FR - Victorinox Spirit X - Ray Estrella
- Hi Kurt,
Here is the FR for the tool. The HTML may be found here: http://tinyurl.com/y94sfv the copy is below.
Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty
The Spirit X has done everything I expect a multi-tool to do to date. It has proven useful in the field and in hotel rooms after backpacking. My only complaint so far is that the highly polished finish is hard to grip when wearing gloves. Please read on to see how it has worked for me.
I have used the Spirit x on eight backpacking and camping trips over the past three months. First I took it to Washington and Oregon for a three-day backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail. This up-and-down trip saw temps average 40 F (4 C) with rain on two days, and even sleet on one cold windy Washington ridge. The picture above was taken on the rainy bank of the Columbia River, opening the celebratory post-hike ale. The bottle opener works quite well, thank you.
The rest of the backpacking took place on or around the North Country Trail (NCT) in Chippewa National Forest and Paul Bunyan State Forest. Camping trips were in those forests too plus trips to Buffalo River State Park and primitive canoe sites on the Red River of the North. The low temperatures ranged from 45 to -1 F (7 to -18 C). Many of the trips saw rain; one trip had a night of sleet, and there was a little bit of snow on one.
Even though I normally don't carry a big multi-tool for 3-season hiking, the past few months saw the Spirit X accompany me on 18 days of hiking and camping.
The knife blade has been the option most used so far. On the early fall hikes I was using found fuel (down wood, dead branches, etc) with a wood-burning Caldera Cone system and used the blade to shave fire starters. (Little twigs with shavings cut just enough to peel away from the center, but left attached to make a fuzzy stick, if you will.) The blade is nice and sharp and is not noticeably dulled yet. I did get some pine sap on it once but a little hand sanitizer took it off no problem.
I have used the scissors a few times to cut moleskin into donut shapes for blister control. They work better than my normal little first-aid scissors. A couple trips saw me use the screwdrivers, once to tighten a loose headlamp, and once to help a fellow camper open a bottle of wine when they found they had no corkscrew. By screwing a Philips-head screw into the cork I was then able to use the pliers to pull the cork and screw back out, bring joy to my neighbors.
Those pliers have been very useful the entire time too. One backpacking trip saw me get into a bunch a burdock while setting up my tent. I had the burrs in my socks and fleece gloves. As they are covered in spines all around the pliers were the safest way to pull them off.
They even saved the day, once. On the 3-day backpacking trip on the NCT I set-up the first night to find that a last minute tent change meant that I left the titanium hook stakes that I also use for my Caldera system at home. The stakes I had would not work so I had to forgo hot dinner. I had enough food bars and such to make it one night but not two so decided to push hard and fast to complete the trip in two days. I stopped to get a burger and told the friendly server about my cooking tribulations. She asked if I needed some tools to fix my "stove" and I asked if they by any chance had a wire coat hanger I could have, which she did. Since I was a long way from home and had planned to be in camp another night (and had two dinners to cook still) I headed to a remote camp spot I knew of to spend the night and used the Spirit X to cut the coat hanger into the correct size pieces to make my cooking system usable. It worked great and I had a hot dinner that night. Here is a shot after getting the Sidewinder ready to cook with.
Another use for the pliers necessitated by the wood burning system is as a lid lifter. The pot I have to use has a handle that lays flat and it gets quite hot. The pliers make it painless to take off. Lastly they have been quite helpful for pulling stakes from the ground after they have frozen in overnight. I thought that the multi-purpose hook (#23) would work well for this but the reamer (# 13) gets in the way.
If I have any complaints about the Spirit X it would only be the highly polished finish of it is very hard to grip when wearing fleece gloves or (more often) knit glove liners. They want to slip right out of my hand. Taking the gloves off when it is near 0 F (-18 C) is not an option as any moisture on my hand will result in skin frozen to the Spirit's handle. A rougher surface on the flat of the handles would be nice.
That's it so far. We finally got some measurable snow so maybe I will be out with the kind of gear that sees me needing a multi-tool more during the Long Term phase of the test. Please come back in a couple months to see how the Spirit X does. I will leave with a shot of it lifting a lid on the shore of Waboose Lake on the NCT.
My thanks to Victorinox Swiss Army and BackpackGearTest for letting me have fun trying to find 27 things to do with it. ;-)