With theuir distinctive bright red handles and instantly recognisable Swiss flag logo Victorinox are one of the market leaders when it comes to Swiss army knives and multi tool devices, mainly because the build quality is so excellent and these devices will last for years as long as you only use them for the appropriate jobs and do a little bit of cleaning maintenance on them. Not all of the gadgets are perfect in my opinion but combined there is enough of one of these devices to meet most of you needs when out camping and not wanting to carry lots of different small tools, having everything in one place is such a bonus, that is until you loose it then you are a bit stuck having all your eggs in one basket as it were.
The big downside with these knives is the cost as they do not come cheap, I paid £50 for mine so it represents quite an investment however it has a number of appliances and also is not that large or heavy either, it is just under 10cm in length when all the items are closed and folded into the main body of the knife and it weighs 209 gramms. In all it has 19 different functions however I'm only going to comment on the ones I use the most.
It has two blades, one long one and a shorter one, both are effective at cutting rope and I have also used the longer blade when preparing food. I have also found the small torch useful as well especially at night in a tent as it can be in the sleeping bag pocket and makes it easy to locate things like my head torch if I need to go outside to the loo. The light is surprisingly powerful and easily illuminates a tent.
Naturally when camping accessing alcohol is very important and this device comes with a corkscrew and bottle cap opener, while the bottle cap opener works fine I must admit the corkscrew is not so good, it is a little on the short side and if I know we are going to be buying wine then I take a specialist implement. The same can be said for the can opener, it does the job but is no where near as efficent as a specialist one and hence i tend to take one if on a longer camping trip.
The scissors are very effective for cutting bandages and fabric and are surprisingly sharp, there are a couple of different screw drivers but I have never really tested these out and a few other gadgets such as a pen that again could be useful but have their limitations.
What you do get is a reliable device which is easy to operate and never ceases to amaze me just how much they are able to pack in to such a small Swiss army knife. There are cheaper versions out there on the market and Victorinox do a wide range themselves but the cheaper ones are less money for a reason and Victorinox come with a lifetime warranty on the parts so it is a wise investment.
A good friend of mine visits us from time to time and each time he comes he brings with him some kind of gift. It is never something he has paid for. Last year it was about 20 free pens that his company was using as freebies. The year before it was this Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. To date, this has been the best gift and although it has been branded with the name of his company, it is at least worth something.
On one side it has four tools - two knives, a bottle opener/screwdriver and another similar tool - maybe this is the one that gets stones out of horses hooves? On the other side there is a corkscrew and a very small sharp knife. The knife casing is in dark red, with one side showing the Victorinox logo, the other shows the name of the company he represents.
Stamped on the knife are that it is made in Switzerland , that it is an Officer's knife and made of stainless steel. The whole thing is reassuringly heavy and comes in a little box and I tend to keep it in the car in case I need it for anything whilst out and about.
I have another similar knife with more tools on but it is of lesser quality.
The only issue I have with this is that it is very hard to open up each of the tools. This may just require lubrication and the glove box of the car is not the best storage location. However, I have used it a couple of times in earnest and for nothing, it is exceptional value.
I note from the Victorinox Swiss Army website that they produce a wide range of these knives. It is clear that I have the cheap and cheerful cheapskate version - probably given away to customers who haven't ordered enough widgets.
Looking back over the years I must have bought quite a few cheap penknives and multi-tools that have ended up in the bin after a short amount of time, I think the last one that I bought was about £10.99 and was made of stainless steel, and although it looked pretty good, it just fell apart when using the pliers.
The trouble with these types of gadgets is that you generally get what you pay for which can mean splashing out big bucks for something decent enough that will last. In my eyes this means that you will meet a crossroads leading you to either a 'Leatherman' multi tool or a 'Victorinox' Swiss Army Knife. This is easily solved depending upon your budget because if you are looking for something between £10.99 and £69.99 then you will be in the Victorinox Swiss Army knife range, whereas if you have £69.99 onwards then you will be in Leatherman territory. (If you are really wealthy, you could always try a giant Wenger Swiss army knife for a whopping £499, but you probably wouldn't get this one in your pocket though)
All that is left now is to justify shelling out around £44 on this particular model that has more useful tools on it than you can shake a stick at. I managed to get around this by working out this simple calculation:
£44 = 4 X useless multi tools at £10.99 each or £44 = 1 X fantastic Victorinox Swiss Army knife that will probably last forever.
Well that wasn't too difficult now was it?
Now that you have justified the price tag and splashed out on one of these little beauties, you will either be sat there gently caressing it in your palm whilst lightly applying oil to its parts, or working your way through the house dismantling everything in sight and attempting to put it back together again; I am more of a dismantler type of person which can get me into a few tight spots with the old DIY, especially when my wife knowingly says to me "are you sure that you know what you are doing?", when what she really means is "You have no idea what you are doing".
These Swiss Army knives are built to last and I just keep mine in my pocket with my keys and loose change. They are guaranteed for life against any defects in workmanship and material so there's no point in being too precious about it because you will never end up using it to its full advantage, which is why a week never passes without me pulling it out of my trousers. Pulling the knife out of my trousers that is.
In no particular order, the knife is equipped with a magnifying glass, tweezers, white LED light, corkscrew, large blade, small blade, can opener and small screwdriver (3mm), bottle opener and screwdriver (6mm) with wire stripper, reamer punch and sewing eye, wrench with 4mm and 5mm female hex drive - 4mm posidrive 0 & 1 bits - 4mm slotted bit - Phillips 2 bit - 4mm hex bit - torx 8 bit - torx 10 bit - torx 15 bit, pressurised ballpoint pen which can be used to set DIP switches, stainless steel pin, mini screwdriver 1.5mm, pliers, wire cutters, wire crimping tool, hook and parcel carrier, key ring, toothpick and scissors.
I have tried at every opportunity to use every tool on the unit, albeit not necessarily for the intended purpose, and I have been more than impressed with how well built this thing really is. At first I was a little worried about how the screwdrivers would react to a bit of extra leverage that would have caused any of my previous products to fall apart; but no, this thing really does work as a useful tool.
Both knives and scissors are still surprisingly quite sharp and shiny after lots of use and misuse, and the casing seems to be holding up well too with no cracks and just a few minor scuffs on it. I have found in the past that due to its neat rounded edges, it can easily slip out of your pocket when reclining, therefore it is probably best attached to your keys or one of those belt pouches available for around £10.
Overall I have to say that I have been more than happy with the Victorinox Swiss army knife that has been used more as a tool rather than a gadget. It has given me endless hours of use on anything from whittling away at a piece of wood to working on larger projects in the home and at work, and I really don't know how I managed all that time without one of these. There are many other different versions available starting at just £10.99 for the basic model; it's just a matter of browsing the specifications and choosing the right blend which best suits your abilities. Having said that, it's always best to have a few extra things onboard just in case, as you never know when that reamer punch and sewing eye will be required.
If you do decide to get your mitts on one of these handy Victorinox Swiss army knives, then remember to avoid the temptation of showing it off to your mates or work colleagues, because if they are anything like mine then you will be forever asked the question "can I borrow your knife" or "can I borrow your screwdriver" or "can I borrow your corkscrew", personally I don't mind lending mine to friends, but I do draw the line at "can I borrow your toothpick".
A companion for life indeed! I bought this particular multi tool as I was going camping - being my first time, was scared of being in some woods without A. a light and B. some form of defence/deterrent. When I saw this a few weeks prior to going, I knew it was the one for me. As with all Victorinox products, it is extremely well constructed. It has 19 features which I find to be pretty amazing and very handy - not just to ward off invisible monsters in a forest, but in more practical times - around the home, for example. The lenght of the knife, when closed is 91mm, making it something you can have on you at all times, should a need arise. The features are as follows:
Bright white LED - with a flick of a switch you get this precise light that can pretty much brighten a room.
Digital clock - the number of times i haven't had my watch on me and had to rely on this are countless.
Digital alarm - very much an audible alarm.
Digital timer - another excellent feature, has come in handy when boiling an egg.
Large blade - having recently moved house, I have found this incredibly useful in tackling well packaged boxes - it literally rips them apart.
Corkscrew - not being a drinker myself, my friend's have made use of this one.
Can opener - especially to get into a tin of custard - haven't been able to locate Ambrosia with a pull off top, so the knife was definetly a godsend at this point!
3mm screwdriver - an excellent flat headed device
Wire stripper - hmmmm.......must admit, I am not that adventurous to have used this one.
Scissors - slices through paper with ease.
Philips screwdriver - again, for the house move and also in general. I can tell how brilliantly constructed the knife is when I use this, as I have tried to open the tighest of screws, and managed it without the fear of breaking the product.
Multi-purpose hook with nailfile
Reamer / punch can be used for poking holes in leather and other touch materials like rubber or sheet metal.
Stainless steel hook - can be used on bottles (with sharp ridges on the cap)
Ballpoint pen - those moments when I have needed a pen, and thought I know I haven't got one, then remember that Victorinox included this nifty number in this multi-tool.
Tweezers - not really capable of tweezing hairs, but have found these useful for picking up delicate minute screws.
Toothpick - cream in colour, made of plastic, having eaten an apple/orange and found it useful in gleaning the remnants from my teeth.
Keyring - I have mine attached to my keys so i know where it is.
What sets the Swiss army knife apart from others is the use of stainless steel, maing the notion of rust a concern that can be batted away. This versatile knife can be purchased for £44.95 (don't think the price has changed since I bought mine, but it's definelty worth it!) You can even buy one with a USB or even a red laser.
Victorinox guarantees a life time against any defects in material and
workmanship. I haven't found any problems with mine at all.
Features: Large blade, Small Blade, Corkscrew, Can opener & small screwdriver (3mm) also for Phillips 2-3, Cap lifter with screwdriver (6mm), wire bender/stripper, Reamer/Punch, Keyring, Tweezers, Nylon Toothpick, Wrench with 5mm female hex drive for D-sub connectors, 4mm female hex drive for the bits, bit pozidrive 0, bit posidrive 1, Sewing eye, Pressurised ballpoint pen (also to set DIP switches), Stainless steel pin, Mini screwdriver (1.5mm), Scissors, Universal Hook, Pliers with wire cutters, wire crimping tool, Magnifying Glass, White LED Light.