Victorinox Picnicker (Swiss Army Knife)
By Raymond Estrella
September 05, 2007
Huntington Beach California USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or fiancée Jenn.
Manufacturer: Victorinox AG
Web site: www.victorinox.ch
Model number: 0.8853
Length listed: 4.37 in (111 mm)
Actual length closed: 4.3 in (109 mm)
Actual length open: 7.7 in (196 mm)
Weight listed: N/A
Actual weight: 2.8 oz (79 g)
Also made as style 0.8853.W with serrated cutting edge on knife blade
The Victorinox Picnicker (hereafter called the Picnicker or knife) is a multi-function tool that has 11 tools in one body.
The handles are made of red nylon. They are rounded off and have a comfortable grip that is wavy on one face (where the fingers are when the blade is down) to fit a hand more naturally. Here is a picture of the knife with everything open and out. The tools are identified below.
1: reamer, punch
2: locking blade with 3.2 in (81 mm) cutting surface
3: small flat screwdriver
4: can opener
6: wire stripper
7: bottle opener
8: larger flat screwdriver
10: key ring
The knife uses a sliding lock on the outside of the handle. The way that it works is when the blade is open fully it pushes past a metal "tooth" that uses a camming action to snap into a notch in the blade that is exposed when the blade rotates past it. By sliding the exterior knurled switch down, the tooth pulls out of the notch allowing the blade to be closed.
None of the tools protrude from the handles in such a way that they will catch on the inside of my pocket or pack. All are easy to open with the exception of the punch.
I do not know where to even start as far as where this knife has been. From the south up it has been carried and used in the following parks and forests.
San Jacinto Wilderness, Mount San Jacinto State Park, San Bernardino National Forest, Joshua Tree National Park, San Gorgonio Wilderness, Death Valley National Park, Sequoia National Forest, Sequoia National Park, Domeland Wilderness, Kings Canyon National Park, Inyo National Forest, Golden Trout Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness, Sierra National Forest, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
Elevations have ranged from sea level to at least 14000' (4267 m) and temperatures have been from below freezing to 120 F (49 C)
It has been on snow, sand, dirt, and rock, in sun, rain, fog and smog, in hardwood forests, pine forests and petrified forests.
I bought the Picnicker in 1991. At the time I carried quite the backpacking kitchen and was known for making some pretty good multi-course meals while on the trail. (These are known as the heavy days…)
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
I used it quite a lot from 1991 through 1993, and then sporadically until now. As my approach to hiking nutrition and backpacking meals has evolved considerably since then to a much lighter, easier-to-prepare and more natural style it does not go out as often. It only goes backpacking two or three times a year now, but goes on camping trips or the night-before-at-the-trailhead camps another four or five times a year.
The blade is the highlight of this knife. I love how long and straight it is. This makes it very usable to prepare food. I love knives and have a lot. A Rambo-type knife is a favorite for me, but I realize that they are horrible for food prep. (I rarely need to eviscerate a chunk of cheddar…) The Picnicker shines at it.
The blade is made from Swiss Stainless Steel. Mine has never been sharpened that I can remember. I have never taken any special pains with it in the field. I wipe food off it, usually just rinsing it off. (It gets washed with soap once I get back.) The blade is still very sharp. Running my finger (carefully) down the edge I can feel some slight dings in the blade that catch my skin. None are large enough to be noticeable. There are a few slight blemishes in the stainless. I am amazed at how well this blade has held up after all this time. (I am going to take it to Minnesota and steel the blade and give it a good sharpening after I write this review.)
The lock holds very well. I have never had it slip, and it is easy to disengage. This is the only sliding lock release that I have ever used.
I have never used the reamer/punch tool. In fact when taking the picture above I opened it for the second time ever. But I like to think that if I had to I could use it to make a buckskin shirt or something like that if forced to survive in the woods. Oh wait; I have a satellite phone on most trips…
The can opener works well but I have only used it a time or two as I never bring canned stuff hiking and usually have a "real" can opener when camping.
The bottle opener works great! That is one of my favorite uses for the knife. Here is a Ray's-obligatory-opening-a-beer-shot of it in action. (It is such a good excuse to have a cold one at the office.) The wire stripper under the opener is something that has never been needed.
I have used the screwdrivers in the field. The large one the most as Dave and I both had packs with a screw adjustment for the suspension that would inexplicably slide up no matter how tight we had it.
The cork screw works well also. I have opened more than a few bottles of wine with it at trailheads and camp sites, but have never used it backpacking. The tweezers are pretty soft. I have used them a few times to get out splinters or fine stickers, and maybe a tick or two.
The toothpick is made of plastic and works OK. I do not use it often so as not to dull it too much. I just use it for something stuck between my teeth in such a way that it drives me nuts. The key ring can be used as a lanyard ring also, but I do not use it for anything.
I like the Picnicker and I will probably still be using it on occasion for another 13 years.
Read more reviews of Victorinox gear
Read more gear reviews by Ray Estrella