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The sun peaked over the nearby hill as we made our way to the river. I could hear the water rushing past rocks just through the trees and I could smell the moisture that promised cool clean water. As we came out into an opening in the trees, I could see a stream of crystal clear water bubbling past, heading to an unknown location many miles away. Ahh, it was going to be a good day.

I reached down for the fifth time that morning and patted the lump in my vest pocket. The Victorinox Huntsman was a welcome companion. I knew that it would see lots of use today.

I stopped at the edge of the small river and, after baiting my fishing hook; I started my quest to provide dinner for my kids and me. It didn’t take long for us to begin pulling it healthy sized trout from the stream. The smooth beauty of the wriggling trout promised us a good meal that evening. Before that would happen, I know there was a lot of work to be done.

We started out the day with the intent of spending a good couple of days camping. Of all the equipment I took along to make for a comfortable stay, my Swiss Army Knife was one of the first packed along. There are a lot of things that can make a camping trip more fun, but one thing that makes it miserable for me, is having no knife.

The knife would be used for a variety of tasks on this trip. I would be cleaning the fish, preparing dinner; cutting sticks for roasting marshmallows and hotdogs, sawing overhanging limbs and a lot of other tasks around the campsite.

A friend from an online forum, Rich, made the particular model I chose to carry for me. This one featured StayGlow scales. The StayGlow scales are neon yellow that actually glows in the dark after being charged with a light source. The bright coloring alone is worth the money, as it ensures this knife will not disappear against a dark forest floor. If dropped, one can almost guarantee to be able to locate it quickly.

I chose the Huntsman as one of my favorites because it features the regular host of Swiss Army Knife functions, with the added benefit of an amazingly effective wood saw and scissors. It provides one with the tools that are really needed, without a lot of extras that serve little or no purpose.

A few hours after we arrived at the river I made a quick job of cleaning our trout. We hiked back to the campsite and began preparing for the night. I like to encourage the kids to work at making a good campsite because it always makes the stay better. I used my knife quite a bit for these tasks, and my children put their Victorinox Campers to work too. Soon we had a campsite that looked comfortable, if not outright professional.

We spend the afternoon gathering wild edibles. I found a field containing plenty of wild carrots and harvested quite a bit for dinner. I used my knife to trim down the roots into the edible chunks I could use. It did not take long to locate what would make for an interesting meal.

Inspired by the small harvest, the kids and I decided on a hiking/gathering trip. I used the wood saw to cut a sturdy walking stick for myself, and a couple of others for my children. I have found that walking sticks take away a lot of fatigue one experiences during a hike. It also makes you safer because it helps you maintain balance and can be used to keep certain critters at bay.

During our hike we located another wide part of the stream that looked like it was chock-full of fish. We would have to fish there the next day. We came back to camp and I started on the evening meal. I fired up the mini stove and started preparing dinner. We have found a few more edibles on the hike and the Huntsman again came in useful for harvesting, removing inedible parts, and cutting them into pieces to cook. During the meal I used my Huntsman to cut the fish into smaller portions that were easier to manage. My StayGlow Huntsman had spent more time out of my pocket that in.

That night we sat near the campfire and just talked. I had a nice piece of dried cedar that I whittled on during our chat. I loved the smell of cedar and being in the outdoors increased my enjoyment. The thin blade of the Huntsman makes a far superior cutting tool, as it does not have the thickness that works against its cutting ability. Although thick blades are in vogue these days, I find the thin Victorinox blades far better for the tasks a blade was meant for…cutting and slicing.

At one point my daughter got a pretty bad splinter in her hand when throwing another piece of wood on the fire. I was quickly able to remove it using the tweezers that came with the knife. After our meal the integral toothpick was a welcome addition also.

With a little “charging” with an L.E.D. light I took to the woods to test the StayGlow scales. Although they do not glow like a lightstick, it is still enough to locate your knife if dropped or laid down. The soft glow was not just a novelty. It served a purpose.

During the evening I found continuous uses for my Huntsman. I taught my children how to make cordage. The scissors were very handy for this task. We were able to make some pretty good pieces of cordage from long strips of the inner bark of a cedar tree. We used the scissors to trim up the cord and our end result actually looked somewhat professional. I also had a large piece of canvas (from a military sea bag) that I used to demonstrate how a rucksack could be made in the wild with a minimal amount of material.

The next day we packed up and left, but I think we all left with a newfound respect for our knives. We has set out to see how much use we could get out of Swiss Army Knife, and quickly found that it could do almost everything we needed from it. It can handle cutting chores better than most knives and at least as well as the worlds finest blades. The tools included make it a far superior knife to have when out in the wilds. Finally, the bright colors of a Swiss Army Knife make it perfect for the outdoorsman. It is easy to find if it hits the ground and ensures that your main survival tool is not lost for the duration of your stay. If you are in the market for a new knife, take my advice; you can spend hundreds of dollars on a knife without the extra tools, or just a few dollars on a knife that was designed to be used. Get out there and enjoy the outdoors…with your Swiss Army Knife!