Victorinox Swiss Army Classic
Best-of-breed ultralight hiking "medkit" knife.
- Almost weightless
- Great medical features
- Incredible quality
- Great price
- Lightweight blade
- No can/bottle opener
Overview: Victorinox are the company who have been producing offiziersmessers (officer knives) since the late 19th century; the original 1890 Model had a blade, can opener, reamer, and a screwdriver (required to disassemble and service the Swiss Schmidt–Rubin rifle).
Over the decades Victorinox "Swiss Army Knives" (SAK) have gained a reputation of being some of the most reliable, best-made, useful knives in production. They are a Swiss icon and unlike some long-lived brands their reputation for quality has never faltered.
Currently one of their most popular and useful knives is also one the lightest, the Classic.
Features: The Classic has a razor-sharp 58mm (2.3") pen blade, a nail file, scissors, tooth-pick, and tweezers. It weighs 21 grams (0.75 ounces).
Trail Use: I use this as my "medic" tool. I keep it in my emergency/medical pouch and keep it mainly for feet maintenance: puncturing blisters, trimming and filing nails. The scissors are also useful for trimming zinc oxide (Leuko) tape, bandages, etc. In my opinion the combination of scissors and nail file is what "make" the Classic and makes it useful for a medkit carry, especially for feet-conscious hikers.
Variations: There are innumerable Victorinox knives, some with fewer features than the Classic, many with many more. These are some of the direct variations of the Classic:
- Classic SD adds screwdriver (SD) tip on the nail file (21g)
- Classic Alox aluminium body-shell, but no tweezers or toothpick (17g)
- Signature adds a pen (22g)
- Rambler adds a multitool [Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener, wire-stripper] (30g)
- Nail Clip 580 larger blade [65mm, 2.5") plus a full nail clipper (36g)
- Ambassador the largest Classic; 74mm, 2.9" blade (35g)
Of course there are dozens and dozens more variations, but few with both scissors and nail file (which I consider the Classic "baseline"). The official www.victorinox.com website has superb search/refine tools so you can find a SAK that matches your exact requirements and interests.
Construction/Durability: Unsurpassed. Bear in mind the Classic is a small, lightweight blade, if you were to abuse it you could damage it. But used with care it should outlast you. Very easily sharpened. The scales (outer shell) toothpick and tweezers can readily and cheaply be replaced. There are numerous official and unofficial sheaths.
Conditions Used: I keep mine in my medkit, have had one for two years now. I have used the tweezers for tick-removal when I didn't have a twister-tool handy, I've also used it for foot maintenance: blisters and nails.
Other Tips: The toothpick is likely the least useful feature, but it can be replaced by a tiny firesteel made by the Firefly company.
I also own the Farmer Alox and Waiter models. The Farmer I still use for hiking if I'm going to build fires as it processes wood excellently. The Waiter model I have retired to my EDC household keyring, the Classic is more useful on the trail.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £11.69
Not everyone thinks it is entirely necessary to have a knife or multi-tool on their person at all times, and a Victorinox Classic or Classic SD is the perfect knife for those people. It weighs almost nothing, and has tools that can be useful in almost any situation.
I don't carry my Classic with me because I always have a larger model Victorinox in my pocket, but if you want a low-price high quality knife that will just sit on your keychain until you need it then this is the one.
Price Paid: Approximately $9
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Historic Range: $13.50-$25.95
Reviewers Paid: $9.00
7—small blade / scissors / nail file / nail cleaner / key ring / toothpick / tweezers