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Victorinox Tinker Swiss Army Knife Initial Report (Revised)

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  • Jeff Widman
    My last revised report. Comments appreciated. Jeff -- Item being tested: Victorinox(R) Tinker Swiss Army Knife Report Number: Initial Report (Report #1)
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2002
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      My last revised report.
      Comments appreciated.

      Item being tested: Victorinox(R) "Tinker" Swiss Army Knife
      Report Number: Initial Report (Report #1)

      Name: Jeff Widman
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6'3"
      Weight: 164 lbs.
      Age: 15 yrs
      Area of Residence: Bellingham, WA (two hours north of Seattle.)
      E-mail address: jeffwidman@...
      Date: 3-12-02 (Revised 4-29-02)
      (Please see end of report for a short biography of my backpacking exploits.)

      Manufacturer's Website: http://www.victorinox.com/

      Intro/Description: I received my knife yesterday (Monday,) via UPS.
      According to the invoice it was originally packed and mailed on 3-1-02. I
      opened the box, and found nothing but a bunch of paper packaging. I soon
      realized that I had opened the wrong end. :-) The knife, invoice, and
      packaging material were the only items in the box. I opened the generic
      Swiss Army Knives style box (in which all Swiss Army knives are packaged,)
      and got my first look at the Tinker. I had requested and received
      Translucent Sapphire, a cool see-through blue color. The knife looked quite
      sharp. It has six main functions. On one side, there was a 2.5 inch knife
      blade, a can opener, both a small and a large straight head screwdriver, a
      wire stripper, a bottle opener, and a smaller 1.5 inch blade. One the other
      side, there was a Phillips screwdriver, a reamer, and a sewing eye. There
      was also a pair of tweezers and a toothpick.

      Test Duration/Location/Conditions: I have tested this knife by carrying it
      around all day, using it whenever the opportunity arose. I have had
      opportunity to use just over half of the functions. See below for my future
      testing plans.

      Price: The manufacturer's website does not list a suggested retail price.
      REI sells it for $20; Campmor has it for $17.97.

      Weight: The manufacturer's website does not have a weight listed.
      Tested weight: 2.2 oz (62.5 grams.) This weight included the keyring.

      Convenience/Ease of Use: All of the functions are easily accessed/opened.
      Both of the blades are sharp, though a quick attempt at shearing my leg
      hairs produced some pain. I also tested it out on some small, thin, strips
      of paper. The blades could not be swung machete style without some tearing
      of the paper occurring. I prefer a sharper blade. The two flat head
      screwdrivers fit a large variety of screw head sizes. I expect to have no
      problems twisting any of the screws found in my backpacking gear. The
      Phillips screwdriver size was well chosen, able to fit most of your average
      screws found around the house. (I have strong expectations that this knife
      will be all I need to take apart my computer's casing anytime my computer
      breaks.) The toothpick and tweezers were simple and easy to use. I have not
      had an occasion to use the following functions: reamer/sewing eye, can
      opener, bottle opener, wire stripper. I spend a bit of time testing the can
      opener function, something in which I am very interested. While normal life
      seldom calls for a can opener, backpacking/thru-hiking does.

      Maintenance/Durability: The nylon casing is scratch resistant, but not
      scratchproof (as I have already managed to inadvertently demonstrate.) The
      knife body is apparently made of stainless steel. I am quite interested in
      how this holds up to water. I submerged it for five minutes in water,
      removed it, shook the majority of the water off, and kept using it. I have
      yet to notice any rust or other adverse affects. The knife blades appear
      just as sharp as they were when I first tested them. I am quite interested
      in just how well they hold their edge. Swiss Army brands are well known for
      their durability/quality, and I can understand why. The knife is built to
      last. The packaging did suggest that every once in a while I should apply a
      little oil to the knife. As the knife came with small amount of oil visible
      on the blades, it will probably be a while before I need to add more. I am
      wondering how well the tweezers will hold their 'spring,' and whether the
      tweezers/toothpick will ever fall out of the knife of their own accord. They
      currently have a snug fit, and I do not foresee any difficulties, but one
      never knows.

      Drawbacks: Very few. I am questioning the selection of the tools. I normally
      use a Swiss Army Classic as my sole backpacking knife. The Classic has
      scissors, something the Tinker lacks. The Tinker weighs close to 1.5 oz more
      than my Swiss Army Classic. Field testing will determine whether I notice
      the lack of scissors, the extra weight, or the luxury of the extra

      Customer Service: The shipping was prompt and the packing professional. Full
      Lifetime warranty, however, I STRONGLY doubt that I will ever have to make
      use of it. However, you never know, and the warranty is a nice feature.

      Possible Modifications/Improvements: I am not sure that this knife can
      really be improved upon. I would prefer a slightly sharper edge to the
      knife. The box that the knife was packaged in must be torn apart to read the
      warranty/care instructions. This could be a drawback, but it makes things
      simpler, is a little more environmentally friendly, and most of all, means
      that it is a little bit harder to lose the instructions/warranty.
      The functions are an eclectic mix. I doubt I ever will use the sewing eye,
      or the wire stripper. Backpacking will probably be the only time that I will
      use the toothpick. Field testing should prove which functions are valuable,
      which are missing, and which could possibly be eliminated. Obviously, this
      knife was not specifically designed for backpacking, but it appears that it
      will work quite well. I am missing the scissors, though just how badly has
      yet to be determined.

      Overall impressions/Quality: I am impressed. Victorinox brand knives have a
      great reputation, and I fully understand why. This knife appears to be quite
      durable, actually, more like indestructible. I do have a presupposition that
      the lack of scissors is a major drawback, but I may be totally wrong; the
      two knife blades may be more than sufficient. I am not sure that the three
      screwdrivers are needed, but since both the can and bottle opener are on the
      same 'blades' as two of the screwdrivers, I see no reason to complain. At
      2.2 oz, it is a full 1.5 oz heavier than my Swiss Army Classic knife. I
      doubt that the extra functions will cause the Tinker to supersede the
      Classic as my backpacking knife of choice. However, I also think the Tinker
      is an extremely viable option for anyone wanting a slightly larger/more
      functions knife than the Classic. I am already quite attached to my knife,
      and anticipate that it will join my wallet as a full time resident of my
      jean pocket.
      I will be testing this knife on several different backpacking trips this
      summer, even while it fulfills double duty as my daily pocketknife.

      About the author (me): I have spent around 15 nights actually backpacking.
      During those three trips, I have covered close to 100 miles actually
      carrying a 35+ pound backpack. However, my parents (especially my dad,) have
      been enthralled with the outdoors since long before I was born. As my three
      younger siblings and I have grown, we have day-hiked over 1000 miles as a
      family. Over the past year and a half, backpacking has become a natural
      extension of day-hiking. The summer of '01 was the first summer that my dad
      really started taking my siblings and I backpacking. For this coming summer
      ('02,) we have already tentatively planned another 15-20 nights (125+ miles)
      of backpacking.
      On another note, I am a very analytical person, more commonly known as a
      gear freak. I have spent many tens of hours learning about gear on the
      Internet. I have also spend many hours testing gear, returning some gear,
      keeping other gear, as I continually strive to achieve that perfect balance
      of weight-function-durability-cost. My current shelter is an old Sierra
      Designs tent, but I have been seriously considering either a hammock or a
      modified tarp design (ID Silshelter, HS Tarp Tent, etc.) I live and backpack
      mainly in the North Cascades. I have day-hiked in the following National
      Parks: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Yellowstone,
      Glacier, North Cascades, and quite a few others that I am forgetting. My
      family currently averages between 2-3 mph while both day-hiking (faster,)
      and backpacking (slower.)
      Our average day-hike is approximately 10 miles long. Currently, our favorite
      backpacking trips are 4-6 nights long, and approximately 50 miles long. My
      current base pack weight is around 25 pounds, depending on conditions.
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