VICTORINOX ONE-HAND SENTINEL CLIP
TEST SERIES BY SAM STAMEY
INITIAL REPORT - October 20, 2009
FIELD REPORT - January 03, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - February 20, 2010
samstamey at yahoo dot com
Santa Rosa, CA
6' 0" (1.83 m)
170 lb (77.00 kg)
Backpacking background: I started backpacking two years ago with my wife and two children (ages 8 and 10 at the time). We have been car camping for 20+ years.
Most of our backpacking has been three season camping in the Sierras, 6000 -12,000 ft (1800 m - 3658 m) and on the Northern California Coast.
We mostly do a combination of car camping and backpacking.
Our family recently switched from one 4 person tent to using two 2 person tents. I usually carry most of the weight and my internal frame pack weighs between 40-50 lb (18-22 kg).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: Swissarmy.com
MSRP: US$ 30.00
Listed Weight: Not listed
Measured Weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Listed Length Closed: 4.37 in (111 mm)
Measured Length Closed: 4.38 in (112 mm)
Measured Length Open: 7.75 in (197 mm)
Measured Blade Length:3.38 in (86 mm)
One-Hand Serrated Locking Blade (liner lock)
This product is a one blade, liner locking, one hand opening knife. Construction is similar to other Swiss Army knives that I have owned or used. Plastic handles with a ring to attach to a key ring or lanyard. The handles on this knife are black instead of the usual Swiss Army red.
Construction seems sturdy while at the same time keeping the knife light.
Blade is shiny and half serrated with a large hole in the blade near the handle to help with one hand opening.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions that came with the knife are minimal. Like most of the products that I purchase these days it seems like the manufacturers assume I know how to use their product or they assume that I have access to their website to view the instructions.
What came with the knife was a small piece of paper that showed me how to close the knife and some general maintenance.
TRYING IT OUT
Picking up the knife for the first time I was surprised how light it was. This is great for a backpacking knife. I found the knife very easy to open with two hands and a little clumsy to open with one hand.
The blade has a hole near that handle where my thumb is able to get a grasp on the blade to push it open. I am able to open the knife with one hand but when the blade is halfway open I need to adjust my grip on the handle so that it is closer to the blade to finish opening the knife. It could be that my hand is small and that makes it a little more difficult. Someone with larger hands may not notice this issue.
While using the knife for cutting and slicing, the handle fits my hand fairly well and is comfortable for the most part. If I am doing a heavy cutting task I find that the liner lock digs into my forefinger and is not comfortable to use for an extended length of time.
The blade is a good length for using around the camp for everything from slicing food to carving a stick for marshmallows. The tip of the knife has an almost blunt shape and I believe it will be good for spreading items on bread such as cheese or Jam. The blade is serrated about three quarters of the way down the blade from the tip and then is smooth the rest of the way to the handle. The edge is sharpened on one side only and came from the factory very sharp.
The liner lock itself locks the blade with at solid "click" sound and holds the blade open very firmly. Closing the blade is the same way that I would close any other liner lock, I simply push the liner towards the center of the handle and close the blade with my other hand. The thing that I have noticed with this knife is the liner lock seems backwards to me. I am a right hander and in order to close the knife I need to reach my thumb to the far side of the liner lock and pull it towards the center of the knife instead of pushing it. If the liner went the other way I believe I would be able to close the knife with one hand.
The toothpick and tweezers are classic Swiss Army accessories and I think that it is great they are on this knife. They are exactly like the toothpick and tweezers in all the rest of the Swiss Army knives and slide into holders on the end of this knife. The toothpick works flawlessly and the tweezers are good for getting small splinters out of my hands.
This is a practical knife that will fit into a pocket or backpack and should not get in my way or weigh me down. The blade is long enough and sharp enough to do most chores around camp and the toothpick and tweezers are an added bonus.
This concludes my initial report and my field report will have more usage information in about two months when I have had some time to put this knife to work.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have had this knife for a couple of months now and use it as my everyday carry as well as for hiking and camping. It goes just about everywhere I go which means it sees a lot of time at an office and sometimes the beach and sometimes the woods.
Some of the trips that I have taken this knife on have been to the Sonoma Coast on the Pacific Ocean and Point Reyes National park which sits just above sea level to about 1000 ft (305 m). Daytime temperatures range from 40 - 80 F (4.44 - 27 C).
A couple of overnights to the Sierras, 6000-12,000 ft (1800 m -3658 m) where the weather has been as low as 20 F (-6.6 C) and as high as 50 F (10 C).
I use this knife in hot weather, dry weather, rainy weather and cold weather.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
For cutting and slicing work the knife has performed well. I found it a little large to carry everyday and I found that the lock for the blade seems to be backwards from what I am used to in other knives with this type of lock. It feels like when I use my thumb to push the lock out of the way to close the blade my thumb actually gets in the way of the blade closing into the handle. It the lock pushed the opposite way my thumb would be out of the way.
The knife came from the factory very sharp and held an edge well. I use it at the office to open envelopes and boxes as well as other miscellaneous cutting chores. For camping and backpacking I have used it to slice food, sharpen sticks for roasting food, cutting small sticks to make kindling for the fire, and for cleaning fish.
The knife works well for slicing food and I find that the serrated edge on the front end of the blade works well when used to slice food. It actually cuts into the food better than I expected. When slicing an apple I thought that the serrations on the knife would make the job more difficult but it actually bites into the apple skin and starts the slice preciously where I want to slice the apple and does not slip or deviate from its path.
The serrations help when slicing paper using the point of the knife. Again I was used to using a not serrated knife and expected the serration to get in the way but the serration on the tip of the knife cuts the paper smoothly and helps keep the knife on a straight path.
The blade has kept a good edge but I like to keep my knives sharp and I like to maintain the edge instead of waiting until they get dull and then go through the effort of putting a new edge on them. Because this knife is serrated I have had a hard time doing just that. The methods that I use to sharpen my knives do not work on serrated knives. I have other partial serrated knives but the serration is on the part of the blade that is closer to the handle so I am able to sharpen the front part of the blade without a problem. I find that the serrations on knives do not need to be sharpened as often as a plain edge blade. I am not sure how I am going to keep this knife sharp.
The handle of the knife does not show any wear other than some ground in dirt. The blade itself is still shiny and does not have any major scratches or nicks.
The toothpick is holding up well. I occasionally use it to get something out of my teeth and it works well. The tweezers still work well and I have used them about 8-10 times for pulling thorns and splinters out of my hands and one fairly large splinter out of my knee.
Things I like:
Easy to open
Toothpick and tweezers built in
Things I don't like:
Lock is backwards
Not easy to sharpen
All in all this knife has worked like it is supposed to work and has held up well. I feel that the lock is backwards and I may cut myself closing it sometime. It feels like it is setup for a left handed person. I will continue to put this knife through it's paces for the next few months.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the course of this long term test I have carried this knife an average of 5 days a week. The knife goes everywhere that I have gone in the past 4 months: from sea level to about 6500 ft. (1981 m) around Lake Tahoe California.
The weather for the last two months has included a lot of rain and some snow and ice. The temperature has ranged between 17 F and 50 F (-8.32 C and 10.00 C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
This knife has performed pretty much as expected. It has cut and sliced everything that I have put it up against and has stayed fairly sharp the entire time. The handle has held up well and it is an easy knife to keep clean but needs extra attention around the lock area. Sharpening the knife has been a challenge and the lock sometimes sticks so that the blade is not actually locked.
I have been carrying the knife with me almost daily and use it to cut open boxes, bags, strings and various other materials. I like the serrated edge on the tip more than I thought that I would. It actually helps me cut a straight line by gripping whatever I am trying to cut. It works well cutting fruit and the blade is long enough to be useful for preparing food at camp.
The handle and blade still looks good with very little signs of wear. They both have very minor scratches on them. The toothpick has not been used much and shows no signs of wear and the tweezers function as well as the first time that I used them.
My two biggest complaints are sharpening of the knife and the lock.
Sharpening has been a pain for me. Since the serrations are on the tip of the knife I cannot use the sharpening stick that I normally use on my other knives. I usually use a pull through type sharpening system but it does not work on serrated knives. I have tried to use a small round file on the serrations and the edge of a sharpening stone for the plains section of the knife. This has been very slow and has had mixed results.
I have complained in the past about the lock being "backwards" and now I find that the lock sticks if any dirt or debris gets in between the lock and the side of the knife. Other knives that I have had with this type of lock work better than this one has. It seems like the spring metal that is used on this knife is not very springy. I have noticed that I need to force the lock on more than one occasion to make sure that the blade is locked in place. Once I give it a good cleaning the lock starts to work again but it seems very sensitive to small debris.
Overall this knife has performed as it should. The blade is long enough to be useful for preparing food and the extra items such as the tweezers and toothpick are handy to have on a knife. I find the knife hard to sharpen and the lock is less than perfect.
I will continue to use this knife as a backup knife for camping and backpacking. It is light enough to throw in a pack and the tweezers could come in handy on the trail.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
This concludes my long term testing. I would like to thank Victorinox and Backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test this knife.
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