Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker Field Report
- Here's the field report.
Item being tested: Victorinox(R) "Tinker" Swiss Army Knife
Report Number: Field Report (Report #2)
Name: Jeff Widman
Weight: 164 lbs.
Age: 15 yrs
Area of Residence: Bellingham, WA (two hours north of Seattle.)
E-mail address: jeffwidman@...
(Please see end of report for a short biography of my backpacking exploits.)
Manufacturer: Victorinox(R) - http://www.victorinox.com/
Intro/Description: The knife has six main functions. On one side, there is 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 is a Phillips screwdriver, a reamer, and a sewing
eye. There is also a pair of tweezers and a toothpick. My knife's case is a
cool translucent sapphire color.
Test Duration/Location/Conditions: I have carried the knife on several
different day-hikes, no backpacking trips, and one weekend car-camping trip.
I have also spent time at home testing the various features.
Year of Manufacture: 2002
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/Performance: I have been impressed by all of the
knife's functions. Some have impressed me as quite useful, others as quite
useless. The knife is obviously not designed specifically for backpacking.
The three screwdriver blades, and two knife blades, are redundant. Yes, a
screwdriver is handy, but three are unnecessary for backpackers (However, I
do think that three are just perfect for around the house use.) The two
knife blades are redundant, but nice to have. The sewing awl/reamer is also
nice, or at least I think it is (I have not yet had an occasion to use it.)
The toothpick and tweezers are handy, especially the hook on the end of the
toothpick. The hook has allowed me to retrieve a piece of thread that was
stuck in a hole.
I promised last time that I would spend some time testing the can opener. I
have opened several cans since then, and have been quite pleased with the
results. The can opening function is tedious, and slower than the twist a
knob style can openers, but it accomplishes the job. It takes me just under
a minute to open a normal sized can (the kind that canned vegetables come
Maintenance/Durability: The knife has held up just fine. There is no rust,
though I purposely dunked the knife and only partially dried it out. The
nylon case has become slightly scratched, but I am not worried about it. The
knife blades appear to be holding their edge quite well. I cut fifty pieces
of paper in half with it, and there was noticeable degradation in the
sharpness of the blade. However, the blade held up better than other pocket
knives that I have performed this test on. I mentioned a possible point of
concern in my initial report regarding the tweezers and toothpick possibly
falling out, since they are held in the case by friction only. They have
stayed put in the case just fine, despite pulling them out and putting them
back in a bunch of times to simulate several years worth of use.
Drawbacks: The lack of scissors is a point of concern. I have noticed
several times just how much quicker scissors would be for opening packages.
The weight is also a concern. 2.2 ounces is quite light, but I have yet to
be convinced that the extra functions compared to the Swiss Army Classic are
worth the extra 1.3 ounces. The functions could be improved slightly for
backpacking use, but this knife is not aimed as much towards the backpacker,
as it is designed more for the fix-it guy around the house. Another tester
did mention that the Phillips screwdriver was a bit hard to use in small
places. I agree. However, the placement on the side of the knife allows for
maximum torque, and I prefer that. I personally feel that the two other
screwdrivers can suffice for those places where accessibility is an issue.
Customer Service: 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 miss the scissors. Otherwise, no
complaints. I was happy that Victorinox did not put a corkscrew function on
this model. I have never found a use for a corkscrew (I don't drink.)
Overall impressions/Quality: I am really impressed by this knife. I must
admit, that I was not very impressed when I originally received it, but I
have come to appreciate the slim design and the large number of useful
functions. I do miss the scissors, but that is the only drawback. Yes, it is
not the lightest knife around, but it is a good compromise between the Swiss
Army Classic and other more complex models. The three screwdrivers do seem
rather redundant for backpackers, but I have found them just perfect for car
camping. The knife's slim design, while still being full sized, makes it
hard to lose, yet easy to store.
I really like the knife for everyday use. However, I doubt that it will have
a lasting place on my summer backpacking list. The combination of weight,
lack of scissors, and unnecessary functions (wire stripper, extra
screwdrivers, etc.,) all mean that I will probably not continue to pack it
once this test series is over. A great knife for car camping, and everyday
use, but not for backpacking.
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)
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.