Gear we Like: The Mighty 58 mm Swiss Army Knife

Reviewed by Wndsn staff, Germany.

Observations

We love an unsung hero here in the Wndsn Expedition Team. We get pretty attached to bits of gear that are always reliable, can withstand years of use brilliantly, and yet never get the recognition it deserves. These heroes deserve attention for the mighty work they do.

It’s small, just 58 mm for the smallest Swiss Army Knife (SAK). And it can do a lot of things that naturally occur during a normal day. A fingernail catching on some pants? Your kid needs that lollipop wrapper open and it is not budging on its own? That same child gets a splinter? Packages, battery compartments, loose threads, no job is too small, etc... And it barely takes up any room on your keychain or pocket, and it always has your back. As we said, an unsung hero.

Strengths

It can go anywhere except an airplane (except for the one model that can). It takes up no space. Its uses go way beyond a regular knife, and as most people are not knife people, it finds regular, consistent use. And as it is so useful and inconspicuously so, if you gave it as a gift, no one would be unhappy with it. And generally speaking when one most needs a knife, it’s not a big knife. It’s to pry open something that needs just a bit of torque, or to cut off a piece of wrapper that just won’t budge.

For knife enthusiasts, the mod potential with the 58 mm remains just as high as it does for other Victorinox models.

And the knifeless Jetsetter model is a great entry point for kids and is a handy present to give out to even your most hapless loved ones.

Limitations

The 58 mm SAK is so small and blends into the background so well, that unless it’s truly tethered or one is especially diligent, it’s easily lost. The SAK 58 mm is too small to cover all of your needs (but it's always surprising what it is not too small for) and an enthusiast will carry an additional knife anyway.

Conclusion

You don’t notice you can’t live without it until you don’t have it. The SAK 58 mm deserves a higher position in our collective EDC consciousness. It deserves a conscious, appreciated place on our keyring or in our pocket.

An excellent resource for all things SAK is the SAKWiki, sorting SAKs by number of layers, model, and providing all the data you need, including introduction dates and much much more.

SAK Modding

Modifying -- 'modding' -- SAKs has been a thing for many years now, a whole cottage industry of making parts like replacement handle scales in all kinds of materials and textures, all the way to building fully custom SAKs that retain few original parts has emerged. While the scale 'mods' are often merely decorative in nature, the full mods add, in addition to beauty, a lot of practical value.

Shown is a custom Alox Pioneer X (in 93 mm) by Robert Lessard, with a small but crucial detail change from the factory model.

A Wndsn favorite is Robert Lessard, who is making full custom SAKs, with tool sets remixed to user-specified needs, all the way to custom tools, and scales with added functions, like a hex bit insert or a tool drawer. A structural improvement adding much more torque stability to the whole folding knife is that Robert is drilling out every single tool and replacing the brass pins that hold together a factory SAK, with larger diameter stainless steel screws. The results are jewelry-quality objects with polished liners in custom materials that easily reach 10-20x the price of an original SAK.

Two titanium 58 mm TiSAKs by @mpdwaberlin, a Victorinox Vagabond (long out of production) on the left, and a Rambler on the right. Custom sleeve to go with it.

Specs

Cover photo: Clockwise from top Victorinox MiniChamp Alox, Jetsetter, Classic, Rambler.


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Gear we like