The German war machine produced rockets, the English the Spitfire, the Japanese the mini-sub, and the U.S. the atomic bomb – all forefathers of modern technology. The Swiss however, produced the multi-bladed pocketknife – forefather of Boy Scout preparedness and a hell of a good reason for remaining neutral.
Ensuing years have seen multi-bladed knives such as the Leatherman and Gerber Multi-Tool take the outdoor world by storm, while the Swiss Army knife has been seen storming many a dirty fingernail. For capturing the outdoor market, the Swiss have simply missed the boat.
Alright Swiss Army, grab a pen and bend an ear. Your red contraption needs a major overhaul to score with John Q. Outdoorsman. First, the name – lose it. Outdoorsmen are neutral on absolutely nothing. Then try this:
The small knife blade is worthless – outdoorsmen cut big things. Give us a steak knife. Dump the corkscrew, there are no wine sippers in this crowd. An ice auger is more practical.
Your wimpy pliers may rule the Erector Set but outdoorsmen need large ones for skinning catfish, fixing the truck, and driving nails. Beef them up or throw them out. And a nail file? What were you thinking?
Toy saw no, pelvic saw, yes. And that little GI-Joe-sized magnifying glass – what’s it for? Burning ants? Reading? Outdoorsmen don’t read; we look at pictures. I’m thinking spotting scope. And I’m sure sardine anglers love the nifty little hook remover and fish scaler, but we don’t. Get a clue – scale them up or give them the hook.
Replace those puny scissors with something suitable for trimming brush – nose hairs be damned. However, the pen stays. It’s great for jotting down excuses, stories, and lies ahead of time – a good outdoorsman is a prepared outdoorsman. Just make it bigger, with plenty of ink.
Your trademark miniature toothpick and tweezers are usually lost before they’re found. Toothpick no, guitar pick yes, and trade the tweezers for a magic wand. One that’s good for ten minutes more – ten minutes more daylight, ten minutes more fishing, and ten minutes more to get home.
Now add a few things we outdoorsmen desperately need: first, a skeleton key, because all gate keys look alike at 5:00 AM. Next, “helpful” scales to weigh fish and measure antlers would really boost sales – particularly if they add five pounds and six inches to everything. Then, throw in a fly-tying vice, a line detangler, and a third arm. I have no clue how to do this, but you invented the Rolex, you’ll figure it out.
A fold-out camp stool with flip-up toilet seat would be great for those who go dove hunting and those who just go. A level tool would be helpful for deciding where to pitch the tent. Slope and sleep are archenemies, trust me.
Make sure the knife is camouflaged, made from Gore-Tex, SilentHide, and Scent Blocker materials, self-sharpening, affordable, and of course, pocket-sized. If there’s room, a grunt tube, rattling horns, spare truck key, flashlight, can of Fix-A-Flat, jumper cables, and a winch wouldn’t hurt.
Swiss Army, make these changes correcting your miss and you’re back in business. I’ll even be first in line to buy your new knife – the model with the extra-large pen, and spare ink cartridges of course.
Tripp Holmgrain is an avid outdoorsman on the cutting edge of technology. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.