Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: Victorinox Midnight Minichamp II

I meant to do this review some time ago but other issues always came up first.
Tonight I gathered a bit of extra will and actually sat down to write it.

Why the Minichamp?
I own several Vicotrinox pocket knives and the minichamp has always been one of my favorites. The amount of tools that fit into the small package surprises most guys.

I used to have another minchap many years ago, loved it, but my brother “borrowed” it and lost it in no time.

When I set myself to find the ideal keychain accessory/gadget thingy the Minichamp quickly came to mind.

I had been carrying the Spartan as a keychain knife so far, but while very useful for most tasks, it was a bit too bulky to just drop in the pocket. Specially since I also had a AA 1 Watt LED light attached as well.

I got online and found that my favorite mini vicotrinox had changed a bit since I last owned one. Now it included a LED light and a pen.

Placed the order and almost four weeks later the package arrived to Argentina. (the mailman just threw the package over the fence, landing on my wife’s favorite flowers)

The Midnight Minichamp II

This small wonder includes

1. Small blade

The Minichamp is barely 2.28 in long. So I wasn’t expecting a sword of a blade, but the main blade is still very small, just 3,5 centimeters.
It certainly does not allow you to do the kind of work the classic Spartan Victorinox can perform, but it’s still a small sharp little blade.

2. Scissors

These, like all other Vics I’ve owned, are sturdy, well made and work well for the intended purposes.

3. Retractable stylus pen

This is something you’ll end up using a lot, I sure do. It’s not comfortable and sometimes it takes a few lines before the ink flows freely, but it’s ideal for that quick number you need or address, and no other pen or writing tool seems to be near by.

4. Nail file with nail cleaner

The nail file works well, and I’ve used the v shaped nail cleaner as a Philips screwdriver successfully a number of times.

5. Emergency blade

This is very comforting to have since the main blade is kind of small and thin.

6. Cut and picker blade with scraper

Not as useful as some of the other tools, but the scraper can come in handy for… scrapping, and I’ve also used it to punch a hole into a thick leather dog collar.

7. Cap lifter with magnetic Phillips screwdriver tip and wire stripper

This tool is pretty neat. The magnetic screwdriver is well designed for smaller screws. For larger ones I use the nail cleaner.

8. Mini Red LED light

Little red led that activates by pressing and keeping the Victorinox shield down.
Why red? Because it seems that red is the most power efficient variety. It’s not very powerful but you can see with it.
At first I was disappointed with it, but then I understood.
It’s the kind of light that barely allows you to see, but at least you can see!
A white, more powerful lead would run out much sooner, but this one will be there when you need it the most.
The red light does not ruin night vision or reveal your position when reading maps in the dark… …and it doesn’t bother people when you walk into the theater after the movie started and you can’t see where you are going.:)

9. Ruler with engraved screwdriver

The small screwdriver is ok, the ruler is only good for measuring small screws and such. Not much use but still nice to have.
10. Cuticle pusher

This is the kind of thing that makes you wonder what where they thinking. Cuticle pusher…
I’ve seen a guy on youtube that uses it like a spoon, but it’s too small if you ask me. I mostly use it as a large plain screwdriver. Works well for that purpose.

11. Key ring

What I did was add an easily detachable latch, so as to quickly remove it from the keychain when I need to use it. Makes things easier, and it’s still securely attached.

Propper use of the pen, using the nail file as an extension

The bad

The main blade is small. It’s clear that you can’t expect it to do the work larger Vic knives do.
The scrapper and cuticle pusher aren’t the tools you go for most often, but at least you can use them for the things I mentioned.

The good

Small, light, not an anchor to carry around.
The red LED works well for it’s intended purpose
The pen isn’t perfect but often comes in handy.
You have small, thin blades, but at least you have two.
Between the different tools, you cover Phillips and flat screwdrivers of various sizes.
You can use the LED and pen at the same time to write in the dark. Nice.

Overall, it’s not a heavy work knife but I find it to be the perfect keychain tool and I assure you I use it almost on daily basis, sometimes several times. It’s just so handy, and can do so many tasks.
Very pleased with it.
I have it linked here somewhere in the bottom for 33 bucks from Amazon.
In my opinion it’s worth every cent.
Hope that was useful.

Take care everyone and good night.



Anonymous said...

Awesome post !! Very much thank you!

Anonymous said...

FerFAL, sir;
A very good post. Thank you for sharing your insights.
The flashlight in one of the pictures looks like an Inova X1, which is what I carry day to day. If so, is it the flood model or the older spot?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for ideas, just ordered one. I went with a simple version, it has 10 tools, pretty much get rids of the tools you didnt like.

Anonymous said...

I have the standard Mini-champ (non flashlight version) - took off scales for even more compact. about an 1/8" thick with 8 tools - not bad.

Sonia Hamilton said...

Hi Ferfal, thanks for your article (and very useful blog). I notice in your 3rd photo you have a short black cylinder attached to your keyring. I've heard about these before, but can't remember their name or how you use them - what are they called, and how do you learn to use them? I've been doing BJJ for years, and I'm now learning Krav Maga - I would also like to learn to use these "little cylinders".

Anonymous said...

I carry an Explorer Plus. It is a bit larger, is four levels thick, and does not have a nail file, cuticle tool, or light. It does have a magnifying glass (for reading vitamin pill bottles), a real Phillips screwdriver that opens up full length, ball point pen, scissors, and can opener. Corkscrew requires a bit more strength than I have, but is there, as is a sewing tool. And two surprisingly sharp blades. Was $21 on Amazon.