In terms of outdoor gear, there are few pieces of equipment that come close to being quite so iconic as the famed Swiss Army Knife. This handy tool can trace its roots all the way back to 1891, which is when the company that would eventually go on to be known as Victorinox would begin producing their first camping knives.
Since then, those products have continued to evolve and are now shipped all over the world, with just about every outdoor enthusiast owning on at some point in their lives.
Recently, I carried the Victorinox Traveller Lite with me on my trip through Mongolia, and as usual, it proved itself to be a handy companion. The knife comes equipped with everything you need, and a few things you didn’t even know you wanted, making it a useful item to have in your pack or pocket at just about any time.
Sorting through the incredibly long catalog of knives on the Victorinox website will probably leave your head spinning. There are so many choices to examine that it can be difficult to find the one that best suits your exact needs.
The Traveller Lite was certainly a good choice for me, as it features just about every tool imaginable, including both large and small knife blades, a can opener, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, scissors, and more. In short, it has about every tool you would expect from a Swiss Army Knife, and they are all squeezed into a small enough space that it can easily be slipped into your pocket.
One thing that does set this knife apart from the scores of others that Victorinox makes is a small LCD screen that can be found on its translucent case. That screen displays the time, temperature, altitude, and barometric pressure, all of which are handy features to have in the back country.
The tiny screen is powered by a small watch battery that slides into a specially designated slot. That slot was kind of challenging to gain access to at first, but thankfully you shouldn’t have to change the battery too often.
In terms of build quality, the Traveller doesn’t disappoint. It feels solid in your hands, and as with most other Swiss Army Knives, it has been designed to survive in demanding environments. Using the various tools doesn’t give you the sense that anything is about to break, nor does it seem like any corners were cut in designing and assembling this product.
I can’t always say the same about similar knives I’ve used in the past, some of which have failed me at the most inopportune times. As with all knives from Victorinox, this one comes with a lifetime warranty as well, which means if something should break, you’ll get it replaced for free.
I carried this knife with me every day while in Mongolia, and even I was surprised at the number of times I pulled it out to use one of the various tools. The knife blades were probably the ones I needed most often in that setting, but others such as the integrated tweezers and toothpick came in handy from time to time too. At times, it felt like I was carrying a full toolbox in a compact form right in my pocket.
The Traveller Lite is one of the more expensive knives in the Swiss Army collection. At $111 it is probably a bit pricey for most outdoor enthusiasts who don’t need all of its features. For those folks, I’d recommend something like the Huntsmen, which has many of the same tools – minus the electronic gadgetry – and sells for just $40.
But, if you’re someone who ventures into the backcountry often, or does a lot of mountaineering, the Traveller Lite is a good option. It’s LCD screen displays some important information, and it provides plenty of good tools to see you through some demanding trips.
For those folks, the $100+ price tag is worth the investment, and you’ll likely have a tool that will accompany you on my future adventures.
Check out the entire line of Victorinox knives and other products at Victorinox.com.
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