Best pair of scissors we've seen in it's class, spring-loaded and easy to use.
Smart tool placement.
No dedicated Phillips driver.
The Victorinox Climber was among the first dozen Swiss army pocket knives we’ve ever reviewed back in 2012.
That makes for about 20 review updates (for those new to the website, we update the reviews every two months).
Two pieces of stats to paint a quick picture.
In 11 updates out of 20,it was in the TOP 5 among pocket multi tools In 6 updates out of 20,it was in the TOP 10 Victorinox pieces
The Victorinox Climber is currently rated at 3.6 out of 5, which makes it 5th top rated pocket knife and 22nd multi-tool overall. Currently top rated pocket multi-tool is the Gerber Dime and best overall is the overlord among multi-tools – the Leatherman Wave (in the review, we’ll compare the Climber to both of these).
Before we move on, take a quick look at the features demo video
Features of the Climber and evolution over 60 YEARS
Climber vs. the currently Best-Rated pocket knife
What made the most difference between the two
Some of the ratings above might seem odd – like the Gerber Dime having higher ratings in Versatility with less tool pieces listed in the specs.
Looking over the comments and reviews we’ve received from our featured testers over the years, two things stand out:
- Pliers (included in the Dime and absent in the Climber)
- Body material (steel best plastic every time)
- The Dime is cheaper, much cheaper
Gerber Dime is the best value for money overall
The Dime is one of the very few pocket tools (you can count them the fingers of one hand) that feature steel construction of the body.
At that price, that fact alone makes it a steal.
So before we move on, to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the two tools
Take a quick look at the 90 seconds video brief of the Dime
90 Sec video demo of the Dime
Click below to see the Dime on Amazon
Victorinox Climber vs. the best multi-tool Overall
We’re done comparing
Our reviews are tweaked over time in response to what our readers wanted to see.
The comparisons are there to cover all the angles and allow you widen your perspective when choosing a multi-tool or a pocket knife.
Now that we’ve covered the top choices and flavors of multi purpose pieces, we’ll move to give you some specific answers about the Victorinox Climber pocket knife.
We’ll try to be as concise as we can and least technical we can be. When we do get into the lingo of the industry (like the talk about steel types), we’ll explain what we’re talking about on the spot.
Remember – what you’re looking at is fruit of pooling data of a few years of testing.
In depth look & review of the Victorinox Climber
Let’s dive in head first…
Not made in China
Over the years, we’ve narrowed down our reviews to a smaller number of pocket knives and multi-tools.
Because we’ve seen a steady but continuous decline in quality. It’s the companies trying to save money by outsourcing to China. The whole process made the market of pocket tools more confusing than ever, but we are doing everything we can to stay on top of things.
Anyway, the climber comes from Victorinox which means it;s Swiss craftsmanship and while it may not be the best piece, you can be certain that what it says on the box is true.
The main blade – nothing to write home about
Out of the box, the blade on the Victorinox Climber will be very sharp.
It’s with continuous use you realize that the steel is not as hard and doesn’t hold edge for long if faced with “serious materials”, like wood.
The steel used for the blades is standard steel used for their pocket knives, the 1.4110. This steel is not as rich in carbon as the steel used in the Leatherman Pieces (420HC).
The Rc (Rockwell scale – a number that describes how hard the steel is) is 56. To put that in perspective Leatherman blades are RC59-61, making them much tougher.
What this means for you – it means that it will be sharp when new but dull more quickly than the 420HC blades. If used every day on materials like plastic or wood, it means it will get you through the day, but will need frequent sharpening.
Ratings of the blade on a scale of 1-10:
- Initial sharpness (out of the box) : 9 / 10
- Edge retention (how long it can go without sharpening): 6 / 10
- Ductility (ability to bend without fracturing): 8 / 10
- Corrosion resistance: 8 / 10
- Wear resistance (ability to resist abrasions and wear over time) : 8 / 10
Most people will use this for food, like peeling apples etc. and for that, it will do just fine.
Scissors – all that and a bag of chips
The Climber packs an absolutely awesome pair of scissors, better than most of those included in full-sized multi-tools.
They’re probably the best thing about the the tool – they’re long, both the cutting surface itself and the handles, and spring-loaded which makes them much easier to use.
The Rc of the steel used for the scissors is 53, which is much softer but that’s a non-issue. Opposed to the blade where the hardness is paramount if you want to use it on tougher materials, the steel of Rc53 does a great job for multi-tools scissors.
They might not be the toughest out there, but they’re one the handiest – 10/10 for the scissors.
Small blade – for reasons beyond us, softer than the main one
This is just us and we were never able to find any solid evidence that we’re right when we say that the small blade is not the same steel as the main one.
Our best argument is that it’s our experience after the years of testing and reviewing these tools. Officially, the two blades are of same hardness.
We don’t think so.
Awl/Reaper – very good
All Victorinox awls are RC52, but the reaper in the models is a sturdy thick piece meant to be used to puncture materials like leather.
And for that it works great…goes right through like a hot knife through butter. Most people use it, as we said, to puncture stuff but the little hole you’ll see on it is meant to be used to sew as well.
Great little touch – below is a video of how to use the awl/reaper to saw leather (credit Phil Crockett).
Sewing leather using the reaper
See the Victorinox Climber on Amazon
Bottle and can opener – they’re there
Bottle and can openers are what we call “trivia” pieces.
They are not what makes or breaks a tool and it’s most likely they’ll be as useful in a high-end multi-tool as in a cheap knock-off. They are there and will work as advertised with the Climber.
The Rc of the openers is 52 which is again, a moot point if we’re talking about opening tins.
We have a bone to pick with the Victorinox openers
The openers are secondary if it’s cans and bottles we’re talking about, but not if they are meant to be screwdrivers.
The number of pieces is these things is deceptive and we don’t even count it towards the “versatility ratings of a tool. We could make a pocket knife, punch two holes in the blade and count that as binoculars.
Hold your horses, we’re getting to our point – using a soft steel is fine for opening stuff, but in the Climber (and most of similar Victorinox models) the openers are also supposed to be flat drivers.
The tip of the bottle opener is supposed to the larger flat driver and the tip of the can opener a Phillips.
That’s the issue, especially with the “Phillips” on the can opener.
If you do use it as a screwdriver and it meets any hard-alloy screws on daily bases, it’ll skew and become just a tip before you can say Jack Robinson.
Bottom line – Victorinox, if you do expect us to count the drivers towards the 12 tools, make sure they can withstand prolonged serious use.
Corkscrew – wine and shoelaces
Another trivia piece that we won’t get in-depth about. It’s there, it’s well made and works well – Rc of 49 does the job.
A tip – a corkscrew is a great way to untie a knot, just fiddle it it in wherever you see an opening and fidget the thing until the knot stars giving in. Try it, it works great.
See the Victorinox Climber on Amazon
Excerpts from the positive reviews we’ve heard from our testers (direct quotes):
- This is a classic and it will serve you well. And it just might serve your grandson as well
- This is a piece I had for over a decade, I am really happy with it
- I was introduced to this tool in 1991, and it a part of my climber gear ever since
- I intended to carry this when biking, but it turns out I have in my pocket even in my office suit
- Probably the most compact Swiss army knife that comes with the scissors and corkscrew
- I don’t give much thought when it comes to Christmas gifts, all of my friends got one of these
- Maybe there are some knives I use daily, but this climber is the one I return to
- My family always counts on me whenever we go on a trip together, because I carry this thing…
- Blades work fine for cutting various stuff, but the scissors are what I love about this piece. They are indispensable for everyday tasks
- Smaller flat screwdriver is an excellent Phillips for that size
- I have a birthday BBQ tradition, and this little guy always finds its use, especially as a can opener and as a corkscrew/ bottle opener
- I can punch a hole in almost anything with an awl that is a part of this knife
- Hook comes useful when I carry boxes that are joined with plastic lashing, so it dosen’t cut my hands
- The thing I love about this knife is that I got one while I was in primary school, and now I am getting one for my son
- I prefer this one contrary to other bulkier ones. I really do use it for my camping trips, but around the house as well
- Reamer helps me loose some tight knots. For example, I tend to tie my shoelaces too tight
- Scissors are something I reach out when I need to cut coupons or nails
- I have been using it for only six months (I know it can last a lifetime), the blades are still really sharp
- There is something quite satisfying in coming home after work, and having a beer in my favorite chair. It has to be cold and opened with the help of my pocket knife
- Toothpick is a life saver after eating some corn
- I just counted fourteen years having this pocket knife, and it looks like I bought it two weeks ago
- I got it as a souvenir from Switzerland and we made some new memories along the way
Quotes of some CONs from the reviews:
- There is no classic Phillips-head screwdriver function, but it’s manageable
- Tweezers are the weakest part of this otherwise great tool
- I used Victorinox knives for the last twenty years and the last one I got was scratched. The quality of the tool is still great, but the package looks cheap
Review resume for Victorinox Swiss Army Climber Pocket Knife:
Obviously, there’s a reason why Victorinox knives are so well known. The quality is indisputable.
You can compare it to others when it comes to pricing and functionality, but a Swiss knife is what it is. This particular piece, the Climber, nested just right between the Tinker and the Huntsman in terms of size and thickness.
It still trails in ratings (as we saw above) compared to other pieces, both in and out of its price range, yet – it’s solid value for money.
Rated at 3.88/5, the Victorinox Climber is still one of the better EDC pocket knives in it’s class.