LTR - Spirit X - Andy Henrichs
- Hi Kurt,
Here is my LTR for the Spirit X. The html version can be found at http://tinyurl.com/6okdhp3. Thanks for the edits!
Long Term Report
I've been able to use the Spirit X on two additional outings during the Long Term Report phase, although it accompanied me but remained unused on a couple others. The first use was on an overnight ski backpacking trip in the Indian Peaks Range of Colorado. There was a very steady wind all weekend, but temperatures only dropped to around 20 F (-7 C). I camped on the shoulder of a ridge in a nicely wooded area around 10500 ft (3200 m). My second use of the Spirit X was on a long ski tour in the southern end of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The elevation on the tour ranged from 8200 ft (2500 m) to 10600 ft (3200 m). It was a beautiful day with only a slight breeze, blue skies, and a high around 30 F (-1 C).
Field Observations and Summary
The Spirit X has continued to function wonderfully during the Long Term Report phase. I had an incident on the overnight ski trip that reinforced the importance of carrying a fully-functional multitool on overnight outings, particularly in the winter. While settling into my tent just before dusk, I was occupying myself by melting snow for drinking water. As I was topping off my water containers, my stove suddenly started sputtering and then abruptly quit. I let it cool, pressurized the fuel bottle and tried to prime it. Instead of filling the priming cup, fuel would randomly spurt out and evaporate. I continued pressurizing the bottle and trying to prime the stove several more times without success. By this time darkness had set in and I was ready for a cup of hot tea and warm dinner. I had used this stove many times without incident and wasn't sure why it was acting this way. I dug my trusty Spirit X out of my pack lid, used the chisel tool to pry the flame spreader off the stove, and used the 6mm screwdriver to remove the cover to the fuel jet. The pliers helped me remove the jet itself so I could inspect it. Everything looked fine, so I reassembled the stove and used the pliers to remove the cable from the fuel line. Again, everything looked great so I reassembled it and attempted to light it again. I ended up adjusting the angle that the fuel tank was lying in the snow (as well as insulated it with a glove) and the stove lit right up. While the Spirit X didn't help me fix the actual problem, it certainly helped me rule out possible malfunctions.
Using the pliers to tighten the flame spreader after my stove disassembly
The second use of the Spirit X was much less dramatic. A significant wind storm had felled many large pine trees along the Front Range of Colorado. As a result, I was forced to detour around, over, and under several of these trees on my long Rocky Mountain National Park ski tour. A good number of these trees required some pruning if I was to be able to climb over or under them. I ended up keeping the Spirit X in my pocket and using the wood saw to cut away some of the branches that wouldn't break as close to the trunk as I wanted. Due to the smaller size of the wood saw (as mentioned in my Field Report), I tried to limit the use when possible. I was already planning on a long day out, and every branch I had to saw extended that. I estimate that I sawed off six branches. Most of them had diameters between 1 in (2.5 cm) and 1.5 in (3.8 cm). Like I mentioned in the field report, it was easiest and most efficient to saw through half of the branch and then snap them off . Other than these uses, I have used the scissors on the Spirit X to snip plastic hang tags off of some new clothes. I've also continued to use the various screwdrivers on small projects around the house.
I continue to be very happy with the Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X. In the past, I have been reluctant to carry a multitool as heavy as this one. Based on my experience with this tool, particularly during the stove incident, I have a much greater appreciation of the importance of having a strong, reliable, and fully-functional multitool. The size of the tool body provides an excellent handle when using the various tools (especially the pliers) to apply more force. The blade has held an edge well, and the screwdrivers have minimal flex even when really cranking on a screw. The locking mechanism for the tools is outstanding and still works smoothly despite use in dirty conditions. The weight is really the only thing about this tool that gives me pause, but as I mentioned before, the reliability and functionality of this tool overrides most of the weight concerns I have about it. The Spirit X has proven itself to be capable of a variety of tasks, and it will continue to be a regular piece of my backcountry kit.
Thank you to Victorinox and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this multitool.