Dear Victoria Inox,
I love you. Your slender shapes, gentle curves, and amazing utility have bewitched me. Your myriad of forms pleases both my eyes and my heart. Even some days when I choose another to be at my side, I cannot let you wander far. Amidst the younger, finer, richer models I could do with, I still always find it in my heart to carry you. You were my first real… knife.
And since then, I have only learned to appreciate you more. I like you most when you’re done up to the nines in Alox. Sure, the red outfit is what you’re known for, but that Alox has an enduring beauty. I love you, Victoria Inox.
In reality, the brand of Swiss Army Knife we all know and love is a portmanteau of the founder’s mother’s name (Victoria) and the French word for stainless steel (inoxydable). There was a real Victorinox, and I can’t help but feel indebted to her as the namesake of some of my most cherished knives. Victorinox makes many a splendid tool, but among their best are those that do away with the traditional lipstick-red handles in favor of ribbed aluminum ones, a material Victorinox calls Alox. This more durable material both slims the knife down and manages to retain its sleek appearance even after absorbing an amazing amount of damage compared to its cellidor counterpart. Of the many models featuring Alox scales, a select few stand out. This introduction to Alox knives features my personal favorite, the Cadet, as well as the Farmer, Pioneer, Money Clip, and Rambler models.
The Cadet’s assortment of tools is just about perfect for EDC – a good blade, a bottle opener, a can opener, a file, and three different sized drivers. However, it’s not just the selection of tools that make it noteworthy. At 84mm (3.3 inches), it’s perfectly sized for EDC. The blade is big enough for everyday tasks like opening packages and food prep, but not so big as to be threatening. The bottle opener, as per Victorinox tradition, is an awesome single-pull implement. The Cadet achieves a great balance of versatility and minimalism in a form factor thinner than a pack of gum. Carry it for a day and you’ll realize why the Cadet is such a popular “work blade,” even alongside pricier custom folders.
Pioneer & Farmer
Take the Cadet and replace the file/Philips driver with an awl or a punch and you have the Pioneer. Add a truly great wood saw to that, and you have the Farmer. If you’re in a more rural environment, and wouldn’t miss the Philiips driver, then either of these makes a good substitute for the Cadet. You’d be surprised at all the ways a punch is useful (restringing frayed shoelaces, for example). As nice as the punch is, even better is the wood saw on the Farmer. With aggressively cut teeth, it makes dust of softer woods like pine and cuts through green branches swiftly.
This knife, intended to be used as a moneyclip, packs a rather small and less common 74mm-class blade. However, the money clip actually works quite well as a pocket clip – a unique feature among traditional style Swiss Army Knives. The tool selection is fairly standard, much like a slightly larger version of the Classic: a small pen blade, a pair of scissors, and a driver/file. However, unlike common cellidor Classics, it foregoes the tweezers and toothpick in favor of a classy, svelte aesthetic and feel. Whether clipped to your pocket or to your cash, the Alox Money Clip fills its niche.
The Rambler outdoes the Classic in the 58mm class by packing a hybrid bottle opener/magnetic philips driver/wire stripper in its toolset in addition to a pen blade, nail file/driver, and scissors. Despite its toolset’s exceptional utility for a keychain knife, many of its tools become less usable at such a small scale – except for the scissors. They perform surprisingly well, even at small proportions. Overall, it makes for a great keychain companion. The Alox version of the Rambler is available exclusively through SwissBianco.
The diverse Victorinox product line is full of gems, but the Alox models really kick things up a notch. The durable scale material has a visually striking pattern and comes in a wide range of colors through the anodization process. Aesthetics aside, it’s the incredibly slim form factor that makes them worth buying. Fortunately, most Alox models are affordable and easy to grab a hold of, with perhaps the best of the models, the Cadet, being the most widely available of them all. Try adding one to your own carry – few products are a better value in EDC gear.
Chances are, you don't really think much about your everyday duffel bag. It gets the job done, plain and simple. You load it up, knock it around, and it keeps on trucking. So if you need a bag for that kind of hard use, you'd better get one that's built from the ground up to be indestructible. Especially one that's backed by a lifetime warranty to carry for the long haul.
AMABILIS out of Seattle have made the DAVE Jr Duffel 2.0, designed with everyday carry and ruggedness at its core. It uses some of the toughest materials available to keep your gear protected. This includes double-layer military-grade tarpaulin for a weatherproof body, with a superfabric bottom that integrates ceramic plates to prevent wear and tear when propping up the DAVE on rough terrain. Of course mil-spec fittings and YKK zippers make an appearance as well. There's two ways to carry the DAVE (sling and with a side handle) making it suitable for everyday carry, and it's sized for TSA-compliant carry on dimensions, which make it handy for flights.
The DAVE Jr Duffel 2.0's already met its funding goal, and there's plenty of time to back one in the color of your choice at the Kickstarter link below.
Thank you for your contribution. Your message has been sent privately to our editorial staff for review.