Key Takeaway: A quality Swiss Army knife is a wise investment as it can always be useful and even essential on the go. On our part, it shows we are responsible by being prepared for whatever we might face – prepared to help not just ourselves but also others. Buy one for life today!
Whenever I’m out, I’m often termed by my relatives and friends as a “Boy Scout” because of the sheer amount of everyday things I bring with me (and can offer to them for use). Today, I can’t afford to leave the house without my wallet and mobile phone (which many can’t leave without too anyway), but also my calling cards, a folding fan (it is hot here), bottles of hand sanitizer and soap, two pens (my usual Frixion pen from Pilot and a normal ink pen for signing), an emergency whistle and personal alarm, small tubs of balm, a rosary, a vial of holy water, a power bank, and even a USB flash drive and a pair of earphones.
And today’s feature, which fits in very nicely to the Boy Scout theme, and a personal favorite of mine: a Victorinox Swiss Army knife.
I do believe everyone should have a Swiss Army knife with them, as it is essentially a pocket toolbox that can, in an emergency, spell the difference between life or death. Or in less dire circumstances. I do also believe, however, that one shouldn’t just take any Swiss Army knife available, but pay attention to the provided tools.
The Swiss Army knife, called such because postwar US soldiers couldn’t pronounce its original, German name easily (Schweizer Offiziersmesser, “Swiss Officer’s Knife”), was born in the late 19th century when the Swiss Army wanted its soldiers to be equipped with a new pocket knife that could also both opened canned food and assemble/disassemble their service rifle, which needed a screwdriver. At the time, no Swiss company could provide the supply needed, so they turned to Germany first – until a medical equipment businessman named Karl Elsener decided to step up. By the end of 1891, he had taken over production of this knife (the Modell 1890), though he didn’t like his first product. Innovating, he decided to use a special spring mechanism to both attach and hold in place tools on both sides of the handle – the birth of the Swiss Army knife as we know it today. His company eventually became Victorinox – Victoria for his late mother, and inox as short for acier inxoydable, or stainless steel – which is still used today.
Thanks to Elsener’s innovations, the knife is able to hold twice as much tools as it normally would. Especially in today’s modern, ultra-technological age, the tools have also adapted to suit the modern individual’s needs, including things such as LED lights, a USB flash drive, and even biometric scanning. The traditional tools, however, remain to be – and rightly so – the Swiss Army knife’s core product and value.
That said, there are some tools I believe should be indispensable or near-indispensable in your Swiss Army knife. These are:
- The ubiquitous large blade
- Small blade
- Nail file-cum-nail cleaner-cum-metal file-cum metal saw
- Fish scaler-cum-hook disgorger
- Magnifying lens
- Phillips screw driver
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Wire stripper
This fits my philosophy of always being prepared – prepared to help someone, to give a hand. And to help yourself and give yourself a hand as well. God created this world for us to enjoy, and tools are among them. Enjoy them and use them responsibly. It’s also rather economical: with a pocket tool like this, you wouldn’t need to buy so much of the individual, bigger tools anymore (unless you really needed size).
I suggest getting from Victorinox (Wenger, as mentioned above, has phased itself out brand-wise since 2013), as you are assured of that impossibly precise Swiss quality (even the raw materials have to have very specific dimensions) – knives made for tourists, for example, may not always have quality up to par with that of Victorinox’s. Now, as to what model to get, I’d say that a medium-sized unit should be enough for the everyday live-r – it’s not so small that it lacks many tools I believe essential in the event of an emergency, but not so big that it becomes inconvenient to bear.
Specifically, I recommend the SwissChamp or the Handyman, though the Handyman is just the SwissChamp less the two types of screwdrivers, the fish scaler-cum-hook disgorger, magnifying glass, ballpen, and pin. If you think you can make do without those tools, for the benefits of a lower price and a thinner and lighter multi-tool, the Handyman may be just right for you. You’d become one yourself. 😉
And, with that remarkable quality, I should expect it to last a lifetime, and that of my child’s, and his child’s, and so on. Even so, the Swiss Army knife is one of the few meaningful things I should like to gift my child or a godchild – the other being a Catholic gift Bible.
Do take note, however, that some places will not allow you to bring in such an object due to its main feature (the pocket knife that gives the thing, which is more of a multi-tool than just a knife nowadays anyway, its name). Chief among these is when you’re flying: it has to be checked in. I usually don’t bother and just leave it at home, but now that I come to think of it, I should bring it still…
Disclaimer: I am writing this post out of love for Victorinox for their product. They did not contact me, nor have I been compensated however, for this post.