It has been a number of years since I ever ventured into the wilds without some kind of multi-tool. I have carried a pocket knife since I was twelve or so and in Boy Scouts. I remember the old swiss army knives, and I thought they were cool, but a little too cumbersome for the benefit they provided.
I moved to locking blades as I found more uses for my knives and had a few incidents of a blade folding up on me. When I was given my first multi-tool, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I carried it any time I was more than 20 feet from the car and not in the city limits. But those early multi-tools have given way to much stronger and sophisticated multi-tools, like the Gerber Method.
I have used this tool since it first came out in 2007, and never been displeased with it. Folded it is only four inches. It comes with spring loaded needle nose pliers, locking blades and a grip that doesn't cut into your hand when you try to apply some pressure on the pliers. It has a full array of other tools including knives, a small saw, phillips and flat head screwdriver and even scissors.
This tool is one that I just don't go into the woods without, whether just for a stroll or for a serious bow hunt. For more information check out Gerber's full line of products, http://www.gerbergear.com/