VICTORINOX ONE HAND SENTINEL KNIFE
TEST SERIES BY BRETT HAYDIN
INITIAL REPORT - October 21, 2009
FIELD REPORT - January 05, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - March 09, 2010
bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
Salida, Colorado, USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.victorinox.com
MSRP: US$ 30.00
Listed Weight: NA
Measured Weight: 2.5 oz (71 g)
Listed Length: 4.375 in (11 cm)
Measured Length: 4.375 in (11 cm)
Measured Blade Length: 3.25 in (8.3 cm)
- Large Blade: One-hand opening (liner lock)
- Key Ring
The manufacturer states "Functionality meets accessibility with contoured, no-slip handles and one-hand opening blades for quick blade access when you need it most."
The Victorinox One Hand Sentinel is a simple knife with a single, serrated blade. It has a convenient one-handed opening function and a locking blade making this a functional knife. The Sentinel comes in a grey box that slides open to reveal the knife. The knife also contains a toothpick and a tweezers that are stored in the body of the knife. There is a key ring at the end of the knife body as well.
The Sentinel appears to be well crafted. There are no signs of defects and the blade is quite sharp. The body is made of a black plastic material that is neither smooth nor rough. It provides enough traction so that I can maintain a firm grip. The Victorinox logo is printed on one side of the knife as well. I don't claim to be a knife master, but the knife feels well balanced in my hands.
|Victorinox One Hand Sentinel|
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The Sentinel does come with a set of instructions. The included instructions appear to be a generic set of instructions for Victorinox knives since they include instructions for all sorts of implements that are found on other Victorinox knives. There are clear directions on how to operate the liner lock which also include a reminder to be careful not to cut your fingers when the blade closes.
There are some general care instructions that state to add a drop of oil should the blade stick. Also included is the manufacturer's warranty information as well as how to facilitate repairs. The instructions are all in English and are easy to read.
TRYING IT OUT
I am impressed with the sharpness of the blade. While I haven't gone out to whittle any sticks, the blade easily cuts through bread as well as shave a small amount off my fingernail.
I found the liner lock mechanism to be very intuitive. There is a label stating "Press" on one side so you know which way to push. The lever is in the middle of the knife, where the blade flips out of. I'll need to exercise some care when closing the blade since my thumb will be in the way when the lock is released.
There is a hole cut into the blade that allows my thumb to gain purchase so that I can open the blade with one hand. The hole is a small oval yet big enough for me to fit the tip of my thumb into. I am curious to see if I will be able to open it as easily in the field, perhaps with gloves on since the winter is upon us in the mountains. I love how light the knife is as well as the simple design.
I am quite pleased with this knife. I generally carry along a multi-tool as well as a pocket knife. I haven't used a serrated blade before so I am curious to see how that will be different than the other knives I have owned. I like how easy it is to operate and that it has my favorite part of owning a Victorinox knife, the tweezers and toothpick!
This concludes my initial report. Please check back in two months from the date of this report to see how the knife has performed during the first half of this test. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Victorinox as well as those at BackpackGearTest for allowing me to be a part of this series.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the past two months, I have used the Sentinel on two overnight camping trips as well as three day hikes. Generally I have carried the knife in a ditty bag along with a number of smaller items. I store the ditty bag in an exterior pocket, depending on the backpack I am using.
My first overnight trip was into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness along the Browns Pass Trail. While hiking in the area over the summer, I noticed a turnoff to Lake Hartenstein that I wanted to visit. Elevation for this trip ranged from approximately 9,900 to 11,500 ft (3,018 to 3,505 m) and while the trail was snow covered in spots, the snow was noticeably deeper over 10,500 ft (3,200 m). Weather was cold with a low of 10 F (-12 C) when I checked in the middle of the night. The high was about 40 F (4 C). While the skies were overcast on the hike in, they cleared up at dusk and remained clear the rest of the trip. The hike into the lake is a fairly easy 3 mi (4.8 km), but I spent a fair amount of time exploring the area as well.
The second trip was along a section of the Rainbow Trail in the San Isabel National Forest. For this trip I hiked about 6 mi (9.6 km) in to a suitable camping spot. The weather was fantastic with temperatures near 40 F (4 C) and mostly sunny skies. Overnight low was about 20 F (-7 C). The trail was in great shape considering the amount of snow the area has seen recently and snowshoes were only needed in particular areas. Elevation range was approximately 8,500 to 9,800 ft (2,590 to 2,990 m).
My day hikes varied in conditions and elevation but were consistent with the conditions of my overnight trips. The farthest day hike was about 9 mi (14.5 km) with one that was much shorter with my daughter and her friend.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
To date, I have used the Sentinel most commonly as a kitchen tool out on the trail. It slices through salami like it was butter and works equally well on bagels. I have also used it as a means of sharpening pencils at the trailhead registers and to cut through cordage on a trip I forgot to pack some spare straps for. I have felt guilty about not finding more uses on the trail, so I have used it at home as well from time to time. The placement of the serrated edge makes this blade especially easy to slice through fruit. The serrations provide additional friction on the skin of the fruit (I've taken apples and oranges) and make it simple to slice through. It was the same way with the salami.
I have found no major problems keeping the edge sharp. While I am not too particular about keeping a razor sharp edge, I have found that the knife has maintained its edge to my satisfaction. A few strokes on my sharpening stone seems to do the trick so far. Similarly, keeping the blade clean has been relatively easy to do as well. I make it a habit to clean out any debris from the moving parts where I can. I find compressed air does the job well enough, which has been the case.
The plastic casing of the knife looks good so far, a couple of minor dings from camp use, but otherwise it is in great shape. There are no other blemishes or signs of rust. I have become accustomed to opening the blade as well as closing the blade. I find I am very cautious closing the blade because in order to release the lock, I find it easiest to put my thumb somewhat in harms way. I have never felt unsafe, but each time I close it I think about the risk to pushing my thumb in front of the blade as it closes.
While I haven't used the toothpick but a handful of times, I found the tweezers to be quite useful. During the past two months, I began to dust off my old film camera. OK, it isn't that old (9 years) but it is before the proliferation of the digital SLR camera. To the point, I was sneaking up on a vantage point to shoot some birds in an interesting tree when I must have brushed up against some cactus plants. The small thorns were stuck in my pants and a bit irritating, but the tweezers made light work of them!
I learned that it is really hard to photograph knives in use in the field! I hope to get some photos for the Long Term Report that are useful.
So far this is a very reliable blade for backpacking. I like that the maintenance has been pretty hassle-free so far and that the blade remains sharp. I do wish I could find a means to keep the Sentinel easier to get at. I am too afraid to keep it in a pocket that it can fall out of, which leaves just my cargo pockets.
I would like to thank the folks at Victorinox as well as the volunteers at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series. Please check back in approximately two months (early March 2010) to see how the Sentinel performs in the Long Term Report.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the past two months I have taken another two backpacking trips and one snowshoe day hike. I have also carried the knife with me on almost a daily basis in a backpack I keep in my car. I have used it for a number of tasks around the house in addition to the use backpacking.
My first trip was a three day trip into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area of Colorado into the Harvard Lakes region, elevation 10,300 ft (3,139 m). My partner and I hiked approximately 4 to 5 mi (6 to 8 km) each day. Except for the hike to the lakes, we cut our own trail trails through snow that was 12 to 24 in (30 to 60 cm) deep. The weather was fair; mostly cloudy with periods of clear skies and very little wind. Temperatures ranged from 10 to 40 F (-12 to 4 C).
I also took an overnight trip along the Colorado Trail, just below Mt Yale camping for the night at 10,500 ft (3,200 m). My dog and I hiked about 5 mi (8 km) along snow packed trails in mountainous terrain. The weather on this trip was cloudy with a high near 35 F (2 C). My thermometer read just below 20 F (-7 C) when I turned in for the night.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Victorinox One Hand Sentinel continues to hold up extremely well. I notice absolutely no deterioration of the mechanics of the knife nor any unseemly blemishes or rusting. In fact, the only aesthetic issue I notice is some minor accumulation of dirt in a very difficult corner to clean deeper in the recesses of the knife. I notice the same issue with other knives I own so either it is my cleaning style or it is inherent in knives. The photo below is the best image I could muster to show the issue.
|Dirt in crevice|
On both of my backpacking trips I used the Sentinel to make shavings of bark that I could use to start a fire. The knife does a great job at these tasks. In addition, I have continued to use the Sentinel to cut breads, meats and cheeses while on the trail as well and it remains sharp enough for these tasks. On one trip my hiking partner and I also needed to cut cordage to tie out the fly to his tent and the knife was great at cutting the cord. This was also the first time I used the one hand function to open the knife out of necessity! It worked great. My friend had been teasing me for "showing off" while opening the knife earlier, but I was sure glad for the feature then!
I continue to find it easy to maintain this knife. The blade remains sharp and the hinge still opens smoothly. Both the toothpick and tweezers fit snugly despite using them on each of my trips.
So far I have found no need or use for the key ring. I tried using a small carabiner to attach the knife to the outside of my pack with the key ring, but it seemed impractical to me over the long haul. I would love to have another manner to secure the knife somehow, whether a sheath or a clip for some peace of mind. I should point out that at no time has the knife mysteriously fallen out of my pockets or otherwise become lost, so my fears are likely unjustified!
I am quite happy with the Victorinox One Hand Sentinel knife.
Things that rock:
- Easy to open with one hand
- Sharp blade has remained sharp
- Serrated edge is useful
Things that could be improved:
- Some crevices accumulate dirt
- Key ring is not very useful
I plan to continue to use this knife for the foreseeable future. It is sharp, functional and lightweight.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Victorinox and the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series.
Read more reviews of Victorinox gear
Read more gear reviews by Brett Haydin