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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Victorinox One Handed Sentinel > Test Report by James E. Triplett

Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel
Serrated Lockblade Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel

by James E. Triplett
Initial Report - October 16, 2009
Field Report - January 14, 2010
Long Term Report - March 15, 2010


Personal Biographical Information:

Name: James E. Triplett
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm)
Weight: 190 lb (86.2 kg)
Email address: james_triplett@hotmail.com
City, State: Cedar Rapids, Iowa - USA

 

Backpacking Background:

I am an experienced hiker, backpacker, and camper, and am gaining more experience with winter camping every year.  I hike every day, and backpack when possible, which leads to many weekends backpacking and camping each year.  I try and take at least one annual week-long backpacking trip in addition to many one to three-night weekend trips.   My style can best be described as lightweight, but not at the cost of giving up too much comfort.  I generally sleep in a tent, and seem to be collecting quite a few of them to choose from.


Manufacturer Information:

Manufacturer: Victorinox
URL:
www.victorinox.com
    -or-
www.swissarmy.com

 Inside the Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel

Product Information:

Year of Manufacture: New in 2009
Date Item Received: October 14, 2009

Item being tested:
One-Hand Sentinel (lockblade)
Model number: 54890 (Serrated)
MSRP: $30 US (from swissarmy.com)
Listed weight: None
Actual weight (with tweezers and toothpick):
71.8 grams (2.5 ounces)
Tweezers: 0.81 grams (0.03 ounces)
Toothpick: 0.21 grams (0.007 ounces)

Victorinox Sentinel with ruler

Measurements: Inches Centimeters
Folded length:
4 3/8 11.1
Sharp portion of blade:
3 3/16 8.1
Total blade extension from case: 3 3/8  8.6
Approximate case thickness:
 7/16 1.1
Approximate blade thickness: 3/32 0.24
Case height in the middle: 15/16 2.4




Additional Victorinox Rescue Tool information:
(from the www.victorinox.com website)
    1.  Lock blade for one hand opening  
    2.  Key ring
    3.  Tweezers
    4.  Toothpick

Swiss Army logo

Initial Report
October 16, 2009


Initial Inspection:
This is a basic Swiss Army knife from Victorinox.  It has one serrated blade which locks when opened all the way.  The case is made of black plastic which seems grainier than the shiny red Swiss Army knife I used to have.  Victorinox says it is a no-slip handle, which makes sense based on the feel of the material.  It is nice to see that the famous Swiss Army tweezers and toothpick are housed in the case opposite from the blade hinge.  There is also a "key ring" between the tweezers and toothpick.  The blade has a thumb hole to facilitate opening the Sentinel with one hand.

Victorinox Sentinel Tweezer and Toothpick

The Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel is a decent sized knife.  With the blade closed, laying it across my hand it is slightly longer than my palm is wide (above my thumb).  With the blade extended the knife measures about 7 ¾ inches (19.7 cm) long.  The weight of the Sentinel seems about right for a knife this size.  The center of gravity along the length of the opened knife is about right under the red Swiss Army logo.

Hinge of the Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel

The serrated blade is flat on one side with the serrations beveled into the other side.  The blade came pre-oiled and the machine oil can be seen around the pivot point of the blade, as shown in the picture above.  The blade makes a nice solid clicking sound when it snaps into place.  The "click" is a long flat spring which moves in behind the blade when the blade is fully extended.  To collapse the blade the spring must be moved back to the side which allows the blade to pivot back into the closed position.  See the illustration from Victorinox, and one of my photos, below.  The knife seems to be fairly sharp, and sliced into the padded envelope it arrived in with just the slightest of pressure.

Lock blade instructions    Sentinel Lock-Blade



Initial Report Summary:
The Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel is basically what I expected.  It is light for its size, but still has a nice solid feel to it.  Victorinox lists the folded size of the knife as 4 3/8 inches (11.1 cm), which is accurate.  The blade length wasn't given, but at 3 3/8 inches (8.6 cm) it is a nice sized blade.

Victorinox guarantees all Swiss Army Knives to be of first-class steel and provides a lifetime warranty against any defects in material and workmanship, but not damage caused by abnormal or unreasonable use.

Victorinox stamped in blade



Field Report
January 14, 2010

Test Conditions:
I have carried the Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel with me a lot during this portion of the test period.  Daily, with a few exceptions, when going to work, working around the house, and of course camping and backpacking.  The temperature has ranged from -20 F (-29 C) to +55 F (13 C), and the weather has gone from a moderate fall to a bitter winter, including a week where it didn't get above 0 F (-18 C).  There has been precipitation in the form of rain, sleet, freezing rain, and snow.

I have taken the Victorinox on two weekend backpacking trips in the late fall.  They consisted of a 1-day 1-night trip and a 2-day 2-night trip.  The 1-day trip was to Palisades-Kepler State Park, and the 2-day trip to Pinicon Ridge County Park, both in Eastern Iowa.  Conditions were mild fall weather without precipitation.

Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel in the snow

Field Testing:
This fall we had lots of rain which turned to snow as winter approached.  It snowed in early December, and the snow has been on the ground ever since.  Overall we ended up about 14 inches (36 cm) over the normal 35 inch (900 cm) yearly total.  I have carried the Sentinel on daily hikes which ranged in length from 2 to 7 miles (3.2 to 11.3 km).  The hikes have been on wet and dry trails, snowy trails, and more recently involved about a dozen snowshoeing adventures.

The knife works quite well.  It has stayed sharp, and I actually cut a very thin bit of skin off the tip of my thumb when slicing some cheese one day.  The cut was so thin that it didn't even bleed.  To me, that indicated a sharp knife. 

While hiking I have used the knife to trim small branches off of trees that have fallen across the trail, in order to allow me to crawl under the trunk with out scratching up my face and eyes.  I have also used the Sentinel to sharpen hotdog sticks, and to whittle curls of wood for fire starting.  I have also used it to cut some meat and cheese.

Besides use on the trail, I have found the Sentinel useful for opening parcels sealed with strong tape, and the Sentinel came in quite handy on Christmas for cutting ribbon and opening boxes.

The Sentinel is fairly comfortable to carry in my front jeans pocket, or in any fairly sturdy pants.  It is a little bulky for some of my thinner hiking pants, so when I am wearing those I typically place the knife in a jacket pocket, or in my pack.

Victorinox - Key ring gets in the way

Observations:
I like the Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel very much.  It is surprisingly light for its size, yet still has a nice sturdy feel to it.  The grip of the knife is comfortable, and even more so when wearing gloves.  The small key ring, and the little bracket it is attached to, do rub on the palm of my hand, which offers some mild discomfort.  The ring also seems to hang in the way of removing the tweezers and toothpick.

I haven't quite mastered the one-handed opening technique.  Sometimes I seem to be able to do it fairly easily, and sometimes I just don't have the right leverage with my thumb.  Opening the knife with gloves is not possible for me, except with my very thinnest pair, which are of the stretchy, knit, variety.

Victorinox Sentinel

Summary:
This is a dandy knife and I have enjoyed using it.  It is sharp, the serrated edge cuts nicely, and I carry it most everywhere.  My only suggestion would be to eliminate the key ring.  It is a feature I can't see using, and it gets in the way of gripping the knife, and removing the tools.  Otherwise I think this is an excellent design.





Long Term Report
March 15, 2010

Test Conditions:
I have carried the Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel with me on a daily basis for morning hikes during the week, and longer day hikes on the weekends.  This is in addition to two overnight car-camping trips to Pinicon Ridge County Park in Eastern Iowa, and lots of snowshoeing. 

Until last week when we had a nice spring thaw, there has been snow on the ground for the entire long term test period.  Temperatures have ranged from around -20 F (-29 C) to near 50 F (10 C). 

Using the Sentinel:
Usage has been primarily the same as discussed in my field report.  I have trimmed branches, sharpened sticks, and whittled wood for starting fires (both at camp and for fires in my fireplace).  I have also sliced meat and cheese for snacks on the trail.  At home I have continued to use the knife for opening packages and unpackaging items with those pesky nylon ties.  Additionally, the Sentinel has come in useful for cubing steak and slicing onions for stew preparation.  The knife sliced through the T-bone in the picture below nicely, without tearing or mauling the meat.  I must say it cut cleaner than most of the everyday cutlery in my kitchen.

Victorinox Sentinel making stew

The Sentinel is nearly always with me and is just large enough that people seem fairly impressed when I whip it out to help someone cut something.  As I mentioned previously, it is just a little bulky for my pocket in some pairs of pants, but seems comfortable to carry in jeans or medium weight hiking pants.  You may be able to see in the picture below how the knife makes a bulge in my medium weight hiking pants on a recent snowshoeing outing.

Snow shoeing iwth the Victorinox Sentinel

The "action" of the Victorinox Sentinel has loosened up slightly over the test period.  I still get that nice solid "click" when locking the blade into the business position, but I find that opening the knife with one hand is now much easier to accomplish. 

Cleaning and Care:
Most of the cleaning required for the Sentinel was a result of cutting food.  I typically just use a soft dry cloth to wipe down the knife, and it returns to its original shiny condition.  The serrated blade was sharp out of the box, and I haven't felt the need to sharpen it during this test series.  I have used the toothpick several times, but haven't had the occasion to use the tweezers other than for just playing around with them.  I am happy to report that both the toothpick and tweezers are still nicely housed in the knife handle.  (They seem like something I might easily lose, but that has not been the case.)

More food prep with the Victorinox Sentinel

Summary:
I have really enjoyed using the Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel.  The blade is sturdy and sharp, the handle is large and comfortable, the center of gravity makes the knife easy to use, and overall I'd say this is a fairly lightweight knife.  My only suggestion would be to eliminate the key ring, as it gets in the way of removing the toothpick and tweezers, and makes the grip slightly uncomfortable.  Other than that, I think this is one cool knife, and I hope to use it for many years to come.

This concludes my reporting on the Victorinox One-Hand Sentinel.

Thank you BackpackGearTest.org and Victorinox for the opportunity to test this fine knife.

Respectfully submitted,

-James T.



Read more reviews of Victorinox gear
Read more gear reviews by James E. Triplett

Reviews > Knives > Folding > Victorinox One Handed Sentinel > Test Report by James E. Triplett



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