The Swiss Army Knife Classic has been my EDC keychain multi-tool for a long and I never thought of replacing it with anything else, until I discovered the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Rambler. Both the tools are very similar in look and feel, but the Rambler has just that extra bit of functionality that you may have been missing.
The Swiss Army Knife (SAK) Rambler is another small multi-tool in Victorinox’s long line of knife-based keychain tools. It is similar to another popular Victorinox multi-tool, The SAK Classic. However, The Rambler has a few more tools than the Classic, while having an almost similar size and weight.
Before going further, let’s have a look at the tools that this tiny multi-tool packs:
- Knife (a tiny pen blade)
- Nail File with a Flathead Screwdriver tip
- Bottle Opener with a Philips Screwdriver tip and Wire Stripper
Looks impressive, isn’t it? For the size of this tool, it really packs a lot of punch. But, is it worth it, especially for the price that you pay for it?
Why I got the Rambler When I Already had the SAK Classic?
I have carried the SAK Classic on my keychain for almost 10 years. I have tried other keychain multi-tools too for certain periods, but I always came back to the Classic. For my type of usage, I just could not find anything that is as functional as the SAK Classic in such a small package. But even then, I always felt as if I am missing something, something, that I should have with me always.
It was only when I used the Swisstech Utilikey, I realized what I was missing. In fact, for some time, I carried both the SAK Classic and the Utilikey in my keychain. The Utilikey had the two frequently used tools that were missing in the SAK Classic, the Philips Screwdriver and the Bottle Opener. The combination worked for me, but being a minimalist, I was always on the lookout for that one tool that can replace both.
Then one day I saw another Victorinox SAK, the Rally. The Rally had this combo tool, which is a bottle opener with a Philips screwdriver tip. The tool also had what Victorinox calls a wire stripper. However, the Rally did not have the scissors, my most used tool in the Classic. I wished for a tool that was kind of a combination of the Classic and the Rally.
The Victorinox Rambler is exactly that. It has all the tools of the Classic and adds the combo tool of the Rally in the mix. At last, a tool that can get rid of both the Classic and the Utilikey in my keychain.
I wondered why I didn’t see this model before, after all, I have been looking to upgrade from the Classic for a long time.
The reason is, it is not available on Amazon most of the time.
I waited for long for the model to be available without any luck. The Rambler seems to one of those low-availability SAKs. Ultimately, I bought it from Amazon France through a friend.
Another thing to note about the Rambler is the price. It cost me 26 Euro (around Rs. 2000, or $28) at the time of buying. That is almost twice the price of the Classic! All that just for two extra tools?
The Combo Tool: Screw Driver and Bottle Opener
Since we are paying so much more for the Rambler compared to the Vic Classic, the combo tool of the Rambler better perform, isn’t it? Well, it does.
The bottle opener/cap lifter is one of the best I have used in such a small multitool. In the Swisstech Utilikey which I was using before, the tool had to be opened at a certain angle before the bottle opener could be used. The opening and closing of the tool were not so smooth.
But all the tools in the Rambler opens and closes very smoothly, something you will see in all Victorinox products.
If the bottle opener is good, the Philips screwdriver is even better. It is surprisingly sturdy, slots into most small screws you find everywhere around your house. It is also magnetized, which is very helpful while working with small screws.
What is surprising is that I discovered that the screwdriver sometimes also works on larger screws. Here is a particular case where you see me tightening up the doorknob of a cupboard.
The shape of the tool allows you to have decent leverage and apply a fair amount of pressure, which was not possible with the screwdriver in my Swisstech Utilikey.
The Rambler just seems to perform everything better than the Utilikey.
In fact, after getting this tool, I find myself using this screwdriver more than any other dedicated screwdriver, or the screwdriver in my other multi-tools, just because I always have this tool with me.
What about Wire Stripper? Does it work? Frankly, I do not know. I never used it, and in fact, was not bothered about it at all. Just the performance of the bottle opener and the Philips screwdriver was enough to justify the purchase.
How Do the Other Tools Perform?
Now that we have covered the only difference of the Rambler with the Classic, let’s check the design, built quality and the performance of the other tools. If you have used the Vic Classic, you won’t find anything different here. The built quality is top-notch, just like any SAK that Victorinox produces. The tool is 58 mm long and weighs about 30 grams.
The tool has red-colored plastic scales on both sides, which houses the tweezers and the toothpick, just like most other SAKs. I use the toothpick a lot, so I know that it works. The tweezers are sharp and precise and can be used to pick up small things, like removing splinters.
Within the scales lies the frame with two layers of tools, with two tools on each side. All the tools are made of stainless steel and are very shiny. I have heard that Victorinox uses somewhat soft steel, but the steel does not rust easily. Well, That must be true because I have been using the Classic for almost a decade, and I don’t see any rust anywhere.
On one side, it has a small knife and the combo tool. Out of the box, all Victorinox knives come very sharp, sharp enough to slice through a piece of paper. It is very useful in opening up packages, and good enough to cut cardboard. We already know how the combo tool performs.
On the other side, it has the scissors and the nail file.
The scissors in Swiss Army Knives are the best I have used among all multi-tools. And this tiny pair of scissors live up to Victorinox’s reputation.
For such a small size, it is impressive how it can even cut paracord effortlessly.
The nail file is the only tool that I haven’t used that much. It is not very aggressive and takes a long time in shaping your nails. The scissors can do a much better job of trimming your nails if required. However, the tip of the nail file has a flat head screwdriver, and yes, it does work.
However, while using multi-tools as small as the Rambler, do remember that these are not built to replace full-size tools. No keychain multi-tool can replace a dedicated tool meant for the task, or a full-size multi-tool. If you use a tool like this for the tasks it is meant for, it will last a lifetime.
How does The Rambler Compare with the Classic?
Apart from the combo tool, the Rambler is the same as the Classic. The minor increase in width and weight is barely noticeable. If you are carrying it in your keychain or your pocket, you won’t even notice the difference. However, there is a minor difference in the placement of the common tools.
As you can see, the knife on the Classic is on the same side as the keyring, whereas on the Rambler, it is on the opposite side. Does it matter? Maybe a bit, in case you are using the knife while the SAK is attached to your keyring, or while sharpening the knife. In both cases, for the Rambler, the keyring won’t come in the way. This is the only slight advantage for the Rambler that I see in tool placement.
Unlike the Classic which is available in many colors and even with interesting designs on the scales, I could not find the Rambler in any color other than Red. That does make it less attractive to the feminine gender, I suppose?
The Victorinox Rambler is just an awesome keychain multi-tool with more capabilities than the very popular Victorinox Classic. There are other Victorinox SAKs of similar size with a different toolset, or more tools than the Rambler. You can have a look at those and see if any of those fits your needs. For me, the Rambler provides just the perfect balance of tools, size, and weight.
SAK Classic is probably the best keychain multi-tool of all time considering the quality, size, weight, features, price, and availability. But if Philips screwdriver and bottle opener are important to you in a keychain multi-tool, then look no further than the Rambler. The only con compared to the Classic is the price and availability. If you can afford it, go for it. A SAK never disappoints its owner.