Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Victorinox MiniChamp II: A Toolbox in your Keychain

I’ve been carrying a Victorinox Midnight Minichamp in my keychain for over seven years now. It is in my opinion the best, most complete keychain multitool you can possibly have. It always seems to save the day. Everything else has changed or been upgraded but the Minichamp remains. The Leatherman Squirt PS4 is in some way similar and it does have pliers, but then again the screwdrivers are too short and it has 9 tools vs 15 tools for the Minichamp II.
Victorinox Swiss Army MiniChamp II Pocket Knife
Victorinox Minichamp II $31.97
Over the years, the Midnight Minichamp has been a trusted companion, always there when something needed cutting, when a scissor was needed, when something had to be repaired or when there was no pen around to take notes, complete forms or sign paperwork. Now, the Minichamp II has replaced my trusty keychain tool.

 The only difference is that the Midnight version included a LED light, while the Minichamp II has tweezers, which I find more useful. Other than that, everything remains the same. Lets take a look at the tools we have:
1 Pen Blade
The Minichamp main pen blade is just 3,5 centimeters long, but the perfectly heat treated X55CrMo14 blade holds and edge, flexes without breaking and should serve you well for years if treated with care and kept sharp.
2. Scissors
These, like all other Vics I’ve owned, are sturdy, well made and work well for the intended purposes given their small size.
3. Retractable stylus pen
This is something you’ll end up using a lot. Make sure you extend the ruler for better hand support if you need to write more than a quick note.
4 and 5. Nail file with nail cleaner
The nail file works well and I’ve used the nail cleaner as a flat Philips screwdriver successfully a number of times. Its also a good pointy/poky tool for when you don’t want to risk damaging the pen blade.
6. Emergency blade
This is comforting to have since the main blade is small and could snap by accident. The small Wharncliff works almost like a scalpel, idea for detail cuts. I make sure I keep this blade razor sharp while using the pen knife for ordinary tasks.
7 and 8. Orange Pealer with scrapper /Pharmaceutical Cut and picker tool
Supposedly used for pealing oranges… and scrapping. Then again this tool is also called a Pharmaceutical Cut and picker, intended for opening pill bottles and removing the cotton on top. I’ve used this tool to punch holes into leather and plastic, even drill holes into wood. It can also be used to cut open clamshell plastic packing, which many knives have problems with.
9, 10 and 11. Cap lifter with magnetic Phillips screwdriver tip and wire stripper
This tool is one of the most useful. The magnetic screwdriver is well designed for smaller screws. For larger ones I use the nail cleaner. The cap lifter is small but it works and the wire stripper can be used also for bending thick wires.
12 and 13. Flat screwdriver with engraved ruler.
The small screwdriver works well, with good reach. The ruler is good for measuring small screws and such, both inches and cm.
14. Cuticle pusher
This is the kind of thing that makes you wonder what were they thinking. Cuticle pusher… . I mostly use it as a large plain screwdriver or for prying when I don’t want to risk breaking the other tools.
15. Tweezers.
Its always nice to have these for splinters and other delicate tasks. With a moonlight mode in my keychain light, I’d rather have tweezers than the LED light.
 Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Anonymous said...

I've had the original MiniChamp as my keychain knife for many years and find it indespensible. The scales were removed (losing the tweezers and toothpick), gaining much less thickness in return. My only complaint is that getting sparks from a spark rod (for me) has been nearly impossible. But the tool itself - fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add above - that cuticle tool - do you think that grinding it down to make a 'chisel' would be a worthy project ? I use it to remove ear wax (I know - TMI :^) as is.

That would be an interesting contest - list a SAK tool and ask your readers for what they use it for.