Knife Review – Swiss Army Knife Walker Model Pocket Knife.
I was excited to field test and do a review on the Victorinox Walker Swiss Army Knife or a “SAK” for short. Besides doing the review, I wanted a small pocket knife for three main reasons.
One was it was smaller enough to hang on my key ring with the car keys. This would be handy for general urban use and also for bushcraft and camping duties. Like cutting cordage and small chores. It is also a secondary or third back up cutting tool on top of my main knife. Like my Ka-Bar Warthog or my Mora Heavy Duty Companion knife.
Number two that it had to have a saw. This could be used for small notches for fashioning traps and snares, to help making a notch in a hearth board for friction fire, etc.
The third reason was back up scraper for a ferro rod for fire lighting. All the other extra accessories like a can opener and gadgets weren’t that important for me in the tool. As long it had a blade that was reasonably sturdy enough, relative to its small size and also a decent saw. So the knife review for me was based on these personal preferences and guidelines. (The fourth reason was it is always good to play with a new toy.)
Out of the box sharpness.
Out of the packaging I was surprised that the Walker knife shaved hairs of my forearm quiet easily. The thin blade makes a finer edge. I tested the knife by trying to wriggle the blade side to side to see how well constructed it is for a small pocket knife. The tolerances and design seemed sturdy. The cheap knock offs and copies of the Swiss Army knife are just not as durable.
The Walker knife specs and tools.
The Walker model has replaced the Lumberjack or Plumber pocket knife. The Victorinox Walker Pocket Swiss Army Knife is made in Switzerland, the main blade is stainless steel. The dimensions are 84mm closed length x 16mm width x 13mm height.
It has two layers of tools, consisting of: Main blade Wood Saw Can Opener Bottle Opener 5mm Flathead Screwdriver Wire Stripper Tooth pick Tweezers Key Ring.
For size comparison, the Walker SAK is pictured here above with the Puma pocket knife, Mora Heavy Duty Companion knife and Bacho Laplander.
The pocket knife attached to the key ring gives the option of a small cutting tool. Along with a micro torch and a mini Bic lighter that I carry. These are some useful elements for a survival situation or a handy addition to an EDC kit. (Everyday Carry.)
I ended up putting the Walker knife and Bic lighter on a small carabiner type clip. (Night Ize KeyRing Locker S-Biner.) This can easy be removed from the main car key, key ring. Or the knife or lighter removed individually for use. The clip also has a lock in place, so the items won’t accidentally fall off. (Note, the rubber band wrapped around the mini Bic lighter. This helps stop the butane gas being pressed accidentally and emptying the canister. Also the rubber can be used to ignite with the lighter and used like tinder or a candle. Tape wrapped around the lighter can be used as a flame extender as well.)
Sometimes the Walker model pocket knife can feel a touch too large on the car keys to carry. But when using it not quite a big enough blade. It’s a compromise. (Reminds me of having a boat. The boat is always too big on land, when towing or storage. But when it is in on the water it is never big enough.)
When I go camping, I attach a lanyard or cordage to my belt and attach it to my keys with a small carabiner clip. The keys, knife, etc. can easily be placed in the pocket and less chance of them getting lost. (Thank you to Paul Kirtley from Frontier Bushcraft for this tip. Check out Paul’s excellent podcast on his blog.) When the item is needed, it can be easily detached from the carabiner and lanyard and used. I am fearful about losing my car keys, especially when fishing or hunting in remote places, so this is good idea and easy to implement.
Testing the knife.
I tested it by scraping bamboo into shavings and played around with it doing a bamboo saw. I also shaved fatwood and carved some small feather sticks with it as well. I didn’t go overboard and test it on large bits of wood, but more so what I would use this size of knife for. Such as finer woodwork and carving I was also surprised of the amount of times I used it for general urban duties, like opening parcels, food packages, etc. Perhaps I was looking for opportunities to always get the blade out and test it.
Fire lighting with the Swiss Army Knife pocket knife as a scraper.
I tested the knife to see if it could be used as a backup scraper (Striker.) with a Ferrocerium rod. The spine or back of the knife blade didn’t get any sparks with a Ferrocerium rod. Stainless steel is generally harder to get a spark from, as opposed to a high carbon steel knife. (And a good sharp 90 degree thin edge for getting sparks is required.) However the back of the saw blade worked okay as a scraper with the ferro rod and got some sparks. While not as good as a dedicated ferro rod scraper, the spine of the saw can be used as a scraper.
Friction fire with the bow drill.
The saw blade and main blade were ideal for cutting small notches and indentation in the hearth board (Base board or fireboard.) for making friction fire with the bow drill. The blade is handy for shaping the point and bevel of the spindle and putting a notch in the hand piece.
Other gadgets and tools.
I have had plenty of multi tools and cheap Swiss Army Knives copies with all the bells and whistles. To be honest I hardly or never used all the extra gadgets. However with the small size of the knife, one or two extra tools might be useful if they don’t take up extra room on the handle. Tweezers are handy for removing splinters and the quality is good enough that they do actually work. (Not like some of the Swiss Army Knife cheap knock-off models.) The can opener/screwdriver roughly locks at 90 degrees, which might be useful for tight or hard to get to places. I tested the can opener and it worked well.
Negatives of the Victorinox Walker.
The drawbacks of the Walker pocket knife: A positive blade lock would have been nice. While the lock system takes a little bit extra material on such a small knife, (And cost.) the safety aspect would be worth it. (I remember when I was a kid, carving / whittling wood. Carelessly a few times I have put pressure the wrong way on the pocket knife blade. The blade folded up on me and cut my fingers. My fault rather than the knife, but a good lock is good safety.)
On the side of the knife it has a toothpick that is plastic and appears quiet flimsy. Having said that, I am not really a toothpick guy, so some people might find it useful. I might see whether a needle or even a sewing needle could be put in place of the toothpick. A needle would be handier for getting splinters out, putting holes in material or even sewing. (Shawn Kelly from Corporal’s Corner a good YouTube bushcraft channel, replaced the toothpick in his Victorinox One Handed Trekker, with a small thin Ferrocerium rod. I am not sure if the SAF Walker model would be big enough to accommodate a small ferro rod, but a great idea as a third or so backup fire starter.)
The handle, the plastic red scales cover wasn’t quiet flush with the bottom of the knife. It feels as though the plastic handle scales would catch on something and rip off. I am probably being a bit fussy as it is not really a deal breaker and very minor issue, as it only sticks out a small bit. However it feels as quality control is 99% on this one knife, rather than the 100% expected for the Swiss Army Knife brand we know.
Victorinox instructions for a stuck blade.
I actually looked at the instructions and they suggest to place stuck, hard to open blades in warm water and open and close a few times, then oil and dry. (The Walker didn’t have a sticky blade and was smooth opening. However the warm water tip is good to know when it gets on in its years, if it gets stuck.)
Knife review conclusion.
Overall the Walker Swiss Army Knife is a good little pocket knife that is handy to have. It could be used for everyday urban use, or an extra bushcraft tool or included in a bug out bag (BOB.) Attached to the car keys, a smaller model knife might be a better option for some. However the saw blade is handy edition on this tool and a good compromise for its size.
This pocket knife is obviously not a heavy duty gun-ho solid bushcraft knife. Or a multi tool with 101 gadgets. However, it is small with a main blade, a saw and a couple of other gadgets, it’s simple and that’s what I liked about the Walker model.
Because of its small size it means it can go nearly everywhere I go. A small secondary knife on you in a bush survival situation, or just everyday urban carry is better than a large custom built knife left at home.
The Victorinox Walker Swiss Army Knife could easily be added to your bushcraft or survival kit. It is a good edition to a layered survival system or as an extra second or third back up blade. Also the Walker knife is very handy for urban duties or in your EDC (Everyday Day Carry.) kit for smaller general tasks.
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