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Reviews > Knives > Multi-tools > Victorinox Spirit-X Multitool > Test Report by Christopher Cappetta

Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X
IR- 5 October 2011
FR- 3 January 2012
LTR-  13 February 2012

Tester Information:
Name: Chris Cappetta
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.9 m)
Weight: 215 lb (97 kg)
Email address: christopher.cappetta@western.edu
City, State, Country: Crested Butte, Colorado, USA
Backpacking Background: I am a student at Western State College of Colorado, getting my degree in outdoor leadership. I spend a lot of time in the Elk and San Juan ranges of the Colorado Rockies in both the summer and winter. My trips are generally a day to a week in mountainous terrain. Weather fluctuates drastically and snow can be a consideration at any time of year. For the past two years I have been backpacking in almost exclusively alpine terrain ranging from 8,000-14,000 ft (2,500-4,500 m). I am currently making the transition to lightweight gear.

Product Information:
Manufacturer: Victorinox Swiss Army Brands Inc
Year of manufacture: 2011
http://www.victorinox.com/
MSRP: $103
Measured weight: 7.4 oz (210 g)
Listed Length (closed) - 4.13 in (105 mm)
Measured Length - 4.13 in (105 mm)

tool
The Leather Case, Packaging, and Tool


The Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X (below called the Spirit X or tool) is burlier than any multi-tool that I've previously owned. The look is metallic silver, and it has the Victorinox logo stamped on either side of the tool. It came with a nice looking leather case that has a belt loop. The images below correspond to the list of tools from the included User's Guide.

tool

tool

1.Needle nose pliers (shown but not numbered in the first photo)
2.Screwdriver 2 mm
3.Screwdriver 3 mm
4.Wire cutter for thin and soft wire up to a hardness of 40 HRc (shown but not numbered in the crotch of the needle nose pliers)
5.Bottle opener
6.Screwdriver 6 mm
7.Crate opener
8. Straight edge blade (the Spirit X comes with two straight-blade variations.  The variation being tested is shown below)
9.Scissors
10.Metal file
11.Metal saw
12.Wood saw
13.Reamer
14.Phillips screwdriver
15.Chisel/scraper
16.Cable cover cutter lengthwise
17.Wire bender
18.Wire stripper and scraper
19.Cable cover cutter circular
20.Can opener
21.Multi purpose hook
22.Leather pouch
23.Coupling for corkscrew (not included)
24.Hard wire cutter (not numbered. user guide makes note: cut hard wire only here)
25.Lanyard hole
26.Lock release (shown but not numbered opposite the pliers in the first photo)

tool
The straight blade


The Spirit X seems to be a sturdy multi-tool. The tools are accessible from the outside while the Spirit X is closed and all fold-out tools lock into place. The needle nose pliers, along with the dual hardness wire cutters are the only tools that require opening the handle. The locking features are nice because I've had other multi-tools close while I'm trying to use the screwdriver. The chisel and straight blade are very sharp right out of the box. As a cook I have a deep belief in the saying: a sharp knife is a smart knife, so this is something I very much appreciate. All of the tools look like they will perform their intended functions and nothing about the assembly seems loose.


I plan to use this tool primarily for ski touring. It is slightly heavier than the tool I've carried for this in the past, but I will absorb the extra weight for the safety added by the locking mechanisms. I take care of multi-tools with a bit of WD-40 in any moving parts, and this one will be no different. Should the workings start to stick (from cutting food especially) I have soaked past tools in turpentine. I look forward to finding a function for as many of these tools as possible. I anticipate I will use the knife, scissors, scraper, pliers, screwdrivers and, of course, the bottle opener extensively.



Field Report

After two months of testing, the Spirit X has lived up to and surpassed my expectations. I've used it on four overnight trips as well as car camping and extensively in the front country. I remain impressed with its construction. It is a bit larger than other multi tools I've used, but I feel it is a worthwhile trade off for far superior sturdiness. I have used a number of the tools for their intended purpose, and some for improvised service. In all cases I've appreciated the locking mechanism. It allows me to really put some strength into the tool without worrying about unexpectedly folding my finger in metal.

The tools I have used:
1- Needle Nose Pliers- The pliers are built well.  I couldn't find a field use for them so I removed the child deterrant metal piece from some bic lighters I had laying around. I find this makes a lighter easier to spark with cold fingers and was happy with the precision of the Spirit X pliers in this task.

2- 2mm Flat Head Screwdriver- I used this tool to re-tighten a hinge screw on my Smith sunglasses in the backcountry. I was skeptical that it would be precise enough for the tiny screw, but the 2mm was just small enough to fit in the groove.

3- 3mm Flat Head Screwdriver- I wasn't able to find a backcountry use for this tool, but it worked well for replacing and removing light switch covers when I helped a friend with some painting.

4- Wire Cutter- I didn't use either of the wire cutters on wire, but I did use them on plastic to great effect. I had used a zip tie and some super glue to repair a broken waist strap buckle on my pack. The wire cutter had absolutely no problem cutting the hanging ends of the zip ties.

5- Cap Lifter- I tested the bottle opener car camping and in the front country on adult beverage bottles. It is a solid opener, but like other multi-tool bottle openers I've used, I have to pry from multiple angles- the first attempt doesn't generally get the cap off.

6- Straight Blade- This is the tool I used the most on the Spirit X. I mentioned in my initial report that I appreciated the sharp edge out of the factory and I remain happy with it. I've used it for mostly food cutting - cheese, sausage and apples. The blade is still sharp and I like the way the tool rests in my hand when cutting personal snacks. With the blade extended my pointer finger rests behind the blade and sits comfortably in the right angle between blade and multi tool. I feel this improves my grip by supplying good stability both around the tool and lengthwise.
blade

7- Scissors- The scissors are sharp and effective as well. After waking up to find my Thermarest pad deflated I used the scissors to cut a vinyl patch. They did the job perfectly. I've also used them to cut some spare threads on new clothing and they provided a clean cut with only the very lightest of squeezes.

8- Wood Saw- I mentioned in my initial report that I appreciate the sharpness of all the tools and the wood saw is no exception. I used it to cut up some tinder for a fire. It was small enough material to break but I really just wanted to see how the saw would perform and was pleased. I liked using it best with the same grip as the knife- i.e with the blade up and my pointer finger resting in the right angle between saw and tool- cutting upward.

9- Reamer/ Punch- I didn't use this tool for it's intended purpose (reaming?) but I do regularly use it to break up ice on the base of my snowboard bindings. It it perfect for breaking up the deposits that my gloved knuckles can not quite crack.

10- Phillips Head Screwdriver- This is the tool I was most impressed with on the Spirit X. I've not used a locking multi tool before and in the past the multi tools I've owned are simply insufficient for working on snowboard bindings. I would use them only for emergency fixes to get to the nearest real Phillips Head. Not so with the Spirit X. For the first time I can use my multi tool on the mountain to adjust my bindings and feel confident they will not budge. I've used this tool to adjust my bindings about 5 times and only once noticed a bit of slip in a binding. I do feel a bit of torsional flex in the multi tool on these jobs but it doesn't feel like it is approaching any sort of breaking point.

11- Chisel- Like the reamer I did not use this for its intended purpose but instead for chipping ice out of my gear. As a general progression I first try to knock the ice out with my knuckles, then the reamer, and finally the chisel for the most ingrained ice.

12- Can Opener- I've used the can opener a number of times- mostly for tuna cans and Bush's beans. It is an intuitive design and having used other manual openers I was able to quickly figure out how to use it efficiently. I would estimate it takes me about 60 seconds to completely take the lid off a large can of tuna.

Impressions- This is the sturdiest multi-tool I've used. I continue to be pleased with it's materials and design. There are a number of tools that seem more oriented towards a construction site than the backcountry (like the chisel, wire cutters/strippers, and metal saw) but these particular tools can be improvised to different uses due to their sturdiness and well honed edges. This is a bulkier multi-tool than I would have use for on a summer backpacking trip. That said, in the winter, with ski and snowboard gear to malfunction I will gladly carry a bit of extra weight for the wide spread of useful tools.



Long Term Report


I have used the Spirit X on three overnight ski tours since my Field Report, as well as two days of back country split boarding and a few days of snowboarding in bounds at Crested Butte.  I remain impressed by the strength of this tool and I am very pleased with the locking mechanism – a feature my previous multi tools have lacked. 

Two of the ski tours were on the Hinsdale-Haute Route in the San Juan Mountains, and the last was to a 10th Mountain Division Hut in the Elk Mountains.  My gear didn't need repair on these trips so I primarily used the Spirit X as a food knife. 

The split boarding excursions allowed me to put the Phillips Head screw driver into back country service to good effect.  The split board I use is a rental from my school and the pivot bolts for the high-back unfortunately loosen as the high back is raised and lowered.  I tightened these bolts every couple laps and found the Spirit X very good for this job. 

On my (non-split) snowboard I was able to test out the metal saw.  Again the high back pivot bolt was the item in question.  In this case a replacement bolt was longer than the original - leaving the tip extended into a space my boot needs to occupy.  I was able to saw the tip of the bolt off while it was in place on the binding. This provided both a grip on the bolt and an accurate measurement of how much I wanted to remove.  After around ten minutes of sawing at strange angles I was able to get through the bolt and encountered no signs of wear on the saw.

To summarize this tool is very functional and I remain confident in it's durability.  It weighs more than any multi tool I've previously owned but it is also far sturdier.  The locking mechanism is fantastic- I would say my favorite feature.  I will continue to use this on winter overnight trips and while snowboarding in bounds, however I will not likely use the Spirit X for any summer camping.  My summer style is lightweight, and the Spirit X is much more tool than I need for that season.  There were some features I really liked and some that seemed more oriented towards construction type work than camping.

The Features I Really Like:
Locking Mechanism
Knife
Pliers
Can Opener/ Screw Driver 3 mm
Phillips Head Screw Driver
Scissors
Reamer/ Punch

Features I could Do Without:
Wood Saw - I am fairly certain I could break any sticks small enough to use this saw on.
Metal Saw - I found a use for it in the front country, but I don't imagine I will use this in the back country.
Chisel - It is a fine sharp tool, but I used it only for chipping ice- the reamer would be sufficient.
Screw Driver 2 mm - I don't need a unique extension for this; I could make do with just the 3 mm - which is included on the can opener.
Bottle Opener - I generally use a lighter to pry off caps; for my purposes the multi tool could be made a bit lighter without this feature.

I'd like to thank BGT and Victorinox for the opportunity to test this quality multi tool, and I'd like to thank you for reading.





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Reviews > Knives > Multi-tools > Victorinox Spirit-X Multitool > Test Report by Christopher Cappetta



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