The world famous Swiss
Army Knives have always been a must-have item in everybody's rucksack:
their size, usefulness, reliability and quality have long made them an
indispensable tool for climbing, hill walking and skiing. Recently
Victorinox have added a series of interesting additions to their
already astoundingly large list of pocket knives, building in torches
(Voyager Lite), USB cards (Swissmemory) and, most interesting of all
from our point of view, a highly sensitive altimeter and thermometer.
The result is a pocket knife which not only cuts, screws and dices, but
also gives you the temperature, calculates the present height and
offers, on that basis, an indication of the future weather
conditions... what more could you want when climbing up and down
The Victorinox "Altimeter" is shaped around the tried and tested "Mountaineer" which, with 17 features (large blade, small blade, scissors, saw, screwdriver, can opener, tweezers etc) is one of the most useful Victorinox knives for all-round mountain use. It goes without saying that all blades are of stainless steel and obviously we can add nothing more to this other than the fact that thanks to this multi-functionality these knives are perfectly suited for all situations, even emergency, that come when out on the hills.
The true novelty is the built-in altimeter, which turned out to be extremely straightforward to use: simply press the Victorinox crest for four seconds and the display turns on, showing the current height. Press the crest a second time and the knife toggles into temperature mode. Don't touch the crest for 15 minutes and the display turns itself off automatically. It's a simple as that!
The temperature range goes from -20°C to +60°C, which should be ample, as should be the altitude range, which calculates in 5m steps from -100m up to 6000 meters. And if you're not familiar with metric, at the touch of a button the Altimeter displays Fahrenheit and feet.
Obviously the altimeter bases its calculations on the current atmospheric pressure, and to make a correct reading it therefore needs to be calibrated at the start of the outing and, climate conditions depending, also during the trip. This calibration is carried out by turning the altimeter on and holding down the crest for another four seconds: the display starts flashing an up or down arrow and the altitude can be increased or decreased by pressing the crest until the known altitude is reached.
We found the Victorinox Altimeter an extremely useful tool to have stored away in the top pocket of our rucksack or in a jacket pocket. While it doesn't substitute a full-blown altimeter or thermometer designed specifically for the job, it definitely works well. The altimeter was highly sensitive
Suggestions? Add a watch and stopwatch, and a luminous backlight for finding out how cold it is in the tent during the night!
Recommendation: as with all objects, don't leave your knife beneath the car windscreen in summer - you'll be surprised how hot it can get and this could irreversably damage the thermometer!
The Victorinox Altimeter is available at Victorinox Points, in specialist shops, and online onwww.adventureshop.it
Conclusion: excellent tool, uesful, robust, simple to use. A knife for every occasion.