When it comes to utility and brand loyalty, there can be no mistake that everyone immediately thinks of the iconic red of a Swiss Army Knife. Produced by Victorinox, the gold standard for penknives, multi tools and just survival in general is universally well-known.
Known for their military use, the knives were named colloquially by American soldiers after World War II after they had trouble pronouncing the German word "Offiziersmesser". the translation means 'officer’s knife' and they’ve been around for more than 100 years.
Known for their crimson brand and the Swiss flag that adorns each handle, Swiss Army Knives are rightly held in high regard for their exquisite knife features.
But what tools are on a Swiss Army Knife? The answer of course, is, it depends. Each knife will generally have a drop-point main blade, but what else is included really depends on the size and model you have selected.
These range from:
- Nail files - Useful not only for their intended use, but also for sanding down in perilous or survival situations. Possibly the only friction surface included within a SAK, it can be used in fire lighting too.
- Screwdrivers - Essential for tightening equipment whether it’s from your own kit or on something that you’ve found on your travels. Also incredibly useful in a bind.
- Toothpicks - Not just for picking out stubborn morsels of food. A toothpick's sharp needle point means that it can be used to puncture various materials with ease. It can also reach into gaps that are too narrow for fingers or a blade
- Tweezers - Sepsis is a real killer, especially when you can’t grab medical attention. Tweezers can be your answer to so many situations but removing harmful splinters or fragments of glass, dirt or other detritus can prove so useful. Need to put stitches into something? Here’s your steady grip for those micro surgery moments and delicate patchwork be it on a jacket, tent or otherwise.
- Corkscrews - Perfect for their intended use but also offers a significant grip into softer materials should your adventures call upon it.
- Can Openers - One of the more traditional attachments, this is a brilliant space saver and means you can carry long-lasting food types.
- Bottle opener - Sometimes listed as cap lifters, these are essential for those top of the mountain celebration beers. It can also be used to get leverage on a variety of surfaces. Having these in your arsenal means you’ll never be stuck and you won’t have to pack an alternative.
- Wire strippers - Need to repair electronics quickly? Wire strippers can mean a fresh connection for essentials like flashlights, radios or gadgets that you consider mandatory for survival. Their sharp and tight closing also mean you can use it to whittle or fashion other materials to fine points. They can also be used to shorten various implements to aid your camp setup, progress your journey or make your life easier.
- Keyrings- A knife with room to attach more implements is important. Doubly so if you are bringing extra pieces that you simply cannot leave behind, or worse, lose.
- Scissors - Useful and practical, this might be the most essential tool on a Swiss Army Knife
- Wood Saw - What trip isn’t complete without knocking together a bonfire? A small woodsaw can perform just as well as a full size one in tight situations.
- Fish descaler - A softer blade for jobs that need delicacy and consideration
Other more modern models may have a LED light, a USB flash drive or a magnifying lens. It really depends on which model you go for. Some can be carried in the pocket not unlike a traditional boy scout penknife, other models with dozens of capabilities need a larger carry space.
The rule of thumb is to always go for a model further than you think you require.Think you just need a blade and a can opener? Step it up to include a chisel, nail file or secondary blade. Think you are prepared? Has it got absolutely everything you think you need?
Here are a few models that we think demonstrate the panache and range of what a Swiss Army Knife can offer:
For every use imaginable - Victorinox Swisschamp XXL
This is the ultimate in utility, convenience and preparedness. Chunky and nearly weighing a kilo, you’d have to cut out the rest of your kit to get this into a weekend bag. Almost a showcase of what this particular brand can do, it has more than 70 utilities. It presents a solution for nearly every survival hurdle you might face and many you may not have considered.
For the modern survivalist - Victorinox Cyber Tool Lite
Perfect for electrical work and delicate, close work, the Cyber Tool Elite is designed for those out in outdoor engineering environments. Elegant as well as full of essential use, it’s one of the most modern, fulfilling tools you’ll ever own.
For the woodsman in you - Victorinox Ranger Grip 55 Red And Black
Made for timber, forest and wood work as well as tree-felling, branch battling and more. The Ranger Grip is a serious survival knife that breaks away from being simply a utility tool. The firm grip on this means it can be held with confidence as a standalone knife. It also has enough in terms of extras to be worth picking up over a knife-only option.
For the world traveler - Victorinox Farmer X Alox Silver
The Farmer is a proven workhorse pocket knife but has enough functions to be a step ahead of any competition. Perfect for hiking, solo trips into the wilderness and further.
For convenience and function - Victorinox Evolution 14
The Evolution has an ergonomic handle design. This means it not only looks good, feels good and performs well, it’ll feel like an extension of your survival spirit in any situation. Lightweight, cost effective and reliable.
For the wild camper - Victorinox Forester
Need a reliable tool that will mean you can camp as wild as possible deep within the woods? This is the knife for you. A whole woodwork tool compacted into pocket form. There’s nothing more you could ask for here.
For the collector - Victorinox Classic Sd Alox Limited Edition 2022
A subtle and classic take on the traditional Swiss Army Knife, this is the most elegant option we could find. Truly beautiful and best kept for appreciation of the craftsmanship, this is a true example of why Victorinox are the undisputed masters in their field.
Want to find out more about our Victorinox Swiss Army Knives? See our full Victorinox Swiss Army Knives page here.