7 Ways A Penknife Can Save Your Life

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You’re heading out the front door, checking your pockets. You’ve got your wallet, phone, keys… What’s missing? Ah – yes. Your penknife. Because no right-minded person leaves the house without one.

The classic Hiker Swiss Army Knife. A smart addition to any pocket.

The classic Hiker Swiss Army Knife. A smart addition to any pocket.

More properly, no-one should be without a multipurpose penknife; like the famous Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox. We’d suggest going for a Victorinox Spartan Pocket Tool or Swiss Army Hiker Knife. Some multipurpose knives are overkill, but both these models are compact, useful tools you can pop into your pocket and forget. Until you need them, that is.

And you need them more than you think.

1. Cut things up

Yep – it’s a knife, so it’s ideal for cutting things up. Chop up your Snickers bar in half, divide your sandwich and save a bit for later or slice a banana into your porridge in the morning.

Our personal fave; use a penknife to carve up and eat an apple. Sounds like a waste of time? Your Grandad probably ate apples with his trusty pocket knife, avoiding all the icky brown bits and worm holes hiding under the skin. Bonus points: slicing up an apple also makes much less mess than chomping into one bite by bite. Grandad 2 – You 0.

2. Open packaging

Your knife’s a superb tool for slicing open letters the old fashioned way. You can get into parcels and packages more quickly too. But plastic packaging, that’s where your knife really rules.

New mobile phone batteries, travel plugs, headphones – for reasons known only to the Illuminati who secretly rule the world, these items are always, always encased in a sarcophagus of impenetrable polymer.

Want to open one of these things with your bare hands? Not a chance. You might as well be trying to extract Han Solo from carbonite.

But take out your trusty penknife and you are master of packaging, effortlessly able to slice open or saw through that shrinkwrapped slab of torment. Hold aloft the miniature aluminum torch you have freed from incarceration and roar. You deserve it.

3. Screwdriver

“Have you got a screwdriver?”
“Yes!” says the person with the penknife, after first forgetting they have a screwdriver for a few minutes of staring into space.

The inclusion of both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers on a Swiss Army Knife is enough reason to carry one everywhere. You are king of plug changing, master of tightening up pan handles and emperor of access to little hatches. You are the attacher and the detacher. You control door knobs and access plates and light fittings. No screw will ever remain unturned. Everything is awesome – especially you.

4. Bottle Opener

It’s the hottest weekend of the year and you and your mates have gone off on a picnic. There are cooked chicken legs and potato salad and all that green stuff no one eats. Most importantly there’s a cooler box full of beer and wine. Happy days.

Until, it’s revealed that Dan – whose one job was to get the booze – has bought bottled lager and Chardonnay with a cork instead of a screwtop. Clouds gather and at least one of your party begins to shake and cry with rage.

But your trusty penknife saves the day – for it has both corkscrew and bottle opener attachments. Hurrah!


5. First Aid

When accidents happen, that pen knife comes in very handy. The obvious uses are cutting bandages to length or rope to tie up a splint. A sterilised knife can be used to remove foreign objects like wooden spells from under the skin. When a patient can’t be moved, you may have to cut away clothes to relieve pressure on an open fracture – or to get better access to a wound to clean it. Burned clothing can also be cut away with a knife.

A hot knife can even be used to cauterise a wound in an extreme emergency. If you’re bleeding out and applying pressure alone isn’t enough to stop exsanguination, if emergency services are far from your location, then applying a hot knife to a clean wound seals the vessels and close the wound. Use this as an absolute last resort, as a cauterised wound will leave a nasty scar and melting your own flesh is ouchy.

6. You’re trapped

Ever been stuck in a toilet cubicle with a dodgy lock? Or got trapped by a malfunctioning seatbelt? Good job you’ve got your penknife with you then. You can unscrew the hinges on a door or cut through a broken seat belt.

Or how about this Australian farmer? Barry Lynch’s leg was trapped under a 9 nine tonne chemical tank following an accident. He used his pen knife to dig a trench under the affected limb and escape. It took him 6 hours with a gaping wound the “size of his fist”, but Barry survived to tell his story.

7. Zombie Apocalypse

You’ll be glad of carrying a penknife in the zombie apocalypse – and that’s not just because we were desperate for a seventh item on our list.

Oh no.

The trusty knife is one of the cleanest, quickest zombie killers available. An axe can get stuck, sapping precious seconds as you struggle to disengage. Lump hammers and mallets are too heavy. Guns misfire or can run out of ammo. You can cut your own hand off with a Samurai sword.

But a knife? Bang it into the zombie’s head (forehead, temple or eye are the preferred entry points), twist and extract. Works every time. Believe us… We know.