I came across this Swiss+Tech outdoors and camping tool set after looking for alternative door opener EDC tools, and it sure is… something?
To me, SwissTech – I hope you don’t mind my simplified spelling of the name – is one of those brands that has always made gimmicky but also useful mini multi-tool thingamajigs. Things like mini keychain tools with pliers, and the like.
I wasn’t surprised to see SwissTech offering a low-contact door opener EDC tool, but a camping tool set? So I took a closer look and quickly wish I hadn’t.
At the surface, this looks like a collection of thrown-together cool-looking outdoor knives and tools.
But a closer look at things get absurd.
The hatchet-like tool, which SwissTech describes as both a “camping axe” has a one-piece design with “rope handle.” It has a typical tacticool-looking design, but the hex wrench cutouts caught my attention.
2/5″, 1/2″, and 3/5″ wrench sizes? For what?
And what is in the background? A guy in a hoodie sweatshirt doing weighted rope exercises? Is that what people do when camping these days?
I was going to let things go and just close the browser window until I saw this image. 2/5″, 1/2″, and 3/5″ hex wrench sizes. In an “axe.”
Next up, a “one-piece camping knife with rope handle.” SwissTech also describes this as a “hunting knife.”
SwissTech says that this tool kit is “an ideal choice for camping, hiking, hunting, survival tactics, travel, etc.” Sure.
The background for this product image looks to be a fire that has burned well out of control.
There is also a serrated edge at the bottom of the blade, which can be used for fast-cutting rope.
Where is this serrated edge – are they talking about the jimping on the spine that’s most certainly not supposed to be sharp enough to cut anything?
Of course, what kind of outdoor and camping tool set doesn’t have a machete knife?!
The set also comes with a headlamp that looks inexpensive but otherwise unremarkable.
You also get a 50-foot skein of paracord or rope, 2 carabiner clips, and a fire starter.
Somehow the “multi took striker” that supposed to be used with the fire-starting flint is shown doubling as a bottle opener, although I can’t visualize how this would work.
I took a quick look to see, if this was a one-off product for SwissTech, and it’s not.
The same “hunting knife” appears to also be sold in 3-packs as throwing knives, and comes with paper targets. Because… sure?
Don’t worry, the 3-for-$20 knife features “exquisite workmanship.”
The camping tool set comes with just 1 knife, but the separate 3-pack allows you to… post with alternating grips and fingerless gloves while staring at wild animals.
If all that’s not cool enough for you, the same OEM also makes a Mossy Oak camping tool set. The top Amazon review starts off by saying “great for camping and zombie defense.”
Now, I know that not everyone can afford premium camping gear, knives, or headlamps, but is there any utility in a set like this? Is this the type of outdoors tool set that beginners buy because they think they need it?
Some of those promo photos make me wonder if they plan on selling them at a random gas stations next to the caffeine pills.
I love the 2/5″ and 3/5″ wrench sizes. I’ve seen things like that a lot on product measurements on cheap imported stuff where I presume the person who wrote the copy has no concept how fractional inches work (I guess I can’t blame them). I assume these are bad “translations” of 10mm and 15mm.
Maybe 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″?? But would that be useful.
As harsh as it sounds, whenever I see things like this, it screams to me “the brand doesn’t care about the product, and so neither should I.”
The rope exercise guy and uncontrolled wildfire background images add to the “what are they going for?” bewilderment.
The Mossy oak hatchet is labeled 3/8″, 1/2″ and 5/8″ on the hatchet. I would think it’s the same on the SwissTech, just labeled by a marketing person unfamiliar with standard/imperial units.
Beat me to it AW.
If I had to guess they’re probably actually metric sizes and they’re simply printing the closest fractional size on there, at least that’s been my experience with this tier of tools.
I think it’s great. I used buy this garbage stuff when I needed throw away stuff to abuse. Not gonna take a $300 knife everywhere….but once abused, they only work once. And they allow for fun reviews like this one. These can’t be as bad as the ninja throwing stars I purchased in high-school
This is from the same SwissTech that is owned by Hangzhou Great Star – who just bought SK Tools and owns Arrow Stapler, ShopVac Jorgensen/Pony Clamps and some other tool brands. They should be able to do a better job of promoting/advertising. But maybe they have their businesses segregated and this one gets the scrub team to do advertising copy.
I saw that Greatstar is the OEM, but have they always owned the SwissTech brand? I can’t seem to find any info regarding whether this was an acquisition or not.
Greatstar seems to own the trademarks – if you believe the Justia trademark site info.
On Swiss+Tech’s webpage they say that their parent company is InterDesign – but at the bottom of the webpage – in the fine print – Greatstar is cited
GreatStar also seems to own the MossyOak brand
I go camping fairly regularly, and I never need tools like that. I used to have a machete but now use a cordless mini-lopper to help maintain the trails in and out. And small Knipex and a good knife, which I mostly EDC so I forget that it’s also a camping tool.
Swiss+Tech bothers me because it reeks of a marketing company that’s not really a company, with just a Shopify site and through luck placing some product in stores. I doubt there’s anything “Swiss” about the company except maybe a diluted blood line or a love of fondue. I like fondue, too.
I noticed in one of the pictures it looks like a couple guys with knives are going to try and take down a caribou. Or one guys with two knives? Either way, the knives aren’t really held correctly if they want to defend themselves after they anger the animal.
The parent company (Hangzhou Great Star) is about a 16 hour flight from Switzerland – so that is perhaps its closest connection. Maybe it derives from a brand that once had a closer connection but then was bought out.
I think love of fondue is looking promising!
GreatStar owns Swiss LISTA and German BEA, swisstech is just a side dish
Ah – caribou! I knew it wasn’t a deer, and it looked too small to be an elk.
SwissTech was always a little gimmicky, but with enough functionality that it was okay. Although, I still have a couple of “oh, that could be useful” mini tools and lights I purchased during holiday season promos, still in their packaging.
I interpreted that photo as one person with two knives, either because it’s a multi-pack or to show different grip possibilities.
So I have the exact same set, except a regular flashlight and no headlamp. It’s about $20 in the Walmart camping section with the Ozark Trail brand.
My son and I, both avid outdoorsman, eyeballs it for a year or so, before we broke down and bought it.
So, in review, certainly not the quality that I would choose to survive, but we took these items out on an overnight, and used to build a shelter, cut firewood, and make a fire, and we survived the night.
So not great by a Longshot, but marginally functional, and better than nothing, if it’s what you cam afford
Looks like great modern stuff
Of the first group of tools that started this article? I think I would be okay if the kit was just the two carabiners, the paracord, and the magnesium striker. These are pretty standard pack gear for camping, last I checked. I may have been out of the field for a long time now, but I still have standards for my camping gear.
First off… None of those bladed items are, in any way, suitable. Having paracord wrap grips makes them very vulnerable to grip collapse when the tools get wet. Not even in a body of water, or cleaning them… just… morning dew will do it. This will lead to having to re-wrap, re-tie, and realign, all three handles, with hopes the cord itself has dried enough to sit tightly where it belongs.
I like that they’re black, so they don’t reflect too much light… it is nice when your tools actually do nothing but the job, rather than double as a huge signal light to everything around you. But that may just be me.
The Hatchet is too small. I still own the two Hatchets I owned as a Scout… They’re 12″ long, have a very typical leather/pleather high-durability belt holster, snap closure, and nothing special about them aside from one having a nail-pulling notch on the underside of the head. They’re Hatchets. Large, rectangular wedge-style heads, that come to rounded blade edges, evenly sharpened to be in the middle of the weighted head. They Hammer, and they Chop. That’s a Hatchet. You bring them Camping so you can do light wood gathering/splitting, and hammer in tent pegs to the ground. If you’re Camping, and you need a Wrench? Best case scenario, that’s for the camp stove, and it’s one specific wrench to tighten the fuel tank safely. If you’re trying to camp with a Truck, RV, or general Vehicle… You bring a socket set to keep in that vehicle, you don’t expect to work on that with little punched holes in a stamped-out Hatchet-Shaped Plate. And a Machete? Really? Aren’t we overcompensating a bit there? If you’re headed into thick forest, especially national parks… they frown highly on you chopping up the foliage instead of following the designated paths. If you’re going into unexplored Amazon country, or somewhere in the Congo in Africa… you’re not bringing that puny little fake… you’re bringing a 2-3 foot razor-thin Machete. Something that can actually cut you a path safely, as needed. Also doubling as a way to cut fruits and nuts off of trees with an extended arm! Don’t ask how I know that one… it was a really stupid thing we did in the trees of Haliburton, Ontario. In Winter, no less. Why? Testing the skill everyone had with a Machete.
I digress… Overall, the small stuff is pretty universally good. I agree with Stuart that the side notch on the Magnesium Striker blade doesn’t work as a bottle opener… I think they were doing for this kit what I mentioned in the last Leatherman thread, with that Carabiner doubling as a bottle Opener. Everything has to be able to open beer bottles, or rare soda bottles, or it’s just not complete somehow. I see the design of that striker blade, and I see two leverage points to start the fire with. The tip, which will be good for short, stuck-inside-the-kindling style striking, or that side notch that would be good for longer strikes, more sparks, and higher heat, in case the air is not as warm as you need it to be to ignite the particular kindling you found.
And, by the way… if you’re carrying this kind of equipment around? Beer Bottles or Soda Bottles that need opening? Will open on their own… when the stamped flat steel of the tools first bangs up against the bottles, and they shatter. If you’re out hiking or exercising… you don’t need a bottle opener, because the bottles are heavier than they need to be on a hike, especially for survivalist situations. The Paracord, Carabiners, and Fire Striker? Yeah… You can survive really well using that… Build fires, tie up lean-to style shelter, string rope between the two carabiners, clipped to tree branches for whatever utility you choose.
Companies try so hard to make Camping seem ultra-manly, and ultra-tactical… but they forget the actual tools of the activity come significantly more hearty than this, and even though Mountain Climbing gear does have an aesthetic of having all these sharp edges, and weird angles to it… I assure you, a standard set of Knife, Hatchet or Axe, and some method of sleeping outside in the correct weather conditions, does not include multi-function flat plates of steel. The tools need to be significantly larger, and stronger than these little things.
Absolute garbage made by people who have never been in the woods for people who also haven’t been in the woods and may not ever go into the woods either. Its right at home in a BudK catalogue. The people marketing this probably haven’t seen a tree in their entire life but went off of a drawing someone made on a napkin and handed to them.
These are toys. You could probably have fun throwing them at things or giving them to your kid to play. Hopefully the people buying them aren’t actually trying to use them as camping gear.
Gerber and SOG have kits sort of like this – it’s probably the inspiration for this brand’s version. The Gerber and SOG include real tools, but it’s hard to imagine who needs them as a kit too.
E.g. Gerber’s hatchet is very small. Hard to do much work with a light head and a short handle. However, it looks reasonably well made – it might event be from Fiskars (the other Gerber Hatchet is obviously Fiskars made in a different color way.
Also – the model with the little girl has a Man Bun. So…
On another note, I recently went from a well-used and much loved Estwing axe to one from Gränsfors Bruk. The difference is simply amazing. The Estwing was always a very serviceable axe, but the GB is another level of sharp and functional altogether.
Maybe some reviews of outdoor sports-oriented tools?
I’ve used a small Gränsfors Bruk (current #413) hand hatchet for over 20 years camping and can highly recommend it. But I just looked at the current price and nearly choked. It’s about 3 times what i paid for mine.
A nice Vaughn hatchet with hickory handle runs $20. I’d take that over this junk.
10 year old me would probably have wanted to buy these out of the back of the magazine they were advertised in. They look just like that though, back of the magazine junk.
Maybe it’s just me Stuart, but I would much rather read about thoughtful in-depth reviews of tools rather than articles bashing the sales tactics of companies like this. Just my two cents, no harm intended.
Sorry; pointing out and venting about cheesy tool-related products and face-palm-worthy marketing tactics helps me ignore the vast amounts of nonsense in the industry today. It helps me better shrug off the little things.
I also lost all respect for the SwissTech brand, and this serves as a reminder for myself (and others) as to why, should it come up 1, 5, 10 years down the road.
No offense to you here, OldDominionDIYer, but I find the cautionary tale, of the poor tactics of tool companies’ product releases like these, to be imminently important to the review process of any standard tool release. This is less about bashing Swiss+Tech, and far more about allowing Stuart, as well as the rest of us with experience on the relevant topics, to inform any new tool user what to look out for when they see what appears to be something “Really Cool” being advertised. It really is kind of like someone putting a red flag on a land mine they’ve detected in the field. While some people would be happy to show you fun activities to do in any field of your choosing, and others would talk about the kind of foliage that may cause problems if you plan on using a field for a special event, articles like this are the equivalent of pointing out red flags in dangerous fields.
In tool terms? Stuart could write about nothing but the best reviewable items he gains information on, 24/7, and that would be wonderful for the most experienced tool users among us. But, without these cautionary tales, no one will learn of the land mines, scams, double-talk, and utter mistakes that the first-time or incredibly common user may encounter when buying tools, and being marketed to. Stuart, without intending it, would be complicit in allowing these companies to do underhanded things to customers, if he never spoke up, and broke through that illusion the companies are attempting to put up for their products. If they get called out on making these mistakes often enough, they can’t continue business as usual. The more people see there’s a counterpoint to all the positive reviews of companies out there, the more it will undermine the use of these incredibly underhanded head-games these companies are using. It will cost them dearly to be utterly shredded before a group of peers, known to have expertise in the field they’re trying to pull this in.
I, for one… enjoy reading when Stuart balances out his content like this. Not just the positive or negative tool reviews, but also breaking down the good and bad done in Marketing those products. It sends a strong message to everyone who reads this site: You can be an expert at everything you do, but it doesn’t mean you should turn your brain off every time a deal appears to show up.
The way I answered my family, every time they complained about the expense in my choices of tools, equipment, or technology, from the time I was 14 on, was “Ebola is Free. It doesn’t mean I want it. Not everything that costs less is a deal you want to partake in.” My late Father’s side of the family was Jewish, and so they did pull several of those “It was on Sale” or “We paid Wholesale” or “Can’t you be happy with something cheaper?” tricks you only hear in the Jewish Stereotype. It was disgusting. But I knew, early on, that when you don’t have a lot of money, investing in what you do want to buy is an imperative on quality standards over price. When Upgrading something cost way more than the original, I’ve had to answer to many scoldings about being able to “Buy ten of the originals at that price!” or for repairs “You can buy a new one for that price!”… These are the same kinds of minefields I wish, always, to avoid when making purchases now. Most of those relatives have now passed on, but I still have their voices in my head, complaining that I don’t play their games with purchases. I still see the minefield, and appreciate when someone points out when something is an utter mistake to spend money on, because that money can be put toward something I would genuinely consider worthy of my attention. If it’s worth buying, it had better be worth spending enough to buy lasting quality, and trust in the company you choose. Or it’s not worth anything at all.
I know… TMI, Long Post, Bad Joe… Informing people of life experiences, where mistakes were made, does not come easily as a short grouping of words.
I gotta say, my favorite recently was for a collapsible baton being sold as a “hand held collapsible house detection tool”.
A few slides in they had a series of photos, on the left a wall with the caption “wall”. On the right a floor with the caption “floor”. And in the center? A t-bar ceiling with the caption “smallpox”.
When does a translation error transcend its existence as a translation error and evolve into art?
The photo of the guy with the ‘man-bun’ is hilarious. He appears to be lighting a fire with a knife (that’s not included in the kit) over a rock that’s vaguely near some sticks?
I suspect he’s had a horrible accident with the hunting knife in the past because the hand holding the fire-starter is clearly not the hand he was born with!
Buy once, buy quality and buy only what you need.
You would be better served buying a Leatherman or similar multi tool and a proper small axe for creating kindling. Add some water proof matches, paracord, bailing wire and duct tape for repairs. And a first aid kit! I hope no one wastes money on this, which is more Rambo than camper.
I read Twitter a lot, and a lot of my feed is copywriters, online sales agency people, SEO optimizers, and similar. They talk a good game but when I actually see some of the stuff they’re producing it’s EXACTLY like this.
A lot of them are not American or American-based, and instead are in Europe, South America, or Asia.
Sadly the clientele and end-product customers are just as below average and buy this stuff based on the poor copy, which leads to huge retainer fees, which in turn feeds their egos.
I kind of hope for an economic collapse just so these people realize how much their job is fluff.