Have you wondered what the hook-shaped tool in your Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is used for? When I got my first Swiss Army Knife with that hook, it was the only tool that seemed completely useless to me. I believe many also share a similar feeling. But there must be a reason why Victorinox, maker of the Original Swiss Army Knife, includes the hook in most of their SAKs, isn’t it?
Officially, the hook in a Swiss Army Knife is meant for carrying parcels or packages wrapped with string or thin cords, that can be hung from the hook and carried along with the body of the SAK acting as a handle. This is the reason it is sometimes referred to as the parcel hook. The hook is quite sturdy, and Victorinox says it strong enough to carry loads as heavy as 200 lbs.
Pretty impressive, isn’t it, for a tool so small? Without the hook, if you haul that amount of weight with a string or thin plastic or wire, it might just dig into your fingers and palm. The hook makes it so convenient to just hang it.
But beyond that, what can it be used for?
After all, we do not find ourselves carrying heavy loads wrapped in thin strings very often. Victorinox doesn’t say anything about its other uses, but you will find the hook sometimes being referred to as the multipurpose hook. And true to its name, it does come around handy in many situations in our daily life.
The hook is one tool that gets the least respect from SAK users. Here is a list of 13 different ways by which you can use it. I am sure after discovering some of these interesting uses of the multipurpose hook, you will start admiring it a bit more.
1. Pulling Wires or Strings Through Holes
This is probably the most common use of the hook. You can put it in places that are too small for your fingers and pull out stuff. It is, in fact, thinner than any other tool in your SAK and hence can get into places where no other tool can.
You can also use it to pull out threads or strings through heavy cloth or leather, or any other material. The Awl in your SAK can very well punch a hole through leather or any other thick material, but it cannot pull a thick chord through them.
Think about pulling a paracord through a hole. Can the Awl with its sewing eye pull it through a hole? It cannot because the sewing eye is not big enough for a paracord. But the multipurpose hook can do it effortlessly.
Here you can see the hook in action pulling a paracord through a hole in a plastic bottle. I am sure you can think of other situations where you need to pull cords, strings, or wires through holes or narrows areas where the hook can be used.
2. Mobile Stand
The hook, when opened all the way past 90 degrees, can be used to hold the SAK in a standing position. It can then be used as a stand for your mobile phone. This can eliminate the need to carry around a separate mobile stand, in case you like watching movies in your smartphone this way.
This can be done in two different positions. In the first position, you keep the phone supported on SAK, the opposite side of the hook. In this position, the hook might slip if the surface is smooth, unable to bear the weight of the phone.
In such a case, keep some cotton or a rough piece of cloth below to prevent slippage. This will help the hook to have a firm hold on the surface and bear the weight of the smartphone.
In the second position, you keep the phone in the groove of the hook. In this position, the smartphone will remain slightly tilted to the left or right (depending on how you place it).
However, The SAK will not slip as the weight of the phone is supported by the hook itself.
3. Keyring Hanger
This is perhaps the easiest use of the hook you can think of, but very useful. You find someplace from where you can hang the SAK using the hook. This is easy as the hook can literary be attached to anything where the groove can get a hold of without slipping. Then you use the SAK itself as a keyring hanger.
4. Opening Cupboards Doors without a Pull Handle
This can come in handy in case the pull handle of your cupboard has broken and fallen off. The cupboard door may become impossible to open in such situations.
Of course, you can use various tools to somehow force the doors open, but the hook provides a very elegant solution.
This sometimes works for desk drawers as well.
Just insert the hook straight into the opening between the doors of the cupboard, then twist it 90 degrees so that the hook gets stuck on the other side of the door, and then pull the door open.
5. Lace Tightener
Have you seen those shoes they use in Ice Skating? Well, those are not shoes, those are skates. It appears that tightening those skates by pulling those innumerable laces through innumerable holes is a serious affair.
The SAK hook can give you just that extra bit of control and grip while pulling those laces correctly through the holes.
I am sure it can be of similar use in other sports too, where you need to adjust the laces of your shoes to get that perfect fit.
6. Picking Up Hot Pots and Utensils
Have you ever gone camping in the woods? Boiling water, or cooking with pots and billi-cans in a campfire is very common.
And just when you need to pick the super-hot pot or the billy-can out of the fire, you realize there is nothing to hold on to it safely to save yourself from burning your hands.
Of course, you can use a stick, or, it may just be the perfect occasion to use your SAK hook to grab that hot handle of the pot or billy-can.
7. Handle for Victorinox Pen
This works only if you have a pen that comes with some of the Swiss Army Knives. The pen is very thin and small, and if you have large hands, it is very difficult to hold onto the pen and write something. You can put the bottom end of the pen in the slot of the hook and close the hook halfway on top of it to lock the pen in place. This way, you have the entire body of the SAK to hold on to while writing with the pen.
8. Pulling up Tent Pegs
Tent pegs are difficult to pull out, especially if you drive them deep into the ground. You always need a tool to pull them out, and there are in fact dedicated tools, called tent peg pullers, made just for that purpose.
But you will find that the multipurpose hook in your SAK can do the job pretty well, even if not as effectively as those dedicated pullers. But something in your pocket that can be used to pull those stubborn pegs out is always a good thing, isn’t it?
9. Loosening Up Tight Knots
Undoing tight knots is a situation where none of the other tools in the SAK can be of any use, except maybe, the corkscrew. The corkscrew is great in untangling the most stubborn knots.
But if your SAK does not have a corkscrew, the next best thing is the multipurpose hook.
It is thin enough to slip through the knot and grab onto a part of the rope or the cord, and then you can just pull at it to loosen the knot. Works great on shoelaces too.
10. As a Bit Driver for Leatherman Bits
This is just awesome. If you have those flat bits that come with some Leatherman tools, then you will be happy to know that those bits just fits in the SAK hook. This can effectively turn the hook into a bit driver. Of course, it will not be as perfect as the Leatherman bit driver, but you can practically use the hook to drive in or drive out screws with the flat bit into the groove of the hook.
Considering Leatherman has such a great collection of those flat bits, you can carry some of the bits along with you and use them with the multipurpose hook whenever the need arises.
11. Twisting And Binding Wires
You can use the hook to twist and bind wires together just as if using pliers. The following video explains what is possible.
12. Pulling Zippers With Broken Pull Tabs
Zippers with broken pull tabs are so frustrating. If you have chubby fingers and no nails to hold onto the zipper, you may be stuck with an open zipper, or a closed zipper, till the time you get the zipper fixed.
The SAK hook may come in handy in such situations as it does a nice job of ‘hooking’ onto the zipper, and then you can pull it up or down to close or open the zipper.
Granted, this can be done with anything small and thin enough to go through the broken zipper hole, but do you always carry something like that, other than the SAK, in your pocket?
13. As a Hanger to Carry a Fish
This is just another example of carrying something like parcels or packages, but it is so cool that I had to include it. You can carry a big fish by hanging it onto the hook. Just by hooking it through the jaw of the fish you can carry the entire weight of the fish using the SAK as the handle. This looks so cool when you see someone carrying a fish like this, and if you are the one doing this after a successful fishing trip, you will feel proud of your catch.
Bonus Tip: Picking up Objects from the Toilet !!
This tip is from Victorinox itself, so had to include this in the list 🙂
Excluding very small Swiss Army Knives, any other Swiss Army Knife that has scissors will usually have the multipurpose hook too, since they share the same spring. You will always find them together in most 91mm SAKs.
The hook was introduced in Swiss Army Knives in 1991. There are two variations. The standard one is generally found in most SAKs. The other variation has an engraved nail file surface on its back.
People are usually confused about how the hook should be used because there is no one thing that it is specifically meant for. If you are a bit innovative while using this tool, it can be quite effective in whatever it does.
You may also think of it as a useless tool, and the various uses described above are simply an effort to add some value where there is actually none. Well, I won’t argue with you, but since you have this tool with you in your SAK, it is perhaps better to be aware of some of its uses. Who knows, sometimes the multipurpose hook might just come in handy to save the day for you.