Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD
The best tools are the available ones.
- Legal to carry
- Not a solution, for every problem
- Can work its way off your key ring
I've carried this tiny set of tools on my key ring for perhaps 20 years. It weighs nothing, arouses no anxiety in the office, and causes the Police no concern—although it's not legal to carry on a flight in the UK.
Made of stainless steel with plastic scales (or alloy, for a few pounds extra), the classic is 58mm in length and features a pen blade, file, flat head screwdriver, scissors, toothpick and tweezers, plus a loop to attach to a keyring. None of the tools lock in place and neither could they be described as "heavy duty"—but if used appropriately they will function for a very long time.
For years, I had occupations which obliged me to wash my hands, regularly, throughout the day. At weekends, I had outdoor interests and had yet to realise that gloves are often the way to protect your hands, in challenging environments. As if this wasn't enough, I have played stringed instruments, for much of my life and still play guitar semi-professionally. Result? Soft fingernails, constantly getting broken and split.
Without a set of tools constantly at hand, this would lead to scratched instruments and musical mistakes, skin cuts, ruined clothing, and increased risk of infection in the hills. A little Swiss Army knife isn't as effective for manicuring as a set of nail clippers—but you can't pick your teeth, remove a splinter, peel an apple, or re-wire an electrical socket with nail clippers.
The Classic SD attaches to my key chain with a small split ring. This occasionally works itself loose and I once lost a knife, as a result. Nowadays, I use a piece of soft wire, to reinforce the connection between knife and key ring—just to be on the safe side.
The knife is easy to sharpen and keeps a pretty good edge. The scissors hardly ever need to be touched up. Like a lot of Victorinox products, these blades are much more useful than I initially imagined they would be. Why allow an errant thread on your jacket to unravel a seam, when you can trim it in a few seconds? Why have soggy tomato in your sandwich, when you can carry it intact until lunchtime and slice it fresh when the coffee is ready?
Pocket wear has never been an issue with any of the three SDs I've carried. Spending their lives crushed and scraped against car and house keys, getting rubbed and scratched by coins and polished by handkerchiefs has had negligible effect on the functionality of these tools. If that was a concern, such a featherweight product could fit in a vest pocket or hang on a neck chain and never be noticed—until needed.
I probably use the file more than any other tool in this set, for the reasons explained. Other users might be prone to tooth discomfort, perhaps be responsible for trimming bandages and dressings, or be forever picking ticks out of their legs.
This is the kind of diminutive product which most folks would find uses for...but the best tools are the ones you always have to hand. There are plenty of people who never have the need for a knife, or scissors, screwdrivers or files, in their active lives. I know—and have helped—hundreds of them!
20 years. Every time I leave the house.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £8, for the latest one.
Several handy, frequently needed little tools on one small unobtrusive "knife."
- Handy little tool for opening letters/packages, turning the occasional tiny screw, nail grooming, hair trimming, dental hygiene, etc .
- Won't pass through US airport security (ridiculous).
I've had mine ~25 years; the Victorinox symbol just fell off the body a month or two ago, but all the tools still work. Lost the toothpick, but found I really missed it, so I was able to order replacements!
Airport security has tried to confiscate this tiny tool from me several times when I forgot to remove it from my key ring, but I've managed to hang onto it.
I have several larger utility "jack"knives/multi-tools like this, different brands, but this is the one I carry daily because it's so small and can ride along unnoticed on my keychain wherever I go.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: ~$15?
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7— small blade / scissors / nail file / screwdriver 2.5 mm / key ring / toothpick / tweezers