CAMPING - GEAR
Everyone is familiar with the long-serving red and silver Swiss Army Knife, and in recent years the Victorinox company has developed new derivatives. The latest are white or black finish Spartan series, fitted with specially-coated blades and tools, wood-finish models, marine ‘camo’ designs, gold finish and a new Hunter model.
Applying a coating is a popular way to make knives and tools really stand out. However, instead of the usual black, the tools on the new Spartan PS models boast a special Inox-Spectral coating that is not a pigment, but is transparent chromium oxide that’s gradually built up.
What makes this process so special is that this layer is transparent and that permits an optical interference effect. A range of colour effects are produced depending on the thickness of the layer, the composition of the light spectrum and the angle of view. This allows the tools on the Spartan PS to reflect their surroundings.
The coated high-end steel surfaces don’t age or crack, fade or flake, and the coating is safe for the environment and people. Like all Victorinox knives the Spartan PS models carry a lifetime workmanship guarantee.
That said, it’s possible to scratch off the coating when sharpening the blades, unless care is used.
We have a couple of multi-tools in our camping kit, but we always have a Swiss Army Knife on hand as well. We’ve had several over the years and they’ve been lost or pinched, not worn out.
We checked out one of the black Spartan PS models, before awarding it to one of our happy OTA Supporters, with Victorinox’s compliments.
Our evaluation PS came with two blades; a bottle opener and can opener with integral screwdrivers; a corkscrew and a reamer; punch and sewing awl, wire stripper, tweezers and a toothpick.
The Wood Collection models are walnut-plated-side knives. One version has six fold-out blades and tools and the other has nine.
Gold edition for 2019
The Alox Limited Edition sees the signatory aluminium sides finished with knurling and gold anodising. Each item has the year on the back and comes with its own certificate in a gift box.
Reinterpreted in red, the Hunter Pro Alox is a new edition of the brand’s popular pocket knife, Hunter Pro.
Featuring Victorinox’s signature cross and shield emblem, the Hunter Pro Alox is a large knife with a slim profile that is easy to carry.
The new knife comes with a belt clip, a lanyard eye and a woven Paracord pendant.
As with all Victorinox Swiss Army Knives, the blade of the Hunter Pro Alox is made of rust-resistant stainless steel in the brand’s factory in Switzerland.
Navy Camouflage models
The 2019 Swiss Army Knife range includes Navy Camouflage models and, because we go boating when we’re on many bush trips, we checked out a Skipper model.
Our ‘vessel’ of choice is a Hobie Mirage Tandem Island trimaran that we can sail, paddle or pedal and, as we all know, when you’re on the water and something
breaks you need the right tool to fix it.
The Skipper has a serrated knife blade that easily cuts through spectra rope and a pair of small pliers that can hold anything up to around 15mm in diameter
and are useful for getting a hook out of a fish. The sprung-loaded plier jaws also have a small crimping tool.
A marlin spike is included and this tool doubles as a large sewing needle or insertion tool, as well as a variable-size shackle key.
Other Swiss Army standard tools include a toothpick, can-opener, blade and cross-head screwdrivers, a sharp augur and a corkscrew. Why a corkscrew these days, you may say, but we found a marine use for it when a bung broke off flush with the hull and we managed to extract it – just like a cork!
Swiss Army knives have always had excellent corrosion resistance, so we’ll make sure the Navy Camouflage models retain that feature as our test continues.