Any multi-function knife that is worth its salt is a Swiss Army knife. The Iconic red with two blades, tweezers, and a toothpick still sits in my sock drawer because risking losing it just isn't an option. There's no arguing that the brand was well known for quality, durability, and precision but is that still true today? Victorinox has evolved as a brand and now offers a whole host of products including multi-tools. Many other companies make similar style multi-tools as Victorinox and brands like Leatherman and Gerber have a strong presence in the market. So does Victorinox have what it takes to maintain it's Swiss Army legacy of quality and function? I took four different styles of Victorinox multi-tool along on some adventures, brought them to work and just had them handy around the house.
Weight: 440g / 15.5oz
Dimensions: 5 x 11.5cm / 1.9 x 4.5"
Material: Stainless steel, leather carry pouch
The CS Plus is a whole toolbox you carry on your hip. While it is the heaviest of all the multi-tools tested those extra grams equal to a bunch of additional functions. The CS Plus can be broken down into two main parts. First being the Swiss Tool X. This is a robust do it all multi-tool that can get you out of most jams. While it comes equipped with similar features as the rest of the tested tools, the features on the Swiss X are all a little longer and thicker. This makes a big difference when using the file or the wood saw tools. The pliers on this tool are large and with the longer design of the X tool offers excellent grip and control. Unique to the X tool and a feature I wish all the tools had is a simple engraved ruler on the side of the tool. One side is in metric while the other is in imperial, simple, great feature. The file, blade, scissors, and wood saw all lock into place when fully extended offering confidence-inspiring stability and overall the locking mechanism felt pretty bulletproof. Second is the bit key driver. The bit key itself is a full 10cms long and has plenty of room for a full grip allowing you to get some actual torque. Include with the bit key is six different bits which are listed below in the feature list. Of note for backcountry skiers. The Torx bits are the size needed for the top plate of current Dynafit bindings and the mounting screws. As a bonus the CS Plus features a corkscrew and cleverly tucked away inside the corkscrew is a micro flat head screwdriver. It comes in handy when tightening things like loose sun or eyeglasses. All of these features fit in a comfortable leather belt pouch that measures only 4cm thick and doesn't get in the way when worn on your hip.
The Victorinox tools have the same familiar feel as the famed Swiss Army knives. Where engineering meets function coupled with pleasing aesthetics, it's obvious right from unboxing that you have a quality tool in your hand. The array of tools is versatile enough to deal with most issues you might encounter while camping or on the skin track. The blades are sharp right out of the box and the wood saw chews through small pieces of lumber. The screwdrivers fit most screw heads you will commonly find and are of strong construction. The compact design means that Victorinox packs a lot of function in a reasonably small package which is crucial if being carried on the hip. While not crafted out of the lightest materials the extra weight comes at the obvious advantage of having a more durable tool. With that considered the weight of the tools is light enough to live in your day pack. While there are other options available that will achieve similar tasks at a lower price point sometimes it's just nice to have nice things. Compare the Victorinox to a BMW and other brands to a compact Chevrolet for example. Sure both will get you there but one of those will be better engineered, smoother and look a whole lot better than the other. I have the feeling that if you buy a Victorinox tool today it's safe to say that you can plan to pass it along to the next generation just like my fathers red Swiss Army knife, the one with the tweezers and the toothpick that lives in my sock drawer.
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