, with tool efficiently located for low-profile but accessible for the fast-draw. Carry on!


Dom Toretto (author)2013-07-04

Heres my version i modded it

doo da do (author)2012-07-03

The sheath that came with mine works fine. I still have one of the original Leatherman tools. Still works fine. Doodado

lovethebackwoods (author)2012-06-24

My husband and kids call me a "scrounge!" I will stop along the roadside (ONLY when traffic allows me to do so safely) and pick up a bungee cord that has flown off of some poor guy's truck or trailer - half a bungee cord? Just as good! I take a discarded bread knife (so I don't wear down my pocketknife blade) and cut off the cord so that I can use the big strong S-hook for all sorts of projects. Camping, I hang them from convenient tree limbs and use them to hang mugs, cooking tools, lanterns, flashlights, cyalume sticks, bug dope... S-hooks rock!

So does your excellent 'ible, by the way! Thanks. Keep 'em coming!

black hole (author)2012-02-21

Ahh, what a wonderful country we live in, where one can be accused of menacing just because of a pocket knife.
Anyway, I made something similar out of wire coat hanger, bike innertube, and duct tape to make a inside-the-waistband sheath.

zigzagchris (author)2010-05-08

Wow ur genious. Im poor (not really) so i just used a coat hanger and used my multitool plyers to bend and cut it into a hook. I originally used 3 or so of the miniature keyring to make a sort of chain but didn't like the length it hung so im only using one now

zigzagchris (author)zigzagchris2010-05-25

I just built it again with another loop at the bottom for 2 inches of  chain. Verry usefull for easily pulling out

berky93 (author)2009-10-16

this is a great idea! I love my cybertool, it has come in handy so many times. But its rather thick for a SAK, and gets annoying in my pocket. (so does my any solutions for that?)

I never use the little loop ring that comes on the knife, but I think I'll have to grab a few s-hooks tomorrow when I'm at the hardware store.

they have these wonderful cases now that you can attach to your belt and put your phone in

Eh I like putting it in my pocket more. Its less annoying to me than a case. Plus I'd look really awkward with one of those...I'm not one of the people who could pull it off

lilpepsikraker (author)2009-08-16

i'm looking for a small S hook--does Ace hardware sell em? I am going to do this with my Vic. Signature. It has a retractable pen, but same thing and size as a SAK ClassicSD.

Yep, Ace sold em. 10 cents each! What a bargain! I got a handful. Heres two on my EDC SAK (Signature) and another on my Sportsman. I never noticed the signature before in my pocket, but now it's going to probably have a few rides in the wash because I forgot about it. The sportsman really benefits because it's a two-layer ( i have a three and I never carry it). Thanks for this great 'ible!

Nearly all SAKs have split rings on them. I used those. Damn! Those s hooks were so hard that I had to use my vise to get them closed.

I took some hobby chain and another S hook for a waist clip to modify this to a greater extent. I may end up taking about 20 links off my chain so it doesn't look too big. I couldn't find any flat waist hooks at my Ace store, so I just bent the hell out of a 10 cent S hook with a vise. The S hook is surprisingly hard to clip on your waist but its super secure. 1.5 ft of "hobby chain" at Ace was about $1.50 The pocket tool benefits even more because now you can throw anything in your pocket like keys and not worry about it getting scratched. 5*

Goodluck (author)2009-07-24

Another great idea Wade! Found this yesterday, made myself a multi-tool hanger last night. The only problem is the pants/shorts I wear have more horizontal type pocket openings so it doesn't stay quite in the corner.

eggbert99 (author)2009-07-14

I have the exact same multi tool but in silver/grey colour and i found that if you put it in the pocket inside the right pocket on jeans it's a snug fit

X_D_3_M_1 (author)2007-10-22

nice leatherman

shinyegg (author)X_D_3_M_12009-06-01

Cool! Thanx! Now I won't have to get one of those giant, dorky belt clips. I have a Leatherman Juice, and it is very useful. I (my dad :) looped the S hook so the spring won't come out, then straightened the end to loop around the edge of my pants, so it'll work with my smaller pockets as well. Thanks! Just what I needed!

nicknack171 (author)2009-04-09

if i were anybody reading this dont get the gerber 600 or 800 or whatever. i used a friends a little while and i didnt like it. back to my leatherman blast. o i just got the gerber clutch (nutnfancy on youtube reviewed it well) and its pretty gool its equivalent to a squirt or micra but it has pliers. so now i either carry my leatherman blast or the clutch and my spyderco tenacious

goatherder (author)2009-02-23

A good choice for any pocket tool is use. Since I use my knife blades more than anything, I want them on the outside when the pliers are closed, and to lock open.

Leon Close (author)2009-01-31

Wade - I tried this not long after you published this Instructable and have been using it pretty much every day since then. I've been meaning to comment for some time to let you know how pleased I am with the idea. My multi-tool is a Victorinox Huntsman which for me, would be too bulky and heavy for hookless pocketing. I made the hook from galvanised wire, and it has become highly polished, not rusty as I had feared. Just now I thought of adding some plastic wire insulation or heat-shrink tubing to make it thicker, but it has not been a problem thus far, as it is. Thanks!

Wade Tarzia (author)Leon Close2009-01-31

Glad you like it! It is one of those simple things I could have made a half-million dollars from if I had any business sense (and I have none). I also found that the hook tends to wear shiny rather than rust though my current one is a stainless steel S-hook since the tool in sailing season is sometimes wet in salt water. How's the outrigger sailing coming along?

Leon Close (author)Wade Tarzia2009-01-31

Sailing is iminent! It may only be days until I hit the water at this stage. All the major bits are done, I just have to add cleats, terminate lines, limit stays etc. All the little fiddly things that don't make the boat look any more finished, but actually make it work. Oh, and painting. Lots of that.

When the Harryproa guys were building at Urunga I could race them to get sailing, but they won, repeatedly. Now it looks like I might get on the water before Ini, though I've had a few years head start, and my boat is not quite so impressive.

Wade Tarzia (author)Leon Close2009-02-03

It all looks great! Love those rotating rudders! Seems to be that is generally the best answer for budget proas that want rudder/leeboards. Maybe triangulate the rudder brackets in case you fall on them? Cantilevers always bother me ;-)

jott_1 (author)2008-11-06

I had a similar problem with a different pocket. I used to carry a General 744 pocket screwdriver, mechanical pencil, foray eraser, 3x5 cards and palm pilot in my shirt pocket. I was always ripping the seams on my shirt pocket. I've switched to carrying a Wenger pda-folio. I put in an Ampad 5x7 quadril notpad, palm pilot, Smartpro tools screwdriver, SaberTooth pocket T, pencil and eraser. I always want more pockets. Sears Essentials had a BucketBoss coffee cup tool holder for $2.50. I cut off both elastic straps. It lays flat against the top cover, inside the large pocket! I could probably even carry a 1/4" socket set if I wanted. I don't carry a "leatherman" but I'm sure it would fit. I carry this around every where I go. John

PReDiToR (author)2008-07-31

Gerber Legend/MP 800, with a suitably sized carrying pouch rather than the "good for 5 minutes" one that comes with it. I got a pistol magazine pouch from a site called Woodland Organics, but the US has them all over the place for next to nothing. I choose this tool over all others I have tried because of the spring loaded pliers, the Fiskars scissors, the rotatable carbide cutter inserts and the good range of tools in it. The only small thing missing from the tool is a diamond coated file, like the Leatherman Wave has.

matrix828 (author)2008-07-31

i dont have a letherman or gerber, but i do have a swiss army knife and a DRAPER PMT5 mini multi tool

nicknack171 (author)2008-06-02

i just got the blast..... its amazing if you got the extra money go for it. great addition to my collection of pointy things

lackofmotive (author)2008-02-18

This is great! I use a small s-biner by niteize to suspend my keys. I used this method to suspend my Wave and am much happier without that hunk of metal halfway down my thigh.

zuixro (author)2007-10-22

Great instructable. I'd like to see one about selecting a Leatherman tool, I am looking at getting one soon. Do you have any recommendations?

If you don't have a multi-tool already, I would suggest the Gerber Suspension. I just got mine and haven't put it down. I absolutly love it.

metal_flowboard (author)zuixro2007-10-24

Charge all the way had one, which went missing still getting to the bottom of that one, looked at the range and found thats the charge is the best of the lot thats why i now have my new one! I personally cant see the point in the crimper they added since i had my last one though, and so went for the older style like it says at the beginning of this instructable, once you've had one, you cant live without one!

The charge is good. the original Wave was my pocket buddy for 7 years until i managed to snap off about 3/16ths of the pliers while trying to unscrew a bike hex bolt with them. i still need to send that one back (i don't think it should have snapped and i think the 25 year warranty covers it for repair) but like you said once you have one you cant live without one. i couldn't be without a leatherman while i sent my old one in for repair so i bought the Charge TTi, its a little larger and not as smooth and rounded as my old wave but all the peripherals lock now (I've hurt myself a few times when the screwdriver folded on me using the wave)the blade steel is also much better on the charge. it's expensive but it should serve you well for a long time.

zuixro (author)SpinningCone2007-11-21

Ok, I have put the Charge TTi on my Christmas list for this year. I think if someone doesn't get it for me, then I am gonna go out and buy it, cause it looks so awesome. Thanks.

metal_flowboard (author)zuixro2007-11-21

you cant go wrong, like i said before its an amazing tool you cant live without, I use mine daily and its never let me down A leatherman is one of the best gifts you can give or receive, last forever, useful and once you've owned it for a while and got some real use out of it, they become yours, and no one can replace "your" pocket knife,

Wade Tarzia (author)zuixro2007-10-22

They have so many now; the mega ones are too heavy for me. I wanted the most tool for the most pocket-friendly size, so that as the medium sized Juice cs4. I also had the tiny one, small enough for a key chain, on my key chain as my survivalist back-up to my Victorinox ;-) I loaned it to my friend when she travelled Ghana for 6 weeks, and she gave it it a boy there who really thought it was the greatest thing. I sure liked that tiny Leatherman, though. The big thing is, make the salesperson let you play with it. Look at the tools for machining quality with a Victorinox Swiss Army knife as your standard. If it is too heavy you will start leaving it in your backpack or at home, and then it is useless. Too small, and it will not cut through those steel wires that kidnappers have wrapped around your friend, and you'll have to abandon him (at least leave him the useless tool, perhaps he'll think of something to do with it). In fact, choosing your pocket tool is a lot like choosing so manyother things in life ;-)

zuixro (author)Wade Tarzia2007-10-22

I did a little research, and I really like the Juice Xe6. It's just like the Cs4, but with a few extra tools. Ooh, but the Blast is cool too. So many choices...

LinuxH4x0r (author)zuixro2007-10-22

I recently got a blast, and love it. Mine also came with a c301 knife (like a switchblade, but legal). They also have a 25 yr warrant, if that help you decide.

mondaymonkey (author)2007-11-27

WOW, JUST WHAT I NEED. i have a super heavy Leatherman Wave, love her but she weighs a ton. I sometimes get bruises on my thigh for running around all day with it pounding into my leg. This will definitly help

Wade Tarzia (author)mondaymonkey2007-12-07

That bruise can be a bummer, and can be difficult to explain to a lover (the only one besides you who will see it); always point at the worn away cloth on your pants pocket to validate your story ;-) This little hook is the best thing I ever thought of, evidently. It is the Occam's Razor of fashion utility.

cubemonkey (author)2007-10-26

This is the first time I've left a comment, and you've totally earned it. I used the spring clip and swivel from a lanyard and ones of the little split rings to do this and it is like I'm not even carrying a Blast. Thank you so much for sharing. I'll put up a pic when I get home so you can see how it looks.

Wade Tarzia (author)cubemonkey2007-10-28

A good idea! I see that one of the Leathermans (Leathermen?) has a removable pocket clip (and other tools and knives have them as well). That would be an ideal solution but for one thing: the public is aware that some knives have come with "boot clips" and pocket clips for decades, so to the observant and nervous public, you are a possible "knife toting thug." Before you know it, plainclothes officers are following you everywhere. OK, maybe not, but our self-made attachments do seem to be more unobstrusive than built-in pocket clips.

cubemonkey (author)Wade Tarzia2007-10-28

Here is the pic I mentioned.

Wade Tarzia (author)cubemonkey2007-10-30

Good idea!

inquisitive (author)2007-10-26

Great Gerber's are way too heavy even in my purse or backback and they just don't feel as good as my Leatherman did when decorating, building, or cutting salami. I have been contemplating the Juice..definitely test driving this weekend and get what I really want. Picking up couple s-hooks, for sure!

Wade Tarzia (author)inquisitive2007-10-27

Yes, test driving's the thing. Gerber needs to "lighten up" in any event. They seem to market to the macho crowd a bit too much ;-)

inquisitive (author)Wade Tarzia2007-10-27

I know you thought the scissors weren't the best on the Juice-was that in relation to cutting heavy or light material? On decorating jobs I always seem to need to cut wire-edge ribbon, which demands sharp durable edges to make a smooth cut without nicking the blade. much ribbon have you cut? TY

Wade Tarzia (author)inquisitive2007-10-28

I never cut ribbon. I cut fingernails, thread, 1/8 inch nylon cord, that sort of thing. I have also given myself haircuts (the kind that let's me go an additional two weeks before the next haircut: my pocket tool scissors have paid for themselves over the long run!). My Swiss Army knife scissors (Victorinox) handle these taks just fine. But my Leatherman Juice scissors are barely adequate -- I can tell they are 'laboring' when I trim my fingernails. Probably they would cut ribbon just fine, but I know nothing about wire-edge ribbon. Bring a sample of the stuff you typically cut to the store and test the scissors. Perhaps the salesperson will not know you are cutting wire-ribbon ;-) In any event, stainless steel is a softer metal that does not hold an edge like carbon steel, so save rigorous cutting for carbon steel when possible.

inquisitive (author)Wade Tarzia2007-10-28

Thank you so much for that input-perfect timing since I was time was rerouted this weekend and I was just contemplating looking this week!

joejoerowley (author)2007-10-22

Cool instructable! Very long. Is that the leather squirt.

Wade Tarzia (author)joejoerowley2007-10-22

It's the Juice. With trepidation I deserted my 27 year devotion to Victorinox to try this out. This model had all the tools I insist on and is pretty flat and compact for everyday wear. I am disappointed in the quality of the tools though. The pliers are good (more useful than the small Victorinox pliers) but the scissors suck and the saw pretty much sucks (metal is too thin and not as well machined as on a Victorinox pocket knife). OK, so much for product endorsements ;-)

About This Instructable




Bio: If you read blogs, come vist mine: www.tristramshandy21st. where right now I am posting chapters of my humorous and philosophical nonfiction, "In ... More »
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