Thursday, March 17, 2011

Swiss Army Knives

Now here is something that has all but been forgotten by most people - the good ole Swiss Army knife.  In the world of high tech, highly technical, and overly expensive multi-tools and other survival implements, it is so easy to overlook the simplicity, cost effectiveness, and rugged durability of the tool that every Boy Scout (young and old) should own. 

Now, there's a debate amongst purest as to which is the original Swiss Army Knife: Victorinox or Wenger.  Victorinox claims to make the "original" Swiss Army knives, while Wenger claims to make the "genuine" article.  Both have little shield emblems on their knives and both are red and have lots of little gadgets on them to get the job done.  Whatever brand you choose is up to you and your preference.  The knife to your left happens to be a Victorinox Fieldmaster, just so you know.

When it comes to actually choosing a survival knife, the possibilities are endless.  Just go to either of the two brand's webpages (linked above) and prepare to get lost in all the stuff that each company crams into their product.  Just keep this page open while you look... ... ... ... ...

Finished yet?

By now, you have probably found some neato stuff and have either bought one already or are highly tempted.  Okay, stop right there.  If you still haven't decided, let's narrow the selection a bit.  The Fieldmaster above is the knife on my short list.  I already own the Victorinox Rally, which lives on my key ring.  It's perfect for everyday stuff.  Need a small knife to open a letter or a small screwdriver to fix your glasses?  Or a bottle opener for special occasions?  It's great for that.  I even used the tweezers once to pull a small sliver out of my hand.  But what about the Fieldmaster?  Well, that's going to live in my 72 hour kit or on my person.  It's relatively inexpensive, has only the functions I need and none of the stuff I don't (I can never seem to recall a time I ever needed a corkscrew on a Swiss Army knife).  For the money you spend, you get a lot of bang, no matter what knife you end up buying. 

Now, I don't know where you will buy your Swiss Army knife, but there are a lot of places that sell them.  Locally, Sportco has a model or two that have like 13 functions, and it's probably similar, if not identical to the one you are looking at above.  I bought the Rally at Swiss Knife Shop online because I could get exactly what I wanted and not have to deal with settling for whatever was in stock on the store shelves.  The neat thing about shopping online is that you get many more options than you do at the store. 

Additionally, my next knife will have personal engraving done to it (which is a service Swiss Knife Shop offers for a little extra).  What sort of engraving you ask?  Well, for starters, it will have my name on it.  That way, honest people (who aren't very good at being honest) will stay a little more honest, considering the territory has been marked.  It also gives that little extra personal edge to "make it mine" if you will.  Everybody should have a Swiss Army knife, but does it have your name on it?  On the other side, I intend to have my blood type engraved into it.  This is handy in the event I'm unconscious and am unable to tell the doctor my blood type.  Oh sure, they can test it, or whatever, but this not only helps anyone who cares to know, but it also helps me remember because I have no idea what my blood type is (I'm going to the doctor today to find out).  Now, if I forget, it's on the back of the knife housing.  And there you have another function to add to the tool - a bit of critical information in the event I need to either give blood, or receive it. 

So, get a Swiss Army knife.  It doesn't matter what brand you buy as long as it is quality and not a cheap knock off.  But look at what options you really need.  I know it's tempting to look at a 30 function tool and think "awesome" and then find that you use it less than more because it's too bulky or you find that you don't use hardly any functions because all you needed was a knife and a can opener.  In the end, you will be happy you have a little something to help you out of a bind, or just have as a conversation starter.  It's hard to go wrong with a Swiss Army knife.

-James

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