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Reviews > Knives > Multi-tools > Victorinox Rescue Tool > Test Report by James E. Triplett
Victorinox Rescue Tool
by James E. Triplett
Initial Report - December 19, 2008
Field Report - April 24, 2009
Long Term Report - June 9, 2009
Personal Biographical Information:
I am an
experienced hiker, backpacker, and camper, and am gaining more
experience with winter camping every year. I hike every day,
backpack when possible, which leads to many weekends backpacking and
camping each year. I try and take at least one annual
backpacking trip in addition to many one to three-night weekend
trips. My style can best be described as
not at the cost of giving up too much comfort. I generally
in a tent, and seem to be collecting quite a few of them to choose from.
Additional Victorinox Rescue Tool information:
(from the www.victorinox.com website)
December 19, 2008
Wow! This is a serious multi-function knife. When I opened up the package I was surprised how heavy it was. I've had multi-blade Swiss Army knives in the past, but this one is definitely new and improved over any of my previous experiences with such tools.
The Victorinox Rescue Tool came inside the brightly colored, included, case. The case is a reddish-orange webbing-like material, with bright yellow-green piping along the edges. Inside the case was the Rescue Tool with luminescent yellow-green grips. The words "Rescue Tool" and the Swiss Army logo are screened on one side of the knife in bright red. Wow! This is a modern looking multi-bladed knife.
Victorinox purports that this knife has 15 tools or features. I'm not sure that I would claim the key ring, luminescent grip shells, nylon cord, and nylon case in this list, but it does make for an impressive list of features. (Also the screwdriver, cap lifter, and wire stripper are actually the same tool.) Here's the complete list:
1. One-handed blade
2. Phillips screwdriver
3. Window breaker
4. Strong 6mm screwdriver with
5. - cap lifter
6. - wire stripper
7. Punch and reamer
8. Belt cutter
9. Key ring
12. Disc saw
13. Luminescent grip shells
14. Nylon cord
15. Nylon case
Of course I am always happy to see the traditional tweezers (above) and toothpick which slide into their homes in the side grips.
Included with the Victorinox Rescue Tool was a small folded up set of instructions for automobile rescues. For a side window the rescue agent is to apply a protective film over the window, break it with the "Window Breaker", and press the window into the auto. For a windshield rescue the rescue agent is to smash a hole into the windscreen with the "Window Breaker" and then use the Glass Saw (called a "disk saw" above) to cut through the plastic in the safety glass. There are also instructions for using the Crate Opener (6 mm Screwdriver above), lock-blade, and how to change the Disc Saw and Window Breaker should they become damaged or worn out. A scan of these instructions is available on the www.victorinox.com website as a PDF document.
There really isn't much to report on at this point other than the features of the Victorinox Rescue Tool. So below are pictures of each of the main devices.
Strong 6mm screwdriver with Cap lifter and Wire stripper
Punch and reamer
Tweezers and Toothpick
Disc saw (with Cord and Key ring)
Initial Report Summary:
The Victorinox Rescue Tool (Multi-function Knife) is a dandy little piece of equipment. It is not a toy, and the sharp parts of the tool are sharper than I've traditionally seen on a knife right out of the box. The Rescue Tool preserves much of the heritage of Swiss Army Knives, but it is updated with luminescent green sides, and of course the glass breaker and glass saw.
April 24, 2009
I have carried the Victorinox Rescue Tool with me a lot during the past four months. The temperature has ranged from -33 F (-36 C) to +80 F (27 C), and the weather has gone from bitter winter to warm spring. There has been precipitation in the form of rain, sleet, freezing rain, and snow, although the Rescue Tool has only been exposed to snow and ice that was already on the ground.
I have taken the Victorinox on two weekend backpacking trips. A 1-day 1-night trip and a 2-day 2-night trip. These were to some local Eastern Iowa parks. Additionally, I have carried the Victorinox Rescue Tool on several day-hikes in the acres of woods near my home.
I must confess right up front that I haven't rescued anybody with the Rescue Tool, although it certainly appears to be up to the task. I have primarily used the knife blade and the belt cutter in my field use.
The knife blade on the Rescue Tool is wide and serrated. I have found the blade easy to open using the one-handed technique wich makes use of the thumb-hole in the blade. The blade easily snaps into the locked position. Besides use around the house, I have used the blade to whittle wood curls in order to facilitate starting a fire, and also to cut and sharpen hotdog roasting sticks. The blade arrived in impressively sharp condition, and remains quite sharp after some field use. It has sliced through wood easily and with stability. My only misgiving is that the handle of the Rescue Tool is chocked-full of other tools which makes the grip somewhat uncomfortable if I am whittling very long. I originally thought unlocking the blade was a bit cumbersome, but I have gotten used to how it operates, and it hasn't proven to be an issue.
The belt cutter, as it turns out, is a nice device for cutting through all kinds of stubborn things. I have used it for cutting strapping tape, opening boxes, and getting through pesky nylon cable ties. The curve of the belt cutter blade is nice for not letting these things slip off of the blade while being cut when pulling the knife toward me. I like it.
I have also used the window breaker tool to chip ice off of stones and wood, primarily just to see if it worked. It does. The window breaker, in its stubby configuration, is quite strong and stable. It is somewhat impressive the way I can chip away at the ice. The only issue is the grip again, but since I was wearing gloves it wasn't that big of a deal.
I have found the case for the Victorinox Rescue Tool surprisingly easy to use. Despite the wide opening to accommodate tool belts, the case has worked well for me with a regular webbing type of belt. It seems as though it should shift around quite a bit due to the size difference, but it has remained stable and in place during several hours of hiking. One of my pairs of hiking pants has an integrated belt, which can't be used with the feed-through Victorinox case. I do wish it could somehow clip over the edge of my pants, but I've also lost a knife with a pocket clip, so I understand the secure design. I've tried using a carabiner through the belt slot in the case, but wasn't really happy with the way it worked. I've also put a carabiner through the key ring on the tool itself, but wasn't confident it was strong enough for continued use. But it's not a big deal. If I can't wear the knife on my belt I simply slip in into one of the exterior pockets on my backpack and off I go.
The most surprising discovery I have made about the Victorinox Rescue Tool is that the "luminescent grip shells" (the yellow plastic on the outside of the tool) really do "luminesce"! They glow in the dark! That's pretty cool, and could possibly aid one in finding the Rescue Tool in darkness.
Glow-in-the-dark Victorinox luminescent grip shells
I have carried the Victorinox Rescue Tool with me on a daily basis for morning hikes during the week, and longer day hikes on the weekends. This has provided for taking the Rescue Tool into temperatures as low as -33 F (-36 C) at the beginning of the test period, and as high as to +80 F (27 C) during some unusually warm weather early this spring. The Rescue Tool has also been used on two overnight trips to Pinnicon Ridge Park here in Eastern Iowa. It has also been used around home quite a bit. Elevations have ranged from around 480 feet (145 meters) near the Mississippi river, to around 800 feet (245 meters) around my house.
Using the Rescue Tool:
I have continued to use the one-handed blade and the belt cutter as my primary tools of choice, but have also used the disc saw quite a bit. I have also used the toothpick, and screwdriver, and played around with the other tools. All the tools are intuitive and work with certain exactness demonstrating high quality.
The serrated one-handed blade is
the most often used tool. I guess I still think of the "Rescue
Tool" as a knife first and foremost. I have used the knife for
trimming sticks and making shavings to start fires, and also for
cutting meats and cheeses during hikes. The disc saw has turned
out to be handy for cutting small branches for fire preparation.
Cleaning and Care:
It is my contention that the Victorinox Rescue Tool performs as well today as it did the day it arrived. I have used it a fair amount, yet it still doesn't need sharpening and it still looks great. I'm rather impressed with the seemingly tight tolerances on the knife which make all the tools move with precision.
This concludes my report on the Victorinox Rescue Tool.
Thank you BackpackGearTest.org and Victorinox for the opportunity to test this product.
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