Perhaps the most iconic cutting tool in the world is the Swiss Army Knife. However, some of the new tools and knives manufactured by Victorinox, such as the Dual Pro X, look noticeably different from the company’s older models. Some members of the SNEWS® team still pack Swiss Army Knives for backcountry treks, and we tested Dual Pro X pocket tool, noting differences between it and other models we’ve owned, such as the Picnicker and Explorer.
The most obvious difference is the heft of the Dual Pro X, which has blades and implements that are thicker and generally burlier than those on older models. The Dual Pro X is obviously made for rugged use, and for a Swiss Army Knife it has a relatively long body (4 3/8 inches) and main blade (just over 3 inches.)
The main point (pardon the pun) is that the Dual Pro X is a serious instrument, with the size and strength to tackle formidable jobs and take a pounding.
Our tester especially appreciated that the lengthy handle made cutting jobs easier, simply because he could wrap all four fingers and his thumb around it—which is not the case with shorter handles. Also, the handle is covered with a textured material, and there are raised pads at the ends to prevent your thumb from slipping. Together, these design elements provide a better gripping surface than Swiss Army Knives that have the non-textured handles made of smooth plastic.
Just as important, the straight-edge blade and the 3-inch serrated, curved blade lock into place when deployed, which makes it much more safe to use these tools. The blades themselves did a fine job cutting all sorts of materials, including thick cord and nylon webbing. Our tester said that, during a canoe trip, he easily sawed through branches with the serrated blade to construct a makeshift grill top to cook steaks. (Yeah, we could have cooked them in a skillet, but the SNEWS team refuses to compromise when it comes to rib eye steaks.)
We should note that the blades do have holes for one-handed opening, but the blades swung out stiffly—even after repeated use—so this function wasn’t particularly useful, or necessary for that matter.
Our tester also had opportunities to use the stout Phillips head screwdriver, which does not lock into place but stays put when deployed. When opened, the screwdriver extends perpendicular to the handle, so you can grasp the large handle and twist it, applying great force to the screwdriver—a big plus if you’re dealing with a screw that’s stubborn or stuck. As with the Phillips screwdriver, the other implements performed well, including the bottle opener, can opener and wire stripper.
Of course, the dilemma with any Swiss Army Knife or other multi-tool is that it can be too bulky if it includes a great number of implements. We wouldn’t want the Dual Pro X to be much larger or heavier, but it would be nice if it had a couple of things—namely, a corkscrew and scissors. We can name several instances when turned to our trusty Swiss Army Knife to pop the cork on a bottle of wine. And scissors really help when cutting and trimming swatches of moleskin to address a blister or hot spot on a foot.
If those implements aren’t important to you, then the Dual X Pro should serve you well when tackling most backcountry tasks. Sure, this modern take on the Swiss Army Knife is in some ways very different from those of the past, but it’s still very usefulness and extremely durable—the two traits than have made the Swiss Army Knife a classic.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $65
For more information:www. swissarmy.com