Q: I am looking for a new pocketknife. Should I get a single-blade or a Swiss Army knife?
— Danny, Bethesda, Maryland
A: For most jobs, all you likely need is one blade. But you might wonder: Why settle for one blade when you can have three blades … plus a screwdriver, can opener, plastic toothpick and tweezers? If you want to Be Prepared for practically anything, get a Swiss Army knife.
Swiss Army knives have been around since the late 1800s when the Swiss military issued a knife equipped with a screwdriver so soldiers could open canned food and take apart rifles to clean them. Soon after, companies began making these multitooled pocketknives, adding more and more tools. Campers love them for their quality and versatility. You can get a BSA-branded Swiss Army pocketknife ($25-$30, scoutshop.org), some with up to a dozen tools, at the Scout Shop.
Single-blade knives stand out for simplicity and comfort. Many, like the CRKT Squid Compact ($32, crkt.com) and CRKT Tuna Compact ($56, crkt.com), fit comfortably in your hand and — when the blade is locked — give you a sturdy cutting tool. Single-blade knives also usually have features such as thumb studs, which help you open the blade with the flick of your thumb. The Kershaw Cargo ($58, kershaw.kaiusa.com) uses a textured nylon handle reinforced with steel for greater grip and durability. Remember to follow pocketknife safety rules; knives are tools, not toys. Get properly trained before you carry one.
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