Swiss Army Knives have always fascinated me. Even from an early age, I thought they were some of the coolest things I had ever seen. I have been collecting them on and off since I was in high school. After using several different Swiss Army Knife models, I decided that I wanted to upgrade to a knife that would have pretty much any tool I would need in almost any situation. The Victorinox Swisschamp seemed to be what I needed, so I picked up one on eBay.
The Victorinox SwissChamp is an excellent pocket knife for preppers, campers, and those who want a capable EDC knife. It is well-made and includes numerous features that make it useful in a wide variety of circumstances, whether someone is bushcrafting or in an urban setting.
This Swiss Army Knife’s features are expansive. It includes two knife blades, a short one and a longer one. Both are razor sharp and are useful in various ways. I like to use the small blade to open boxes, letters, and daily simple cutting tasks. I prefer to limit the use of the larger blade so that it will stay clean and retain an edge for food-related tasks or emergency situations. If I come across a situation that requires a sharp and clean blade, I don’t want to use a blade that is covered in tape gunk. Saving the larger blade ensures that I will always have a sharp, decent-sized blade ready at all times.
The Swisschamp also includes various screwdrivers that suit different needs. The largest flathead screwdriver doubles as a bottle opener and includes a wire-stripping notch. The can opener’s tip also serves as a screwdriver that works with Phillips and small flathead screws. I should also note that the can opener works extremely well in its intended role.
My favorite screwdriver on the Swisschamp is the inline Phillips driver. It locks at either 180 or 90 degrees. I prefer the inline design of this screwdriver over the ones that are on the back layer of other Swiss Army Knives. Having the screwdriver open straight out makes it feel a lot more natural to use. I have also gotten a lot of use out of the miniature screwdriver that fits into the corkscrew. It is perfect for repairing glasses and other items that use tiny screws. The Swisschamp also has a small flathead driver on the back of the knife that locks in a 90-degree position. I don’t use that one too often, but it is handy to turn on lights that use a slot-style switch.
Related: How to Clean a Swiss Army Knife
Other tools found on the Swisschamp include a magnifying glass, fish scaler/ruler, metal file/saw, a wood saw, scissors, an awl, multipurpose hook, pliers, and a corkscrew. These tools are miniature versions of what you would normally use. They are small but well made.
The Swiss Army Knife’s magnifying glass is good for finding splinters and getting a better look at small objects. Some people have even been able to start fires with the magnifying glass by focusing the light beam on tinder. It is possible but requires certain conditions, such as a sunny day and specific types of materials. Making a fire in this manner requires a fair amount of practice. I would not consider this a primary fire-making method, but it would be a handy skill to develop.
The Swisschamp’s fish scaler/ruler is something that I have never used for its intended purpose. I don’t fish very often, so I cannot vouch for its effectiveness as a fish scaling tool. However, the ruler is useful for measuring small distances. It goes up to 3 inches on one side, with markings every 1/8th inch. The other side is metric, measuring up to 7 cm. The markings are stamped into each side so that they will never wear off. I have used mine to check target rifle groups if I did not have a tape measure or ruler. Some people have mentioned that they like to use it as a small fork to get foods such as olives out of jars.
The metal file works well to round off sharp corners on metal and can also file wood. I use mine most of the time as a fingernail file. It may not look as clean as using a “real” fingernail file, but I am a dude and don’t really care if my hands are perfectly manicured. They won’t stay nice for very long anyway. The metal saw can cut small items made of soft metal or plastic. It will work to cut small amounts of aluminum or PVC in a pinch.
Many consider the wood saw to be one of the best “multitool” saws on the market. Victorinox did a great job designing this saw. The blades are well-made and stay sharp for a long time. The blade is thicker near the teeth than it is at the spine of the saw. This helps prevent the saw from binding during use. The teeth are very sharp and aggressive, being able to cut on both the forward and backward strokes due to their shape. The saw reminds me of a high-end jigsaw blade. It is probably one of the best features available for Swiss Army Knives.
The scissors are also highly regarded and tend to work well, especially for something so small. They are excellent for cutting fabric, fingernails, and cordage. Although they are very well-made, I would recommend that you avoid using them to cut large quantities of zip ties. I did that with one of my Swiss Army Knives, and it severely dulled the blades. I found it really difficult to resharpen the blades, however, someone who has better sharpening skills than myself may have not found it to be so challenging.
The Swisschamp’s multipurpose hook was initially designed to work as a parcel hook but works well for undoing knots. It is also good for pulling tent stakes. The corkscrew can also be used to untie knots in additions to its obvious use as a corkscrew. My favorite function of the corkscrew is that it holds Victorinox’s miniature screwdriver. I like them so much, I bought some for family and friends to use with their knives. The back of the knife also includes a reamer, which can be used to punch holes in leather or canvas. It is very sharp and includes a hole so you can use it to sew.
The Swisschamp’s miniature pliers work best as large tweezers or precision pliers for bending small wires. Although you couldn’t use them to rebuild a truck engine, they are still very useful to have. If you are camping, they can be used to lift a cooking pot off of a fire, and they are very useful for picking up things off of the ground that you don’t want to touch. I’m sort of a germaphobe and don’t like picking up things like snot rags. The little pliers keep my OCD happy in this regard.
Plus Model Extras
The Swisschamp is what Victorinox refers to as a “plus model”. A plus model Swiss Army Knife will include extra tools in the side scales that other knives do not. The traditional side scale tools are the toothpick and tweezers. Plus models add a ballpoint pen and straight pin. The ballpoint pen is pressurized and will last a very long time. My Swisschamp was around 25 years old when I bought it off of eBay. It was part of a collection and was in pristine condition. The pen still works to this day.
The straight pin can be for various jobs, but I use mine to help pull out splinters. If you do this though, be sure to sterilize it. After all, infections are bad. I have also used a Swiss Army Knife straight pin to attach a boutonnière to a suit. If I didn’t have that little pin on me, I’m not sure what else I could have done that wouldn’t have involved duct tape.
Overall, I consider the Swisschamp to be one of the best Swiss Army Knives. Some may consider it a bit too large for pocket carry, which is fair. The size and weight bothered me for a few days, but I got used to it. Because of its size, Victorinox makes pouches so that it can be carried on a belt. The Swisschamp is like having a toolbox in your pocket. It is a quality piece of equipment that should last you a lifetime.
In addition to the Swisschamp, Victorinox produces a full line of other high-quality pocket knives and multitools. If you want more information about their knives and multitools, be sure to check out my other articles. They have a lot of information about which models you may find most useful for your particular lifestyle and preferences.