Good Pocket Knives for Travellers

by Olivier De Winne
Published: Updated: 2 comments

What is a Good Pocket Knife for Travellers?

A good pocket knife is a knife with multi-purposes. It needs to be useful when you are travelling. My grandfather told me this: When you go somewhere, always carry a piece of rope and a knife. With a good pocket knife, you will also carry some additional useful tools. When we backpack, we like to save money and it is less expensive to buy your food in local supermarket than to go to restaurant. With a knife, you will be able to cut bread or saucisson (cold sausage). If you travel in France, most of the wine bottles have proper corks. This means that you will need to have a corkscrew. A pocket knife will help you with this too!

What are the Best Pocket Knives to Buy?

These are the 2 best pocket knives for travellers from our point of view depending on your country of residence. If you are from UK, the Victorinox Ranger Swiss Army is the best buy. For other countries of residence, it is the Leatherman Wave or Victorinox 3.0339

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Best Pocket Knife For UK Users – Victorinox Ranger Swiss Army

Victorinox Ranger Swiss Army
Contains seven implements with 11 different functions
Ergonomic handles
Features include blade, nail file, can opener with small screwdriver
Other features include bottle opener with large locking screwdriver and wire stripper, corkscrew and reamer

Best Pocket Knife For US Users – Leatherman Wave Plus

Leatherman Wave Plus
Ready for anything
Fit more functionality
Always on hand:
GUARANTEED: 25-year limited warranty

What is a Legal Pocket Knife?

A legal pocket knife is a folding pocket knife, which has a blade that is 7.62 cm (3 inches) or less. If you need to catch a flight, you can’t take a pocket knife inside the plane. Your pocket knife needs to travel inside your backpack or suitcase. The pocket knife needs to be folded manually as automatic knives are usually not permitted on aircraft.

For UK residents, it is not legal to have a pocket knife with a lock blade.

It is advisable to check the legislation of the country you are going to visit. In some countries, you can’t walk about with a pocket knife. These countries are rare, but it is best to check with your airline and with TSA regulations.

How to Clean your Pocket Knife?

A good knife is a clean knife! You need to keep your knife in good condition to avoid any injuries. I always do a quick maintenance every month to avoid any accumulation of dust in it. If you don’t take good care of your knife, you will have problems using it which will adversely affect your experience with it. For example, your pocket knife might become hard to open properly.

If your knife comes into contact with salt water, it is very important to rinse it properly with fresh water as soon as possible. Afterwards, you need to dry it properly with a tissue and then apply adequate oil. I found this one (Triple elite oil) on Amazon and it does the job very well. It’s also cheap and we like good value for money.

The easy way to clean your pocket knife is to use an old toothbrush to remove all the dust. With the toothbrush, you will be able to access deep inside the knife. This operation can also be done with soap and clean water. If you find areas filled with accumulated dust or mud and you have difficulty removing it, you can use a toothpick or small screwdriver to remove it. If you still have difficulty in removing the dirt properly, you can leave your pocket knife in a bowl with hot water. It will soften the mud and it will then be easier to remove it with the toothbrush.

Good Pocket Knives Blade Material

There are different kinds of blade material. Some materials are stronger, others are sharper.

1. Stainless Steel Blades

This material is the most common and best for pocket knives because of its durability and resistance to corrosion. However, they are less sharp than carbon or ceramic blades (used for kitchen cutlery only).

2. Carbon Steel Blades

This material gives the sharpest blades and is much easier to sharpen than others. However, they are prone to corrosion and rust and need to be cleaned thoroughly after use.

3. Ceramic Blades

As I said, this is a very good knife but almost only used in kitchens because they are vulnerable to cracks if dropped.

How to Close a Pocket Knife?

The pocket knife needs to be closed in an appropriate way to avoid any injury. To close your pocket knife, you need to take your knife in one hand with the sharp edge of the blade facing you.

With the other hand,  fold back the blade into the handle and make sure the holding hand’s fingers are not close to the handle to avoid injury. Always refer to the manufacturer for latest guidance of use.

How to Have the Sharpest Pocket Knife

This will depend on the quality of the blade. A poor quality blade needs to be sharpened more often than a good blade. You need to get to know your pocket knife and it will become obvious when it needs to be sharpened. In my experience, I would say that sharpening should become part of your cleaning process. When you give your pocket knife a deep clean, it is a good idea to sharpen it at the same time. I bought this sharpener Lansky Sharpeners on Amazon and it has all the quality I was looking for. It’s easy to use, has 4 tools in one and, most importantly, is easy to transport (113 Grams).

Best Pocket Knife Brand

If you want to have a good pocket knife with all the qualities you are looking for, you need to keep to well-known and reputable manufacturers.

The Victorinox Swiss Army pocket knife are the most well-known brand and there is a reason for that. They have been manufacturing pocket knives since 1884. In 1881, they started to produce knives for the Swiss army and the popularity of these well-made knives comes from this time.

More recently, the Gerber company was created in 1910 and, since then, has produced quality pocket knives. They also produce a multi-tool pocket knife and those knives are used in a lot of outdoor activities.

Later, in 1970, the Leatherman company opened. The big success of this company is the multi tool pocket knife with pliers. Leatherman and his wife travelled Europe and the Middle East in 1975 with a car. His car broke down often and this gave him the inspiration of a boy scout knife with pliers and plenty of tools. Now, Leatherman produce very good multi tool pocket knives with pliers.

There are plenty of other good manufacturers for pocket knives like the Benchmade company, Boker, Buck knife or Opinel. However, this article is to focus on the best pocket knife for travellers.

What I Need from a Pocket knife When I Travel the World

Remember that the TSA approves a blade of maximum length 7.62 cm (3 inches) and no lock blade for the UK.

The pocket knife needs:

  •             To be easy to use.
  •             To be easy to maintain.
  •             To incorporate a bottle, tin and screw-cork opener.
  •             To have screw drivers.
  •             To have a sharp blade to do jobs easily and efficiently.

Other features are less important for me, but maybe they have more significance for you. Maybe you want pliers or scissors. This is up to your needs, but in my experience, I use a bottle opener more often than pliers. To help you make your decision, below is the best pocket knife for travellers by manufacturer.

Best Pocket Knife by Manufacturer

Victorinox Pocket Knife

Victorinox Evolution S557 Swiss Army Pocket Knife

For me, the Victorinox Evolution S557 is the best companion when you are travelling. It has all I need to make my life easier and, on top of that, it has plenty of tools which can be useful. I was very happy to have a tweezers to remove a short piece of wood stuck in my finger!

The only missing tool is a saw. I know some of you like to have a saw and I agree it can be useful sometimes. It is only for this reason that it gets 4,5 stars.

Tool List:

1. Lock Blade 2. Nail file with : 3. – Nail cleaner 4. Can opener with : 5. – screwdriver 3 mm 6. Bottle opener 7. – screwdriver 6 mm 8. – Wire stripper – 9. Corkscrew 10. Reamer, punch and sewing awl 11. Serrated edge Scissors 12. Philips Screwdriver 13. Universal Wrench – 14. Pliers 2 adjustable opening with : 15. – wire crimper 16. – wire cutters 17. – Nut wrench 18. Key ring

Victorinox Ranger Swiss Army Pocket Knife

The Victorinox Ranger offers all the tools I need. In addition, it has a saw. It has a hook which is very convenient to carry plastic bags after shopping. However, it doesn’t have a Phillips screwdriver or pliers. Its design is simple and it is less ergonomic than the Evolution because you have less grip with it. It’s also less expensive than the Evolution for good quality.

Best buy for UK travellers. This knife can be used in the UK and in other countries as well.

Tools List:

Large blade, small blade,can opener, screwdriver 3 mm, bottle opener, wire stripper, screwdriver 6 mm, reamer, punch and sewing awl, corkscrew, scissors, wood saw, nail file, metal saw, metal file, nail cleaner, screwdriver 2.5 mm, chisel 4 mm, multipurpose hook, toothpick, tweezers, key ring.

Victorinox Evolution Swiss Army Evolution S13

The Victorinox Unisex’s Camper is the best budget knife for travellers. If you are looking for the best value for money, choose this one. It has all the tools you need to travel in comfort. However, if you need a tool to fix or repair something, you may not able to do it with the Unisex’s Camper.

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool Spirit Plus Multi-Tool, Includes Nylon Pouch

The SwissTool Spirit Plus is the best in the range of Victorinox Pocket knives. It has an impressive 38 different functions. It comes with a nylon pouch. Although it’s a little bit pricey, it’s worth it. You can do almost every thing with it.

Tools List

pliers, screwdriver 2 mm, screwdriver 3 mm, short thin wire (max 40 HRc), screwdriver 5 mm, opener, 7.5 mm screwdriver, sheet, scissors, belt cutter blade, wood saw, awl, Philips screwdriver PH1 and PH2, chisel, lever, wire bender, stripper (stripper) Wire, opener, ruler (230 mm), ruler (9 inches), crimping (electro), hard wire cutter, lanyard hole, individual ressort, lockable sliding, nylon case

Gerber Pocket Knife

Gerber MP600 Legend Multitool

If you want real tools to be able to fix a lot of things, the Gerber M600 is very good in this category. This pocket knife is very robust with stainless steel and aluminium handles with a rubber insert for more grip and comfort. 

Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi Tool

Gerber Bear Grills Ultimate tool has 12 stainless steel tools with which you can face almost everything. This pocket knife is made to last and is easy to use. You won’t be disappointed by this pocket multi tool knife.

Tools List

Needlenose pliers (spring loaded), Scissors, Wire cutters, Fine blade tool, Serrated tool, Saw, Phillips screwdriver, Small flat screwdriver, Large flat screwdriver, Bottle opener, Can opener, Lanyard ring

Gerber Dime

The Gerber Dime has 12 tools and you can access a lot of the tools without needing to open it. This is a very good budget pocket knife. It fits perfectly inside a pocket and, if the tool fits your use, it is a good pocket knife to have with you when you are travelling or not. For some people, the tools are a little bit hard to open.

Tools List:

Spring loaded needle nose pliers, Standard Pliers, Wire Cutter, Tweezer, Bottle Opener, Fine Edge Knife, Retail Package Opener, Scissors, Medium flat head driver, Coarse and fine files, Philips driver, Lanyard Ring.

Gerber Suspension Multi-Tool

The Gerber Suspension has 15 tools. It is also fitted with spring loaded pliers and looks very good. It’s definitely a real multi tool which can help you in tricky situations. Check out the price because it was recently on sale and at this price you need to buy it!

Tools List:

 Needlenose pliers (spring loaded), regular plier, ‘V-Cut’ wire cutters, Scissors, Fine blade,  Serrated, Saw, Phillips screwdriver, Small flat screwdriver, Medium flat screwdriver, Bottle opener, Can opener, Lanyard ring, fine edge blade.

Leatherman Pocket Knife

LEATHERMAN – Wave Plus Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Spring-Action Scissors, Stainless Steel

The Leatherman Wave is the best alternative to the Charge TT. The principal tools can be opened without needing to unfold the knife (420HC Knife, Wood/metal file, Diamond-coated file, 420HC Serrated Knife and the saw). Best buy for non-UK residents.

Tools List:

Needlenose Pliers, Regulard Pliers, Hard-wire Cutters, Wire Cutters, Wire Stripper,420HC Knife, Wood/metal file, Diamond-coated file, 420HC Serrated Knife and the saw, Spring-action Scissors, Ruler, Can Opener, Bottle Opener, Large Bit Driver, Small Bit Driver, Medium Screwdriver.

Leatherman Tread Bracelet, Wearable Multitool

If you are looking for something slightly different, the Leatherman Tread Bracelet it is an innovative high-quality multi-tool bracelet. This bracelet has 10 different links with up to 29 tools that you can carry with you wherever you go. It conforms to transportation security administration (TSA) regulations. This means that you can have it with you all the time (even in the cabin of a plane). It is fully customised and you can add links to incorporate your watch like the one below.

Each bracelet link has a different tool, including:

  • Link 1-   3/32″ Screwdriver | 1/8″ Screwdriver
  • Link 2-   #1-2 Phillips Screwdriver | 1/4″ Box Wrench | 3/16″ Screwdriver
  • Link 4-   Cutting Hook | SIM Card Pick | Carbide Glass Breaker
  • Link 6-   5/16″ Screwdriver | 3/8″ Box Wrench | 1/4″ Screwdriver
  • Link 7-   3/32″ Hex Drive | 3/16″ Box Wrench | 1/8″ Hex Drive
  • Link 8-   1/4″ Hex Drive | Oxygen Tank Wrench | 3/16″ Hex Drive
  • Link 9-   5mm Hex Drive | 10mm Box Wrench | 6mm Hex Drive
  • Link 10- 3mm Hex Drive | 8mm Box Wrench | 4mm Hex Drive
  • Link 11- #1 Phillips Screwdriver | 6mm Box Wrench | #2 Phillips Screwdriver
  • Clasp –   Bottle Opener | 1/4 Socket Adaptor | #2 Square Drive

Pocket knives are very useful when you travel and I hope I have helped you to choose the right one for you. If you like this article, please help us by sharing it. You may also be interested by a backpack. Read this article to know all the important features for choosing a backpack.

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Name 03/08/2019 - 11:22

Hi, I use Victorinox Deluxe Tinker at work. It’s small but still has a pair of pliers. I carry Victorinox Explorer when I’m out and about. It’s the same size as Tinker, but has a magnifying glass – great for a small print while shopping. Also has a corkscrew, which is a must on a holidays. In the Explorer I’ve replaced the handles with added ballpoint pen, pin and also bought a small Victorinox screwdriver which sits in an empty space of the corkscrew.

Off The Tourist Treadmill 28/08/2019 - 06:17

Thanks for sharing your tips

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