Swiss Army Traveler–New is Not Always Better

I bought it because it was called a Traveler and I was dreamy and pretentious enough to believe that described me in the months before I went to Albania with the Peace Corps. At least, I think it’s called a traveler, it might be called something else, which says a lot about my mental state in those months before I went to the Peace Corps.

Whatever it’s called, and for the sake of today’s post, I’ll call it a Traveler, that Swiss Army Knife has been my constant companion in my travels and I like that old, 1991 or 1992 version better than the recent versions.

I won’t go into the specs except to say it has a large blade, small blade, scissors, flat head screwdriver, can opener, cork screw, leather punch and knobby hook thing. It also has a toothpick and a pair of tweezers.

I’ve used the blades a lot and the big blade is starting to get that over-sharpened/badly sharpened look old knives get, but I still use it and still carry it to the in-laws. I’ve also gotten lots of use out of the scissors, the leather punch, the screwdrivers and the corkscrew. I still have and use the original toothpick and someday may actually clean it. I like the Swiss Army Knives better than other multi-tools because the blade is usable. On others the blade is secondary to the pliers or the mess of screwdrivers (that’s a technical term).

However, after I moved to Tokyo, I couldn’t find the old Traveler. I was convinced it got thrown out during the move and eventually gave up looking for it and bought a more modern one. It had all the same tools, but came with an attached key ring that I found annoying as it gets in the way of using the blades. I’ve attached a lanyard to it mostly as a way to find it quickly in my emergency kit bag.

Several months after I bought the new one, I found the old one and I know it’s odd to befriend inanimate objects, but I did feel as if I’d renewed a friendship. The old knife has been around the world with me and together we survived Albania, Turkey and an interrogation in Greece.

Recently I’ve added another Swiss Army Knife to the holdings: a smaller blue Alox Cadet. It is thinner and only has four tools and because it has a shorter blade it MAY be legal to carry in Japan. (Note: I won’t carry it until I confirm that). I like it but it has that key ring thing, which I may just take off and be done with. I’ve kept the other knife 25 years (minus a few months where I couldn’t find it) and at no point did I wish it had a lanyard or a key ring.

I’ve actually used the knobby hook thing more than either of the key rings.

Family photo:

Family photo: The old Traveler is in the middle;the newer one is at the top; the new blue Alox Cadet is at the bottom.


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