Sharpen Your Survival Skills with the Swiss Army Knife

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The Swiss Army Knife could be called the world’s smallest toolbox, the king of all survival knives. Many multi-tools have been modeled after it but none have achieved the iconic status of the well-known little red knife.


Victorinox, the knife’s maker, has roots dating back to 1884 when Karl Elsener opened a cutlery shop in Ibach-Schwyz, Switzerland. The original Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife was patented in 1897 and is known around the world today as the Swiss Army Knife. In 2017, Victorinox produced their 500-millionth Original Swiss Army Knife.

As customer needs and technologies have changed over the years, the legendary Swiss Army Knife has also evolved and is now available in a range of variants worldwide.

Image credit: Victorinox


 Growing up in the “Fields of Opportunity” state of Iowa, Bryan Lynch spent most of his life walking those fields as an avid hunter and fisherman. As a young boy, his dad gave him his first knife – a Swiss Army Knife—and thankfully, his mom let him keep it.

He learned the value of having a quality knife early on, and later took that interest and experience and became a writer focusing on emergency preparedness, survival situations and gear reviews.


Bryan’s book Swiss Army Knife Camping & Outdoor Survival Guide, published by Fox Chapel, is a testament to his admiration and appreciation of the Swiss Army Knife. He speaks from experience as he owns and uses them extensively. “There is one knife that goes on my belt or in my pocket without fail, and it is usually my Victorinox Swiss Champ.”

Swiss Army Knife owners will appreciate Bryan’s easy-to-read resource which covers first aid, fire making, food preparation, water collection and filtration, and tons of other tips for outdoor survival. The softcover, 224-page, full color book’s compact size—just under 6" x 7"—makes it easy to throw it into a backpack, glove box or survival kit.

“My goal for this book was to highlight the incredible versatility of the Swiss Army Knife,” Bryan said. “The little red knife is a powerhouse unto itself and can complete many of the same tasks that the ‘tactical,’ ‘trendy’ knives can, and even more.”

Bryan introduces readers to several varieties of the Swiss Army Knife and outlines the functions of each. Models are geared toward those most likely to use that collection of tools, like the Expedition Kit, Fisherman, Hunter and Ranger Grip Boatsman. A two-page comparison chart makes it easy to select your preferred model based on functionality.

The Expedition Kit features timeless tools like a knife, scissors, can/bottle opener and saw, but also includes modern technology like a digital thermometer, digital watch, altimeter and barometer.

Perfect for a tackle box, the Fisherman is ready to help cut line, take out hooks, carry fish, and even includes a ruler to measure the catch of the day!

First responders especially love the RescueTool in easy-to-find phosphorescent yellow. Lifesaving tools include seat belt cutter, window breaker, and shatterproof glass disc cutter.

When you’re out on the water, the Ranger Grip Boatsman is the tool you need. Its 16 tools and functions include a shackle opener, needle-nosed pliers and removable bits.

The book includes tips for cleaning, sharpening and maintaining your knives. “Since the Swiss Army Knife is made from high-grade stainless steel and other quality components, it will last for generations if properly maintained,” Bryan said. Proper use and safety are also covered, along with several cutting methods.

Bryan demonstrates how to maintain a sharp edge with a sharpening stone.

The straightaway cutting method is great for making shavings for fire tinder.


The meat of the book is “Using Your Knife in the Wild” — an extensive guide that goes from keeping your morale up during a survival situation to signaling and navigating, including how to make a compass, signal mirror and whistle. 

One of the most important aspects to survival is fire — it can help you stay warm, cook food, boil water, make tools, keep animals and insects at bay and signal for help. Bryan spends a good bit of time demonstrating fire making techniques and ways to keep it burning.

He delves into campsite location, setup and security, including how to create a perimeter alarm system to give you advance warning when something is trying to enter your camp. He takes you through the steps to make things with your Swiss Army Knife that you might need at camp like cordage to use as straps or slings, a candleholder, and a suspended pot holder and hobo stove for cooking dinner.

Bryan teaches the reader how to create different fish hooks, a paracord fishing net and a jug fish trap, some items created from what others might consider trash like cans and plastic bottles. “I love to repurpose materials as much as I can, especially from trash because it can be found everywhere,” he said.

The guide also goes into repairing your gear, personal grooming and maintaining your firearm, all tasks that can be achieved with the help of a Swiss Army Knife.


The Swiss Army Knife Camping & Outdoor Survival Guide takes a very comprehensive look at Victorinox’s iconic knife and its broad range of capabilities. Hunters, fisherman, hikers and Scouts would all benefit from Bryan’s tips for the best use of their Swiss Army Knife in a variety of situations.

“What I have shown in this book doesn’t even come close to the full potential of what the Swiss Army Knife can do. I don’t think there would be an end to a book like that,” Bryan said. However, his expertise and advice should certainly spark an appreciation for this high-quality knife and its many applications. “I know that when you choose the right tool for the job and take care of it, a Swiss Army Knife can get the job done and be passed along to the next generation,” he said.

A German edition of this book will be released in Fall 2019. He has also written Paracord Projects For Outdoor Camping and Survival: Keeping It Together When Things Fall Apart (Fox Chapel). In addition, Bryan publishes the survivalist blog, where he shares experiences, reviews, projects and opinions related to emergency preparedness and self-reliance.

Author Bryan Lynch

Pick up a copy (or two!) of Swiss Army Knife Camping & Outdoor Survival Guide at your local Woodcraft store or order online at A great gift for any outdoor enthusiast!

We hope you’ll be inspired!

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