Best Swiss Army Knife for EDC and camping in 2019

best swiss army knife for edc and camping

If you are an avid outdoorsman, field master or just a knife enthusiast, you should definitely have a Swiss Army knife in your collection for Every Day Carry(EDC), camping or any other outdoor adventure. All these knives have a lifetime warranty, so each item is truly a Buy It For Life(BIFL) product.

The best Swiss Army Knives incorporate tools that fulfill anywhere from 5 to 30 odd functions while remaining fully manageable and lightweight. In fact, the main challenge with these pocket multi-tools is picking the right combination for elegance, utility and size.

So which is the best Swiss army knife for EDC and camping?

In this article, we look at answering exactly the same question and share some of the best Swiss Army knives made by Victorinox and some other manufacturers. We will look at the various features available with each such pocket multi-tool to help you pick the right combination. We will also list some of the main factors to keep in mind while picking the best Swiss Army Knife for EDC or camping.

This article would strongly compliment the best multi-tool article in which we primarily focused on larger multi-tools.

Best Swiss Army knife comparison list

Our picks for the best Swiss army knife for EDC and camping and how they stack against each other.
PictureProductSpecificationsFeatures 

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp Pocket KnifeLength : 3.5"
Width : 1"
Wt. : 6.56 oz.
High end Swiss knife with 26 tools with 33 functions:
Large Blade | Small Blade | Corkscrew | Can Opener & Small Screwdriver | Bottle Opener with Large Screwdriver and Wire Stripper | Reamer | Key Ring | Tweezers | Toothpick | Scissors | Multi-purpose Hook (Parcel Carrier) | Wood Saw | Fish Scaler | Hook Disgorger | Ruler | Nail File | Nail Cleaner | Metal File | Metal Saw | Fine Screwdriver | Chisel/Scraper | Pliers | Wire Cutter | Wire Crimper | Phillips Screwdriver | Magnifying Lens | Pressurized Ballpoint Pen | Straight Pin | Patented Mini-screwdriver | Sewing Eye

Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket KnifeLength : 2.3"
Width : 0.7"
Wt. : 0.85 oz.
Ultralight Swiss Army Knife with 5 key features:
LED mini white light:18,000 MCD | Knife blade | Nail file with screwdriver | Scissors | Key ring inox | Retractable ball pen

Victorinox Swiss Army Basic Pocket KnifeLength : 3.58"
Width : 0.71"
Wt. : 2.6 oz.
The traditional standard model with 14 functions:
Large Blade | Small Blade | Corkscrew | Can Opener| Small Screwdriver (also for Phillips Screws) | Bottle Opener | Large Screwdriver | Wire Stripper | Reamer | Key Ring | Tweezers | Toothpick |
Scissors | Multi-purpose Hook (Parcel Carrier)
- Variants include Camper II, Huntsman II, Sportsman II, Climber II, Spartan II and Champion Plus
Victorinox Swiss Army Explorer KnifeLength : 3.5"
Width : 1.0"
Wt. : 2.9 oz.
A popular Swiss army knife for recreational explorers with 15 tools:
Large Blade | Small Blade | Corkscrew | Can Opener with Small Screwdriver (also for Phillips Screws) | Bottle Opener with Large Screwdriver and Wire Stripper | Reamer | Key Ring | Tweezers | Magnifying glass | Scissors | Multi-purpose Hook
Victorinox Swiss Army Evolution Pocket KnifeLength : 3.3"
Width : 0.8"
Wt. : 1.9 oz.
A lightweight of Swiss Army knife with ergonomic handle and 9-23 function models including:
Large Blade | Small Blade | Corkscrew | Can Opener with Small Screwdriver (also for Phillips Screws) | Bottle Opener with Large Screwdriver and Wire Stripper | Reamer | Key Ring | Tweezers | Toothpick | Scissors | Multi-purpose Hook (Parcel Carrier)
Victorinox Mini Champ Swiss Army KnifeLength : 3.5"
Width : 1.9"
Wt. : 1.6 oz.
Made in USA, ultralight Swiss army knife with 14 features:
Small knife blade | Scissor | Nail file | Nail cleaner | Cuticle pusher | Tweezers | Cap lifter | Magnetic Phillips head screwdriver | Scraper| Ball point pen | Emergency blade | Screwdriver | Ruler | Key ring
Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker Pocket KnifeLength : 4.53"
Width : 1.22"
Wt. : 3.2 oz.
A bigger variant of traditional standard model with 14 functions:
Large Blade | Small Blade | Corkscrew | Can Opener with Small Screwdriver (also for Phillips Screws) | Bottle Opener with Large Screwdriver and Wire Stripper | Reamer | Key Ring | Tweezers | Toothpick | Scissors | Multi-purpose Hook (Parcel Carrier)
Switchedge Crimson Pocket KnifeLength : 3.8"
Width : 0.8"
Wt. : 4.75 oz.
Victorinox variant with 14 Versatile functions:
Large Knife | Can Opener | Scissors | Saw | Fish scaler | Bottle Opener | Slotted Remover | Phillips Screwdriver | Thread loop | Corkscrew | Nail cleaner | Nail file | Leather Punch | Key Ring
BlizeTec Tactical Folding Pocket KnifeLength : 3.74"
Wt. : 4.26 oz.
Swiss Army Style, 14 in one folding pocket knife:
Shape blade | Saw | Fish scaler | Can & Bottle opener | Scissors | Slotted & Phillips screwdriver | Leather punch | Corkscrew | Nail cleaner & file | Thread loop and safety hook
Dimension 9 Multi-purpose pocket KnifeLength : 3.5"
Width : 0.75"
Wt. : 2.9 oz.
This customizable wooden finish pocket knife has 9 features:
Scissors | Small Screwdriver | Large Screwdriver | Corkscrew | Saw blade | Bottle opener | File | Small blade | Large Blade

NOTE: If you are looking to customize your Swiss Army Knife with a personalized name or message, then we recommend you check out the Swiss Knife Shop store on Amazon. They offer excellent laser printing services to personalize genuine Victorinox and other top multi-tools and knives.

What is a Swiss Army Knife and why do you need one?

As per Wikipedia, a Swiss Army knife(popularly known as a SAK) is a pocket knife or small multi-tool that has multiple practical tools such as a spear-point blade, screwdrivers, key ring, can opener and a nail file. These attachments are stowed inside the handle of the knife through a pivot point mechanism. Since its invention in late 19th century, the Swiss Army Knife has become synonymous with pocket multi-tool and is widely popular across the world.

To summarize, a Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is a uniquely-designed pocket multi-tool that contains a collection of tools to fulfill multiple practical functions ranging from cutting twigs and ropes, sawing through branches, tightening screws to cleaning nails and opening cans. The biggest strength of such knives is the unique tool locking mechanism which provides reliable operation with a relatively compact design. As such, a Swiss army knife an extremely versatile tactical multi-tool that is small enough to carry in your pocket or as a keychain and still be fully functional with all its utility tools.

The Swiss Army knife was first commercially manufactured in 1891 based on a design formulated in 1890. Over the years two companies – Victorinox and Wenger competed in the space to come up with the most user-friendly and multi-feature design. The two companies merged under the Victorinox trade name in 2005 and since then the market for Swiss army knives is dominated by the Victorinox.

In addition to Victorinox, many other develop multiple models with different features as we saw in the comparison list. Just consider that the Wenger Giant Swiss army knife had as many as 141 features packed in 87 tools, making it the largest Swiss army knife in the market. More standard models have between 5-10 tools fulfilling 10-15 functions.

In the next sections, we will look at some of the factors to consider while picking the best Swiss army knife for EDC, camping or other outdoor adventures. We will also share our top picks and share some useful accessories and resources for taking care of your Swiss army knife.

Swiss Army Knives Vs. Plier-based Multi-tools – Which is the right tool for you?

Before we look at some of the factors to consider while picking the best Swiss Army knife for your needs, let us look at the major differences between the Swiss Army Knives and other Multi-tools, such as ones by Leatherman.

Swiss Army KnivesMulti-tools
Blades-based with small multi-utility tools.Pliers-based, with some full sized tools.
Generally smaller and lightweight – suitable for carrying in the pockets.Generally bigger and heavier.
Perfect for small, tactical tasks such as for bottle opening, small cuttings, sharpening etc. Also suitable for EDC and hobbies such as whittling.Perfect for bigger, plier-based tasks such as cutting wires, sawing branches etc. or vehicle repairs.
Because of smaller, safer size suitable for teenagers as first knife.Largely suitable only for grown up adults.

How to pick the best Swiss Army Knife for EDC and camping?

Victorinox and other manufacturers have around 40 odd models of Swiss Army knives commonly available in the market. So picking the best Swiss army knife for EDC and camping can sometimes be a challenge. Before you pick the best Swiss army knife for your needs, you must keep the following major considerations in mind, in addition to any budgetary constraints that you might have:

  • Building material and design of the knife and handle
  • Size (Length and Width) of the knife
  • Weight of the knife
  • Features desired in the knife
  • Additional factors and considerations

Building material and design of the knife and handle

The manufacturing material and its overall design of the Swiss army knife is an important criterion to consider. After all, you would not want to carry an unreliable pocket multi-tool. This may not be a major factor with the Victorinox Swiss army knives, but it is definitely something to check for other brands.

The tools in the Swiss Army knife are made up of high grade patented stainless steel. The stainless steel material used for the cutting blades is optimized for high toughness and corrosion resistance. The separators between the tools are made from aluminum, ensuring compact and lightweight design.

The traditional red handle of Swiss army knife is made from Tenex or Tenite( Cellulose Acetate Butyrate). Over the years, there have been new variants introduced with many colors and alternative materials like wood-finished aluminum have also been used. An example of such design is the Dimension 9 Multi-purpose pocket Knife, which features a wooden finish handle.

In addition, many Swiss Army knives feature locking blades to prevent accidental closure while in use.e

Keep these design features and building material in mind before picking the best Swiss army knife for your needs.

Size of the knife

The size of Swiss army knife is measured in length and width of the tool.

The average length of standard Swiss army knife is around 3.5 inches. Typical lengths vary from 2.3 inch for the Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket Knife to 4.53 inch for Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker Pocket Knife.

Similarly, the width varies from low 0.7 inch to 2 inch for Victorinox Mini Champ Swiss Army Knife.

Depending on your own preference, you can go for compact or full-length versions. You would also need to keep the local knife-related laws for concealed carry in your state/region/country before picking the best Swiss army knife for EDC or other needs.

Weight of the knife

The weight of the knife is an important consideration if you are going to carry it as a tactical multi-tool in your pocket during your backpacking or camping trip.

Generally more the number of features, heavier the knife will be. Standard Swiss Army Knives weigh over 3 ounces. Ultralight knives such as Victorinox Mini Champ Swiss Army Knife weigh a low 1.9 ounces. And there is a super-ultralight version in Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket Knife whose advertised weight is less than 1 ounce.

Based on your function requirements, you can go with normal or ultralight versions.

Features desired in the knife

Last, and probably the most important factor to consider while choosing a model is the different tools and supported features in the Swiss army knife.

There are some base features that almost all standard Swiss army knives have – blade, screwdriver, and a key-chain. However are many variants that are designed for the special needs of everyday users, campers and backpackers. Some of the most common tools that you would find useful in the wilderness are:

  • Secondary blade/serrated blade.
  • Philip Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Can Opener and CorkScrew
  • Tweezers

Some special Swiss army knives such as Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp Pocket Knife pack as many as 26 high utility tools that offer 33 functions. In addition, knives such as Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket Knife also have a mini LED light.

Moreover, there are some additional special-need versions in the market which have things like USB drives, magnifying glasses and tactical glass breakers included with them.

Check the primary tools available in the knife before picking the best Swiss army knife for your needs. If for some reason you need additional special features, you can check the Victorinox catalog for additional options.

Additional factors and considerations

In addition to the major criteria discussed above, there are some other miscellaneous considerations that can make a particular model a more suitable choice for your needs.

The reputation of the manufacturer, customer service and warranty on the knife is probably the most important additional consideration. Victorinox and the other manufacturers tha we have listed are established names in the market and provide excellent lifetime warranties and after-sales services, so you can pick any of them without a worry about quality and reliability of the product.

The color of the Swiss army knife can also be something to look for, though it does not affect the overall performance of the tool. A vibrant color also makes it easier to spot the knife in the dark, thereby minimizing chances of you losing it. Most of the Swiss army knife option that we have listed are available in multiple handle colors starting from the traditional red to more vibrant silver, so you have a lot of choices to pick from.

Finally, the availability of replacement parts and other accessories such as sheath is also a factor, especially if you are going to use the knife rigorously. Most of the options that we have listed have accessories readily available online, so you can pick them without worries.

You can look at all these additional factors to determine if they make a specific Swiss army knife a better choice for your needs.

Which are the best Swiss Army Knives for EDC and camping and what our picks are?

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp Pocket Knife – Editor’s choice for the best Swiss Army Knife for EDC

Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ Pocket Knife (Red),One Size

The Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp Pocket Knife is a top-of-the line Swiss Army Knife and one of the most feature-rich options to consider for camping and everyday use.

The knife features a standard red handle made with Cellulose Acetate Butyrate (CAB) (generally known trade names are Cellidor, Tenite, and Tenex). The SwissChamp has 26 tools that provide 33 functions including pliers, wood saw, magnifying glass, ruler and even an additional mini screwdriver, along with the standard tools – 2 knives, scissors, bottle opener, corkscrew and Philips screw driver. There is even a refillable ball-point pen added to the mix.

Each tool is made with high-grade stainless steel composite compound. The tools are expertly-machined and hand-assembled to provide a smooth deployment and operation in the field. Each knife goes through a rigorous laser beam testing and manual evaluation, so what you get in your hand is a masterpiece pocket knife.

The primary knife in the SwissChamp is about 2.45-inches in blade-length. Both the knives are non-locking, but still very secure and comfortable to use. All other tools have the “unique” click deployment offered by the Victorinox Swiss army knives, differentiating them from the cheap knock-offs.

The SwissChamp Knife has a compact length of 3.5 inches and a width of 1 inch. The knife weighs a decent 6.56 ounces, which may be considered a little more than other models, but is still very manageable considering the number of tools and features it offers.

Like all other Victorinox Swiss knives, the SwissChamp Knife comes with lifetime manufacturer warranty. It comes with a keychain ring and is available in six color combinations.

The only drawback one may have for SwissChamp Knife is its price, which may look a little costly compared to other Swiss Army knives. But considering the practical functions, it packs in a standard size, the SwissChamp Knife is a truly useful buy-it-for-life, EDC (Every Day Carry) multi-tool.

The Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp Pocket Knife is Editor’s choice for best Swiss Army Knife for EDC and camping. It is a perfect choice for those who want a little more from their Swiss Army Knife.

Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket Knife – Editor’s choice for best ultralight Swiss Army KnifeVictorinox Swiss Army Signature Lite Pocket Knife, Silver Tech

If you are looking for an ultralight, ultra-compact, pocket multi-tool then look no further than the Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket Knife. This 2.3-inch Swiss army knife is truly a perfect Swiss army knife for everyday use.

The Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket Knife weighs an ultralight 0.8 ounces, making it the lightest such tool in the market. The Signature Lite model has gone through a couple of refinements and the latest model contains the following key features:

  • LED mini white light, 18000 MCD
  • Knife blade
  • Pressurized-ink ballpoint pen
  • Nail file with screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Key ring inox

All the tools are made of stainless-steel with rust-proof aluminum alloy separators and cellidor polished handle. The knife is available in four elegantly colored handles.

One of the most useful features of the Signature Lite Pocket Knife is its uniquely positioned, fully-functional flashlight. The flashlight is deployed by pressing the Cross and Shield logo and produces a bright white light. It also has high-quality, leak-proof ball point pen for everyday use. The battery in the flashlight and the refill in the pen are both replaceable.

The compact, small size of Signature Lite is also its only drawback. Some people find it too small to handle. But again if you are looking for an ultralight multi-tool, there is no better option.

Like all other Victorinox tools, the Signature Lite Swiss army knife is backed by a lifetime warranty against manufacturing and workmanship defects.

The Victorinox Signature Lite Pocket Knife is Editor’s choice for best ultralight Swiss Army Knife for EDC and camping.

Victorinox Swiss Army Basic Pocket Knife – Value pick for best Swiss Army knife for EDC and CampingVictorinox Swiss Army Huntsman II Pocket Knife, Red

If you are looking for standard Swiss Army knife that has all standard functions and does not cost a fortune, then the Victorinox Swiss Army Baisc Pocket Knife is the most suitable choice. Some of the models of this pocket knife is also suitable for teenagers and even children under supervision.

This one-up model over the traditional 4 tool model has three economical variants – Camper II, Spartan II and Sportsman II. These variants have 12 tools which include 2.45″ blade, corkscrew, wood saw, bottle opener and a screwdriver. The Camper II has same exact functions as the Camper but has textured Eco Line scales that provide a harder wearing alternative to the traditional polished ABS scales. Among high-end models in the series is the Huntsman II model, which is probably the best-selling Swiss army knife for hunters and outdoor lovers.

Its compact length of 3.58 inches, a height of 0.71 inches and weight of 2.6 ounces makes it the perfect knife for any outdoor activity including camping, fishing, or hiking, as well as handy for everyday uses around the house or office.

The Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife is our value pick for the best Swiss Army knife for EDC and camping. If you are looking for a utility pocket knife, then check out the different styles and combinations of the Victorinox Classic SAK.

Maintaining your Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Pocket Knife Sharpener (Clam Pack), Black

Like other knives and multitools, you can really ensure the longevity of your Swiss Army Knife with a little bit of extra care. This amounts to periodically cleaning the knife and sharpening the blades.
Cleaning: To avoid settling of grime in the hinges and openings, you can place the knife in a pan with boiling water for 1-1.5 minutes. Make sure you open all the blades and tools to ensure that the water can reach all the crevices and hinges. You can also add a mild detergent to the water. If required, use a discarded toothbrush or an ear-bud to remove the dirt and grime. Once done, dry up the knife thoroughly and apply a lubricant (some options are listed in the accessories section below).
Sharpening the blades: If you want to sharpen the blades with a whetstone or rod, use only recommended sharpeners, as higher grit sharpeners may harm the blade. Victorinox has a couple of excellent sharpening options available. While sharpening, use an angle of around 20-degrees.

Recommended Accessories

Pouch, Zermatt Large Leather with

One of the most important thing to ensure proper maintenance of Swiss Army knife is to keep sharpening the blade from time to time using a combination of sharpening grit or tool and oil. It is generally recommended to sharpen every year or so. Some of the most popular options for this task are listed below:

Another key accessory that you would need to increase the longevity of your Swiss army knife is to use a precision oil to fine tune the mechanics of each tool and prevent any rust or corrosion. For such uses, you can consider the following options:

While Swiss army multi-tools are extremely compact and easy to carry in pockets, some people prefer to carry such tools in holsters and clip pouches. If you are interested in such accessories, you can consider one of the following options:

Books about Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army Knife Book: 63 Outdoor Projects

If you are interested in some additional fun with your Swiss Army Knife or what to know more about it, you can check out the following popular books on the subject:

Final thoughts on the best Swiss Army Knife for EDC and camping

Swiss army knives are one of the most popular, knife-based pocket multi-tools for everyday carry (EDC) or outdoor activities such as camping and backpacking. The Swiss army knife is a hugely popular pocket tool to have and an excellent everyday carry (EDC) gift item for teenagers and adults.

In this post, we looked at some of the of the best Swiss Army Knives available in the market. We looked at traditional 13-14 function models, small 5 tactical function models and even heavy duty 35 function models. In addition to the original Victorinox Swiss Army knives, we also looked at some other unique brands, which though not as popular are still decent options to consider. We also listed out the factors to consider before picking the best Swiss army knife for your needs. Finally, we looked at some standard accessories for lifetime upkeep of such tools.

We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the next best Swiss army knife for camping and EDC. Do let us know how you found this article and if you would want us to consider anything else. Until next time, happy camping!!

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