The tried and true Swiss Army Knife

We often discuss unitaskers but today I want to talk about multi-taskers. The classic Victorinox Swiss Army Ranger Pocket Knife measures in at 3.5 inches and weighs a minuscule 4.8 ounces as it packs a whopping 20 different tools including:

  • Large and small knife blade
  • Corkscrew
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Cap lifter
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire stripper
  • Reamer, punch
  • Multi-purpose hook
  • Nail file
  • Nail cleaner
  • Scissors
  • Metal file
  • Fine screwdriver
  • Wood saw
  • Toothpick
  • Tweezers
  • Key ring (ok, so this isn’t really a tool)

You can’t take it on an airplane, but around your house it has endless possibilities. This is the gold standard of multi-taskers. You can get a left-handed version here. A Leatherman Multitool is the only multi-tasker that plays in the same league. Go get your MacGyver on!


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

17 Comments for “The tried and true Swiss Army Knife”

  1. posted by Brian on

    For my money, the Victorinox SwissTool is a better option than the Leatherman.

  2. posted by BigNerd on

    BigNerd never goes anywhere without his Gerber multi-tool. Retracting pliers that can be opened and closed with one hand. All blades and tools have safety locks. It one bad mamby-jamby. Not as lightweight and pocket-friendly as the knife, but it’s always in my MacGyver backpack… and I inevitably need pliers for something.
    Have a look-see here:

  3. posted by Raisin on

    Agreed on the Gerber. I got mine as a gift in the mid-90s. I got it when it first came out, and at the time they didn’t offer locking blades, or the needle nose. In fact mine has the leather punch instead of the file, and the I have not found a newer locking style gerber with the leather punch.

    I carry a gerber multi-tool and a gerber mini-ridge on the d-ring knife holder on my victorinox laptop bag. Both the ridge and the gerber multi-tool feature single handed-operation, and that combined with a dedicated knife holder on my laptop bag make it easily accessable, and easy to consistently put it away in its home.

    Not to go to far off topic, but using several multi-taskers like a multi-tool along with a backpack designed to have dedicated outer pockets for keys, wallets, knives, cellphones, sunglasses, nintendo ds, thumb-drives, headphones, etc along with a backpack station and/or landing strip has reduced my clutter considerably. I have a backpack station at both work and home, and a victorinox messenger bag. I flip over the top flap, set the bag on the backpack station next to my desk and have all my little gadgets in their more or less permanent home. When I leave, I throw whatever gadgets are missing in their dedicated pocket, flip over the flap, and I’m ready to go.

  4. posted by Monica Ricci on

    I don’t know about the one you profiled here, but I LOOOOVE my Leatherman! 🙂 Let’s hear it for multi-taskers!

  5. posted by Melinda on

    The toothpick always makes me laugh. My dad had one when I was growing up.

  6. posted by tom on

    I have the Cybertool. Screwdriver with bits, lightweight plyers, eyeglass screwdriver plus all the other swiss army bits. It’s good enough that I don’t need my screwdriver when I’m repairing computers (I’m a system administrator).

    It’s a medium pocket knife that I can carry in a pocket. No holster needed.

    Raisin – I’d love to see a pic of that backpack

  7. posted by Arjun Muralidharan on

    It makes me feel so patriotic…

  8. posted by Cyrano on

    I love my Leatherman Crunch, and never leave anywhere without it (it has locking pliers – absolutely fantastic)!

    I even where it at work, where the attire is western business.

  9. posted by Adam Snider on

    That Gerber is pretty sweet looking.

    As for the good ol’ Swiss Army Knife, I lost mine back when I was a Boy Scout. It would be nice to find it again, though. It really is a great thing to have.

  10. posted by Jordan on

    I had this knife several years ago and it also came with a pen. The pen was slotted in like the tweezers and toothpick are.

  11. posted by Deb on

    I loved MacGyver!! And yes, I still love my Swiss Army knife, too.

  12. posted by Raisin on

    Tom, it is the Victorinox Charles.

    If I had to do it over again, I would have got the Booq Folee XM. Two reasons, my laptop is 15 inches, and the victorinox is a 17 inch compartment, and the booq has a removable sleeve for the laptop.

    I used to use an eastpak chaos messenger bag with a laptop sleeve, but it got old and worn, and they had stopped making it when I went to buy another.

  13. posted by Cliff on

    The real trick is to have a home that doesn’t require its occupant to own tools merely to have the right to occupy it. Outsource! Get an apartment and call the Super!

  14. posted by Kenneth in Virginia on

    I have both a multi-tool and a Swiss Army-type knife but I rarely use them or any other knife, even though I have several. The interesting thing, however, is that the Swiss Army knife is over a hundred years old and multi-tools have been around that long, too, though neither were originally so complicated. But none are really as useful as a simple screwdriver, single-blade sheath knife, slip-joint pliers and so on. They’re good tools to have when you don’t have anything better.

  15. posted by Her from there on

    How on earth is there a need for a left handed version? I am left handed, but I can’t see how this knife isn’t useable by lefties as well. Was it a joke that I missed?

  16. posted by SkiptheBS on

    My sole complaint with the Victorinox is that it is so not arthritis friendly. Springs require the strength of ten to unfold the knives etc.

    I keep a full-sized Leatherman in the car, a Leatherman Squirt in my work caddy, and Cabela’s cheapies in my purse and nightstand. Multis including bullnose wrenches, combo hammer/hatchet etc., enable me to keep some basics without requiring a full-sized tool kit weighing 100+ pounds.

  17. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    I am left-handed and while I can use the right-handed knife, the left-handed version is much easier to use with my left (and stronger) hand. The tools come out on the opposite side of the knife so the handle of the knife isn’t in the way of using the tool. I never realized there was such a big difference until my husband bought me the left-handed version. Now I won’t use a right-handed version because the left is much more efficient.

Comments are closed.