Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife – Long Term Review

Swiss Army Classic Knife


You don’t need a big knife for backpacking. I’ve been using the same Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife the past 10 years now and I’ve never found the need to replace it with something different or bigger. If you are trying to shave weight from your pack, this little gem only weighs 0.7 oz. and comes with a very serviceable pair of scissors, a nail file, a blade. tweezers and a toothpick. Unless you plan on skinning a deer or filleting a fish, this pocket knife is all you need.

Swiss Army Knife Classic


All You Need

The Swiss Army Classic pocket knife may be the best ultralight multi-tool ever designed. Weighing just 0.7 oz., it comes with a very serviceable pair of scissors, nail file, a sharp knife blade, tweezers and a toothpick. Unless you plan on skinning a deer or filleting a fish, this pocket knife is all you need.

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I clip mine to the outside of my backpack with a little mini-biner, along with a little Key-Ring Compass, whenever I go hiking which makes it easy to switch between backpacks. Being so small, it is easy to lose or misplace, so I’ve made it a ritual to return it to its biner immediately after use, and still haven’t lost it yet!

Same Swiss Army Knife - Many Different Backpacks over the Years
Same Swiss Army Knife – Many Different Backpacks over the Years

I mainly use the scissors for opening food packages, cutting Leukotape and guyline (it’s very sharp) or the emery board/screwdriver if I need to file down one of my toenails. I can’t even remember when I last used the knife blade – funny that the knife part of the knife is so rarely used but is still useful when needed. Same with the tweezers and toothpick.

This classic Swiss Army Knife is probably the best $15 I ever spent for ultralight backpacking!

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it quite a long time ago. 

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  1. How do you make fires? When everything is wet and you need to split the wood? How do you cut bread? How do you make a peg for your tent, if you loose one or need a bigger one for sandy ground? How do you even cut and clean a mushroom or a fish? The blade is too short and too weak for most common outdoor tasks. Don’t get me wrong, I love these little gems, but I put them into my first aid kits, where they may be handy (but even there, larger scissors would be preferable), or just use them as cute geek toys. I cannot imagine this to be my only knife somewhere in the wilderness.

    I carry a Victorinox every day, outdoors or indoors (when not in my home or in a plane) – it is hanging on my keys. But is is a larger model – 91 mm Victorinox Compact (it has 6 cm blade, scissors, various openers and of course the small tweezers, toothpick and a pen). For urban environment, it is all I need. I can even cut a slice of bread (I have to go around the loaf when cutting as the typical bread load is larger than the blade) and spread something yummy on it – but I cannot imagine using a smaller blade for it. Or I can open a bottle of beer or wine if I want to make a small picnic in a city park. I still carry it into the wilderness – because of the scissors and the openers, but I would not want it to be my main blade. For multi-day trips or whenever I want to make a fire, Mora Companion is the minimum I take.

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